Why Is There a Loop on the Back of a Shirt?

If you picked up a button-down last time you were at Neiman Marcus in Dallas or Belk in Charlotte, you might have noticed a small fabric slit at the back of the shirt, just below the collar, and close to where your shoulder blades meet.

Shirts have loops on their back to help the wearer hang them on hooks. Men used to gather in locker rooms far more frequently than they do today, and they would remove their shirts and place them on hooks to ensure that the shirts did not become wrinkled after removal. The loops aided this.

For those paying attention, you might have noticed a tiny loop of fabric just above the wrinkles on your button-down shirt. The small circle of cloth on the back of your shirt is easily missed, and if you did not wear your shirt backward somehow, you rarely notice it.

It is that small piece of looped fabric, right in the middle of the back of your shirt, where the pleat meets the yoke. There is a little loop of material at the spot where the crease meets the collar- the dressmaker’s term for a piece of template fabric that fits over your neck and shoulders.

On the Placement of the Loop

The loop is placed on the top of the shirt first, where the shoulders meet the crease. The circle, found on many male and female dress shirts, is a small piece of cloth that usually occupies a space between the shoulder blades, where the collar tab (upper back) of a dress shirt meets the crease. The loop, found on many dress shirts for men, is a small fabric that typically occupies the space between the two shoulder blades.

The loop, usually located at the top of the back, where the collar meets the creases, is thought to have originated from sailors in the Navy, according to Lifebuzz. According to fashion history, loops were first used by sailors of the geographic region. According to Lifebuzz, a small fabric loop could initially come from sailors from the Navy.

The origin stories for the locker loop are sometimes traced back to U.S. sailors using it to hang shirts on ships. Navy sailors did not have lockers to turn their shirts, so they had clothes fitted with loops so they could slip them over the hooks on a wall. Instead of having space in sailor cupboards to keep clothes on themes, they would pull their shirts off loops using a piece.

Because the lockers, designed for saving space, were not wide enough for clothes on hangers, the shirts were sewn into cloth loops that could hang from hooks within the locker. The circles were used primarily for hanging clothes utilizing a theme and drying one’s clothes. Sailors would also use tiny loops of fabric to hang up shirts when changing aboard the ship.

An Overview of the Shirt Loop

Known as the fruit loop, the teen girls pulled this little loop of fabric to show they had a crush on the guy wearing the shirt. The little fabric loops were designed so young men could hang their shirts in the Ivy League dressing rooms, ensuring they stayed wrinkle-free as students played sports or worked out. They first appeared on GANT, the menswear brand, on shirts in the 1960s, and were called locker loops, as it was fashionable for students’ shirts to be kept wrinkle-free in the locker rooms at the Ivy League.

GANT, a garment maker, added the locker loop on its shirts, placed at the back of the collar, to allow its customers, mostly college students from the Ivy League, to hang up their shirts. Gant Company started adding a loop to the back of their shirts to attract Ivy League consumers. They called these the locker loops, as men could hang their shirts from a loop on a locker, keeping the shirts without buttons wrinkled.

The shirts loop is called the locker loop, and the style started in 1960s Oxford Button Down shirts, becoming fashionable in Ivy Leagues. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Locker Loops found their way into Ivy League styles through the Gants Oxford shirt. Eventually, other Ivy-popular brands such as Sero, Wren, Creighton, and Eagle adopted the locker loop versions from other Ivy-popular brands.

A Speculative History of Shirt Loops

The origins of loops on shirts go back to the days of East Coast sailors using them as a means to suspend shirts over straight lines during changing, and before long, they were out as a simple fashion statement that is still commonplace today. From being suspended over the bar, they began being used widely in locker rooms over a hook and are a perfect fashion statement.

Most sources indicate that this little yet useful loop was initially used by east coast sailors, who hung their shirts on hooks in the ships while changing. Locker Loops were added to sailors’ clothing to save space so they could be suspended from studs or hooks located within storage lockers. The smaller loops at the back were placed there for people who spent lots of time in a gymnasium.

Located either on the back of the collar or in the middle of the yoke (the fabric panel spanning the top of the upper part of your dress shirt, from the shoulders down), this small detail is more commonly known as a locker loop. It has a particular purpose, dating back to the mid-1900s.

Located on the back of the shirt, the locker loop is attached where the lower middle section of the yoke meets the upper part of the middlebox crease and is a trendy choice on traditional American styles such as Oxfords and Madras shirts. The fairy loop is the American slang for a small cloth hook at the back of male and boys 1960s men’s shirts, which was placed by manufacturers for these shirts to be hung from locker loops, or any time hangers were unavailable.

Grandma Dee

Hello, I'm Grandma Dee. I created Fairy Epic because I love the beautiful world depicted in fairy tales, and I wanted to help make it a reality.

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