Your Style is Hanging By a Thread

A PSA to the Women of the World:

thread skirt vent

When you purchase a blazer or a straight skirt with a kick pleat, there is usually stitching over the slit in back. This stitching is two lines of thread, making an X to hold the slit together. This stitching is so that when the garment is shipped, it doesn’t crease and fold over part of the slit.

You are supposed to remove these threads before wearing.

Higher end stores often do this for you before putting the garments on the sales floor. Not all retailers do this, and many retailers (at least when I was in the retail world) purposely left them so the garments would look crisp on the hanger, and it would be more obvious if someone tried to wear and then return the item.

But then, you would have to know to remove the threads.

I was on the Metro yesterday and a tall, young woman got on my car. She was wearing black peeptoe stiletto Mary Janes, black fishnets, a microstripe pencil skirt with a slight sheen, silk camisole and black blazer. The look actually worked – she was tall, long dark straight ponytail, thick black liner and an otherwise fresh face. It was funky, eclectic, yet stylish. Then she turned around and I saw she forgot to remove the threads on both her jacket and her skirt. Suddenly she looked so naïve and fashion-clueless. The ensemble seemed to be pure luck, not pure style.

Clothing manufacturers stitch pockets closed for this same reason – it helps the garment stay flat and properly pressed when in transit. The pocket stitching as well as the threaded X on the vents of garments are done with a stitch called basting. This sort of stitching is very easy to remove – usually you can snip one portion and the whole line of stitching will come right out. This is a type of stitching that is MEANT to be removed.

Once these threads are removed, your garment will fit better, look more expensive, and maintain its original style. And your style will no longer be hanging by a thread!


  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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