Your Style May Be Hanging By a Thread: What is that X on the Back of Your Jacket and When Should It Be Removed?

your style may be hanging by a thread: what to do with the X of thread on the back of jacket and when you should remove it.

I like to consider myself your virtual friend who offers you style advice. And friend, your style may be hanging by a thread! Two threads to be specific, the ones creating an “X” on the back of your blazer or jacket. Do you have any jackets or blazers with an “X” on the vent at the back? Those threads are not a style detail, and should be removed before wearing your garment.

What is that X of Thread on the Back of A Jacket and When Should It Be Removed?

When blazers, coats, and also some skirts that have back vents are shipped, the manufacturer will baste that vent closed so it doesn't shift and crease in transit. Sometimes when stores receive these shipments they remove the threads before putting garments out onto a salesfloor… but sometimes they do not.

And with online shopping being at an all-time high, we customers are receiving our merchandise straight from the manufacturer, which means no middle person to snip away that “X” of thread on the back of our jackets. It's up to us to see if our garments have those threads and to snip them before wearing.

Your Style May Be Hanging By a Thread

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These threads are sewn to make them super easy to remove. Simply snip anywhere on one of the threads, and you should be able to pull them out of the garment without any damage. If one of the threads isn't budging, check the inside of the jacket as the knot may be caught up in the lining. A little snip near the knot will ease the thread out of your jacket.

If you don't see an “X” on the outside of your jacket but the vent (where the jacket opens in the back for movement and comfort) is closed, check the inside of the garment. Sometimes, retailers will baste it closed from the inside, especially if the two pieces of the vent do not overlap and instead work like a slit. For these instances, you still will follow the same procedure of snipping the thread open and pulling out the loose pieces.

You may also like: how to care for cashmere when you have no time or patience

For these minor alterations to your garment you will want a pair of very sharp small scissors or a seam ripper. I have a pair of these cute gold scissors that look like a bird; they came with a rubber cap to protect the point. I keep them with my makeup brushes and use them for all those situations when little scissors are needed. Snipping an “X” from the vent of my blazer, trimming false lashes, removing a tag that itches… I just make sure the situations are not the type to gum up or dull the blades.

While you have those scissors, your garment may have other threads that are to be removed upon purchase.

  • Manufacturers also sew pockets closed to keep them from creasing; if you snip anywhere on the stitching keeping the pocket closed, it should release the stitching and open up quite easily.
  • Self belts on dresses are held in place with a loop of thread on either side. These threads are to ensure the dress and belt stay together when on a sales floor, but are not needed when wearing the garment. Like the threads on the vent of your jacket and in your pocket, these threads are very easy to snip off your garment. A perk to removing these threads is now you can easily wear the belt anywhere on your torso, switch out the belt, or possibly style it without the belt for some versatility!

Now that you are empowered with this style knowledge, pass it on! Don't let your fellow woman have her style hang by a thread; knowing increases confidence as well as personal style.


  1. Lily Adamson
    July 15, 2014 / 4:58 pm

    I used to leave the X stitch in because the slit was deemed to high for my butt! Then I clued into slips. I have stitched up skirts because I am crazy like that! 🙂

  2. Who me?
    July 10, 2011 / 10:50 am

    Thanks for the stitched cross advice.  I had no idea about it (or stitched tags on coats saying “wool /  etc”) probably since I see lots of them about. A stylish friend made a condescending  remark about my ignorance so my (only) designer jacket which I love remained in the cupboard until I knew the answer.Thankyou allie /commenters – I will wear it out tomorrow minus stitching!

  3. September 21, 2010 / 10:48 am

    I saw someone with a new coat on and the X was still in the back! Was talking to my mum about how people do not know to remove them – I thought everyone just knew!

  4. September 21, 2010 / 8:53 am

    I too often leave pockets stitched close – often creates a smoother line for the silhouette!

  5. Cynthia
    September 21, 2010 / 2:19 am

    I have to laugh because the day before you posted this, I had a kick pleat emergency. I had noticed the stitching while trying on the skirt and meant to remove it, but forgot while getting dressed at 6am.

    So, I’m strutting across the parking lot at work, feeling pretty good in my new pencil skirt, when suddenly…. I realize that I forgot to cut the stitching out of the kick pleat.

    My strut suddenly became more of a scurry to my classroom, so I could flip my skirt around and deal with the stitching. I was just grateful that I drove myself to work and hadn’t been like that on public transportation.

    I have been guilty of leaving pockets basted shut on purpose though.

  6. September 17, 2010 / 12:50 pm

    My pet peeve are the people who leave the tag on the OUTSIDE sleeve of their coat that says the fabric content “100% wool”

    Its meant to come off people!! Sheesh!

  7. September 17, 2010 / 12:03 pm

    Thanks for saying this, I often meet women and men who were the cross on their jackets and wonder if I should tell them. But most of the time I bite my lip and keep quiet…

  8. Anonymous
    September 16, 2010 / 8:04 am

    My pet peeve are stickers on soles, sometimes even fluorescent sale ones on already well worn shoes ;-P

  9. September 15, 2010 / 9:02 pm

    My pet hate is people leaving the tag on coat sleeves – you know, the one which says they’re pure cashmere or whatever. Also, I often leave basted pockets as they are to help preserve garment shape once I’m wearing it – especially in trousers.

    Great post – thanks! 🙂

  10. Anonymous
    September 15, 2010 / 4:28 pm

    I’ve actually seen product reviews that complain about the pleats being stitched closed with mismatched thread in a big X–I had no idea the ignorance ran so deep until I read those.

    People typically manage to clip out price tags on their new clothes. Why are basted pleats and pockets so mysterious?

  11. Anonymous
    September 15, 2010 / 3:13 pm

    I once saw someone walking around wearing Gap jeans that still had that strip of tape with the size printed on it running down the back of her thigh. Thanks for reminding people to check their new clothes before heading out the door!

  12. Tara J
    September 15, 2010 / 2:05 pm

    I did’t know that. I am now going to check all my clothes. Thank you, Allie.

  13. September 15, 2010 / 1:56 pm

    Thank you! It drives me nuts when I see people with the stitching still on their clothes.

  14. September 15, 2010 / 1:54 pm

    Thanks for the tip! I never knew this and now I’m wonder if I should double check all of my clothes.


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