The Politics of Pockets

The Politics of Pockets

This time last year, as I trawled the internet looking for inspiration for the rebrand of the business, I stumbled across the extraordinary history of pockets, their seditionist associations with suffragettes, witchery and all things dodgy according to the patriarchy – why would any woman need pockets  – she should have nothing of any value that she needs to keep secret.

Well we all know how pockets have become indispensable to our lives and the chant – 'so long as it has pockets' - often accompanies the launch of any new dress in the fashion pages.  The garden wrap is my solution to this age old problem – it is not quite a pouch, not quite a bag but designed to give you a way to keep warm, snug and secure while offering you a multitude of places to keep things safe! 

image of 30's fashionably dressed woman with pockets

It took 200 years for women's tailoring to catch up with men's and give them the pockets they desired.  In the Middle Ages men and women alike carried pouches, tied with rope around their waists and accessible through slits in their layers of clothing.  In the 17th century things changed - men's pockets were sewn into their jackets, breeches and waistcoats while women's pouches were still tied around their waist, under two layers of petticoats and somewhat inaccessible. 

In the 1880s, the Rational Dress Society lobbied for women’s clothing to be more functional, publishing their manifesto for corsetless dressing and cycling friendly trousers.  A 1910 ‘Suffragette suit’ with no less than seven or eight pockets became all the rage. As the World Wars were sparked, women turned to more practical clothing, with trousers and large pockets becoming the norm. Women were finally blessed with the pockets they had been campaigning for years before.

 

Christian Dior may have said “Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration” but Coco Chanel, true to her sex, embraced them.  And as women's roles changed in society over the 20th century, bringing with it greater equality in the workforce so the pocket became the norm.  

 

However it seems that we still have a way to go - a website, The Pudding, recently conducted a study into the pocket sizes of men’s and women’s jeans.  And they discovered that, out of 80 pairs of jeans that were tested, the pockets in the women’s sizes were up to 50% smaller than those for men.  In fact, 60% of the pockets in the women’s jeans weren’t even big enough to hold a smartphone.  Which means that women have to either leave their phones at home, or must carry a bag with them when they go out, which isn’t always convenient unless you have a Garden Wrap!  

 

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Further Reading

The Politics of Pockets

June 14, 2022
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