Meet the placket
The placket is actually a very familiar part of the shirt that isn’t always given its name. It is the area at the centre of the dress shirt and is normally the bit where the buttons are located. The very name placket comes from a French word meaning ‘to lay on’ and refers to the fact that the placket is laid onto the shirt when it is first made. While concealing flaps can be added later, they never look as good as a built-in placket does. This area is usually made of multiple layers of fabric with interfacing that gives it strength. It needs this extra strength because it is one of the heaviest used areas of the shirt. Think of all the times buttons go through their button holes – this is why the placket needs reinforcing. Without the strength added to the shirt by the placket, over time, the button holes would fray and rip, making the shirt look terrible. It would also mean the holes widened enough that the buttons wouldn’t stay shut, also ending the life of the shirt.
The placket keeps the shirt looking smart, working properly and lengthens the lifespan of the garment. Another advantage of the placket is that it stops the buttons or other fasteners from rubbing against the skin and being uncomfortable. This has the added bonus of preventing any damage to under garments such as an undershirt that could become worn by the constant button rubbing. Plackets come in a number of different styles that have different names to identify them.
The most popular type of placket is just known as a placket front. This is where the material of the shirt is folded to the outside and is anywhere from one to two inches wide. Usually you can see two rows of stitching, around a quarter of an inch from each edge. This style of placket is often made with light interfacing for a soft finish.The French front has the material folded to the underside so no stitches show through and the placket is effectively hidden away inside. Modern versions of the style can use a shirt front that is folded to make a creased edge which is then held together by button holes. This creates a plain, clean front that is conversely considered dressier than the placket front. The Fly Front uses an extra strip of material to hide the buttonholes and is one of the least commonly seen styles. It can also be known as the covered placket and tends to be a specialist style not worn by the majority of men. It tends to be used the most in tuxedos alongside a bowtie for the most formal occasions.
So what is your preferred style of placket based on this information?