What Do We Do With Dresses Without Pockets?

POV

What Do We Do With Dresses Without Pockets?

Illustration: Palak Bansal

H

ungover and drunk on the naive optimism that usually engulfs everyone on the first day of every new year, my roommate and I decided to kickstart 2018 by going for a lavish Monday buffet.

Accompanied by a couple more friends, and a newfound vigour for daytime overdressing, we arrived at the restaurant with exuberant stomachs. Minutes became hours as we dug in with an urgency best reserved for people forced to subscribe to the keto way of life. Conversation went from new year resolutions to new phones and then to a piece of startling advice: “Don’t buy any phone that you won’t be able to fit in your pocket.”

Pockets! When was the last time you wore something with real, functional pockets? Not the pretend pockets Forever21 and H&M seem to peddle, designed to make you believe that you can actually just drop in your keys and step out for the night? You know, like an average dude?

“Dresses with pockets” is a massive millennial concern – although older generations should get behind this cause too. It drove the woman-led mass iPhone 6 Plus boycott on social media two years ago. After the launch of the phone, women were up in arms advising their peers to not buy the iPhone 6 Plus, because at 5.5 inches, the phone was simply “unpocketable”. In a Bustle piece, Abby Johnson succinctly posited two solutions that could favour women: “Bigger pockets for jeans. Or smaller phones. What’ll it be, world?”

When was the last time you wore something with real, functional pockets?

A quick search of the #WeWantPockets hashtag on Twitter will lay bare the unanimous desire of women across the world to wear anything with the added comfort of a pocket; a place to house our keys, lip gloss, or just snugly fit in when we have no idea what do with our hands.

Why, then, haven’t designers, clothing stores and runways taken stock of this grave situation yet? Why are our clothes still unpocketable?

It might seem like a wholly trivial issue to go after, especially as we continue to deal with things like workplace sexual harassment and wage-gap issues, but I will have you know that historically, women being deprived of pockets is rooted in abject sexism. While pockets for men started appearing in the late 1600s, women had to depend on makeshift purses to carry their belongings, severely limiting their access to money and property.

Depriving us of pockets is akin to denying us the simple pleasure of just having a fuss-free evening out.

Today, years later, men still get to waltz around life with comfortable, fuss-free clothing, without a thought about whole #WeWantPockets fuss. At the buffet table, a male friend first seemed perplexed, and then scoffed at our labelling the absence of pockets as a fashion conspiracy. According to him, it was a trivial issue. Besides, he asked while his hands rested comfortably inside the large pockets of his trousers, “Couldn’t women just carry purses?”

We do, but why do we need to? Depriving us of pockets is akin to denying us the simple pleasure of just having a fuss-free evening out. It means a lifetime of opening doors awkwardly. But most importantly, the absence of pockets means that all that a dress needs to win us over is pockets. At this point, we’re willing to settle for gunny sacks so long as they have a small compartment.

If that isn’t a giant fashion conspiracy, I don’t know what is.

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