Thanks, It Has Pockets!

May 30, 2019

By Emily Candelario


Today while sharing thoughts on an ongoing project with my team, I noticed something seemingly incredible. The three of us all had pockets: in a pair of flowy culottes, a summery wrap dress, and in jeans. We could each easily hide and hold an iPhone. This felt like the day that we’ve been waiting for: a day in which women can revel in their pocket space.  While I know I shouldn’t feel this much happiness in a few inches of fabric, the feeling is almost liberating.

In a women-centered office space, one of the conversations that’s brought up continually is our need and desire to have functional pockets or our sheer distaste in discovery that yet another pair of excellent pants has fake pockets. Fake? Fake pockets? The designers most likely include fake pockets so the line of the garment isn’t ruined or to eliminate bulk to help the wearer appear thinner. They may also assume that women will just carry a purse anyway. In this day and age when women are dominating work spaces, we are constantly battling the need to be more mobile and more agile. We’ve been able to rely on back pockets, phone wallet combos, smaller pocketbooks and other similar solutions.

Why has the fashion industry decided to overlook women? The history is a long and misogynistic one, but it boils down to the need to appear slim, sleek, and delicate. Those values are still at fashion’s forefront.  We’ve been pleased to see that recently, more and more folks are stepping up and to demand clothing equality. Actresses are showing at award shows that pockets can make a beautiful garment appear absolutely impeccable, with their hands vanishing into the hidden pockets. Larger brands are proving to their customers that their comments are being heard and showing us that pockets don’t just belong in men’s clothing. But the fight isn’t over, and increasing awareness of seemingly small issues is key in the long term fight for equity. Issues such as pockets may help to open up the door to talk about larger problems at hand, including wage inequality, equitable hiring practices, and the right to a safe workplace. When a woman of today feels heard and supported, she knows that she can do anything. And while she’s out there taking names, she can ditch the purse and carry her phone in her pocket.