The shirt’s front placket is the strip of fabric that runs down the center of your dress shirt. It contains your buttons on one side and buttonholes on the opposite side.
It’s often an extra piece of fabric sewn onto your shirt, or sometimes the shirt material that’s been folded over and sewn down.
Shirt plackets come in several styles. Because of these choices, it’s critical to make sure you have the proper type of placket for your level of formality.
Once you learn the differences found within this vital detail, you’ll never look at dress shirts the same way again.
Fused Front Placket
This is the most classic style for shirt front plackets, which you’ll find on most traditional dress shirts.
They are a dressy addition, so you’ll see them mostly on business dress shirts.
This type of placket is typically just the shirt fabric folded back onto itself and sewn down, although there may sometimes be a second fabric instead. So why is it called “fused”?
The placket has a fused interlining, which makes that section stiff. This helps it to hold its shape while you’re wearing it.
Soft Front Placket
The soft front placket is very similar; it only minimally differs from the fused front placket. It is the same general idea, with the fabric folded onto itself.
The main difference is that the placket does not have fused interlining.
This placket is more natural and comfortable because it’s missing the stiff insert between the material. Because of this, it’s a much more casual style for a shirt placket.
You won’t usually find this type of placket on a formal or business dress shirt. Instead, a soft front placket is standard for your smart-casual button-down shirts.
French Front Placket
Another way to call this shirt would be no placket. The fabric is still folded over itself with this version, but it’s tucked under the shirt, and you can’t see any stitches from the front.
As a result, the shirt looks plain from the front. Just as if there are only the buttons in the spot where a placket usually sits.
The French placket shirts (a.k.a. No placket) are acceptable in both casual and business shirts.
It’s a somewhat hip and trendy look, and you’ll notice that it’s common on formal white-tie tuxedo shirts. In addition, no placket looks incredibly sleek.
A popover front placket is only found on casual collared shirts. It’s a very informal fashion.
This placket involves fabric folded back and sewn in place, just as with a front placket, but it only runs a portion of the length of the shirt.
The buttons don’t extend all the way to the bottom hem; they only go halfway down.
This shirt style has only three buttons underneath the collar button, and you slip the shirt over your head to put it on. Get it? You “pop” the shirt over your head!
This shirt style is a combination of a western yoke paired with a soft front placket.
The Western yoke is modified from the traditional version to extend from the back to along the shoulders. Still, this placket is very similar to the standard front placket.
This type of shirt is very casual. It’s a highly stylized look that isn’t found in day-to-day fashion outside of certain areas of the country.
If you need the most formal dress shirt with one of the most dressy styles of shirt placket, you might want to consider this fly-front placket, also known as a covered placket.
It has a length of extra fabric over the length of the buttons, keeping them out of view.
This type of front placket is most usually on a tuxedo shirt. However, it isn’t a very common choice for tuxedo shirts, so going in this direction will undoubtedly attract some attention.
It’s a crisp, plain look that lets your dress shirt melt into the background and displays the rest of your suit instead.
Plain Tuxedo Front
A plain tuxedo front placket looks remarkably similar to a French front placket. This is because the two are made much the same way. This type of dress shirt is only appropriate for a tuxedo.
The plain tuxedo front style looks as though there is no placket.
The difference between this style and the French front is that a plain tuxedo front offers the option to remove the top four buttons.
You can then replace them with tuxedo studs, providing a tremendous amount of versatility for your dress shirt.
The standard buttons on a tuxedo shirt are not meant to be seen. So if you don’t replace them with stylized studs, they need to be covered up.
A pique bib is another style you’ll only find on tuxedo shirts; however, this isn’t a true placket. It’s also much more extensive than your standard placket.
This bib has a ten-inch spread across your chest. It’s made of white pique fabric, a textured material that’s quite thick with small indentations.
Another significant difference is that the pique bib doesn’t run the length of the tuxedo shirt. Instead, it stops just under the fifth button.
As with the tuxedo front style of dress shirt, you can remove the top for buttons and replace them with studs.
A pleated front tuxedo shirt is a classic in formalwear. On either side of the fused front placket is ten vertical pleats across the chest.
The pleats are not formed by a separate piece of material but rather by the shirt fabric being folded in accordion style.
This placket also allows you to remove and replace the top four buttons.
This style is one of the most traditional styles of tuxedo shirts. Therefore, you can feel confident that you have the correct type of dress shirt if you opt for a pleated front dress shirt.
This style is a definite throwback to the 1970s but is sometimes worn today with a sense of irony and fun. The modern version of this design is much smaller than the giant ruffles of fifty years ago.
A ruffled front tuxedo shirt has anywhere from one to four strips of verticle ruffles trimming the bib on either side of the placket.
The ruffles can be plain white or have some black piping on the edges; the tuxedo shirt can also be colored.
A ruffled tuxedo shirt is not for your most conservative, formal events. However, if you are headed to a creative and unique event, that would be the perfect occasion to bust out the disco ruffles.
Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized in styling in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.