why don't women's clothes have real pockets
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Beauty Fashion

Forget A Pocket Full Of Sunshine, I Want A Pocket Full Of Equality

Though the world of women's fashion is ever-changing and exciting, it could definitely use a "functional evolution."


Writing about fashion trends last week got me thinking about some of my favorite items in my closet. Many of them are shirts, which I wouldn't naturally expect to have pockets. But what do most people pair with shirts? Pants, shorts, etc. And there's almost nothing more frustrating than attempting to put your phone, spare change, or an ID in your pocket, only to find that you're reaching for nothing and that the pocket you thought you had is merely a decorative, non-functional detail. So why is that?

The first response, naturally, is that adding pockets to pants increases the amount of fabric they have, making them more expensive. Most of the pants and shorts I've gotten at Target or H&M don't have real pockets. But you can get plenty of men's clothing that's as cheap as women's clothing that has real pockets. Those pants I've linked to both serve the exact same purpose: they're casual black pants. Yet according to the product details, the men's pants have not one, but two sets of functional pockets, while the women's pants have zero. And I'm not buying that most women have historically just refused to pay extra for pockets in their clothing.

According to this article, the history of women's pockets goes way back to the Victorian times, when women wore enormous gowns that still didn't have any proper pockets sewn into them. When fashion evolved and women's clothing became sleeker, it became apparent that pockets in women's clothing would improperly accentuate their hips. Thus, purses became wardrobe staples for upper-class and working women alike. I like a cute purse as much as the next person, and I also don't want to be storing huge amounts of bulging stuff in my pockets, so I get this sentiment.

But pockets aren't for the times when you need to lug your entire life from place to place. They're for when you're going out, only need to bring an ID and your phone, and you know that there won't be a place to safely store your purse. They're for when you're going to an event and don't want to spend an extra few minutes going through security because of your bag. They're for when you're at a career fair and don't want to lug a huge folder or purse around just to store a few business cards. They're for when you just need a place to stash your Metrocard as you scoot onto a crowded subway where there definitely won't be room to shuffle around in your bag. They're also for when phones keep getting bigger and bigger, till they definitely don't fit in the tiny little pockets that you did have. Zip-up pockets, more specifically, are for those hair-raising moments at theme parks where you have to clutch your purse for dear life while riding a roller coaster so that your stuff doesn't plummet 50 feet.

Here's how ingrained the pocket issue has become. When you ask any guy, "hey, check your clothes to see if you have pockets," they'll probably go, "yeah, of course, they do, my phone, car keys, snacks, wallet, nephew, and niece are in there." But ask any woman, young or old, to check her clothes and see if she has pockets. If she does, she'll probably give a huge sigh of relief and say, "thank GOD these have pockets!" and this realization will significantly improve her day. But for every sigh of relief from that realization, there's a woman out there trying furiously to stuff her phone into her back pocket, only to annoyingly realize that she doesn't have one. These scenarios make me realize that though the world of women's fashion is ever-changing and exciting, it could definitely use a "functional evolution."

With all of that said, I'm probably not about to stop wearing cute skinny jeans just because the pockets are small. But baby steps are still steps, and I might stop buying pants and shorts that straight up don't have any functional pockets. Could you imagine if every woman out there just refused to buy pants that didn't have pockets? Even fast fashion empires like H&M might have to rethink some of their design techniques. There could be a fashion revolution in the works. Deciding not to buy those temptingly cheap, yet pocketless H&M pants might be difficult at the moment, but every shopper who leaves a store or a website without purchasing pocketless pants can be part of something bigger.

I'm not saying that every woman out there should stop buying pocketless pants instantly, but the next time you do make those purchases, think about what you're really buying. You're buying centuries of design that's been focused entirely on flattering the women's body for the admiring eye. You're buying clothing that serves a purpose, sure, but probably shouldn't be as inexpensive as it is. You could even be buying these $495 pants from Neiman Marcus that, according to the product description, don't seem to have a pocket in sight. So it's not just cheap women's clothing that has this problem. It's all women's clothing. Pockets in dresses is a nice, delightful touch, but pockets in women's pants really should be a no-brainer.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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