We've recently been engaged in a sartorial debate over the merits of the ticket pocket. For those of you who are familiar, skip to the discussion. For those of you who aren't, listen up.
The "ticket pocket" is the smaller pocket above the larger hip pocket on a suit jacket, sport coat and/or outerwear piece. This pocket should always be found on the right side of the jacket or coat. The ticket pocket can be jetted, flapped, or patch (however, the last is not seen very often). It can also be straight or on a hacking angle. For an in depth look at pockets see our pocket guide to pockets.
This pocket has a British sporting heritage. It originally was worn on hacking jackets for riding and outdoor sports but evolved over time. As men began wearing suits everyday for business, leisure, sporting and travel, all of which required tickets, they used this pocket to store them. Over the years as men wore suits less frequently and attended sporting and cultural events which required some standard of dress less often, the ticket pocket become less of a useful tool and more of a fashion statement.
Today it is rare to see a man actually using the ticket pocket to store tickets. Its more of a fashion statement showing that the man is aware of the history of suiting. However, from our experience most men today have no inkling of the history of this accoutrement. Here is our ongoing conversation with one of our Facebook fans. We originally made a comment regarding the use of ticket pockets. One of our fans engaged us and we were happy to discuss.
IG - The ticket pocket on your jacket should in fact never be used for the storing of tickets.
FB Fan - What should it be used for then?
IG - When men frequented horse races, operas & rode trains it was accepted. Today its more a fashion statement and nod to the past.
FB Fan - Interesting because I just ordered a new suit with a ticket pocket but it will be mainly used for horse races and operas.
IG - Congratulations. If you are in a position to frequent these types of events then you've reached a certain level of class and sophistication. However, there are a few points of discussion. Wearing a suit to the races is acceptable and recommended. (depending on the fabric and color, of course)
Wearing a suit to the opera, while not frowned upon, you'd be better off in a tuxedo. If you frequently attend cultural arts performances I believe you should wear a tuxedo which do not come with ticket pockets. I find it hard to believe that you could wear the same suit to a horse race one day and an opera the next. Most racing suits will be inherently casual in fabric and color since it is a sporting event. Most evening suits and especially tuxedos are more formal and meant to be worn at night versus the day.
I'm interested to hear the details of your suit and how you believe it will be transitional. In any case I do not recommend using the ticket pocket. While there are many parts of a man's wardrobe that were functional and publicly acceptable in years past, some of them are best left in years past. Use your inner breast pocket and you'll be fine.