Why do button-down shirts have that little loop on the back?

/ Source: TODAY
By Anna De Souza

Our editors have independently selected the items featured in this article because we think they’re worth knowing about. Shop TODAY has affiliate relationships so we may get a small share of the revenue if you buy something through our links.

There are so many common design elements about which we never really think twice. The egg carton is a good example, or how about the fact that you can easily pull one tissue out of the box at a time — genius!

In the fashion sphere, you may have wondered about the difference between a "button-up" and a "button-down," but have you ever noticed the loop on the back of it?

These extra pieces of fabric sit right where the pleat meets the yoke in the center of the back — but why? They first appeared on shirts by the menswear brand GANT in the 1960s and were named "locker loops," because they were fashioned to keep student's shirts wrinkle-free in Ivy League locker rooms.

They later took on more significance as a popular part of Ivy League culture, serving as a relationship status symbol on campus. Men would remove the loop to show they were taken and the lady, in return, would wear his scarf. Let's just say a few things have changed on college campuses since.

An unpopular nuisance at the time would occur when young ladies would yank loops off of shirts that boys they took a liking to were wearing, according to a representative at GANT. Tightly stitched loops would often tear a large strip from the back of the shirt and render it unwearable.

Thankfully, we now have Facebook to declare a relationship status so our Sunday's best can stay that way. Times have surely changed, but this classic shirt design seems like it's here to stay.

Shop TODAY takes care to recommend our favorite items chosen by trusted experts and editors, as well as inform our readers of great deals, customer favorites, and newsworthy products from around the web. For more on our process, click here.