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What we talk about when we talk about pockets [Apr. 29th, 2013|08:33 am]
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This post is about pockets, feminism, design, autonomy and common sense. Please feel free to repost or link to it if you know people who'd benefit from the discussion.

A few weeks ago trillian_stars and I were out somewhere and she asked "Oooh, can I get a cup of coffee?" and I thought "why are you asking me? You don't need permission." But what I discovered was that her clothes had no pockets, so she had no money with her.

Mens clothes have pockets. My swimsuits have pockets. All of them do, and it's not unusual, because, what if you're swimming in the ocean and you find a fist full of pirate booty in the surf? You need somewhere to put it. Men are used to carrying stuff in their pockets, you put money there, you put car keys there. With money and car keys come power and independence. You can buy stuff, you can leave. The idea of some women's clothes not having pockets is baffling, but it's worse than that -- it's patriarchal because it makes the assumption that women will either carry a handbag, or they'll rely on men around them for money and keys and such things. (I noticed this also when Neil & Amanda were figuring out where her stuff had to go because she had no pockets.) Where do women carry tampons? Amanda wondered, In their boyfriend's pockets, Neil concluded.)

I then noticed that none of trillian_stars' running clothes had pockets. Any pockets. Which is (as they always say on "Parking Wars") ridikulus. Who leaves the house with nothing? (It's not a rhetorical question, I actually can't think of anybody).

We fixed some of this by getting this runners wrist wallet from Poutfits on Etsy -- it holds money, ID, keys ... the sort of stuff you'd need. Plus you can wipe your nose on it. It solves the running-wear problem, but not the bigger problem.




Clickenzee to Embiggen!



The bigger problem is that people who design women's fashions are still designing pants and jackets that have no pockets. In fact, this jacket we got last December has ... no pockets. It's not a question of lines or shape, it's a question of autonomy.



Clickenzee to Embiggen



So I'm asking my friends who design women's clothes to consider putting pockets in them, they can be small, they can be out of the way, they can be inside the garment, but space enough to put ID, and cash and bus tokens. And maybe a phone. (And if you can design a surreptitious tampon stash, I'm sure Neil & Amanda & a lot of other people would appreciate it as well.)





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[User Picture]From: ilovetakahana
2013-04-29 12:37 pm (UTC)

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I suppose I reserve some of my sartorial unhappiness for the abomination that is an aesthetic pocket. It looks like a pocket but doesn't act like it at all. It's not possible to put a coin in there, or a very tightly-rolled-up bill, so forget stashing keys or carrying ID around.

As for me, I carry a backpack around at all times so even if I don't have pockets the bag does, with zippers aplenty and neat compartments where needed. Still, I'm with you on the idea of giving women pockets: small, but with enough space.

[It occurs to me that someone has to get on making TARDIS-type clothing: all the pockets ought to be bigger on the inside, and somewhat sortable.]
[User Picture]From: sheilagh
2013-04-29 12:49 pm (UTC)

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Yesssssss. Faux pockets are a terrible, TERRIBLE thing.
[User Picture]From: anmorata
2013-04-29 12:39 pm (UTC)

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Word. Also, much to my frustration, when we do get pockets, they are always tiny. Men get huge pockets, for phones, keys, change, buried treasure, whatever. I can fit a few dollars in one, and if I am lucky, my phone, and maybe a lip balm/Chapstick, but that's pushing it. If I pull my phone out, I risk losing the cash.
[User Picture]From: argonel
2013-04-29 03:23 pm (UTC)

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For what it is worth only my winter coat has pockets large enough for my tablet. On the other hand it is a 10" tablet and never intended to be pocketed. My phone and all my pocket junk fits into everything I wear though. The lack of pockets is baffling to me.
[User Picture]From: michelle1963
2013-04-29 12:45 pm (UTC)

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I completely agree. I hate lugging a purse around - big or small. Mamging it takes one hand completely out of commission, and requires one to maintain a certain level of vigilance. (And sometimes guys think that purse is a great place to store something that won't fit in their pockets.)

Women need pockets too.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-04-08 02:32 pm (UTC)

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I have opted for a lightweight, cross-body purse to avoid the one-handedness. And I still hate having to carry it. I want pockets!
[User Picture]From: sheilagh
2013-04-29 12:46 pm (UTC)

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And, also, there may be a market for an exquisite tailor who can add pockets to existing gems... hard to say in advance of seeing an item, but that'd be such a nice offering.
[User Picture]From: 0olong
2013-05-02 07:41 am (UTC)

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Yes! I've added pockets to various items of clothing myself. It's very satisfying! Here are a couple of tutorials...

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Add-Pockets/
http://sweet-verbena.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/how-to-add-pockets-to-skirt-shorts.html
[User Picture]From: livejournal
2013-04-29 12:48 pm (UTC)

What we talk about when we talk about pockets | By Kyle Cassidy

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User maxomai referenced to your post from What we talk about when we talk about pockets | By Kyle Cassidy saying: [...] Kyle, or is generated by LJ. Originally posted by at What we talk about when we talk about pockets [...]
[User Picture]From: tripleransom
2013-04-29 12:52 pm (UTC)

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Kyle, I couldn't agree with you more!

Lack of pockets is one reason I started wearing men's jeans 40-or so years ago. (Well, that and because I'm 5'10" tall - ever tried getting women's pants with inseam lengths??? [actually, I don't suppose you have, but I digress])

Anyway, I had a conversation about pockets with a (male) designer of women's clothing last year and I was told in a haughty tone "women don't use their pockets, so we never put them in pants". I was furious and didn't buy his clothes, but it shows what the attitude is. I suppose we're supposed to be like the Dear Queen and have a lady in waiting trailing along behind to carry all our stuff!



Edited at 2013-04-29 12:53 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: pickleboot
2013-04-29 01:41 pm (UTC)

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now you can get women's jeans with inseam lengths, you just have to know where to find them and which styles actually come with different inseam lengths. the gap has gotten pretty good about having a fairly wide selection of inseam lengths that are now in inches, before they "measured" all of the lengths as ankle, regular, and tall. eddie bauer, calvin klein, eileen fischer, and a few other designers now offer inseams in the same manner as men's pants, which is great when you are shopping with a very tall for age 10 year old and need to try to make shopping as quick as possible.

as for pockets, i am always thrilled to find functional pockets when i buy clothing, and often times will buy several of that item because if the item has great pockets it always seems that the designer will never make that style or change the pockets a few months later. so frustrating.
[User Picture]From: mizkit
2013-04-29 12:53 pm (UTC)

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I truly dislike carrying a purse/bag/thing, and have never gotten in the habit of it. Being without pockets is incredibly, incredibly frustrating if you dislike carrying a bag. If it's warm enough to be without a coat and therefore the pockets that normally come with those, "ARGH" becomes my general feeling on it all.
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-04-29 01:42 pm (UTC)

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This is one of those "If men X then Y would have been solved long ago" things.
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[User Picture]From: ashbet
2013-05-01 06:02 am (UTC)

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Every year, in the DC area, the local Goth/punk/etc. community runs an event called "Freak Day at King's Dominion." A bunch of us hit the nearest amusement park in full regalia, in the middle of a Virginia summer, a lot of us with our kids, wanting to be able to go on rides and hit the water park but still wear stompy boots. (It's kind of fun to hit an amusement park en masse -- same concept behind Bats Day at Disney!)

I had a lunchbox-ish sized fabric purse with an adjustable strap and a snap closure (later adapted to have a zip inside so stuff wouldn't fall out) and a big skull on the front. I would load up my necessities (sunscreen, lipstick, meds, phone) in it and then wrap the strap around my hips and pull it tight.

Instant fanny pack, but with a little added cachet ;)

-- A (who has never gotten over enjoying playing dress-up . . . and usually carries a purse the size of a toddler, which I refer to as my Apocalypse Preparedness Kit And Portable Pharmacy. Pockets wouldn't fit all my needs, because I have a chronic illness and have to actually carry quite a bit of stuff related to it around with me . . . it's actually CONVENIENT when I'm in my wheelchair and I can hang stuff off the back, although I need to be sure to have a companion so that somebody doesn't try to purse-snatch me -- however, said purse-snatcher would be unpleasantly surprised to find out that I CAN walk, at some speed if need be, because the chair is because of a cardiac issue and not the usual walking impairment!)
[User Picture]From: xtingu
2013-04-29 01:47 pm (UTC)

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I am an anti-purse-ite. I also really hate having things in my pockets. so I bought one of these off of Etsy... I wear the small one. It does not look like a fanny pack, I promise. It looks pretty badass.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/53987218/water-resistant-pocket-belt-and-leg-bag

Also, google "solutions that stick." They have a stick-on pocket that is perfect for lip balm, credit card, and a tampon. Not good for a phone.


[User Picture]From: redstapler
2013-04-29 03:04 pm (UTC)

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Pretty much anytime I find a dress that has pockets, it's designated as an automatic purchase.

I also recently acquired a TXRG fanny pack, which is my new favorite thing.

If she'd been buried, my mother would be rolling over in her grave to know I'd started carrying a fannypack. (I gave her no end of grief for wearing hers well into the 2000s.)
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-04-29 03:26 pm (UTC)

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I'm rolling over in my grave knowing that you have a fannypack, but since it's a roller derby fanny pack I imagine it is filled with bone splints and a trauma kit and you kind of need that.
[User Picture]From: jenwolf
2013-04-29 03:15 pm (UTC)

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I wear mens jeans almost exclusively, because they fit me better and because they have functional pockets. The purse I carry is the absolute smallest I could get with the most pockets inside. My husband was amazed at the amount of stuff I had in it, and yet it is only 9x6x4.

Although, my friend Misti understands the whole pocket problem. When I was a bridesmaid for her wedding, the dresses she picked for us to wear had pockets hidden in the side seams of the skirt. They were deep enough to hold a cell phone, keys, and a packet of tissues. It was so nice to have a fancy dress with pockets that I had it re-hemmed for my brother-in-laws wedding two years later.
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-04-29 03:27 pm (UTC)

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Cheers to your sister. I can't imagine some dude saying to his friends "Here's what you have to wear to my wedding. It has no pockets." He'd get thrown in a river by the groomsmen.
[User Picture]From: ladyblue56
2013-04-29 03:46 pm (UTC)

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I sew and have added side pockets to pj bottoms bc, being disabled, I'm in pjs more than street clothes. Even around the house I sometimes need or want a pocket in my clothes. Men's pj bottoms always have pockets.
My pants are mostly jeans (bc I don't need a lot of street clothes) but a cut w. front pockets that are deep enough to hold items w.out them popping out the top.
The alternative is sticking ID or money into a sock or shoe, or put them into the bra. All of which get a WTH look on ppl's faces when you retrieve the item. Plus, money is dirty and who wants to put it in their bra, and who wants to take sweaty, dirty money from someone's bra?

In past times of high pain and many DR appts, I used a fanny pack bc I did not care as long as I didn't have to hang a bag off the aching shoulders.

[User Picture]From: kakiphony
2013-04-29 04:15 pm (UTC)

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I am a huge fan of pockets and tend to buy brands that feature good ones. (Horny Toad and Lole are great. They often feature stealth pockets in their dresses and more streamlined pants.) However, I'm also a fan of purses. Pockets, even good ones, simply aren't enough (and I will admit that I hate the lumps a phone or wallet creates inside a pocket in closer fitting pants.)

Only an ID and key? I would feel naked. I need my Kindle. (And advil, lip balm, minty gum, allergy pills in case I come in contact with a cat, etc..)

Oddly, I almost never (unless we're going somewhere in formal dress) ask my husband to carry anything for me. Rather, I carry all of his extraneous crap: Eyeglasses case, note pads, extra tissues, ink pens, business cards... All I can say is thank heavens for the Kindle. Since it arrived in my life I have been able to streamline myself from a tote bag to a small messenger.
[User Picture]From: gekko
2013-04-29 04:31 pm (UTC)

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This is very much a *thing*. It's as bad (maybe worse) with horseback riding gear. They even make "cell phone friendly" breeches, but really? Here's an example:
http://www.smartpakequine.com/ariat-performer-full-seat-breeches--front-zip-9269p.aspx?cm_vc=Search

That's a really nice pair, and it has pockets! But just try to cram an iphone in one of those pockets. Assuming it would fit (and it might, with the top third sticking out), it would be impossible to ride with an iphone there. You are sitting in these things, and the odds of that phone sliding out are pretty high. And given that my stable is very small, that I often ride alone, and that my horse is a lovely green off-the-track thoroughbred, I really like the idea of having a phone on me in case I, ya know, fall off and really get injured!

Men's riding breeches? Pockets! Also not quite so...um...fitted. ;)
http://www.smartpakequine.com/ariat-mens-pro-circuit-4006p.aspx?cm_vc=Search


[User Picture]From: v1ewfr0mbugtown
2013-04-29 04:52 pm (UTC)

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I've worn lots of menswear for years: white dress shirts, vests, jackets, overcoats...they all have pockets. But pockets wasn't the reason...I couldn't get women's shirts or jackets to fit me...too tight in the shoulders and the fronts would gap between the boobs. I mean, women have breasts...they should be able to fit inside the clothing designed for them comfortably!
[User Picture]From: argonel
2013-04-29 04:45 pm (UTC)

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In my not so humble opinion here are the functions of clothing in order of importance.
1. Protection from the elements.
2. Pockets
3. Cover our nakedness
4. Improve our appearance

I am not a marsupial I need clothing to supply pockets to carry my stuff.
[User Picture]From: vixyish
2013-04-29 04:55 pm (UTC)

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I *do* carry a purse and I still need pockets. There are some things I want quick access to at all times, like my phone (I can't hear/feel it ring in my purse) and my chapstick. Because even though I do carry a purse when I'm out, I don't carry it around the house all day, or around my office! And I'd like not to have to run upstairs to wherever my purse is just to answer my phone, or have to carry my phone around in my hand and remember to take it from room to room with me while I'm doing whatever else I'm doing.

I don't have as much trouble with pants, but dresses and skirts with pockets are a VERY hard to find. When I find someplace that has skirts with actually functional pockets, I POUNCE.

I was absolutely thrilled last year when I bought a formal gown for the Hugo Awards, got it home, and my girlfriend discovered it had pockets! I hadn't even noticed, because with formal wear I just assume I'm stuck. Apparently this is a bridesmaid's-dress thing, so that you can carry tissues for your bride or something? MORE POCKETS IN FORMAL WEAR, PLEASE.
[User Picture]From: adam_0oo
2013-04-29 06:29 pm (UTC)

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When I wear tight clothes, I try to put as little in the pockets as possible, to not change the shape or make unsightly lumps. This does not mean I do not want the OPTION of putting things in them. Ladies should have the same options, not have to improv things.

Though, I showed this to a fashion friend of mine and pockets do cost more, but I can't imagine that is the actual cause of this issue.
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-04-29 07:50 pm (UTC)

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i do the same thing -- stuff things in my pockets & then take them out & hold them when people are looking, but you know, i can put the stuff back.
[User Picture]From: pameladean
2013-04-29 06:51 pm (UTC)

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Samuel Delany mentions making this discovery in The Motion of Light in Water. He and his partner accidentally put on one another's jeans, and he was suddenly exclaiming that HE HAD NO POCKETS and she was suddenly exclaiming, WHOA, POCKETS. This was in the 1960's. The 1960's.

I had to get men's cargo pants, because the ones for women only had the leg pockets, or occasionally leg and side, but not back pockets. Apparently women never want six pockets and mostly they don't want any, but cargo pants were cool at some point and you can't call them that without the leg pockets. Many of the leg pockets were tiny or made of such light material that a set of keys would turn them inside out.

If I cared about fashion or couldn't wear men's pants, I'd be even madder. If one can wear men's pants, it's a revelation: they are superior in just about every way to women's pants, even those made by the same companies.

P.
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-04-29 07:53 pm (UTC)

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I was unaware of Chip figuring this out years back -- someone else also mentioned it on facebook. One more reason to love the man. For the life of me I can't figure out why this didn't stop a week after Chip published Motion of Light. It's like THERE'S A HUGE PROBLEM and then CRICKETS.

The only way it makes sense is if you just want women to stand around in tight dresses and ask you to buy them things.
[User Picture]From: aikigrrl
2013-04-29 08:00 pm (UTC)

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I can't *stand* to carry a purse. I'm not a tomboy, I like wearing makeup, I just don't carry it with me. I don't carry *anything* with me except a wallet and phone, maybe keys. However, there are times when I have had to get a purse out because I don't have pockets.

As a real shorty, I have a hard time finding jeans that fit. I found some *awesome* ones...but when I wore them out, I found that my wallet was literally popping out of my pocket every single time I sat down. Most people know putting them in the back pocket is uncomfortable when sitting (which is when I had the problem!)

So I'm glad you've put this out there. I want to not have to be always remembering that I brought a purse and leave it somewhere (it happens) and have the freedom to just walk unencumbered!
[User Picture]From: exvapi
2013-04-29 08:26 pm (UTC)

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Maybe women can adapt the custom of colonial women and have pockets that are worn apart from their outer clothes.

http://www.historicnewengland.org/publications/historic-new-england-magazine/spring-2001/NEWWSpringPage04.htm
[User Picture]From: scattereddark
2013-04-30 06:47 pm (UTC)

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So what your saying is that women's requests for pockets have been ignored for centuries?
[User Picture]From: lois2037
2013-04-29 08:49 pm (UTC)

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My rule of thumb is, no pockets, no sale. I harangue online designers about it, I go to stores and say, "Gee, I love these trousers, but they don't have pockets so I won't buy them." Mostly I get replies like, "Of COURSE there aren't any pockets! Are you NUTS?" I carry a bag (gotta have a book and a camera with me), and I want pockets. I'm the kind of person that finds interesting things and I want a pocket or two to put them in. I carry change in my pockets, and keys sometimes. I guess I'll have to finally break down and learn to put in seamline pockets. One of these days.
[User Picture]From: kambriel
2013-04-29 09:35 pm (UTC)

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I include pockets on some of my designs for women (and have NEVER made a "faux pocket" as I see them as a total waste of time... why not just go the extra step and make it real???), but it's true... thus far, I've never made anything with *more* pockets than one of Neil's coats that topped out at around a dozen. I'm always happy to add them on request as well for pieces that don't already come as such. You'll be happy to know the most recent coat I made for Amanda has pockets, so her tampon can be well provided for ;)
[User Picture]From: trishylicious
2013-04-29 10:04 pm (UTC)

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Pretty much everything these ladies make have pockets,
http://runningskirts.com/

I have a few and they're very cute!
[User Picture]From: damiana_swan
2013-04-29 10:20 pm (UTC)

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THIS.

I can't tell you how often I put my cellphone (and sometimes my debit card and driver's license) inside my bra because I have no pockets and don't want to carry a purse. Or the pockets I have were designed to make sure anything I put in them will fall out and get lost.

Also? There's another "patriarchy" issue with women's clothes: fabric type. As an example: men have been able to buy cargo pants, all the time, for years. Women? Not so much--they were "in" for a couple years, and haven't been seen since, or only occasionally... and when they ARE available, they are invariably made of pastel-colored, very thin cotton. As in, you can see through it if you hold it up to the light.

You know, the kind of stuff where you need to be careful how you sit down, because it might just rip your seams. Gods all forbid you want to actually go *outside* in them, let alone DO anything! Want to garden? Do some carpentry? Climb a tree? Fuggedaboutit lady, and go find a guy to do it for you. THEY have clothes they can work on the car in. THEY have clothes that won't shred if they want to chop some wood. THEY have clothes that are intended to last for more than 4 months--MAYBE even for several years!
[User Picture]From: matociquala
2013-04-29 11:03 pm (UTC)

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Eastern Mountain Sports makes a good women's cargo pant, but they only go up to size 16 or so. :-(
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