In my not so humble opinion here are the functions of clothing in order of importance.
1. Protection from the elements.
3. Cover our nakedness
4. Improve our appearance
I am not a marsupial I need clothing to supply pockets to carry my stuff.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
So what your saying is that women's requests for pockets have been ignored for centuries?
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 ;)
Eastern Mountain Sports makes a good women's cargo pant, but they only go up to size 16 or so. :-(
As a designer, we're taught that if you give people pockets they will use them and the weight and lump will ruin the heck out of your line. And historically, the average female clothing consumer prefers looking svelte over having lumpy hips.
Personally, I'd love to see waistband pockets make a comeback! Like pockets inside the waistband. You can get away with your ID and some cash stuffed in there, maybe a tampon if one uses OB or the teeny Tampax ones. That way, both slim-fit pants and flowy skirts have equal pocketing ability.
And since I am a flowy skirt wearer, I have gotten really good at using the "vault" (aka my bra) for money and ID and hanging my keys off my waistband. The phone gets a bit tricky however and moisture from being in "the vault" CAN void your warranty!
Bring back panniers!
You could fit a small dog in some of those.
this is why i am always in the one style of trousers i've found that fit me properly and a cardigan. two sturdy pants pockets for wallet and phone and two easily-accesible pockets for fiddly things i'm going to need at hand like transpass. designers don't seem to mind putting pockets on cardigans.
It certainly is a problem that I see a lot of my female friends having, although as a member of the habitual trenchcoat-wearing population I am used to having more pockets than any of my friends, male or female.
And even for men's clothing, the more tight the cut, the less useful the pockets. I bought a smaller wallet particularly so it would fit in the inside pockets of the nicer coats I started wearing a couple years ago, and I have had a devil of a time finding nice coats that actually fit my bloody Moleskine in the pockets.
However, although you say 'it's not a question of lines or shape', you must realize that it at least partly is. *In general*, women's casual clothing is more likely to be form-fitting than men's casual clothing. It is also a question of materiel; many items of women's clothing are made of materials that simply can't support pockets.
(This also raises another, kinda-sorta related problem I have with clothing.. the fact that the range of 'women's clothing' is much, much larger than the range for men. I wanna have choices too, dammit. Even bad choices.)
Those aren't excuses, obviously, but they are explanations; there is some reason behind the problem. However.. everyone should have pockets. There are a lot of women's clothes that could well have pockets, and they should. I hate carrying a bag.. Even attending university, I carry my bag as little as possible. I wouldn't be able to do that without pockets. I don't leave the house without keys, phone, pocketknife, wallet, a couple pens, and my notebook.. and I used to have to lug an mp3 player on top of that, before the glorious smartphone days. I can carry all that without it being annoying or creating large unsightly bulges in any pocket.. but it requires *five* pockets to do so. Even as a guy.. good thing I like wearing a coat.
I had a friend who always sewed pretty little pockets on the inside of items of clothing that did not come with pockets. Vests, jackets, even a corset...
I've worn small pouches on ribbon around my neck, tucked into a corset for clubbing, in the (too distant) past. I've also rigged a flat cloth purse I have that has a long over the shoulder strap to be worn around my waist. It's annoying to have to go to those lengths, and I would much rather just have pockets, but sometimes the necessary creative solutions actually end up being fashionable.
My brother was the Most Popular Bridesmaid Ever because his tux had pockets and the dresses did not. I think he had four lipsticks on him by the start of the ceremony.
The designer's comment reminded me of the cup holder story. Before cars had cup holders, not a lot of people asked for them. But once car makers started putting cup holders in cars, everybody had comments about where to put them and how big and and and. So, shall we put some pockets in things?
Several of my exercise pants have little pockets good for key and ID, but not big enough for phone. My water bottle huggie has a pocket good for key, ID, and a couple folded Kleenex. My boyfriend and training partner had pockets big enough to carry his phone and my phone, which is where the run keeper was downloaded.
Cyclists have these cool shirts with pockets around the back, big enough probably for a phone.
My professional clothing rarely has pockets. This is irksome. If I'm in my lawyer disguise, I generally have my court bag with me, so there's no problem getting pad/tampon from office to courthouse. Courtroom to bathroom? Hide in hand, carry opening but nonchalantly, so no one will thing I'm carrying what I'm carrying, or, if season permits, stick it in my bra when no one is looking.
Yeah, pockets. We need them.
The designer comment reminded me of this quote:
“It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black-and-white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”
“There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”
“It’s a lot more complicated than that-“
“No. It ain’t. When people say things are more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”
“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes-“
“But they starts with thinking about people as things…”
— Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum (1998) I am not a fancy clotheshanger