Updated: Jun 3, 2021
By Terri Boardman | United Kingdom
As I juggle my wallet, a bag, my inconveniently large phone, keys, and a pack of gum, I am reminded of a quote from Christian Dior: “Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration.”
Nothing makes me angrier than hearing this, especially as I am burdened with the knowledge that the brand new jeans I have recently purchased do not in fact, have large back pockets as I initially was fooled into believing. Instead, they are sewn shut. If anyone could enlighten me about the purpose of fake pockets, please do so; I am desperate to find any justification for this fashion tomfoolery.
When did we become complacent with the notion that women do not need pockets?
When women first started entering the workforce about 100 years ago, clothing started becoming more streamlined thus it was an aesthetic choice to not have visible pockets where the bulge of your items could be spotted.
Since then, I’d like to think that women’s clothing has changed.
We see the constant recycling of fashion trends to the point where baggy clothing can reclaim its moment in the spotlight.
I’d also like to think that women’s priorities have changed. In a world where I can vote in almost every country, and the gender that I identify with can actually be advantageous in a work environment that encourages positive discrimination, it seems privileged to be focusing on something as menial as pockets. But pockets are a sign of empowerment. In the 19th century, dress designs had started to include instructions for sewing in pockets and this was seen as a sign of female independence and strength. Read about the history of pockets in the 19th century here. Their independence was reinforced by the rise of pockets in women’s clothing during both world wars. However, the aftermath of the wars saw shifts in standards of beauty that increasingly emphasized slimmer figures.
I am fundamentally confused. Although beauty standards today are more inclusive and value curvy women more (we can wave a sad goodbye to the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show), our clothing still does not reflect these changes.
I’m not going to go as far as to say that I would give up owning a purse if I were given the ultimatum, but I am sick of being a slave to carrying one around. I want a choice. It is not a coincidence that women disproportionately lose their car keys in comparison to men, but there is no need for this to continue.
I want pockets.
On my jeans, on my skirts, on my dresses.
Hell – men even get them on their shirts so I’ll happily accept one on mine as well.
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