From kurtas to dresses, I personally love pockets in all my clothing. Who doesn’t, right? After all, they’re functional, utilitarian and come in handy every time we need a place to keep our phones. But nowadays, pockets in women’s clothing are non-existent. They dupe us by selling us jeans with fake pockets or with tiny pockets that can only fit an Orbit gum in it. They make us feel like we have pockets when we clearly don’t. And don’t even get me started about dresses and kurtas.
The lack of functional pockets has a history that’s riddled with sexism and it goes deeper than the pockets we are ‘allowed’ in our outfits.
In the Victorian era, women did not have pockets like men did. While pockets for men were sewn into the pants, like they are today, women had to conceal one in their huge, fluffy dresses. It was less than a pocket and more like a satchel hanging by a thread, tied around the waist. What the hell, right?
But then in the 1800s, fashion evolved and fluffy dresses gave way to sleeker, figure-hugging Grecian gowns. Oops! Where do the satchels go now?
Now there was no way women could seek in a cake or few under their fluffy dresses. This was the time when the purse made a grand appearance. Back then, it was called the reticule. Some were embellished, some were sequined, and some were embroidered. Every woman was now carrying a purse.
But it posed another problem – these reticules were too small. Big bags were looked down upon as it was a symbol of working women. And God knows, no one liked working women back then, just like they don’t now.
But things did change and women started wearing pants. However, these pants were designed to be worn by men so they had pockets much like how men’s pants had. But now that women had started wearing pants, pockets seemed too masculine to flatter a woman’s petite figure.
Soon, fashion trumped functionality and pockets were cut out from pants. If you wanted to wear pants, you had to wear them without pockets.
They felt that if a woman put something in her pant pockets, it would bulge out and disfigure her appearance, making her look bulky and unappealing.
Since then, fashion stalwarts have removed pockets from everything.
From our jeans to our skirts, we don’t have pockets in anything. And for the longest time, it was okay. People got used to having no or small, non-functional pockets. But if some genius, female-friendly designer chooses to put a pocket, it feels like a beautiful blessing. Because that’s how rare pockets have become in women’s clothing. Plus, it’s cheaper to make pocketless pants.
The only thing that seems to have pockets, and that too in abundance, is cargo pants. But who wears those these days? Now the trend is that of wearing leggings and jeggings. With a tight fit like it is supposed to have, there’s obviously no room to sew in a pocket, is there?
Slowly and steadily, things are changing. Now celebrities like Amy Schumer, Jenna Tatum, Sandra Bullock, Blake Lively have started wearing dresses with a pocket to red carpet events without giving any fuck about it.
With phones getting bigger every minute, our pockets seem to be getting smaller and it’s a big problem.
While big designers are bringing about the change, the problem lies with the everyday fashion items. International brands like H&M, Forever 21, Zara, are still selling jeans with either false pockets or with pockets the size of your thumb. How are they serving any purpose?