I feel like I’ve gone to the “when I moved to London 25 years ago” well too many times in the DAMT series but please forgive me, dear reader, if I do it one more time. Because, when it comes to the topic of slanted versus straight pockets on jackets, the move to the British capital (and the centre of the classic menswear universe) forever changed my view on this topic.
Actually, that’s not strictly true. Before arriving in London, I didn’t really have an opinion on jacket pockets. Back during my formative years on the other side of the Atlantic, the concept of slanted pockets never entered my consciousness. It wasn’t until arriving in London, and working in the Square Mile, that I feasted my eyes upon the gorgeous, rakish, stylish slanted pocket. And, it was love at first sight! What an amazing, ever-so-slightly edgy detail to have on a jacket. And, with a flap, the slanted pocket subtly draws attention to itself, hinting that the gentleman wearing this jacket had this specific design element commissioned. It’s one of those little minutia that separates made-to-order from off-the-peg.
I think the slanted pocket option really lends itself to the single-breasted style that I gravitate towards. It’s a classic combination, and one that you see quite regularly amongst the stylish set in any cosmopolitan city. Interestingly, though, I was of the opinion that slanted pockets were not something that you’d wear with a double-breasted jacket. How wrong I was! I recently re-watched Get Carter (the original 1971 version) and saw Michael Caine wearing a double-breasted suit with slanted pockets (and it looked great)! This should not be a surprise, as the inimitable Douglas Hayward made Sir Michael’s suits for this film (and others, too). I’d say a decent rule of thumb would be if it was good enough for Dougie Hayward, it’s good enough for any of us.
Another thing that must be said is that if you go for slanted pockets, you should definitely go for a ticket pocket. This smaller pocket, which sits above the (slanted) pocket on the right hand side of your jacket, would be slanted just as its bigger brother below is. It’s another stylistic flourish that shows you’ve not bought your suit off-the-peg. And it’s also a very practical thing to have on a jacket — you can put your train ticket in there, you can keep your business cards in there, maybe a lighter. Anything that can be employed for mundane storage purposes and looks stylish at the same time is a no-brainer — just do it!
A final word on the degree of slant your pockets should have. On some of my older bespoke and made-to-measure suits, the slant is about 30 degrees. I’ve spoken to Max about this, and I think I’d like to do something a bit more dramatic, perhaps closer to 45 degrees. We’ll experiment and get back to you with what we decide on. But one thing is for certain — I’ll always go for slanted pockets, no matter how sharp the angle of the slant is! BTWB/MM/YS