The coveted pocket missing in women’s fashion is not new and has been a point of contention since at least the 1800’s. Today women’s fashions are pocketless, due in part to fashion industry designers and what they are thinking when they create fashion, such as purpose, practicability and look/image, if any. Also fashion companies are big business and like any business the bottom line is profit. For instance, the tattered and ripped jeans look. Promoted as hip, sexy and cool for the consumer, yet you are getting less materials for way more money and you may or may not get pockets. You are getting ripped off with ripped jeans.

In medieval times, men and women’s pockets were bags tied to their waist or from their belts, which could be concealed under clothing. The first pockets appeared in men’s clothing in the late 1600’s. By the 1700’s pockets started being sewn into men’s clothing, women continued tying their bags to their waist and under their clothing such as petticoats, corsets or large heavy skirts which meant that women had to get undressed to retrieve the contents, slits were eventually instituted for easy access. In 1838 women’s wear started integrating functional pockets. Ten years later, the women’s right movement (1848-1917) began and change was in progress. In 1881 the “Rational Dress Society” was founded for Victorian dress reform to create women’s clothing that was functional and healthy. The Victorian Era was on its way out with the 20th century on the horizon. In the 1900’s women’s fashion was evolving, women started wearing pants for work around the home and outside the home. As women’s roles and fashion evolved the fashion industry grew to what is now according to “” a 621-billion-dollar industry globally with new companies entering the market daily.

Today it is rare that you find pockets on much of any woman’s clothing and if you do, they are really small, only in the back or it is a faux pocket material sewn to look like a pocket which helps generate revenue to the handbag industry, as stated by Chelsea G. Summers in the article “The Politics of Pockets.” Small pockets are annoying because they are a waste of material and too small to hold anything of value. Faux pockets are useless because they do not contribute to style or utility.

One reason that pockets are missing in action is style, women’s clothing today is designed for a slimmer more form fitting look, Pockets alter the shape along with the cut of a design and flow of the material. Which is cool because it gives you fashion options but they should also make practical pockets more of an option as well. Women can never have too many fashion options and sometimes we need to be hands free especially when out with small children, if we don’t want to carry a handbag or have people hold stuff for us.

Another reason is pockets require more material which adds on to production costs and time. Companies want to spend the least amount of money as possible in production to increase their profit margin. For pockets you need more material and labor which increases production costs, creating more labor costs, which can extend production time that could affect production deadlines. Fashion companies are big businesses and like any business it is for profit, bottom line. Yet another reason is that the majority of women’s fashions are designed by men who are not concerned with practicality or envisioning something else for women.

The main reason is because women do not sit at the power table and most fashion companies are headed by men with women being the majority of the labor force and the prime consumers. Fashion critic for the New York Times Vanessa Friedman stated in her 2018 article Fashion’s Woman Problem, “because Fashion, an industry dominated by women’s wear and buoyed by female dollars with an image sold by woman to woman, is still largely run by men.”

Until more changes occur at the executive level and designer levels Pockets will continue to be missing in action.


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