I don’t know about you but I love a pocket in a dress, not so I can ‘store’ anything in them, but just to put one hand in. I mean, what do you do with your hands if you don’t have a pocket or a glass of fizz when you are milling round at an event?? A pocket in a dress just makes the look that bit cooler so for that reason all our styles are made with that all important pocket discreetly hidden in the side seams, to give your feminine look that little bit of modern attitude…
It did get me thinking though, why do some dresses have pockets and others don’t and do other people like pockets or is it just me? So, I started googling and found it absolutely amazing what I found. Did you know there are actually websites giving instructions on how to add a pocket to a dress that doesn’t have one? There is also a website (called pocketocracy) whose sole purpose is to highlight brands that include pockets in their designs, there is such a demand for this small but important feature!
I also discovered that historically there is a really interesting story to the use of pockets and that it has always been a topic of great interest or should I say debate with men’s clothing generally always having a good functional pocket and women’s clothing lacking this functionality for many years. It’s good to note here that we perhaps wouldn’t have the purse/clutch bag today if this hadn’t been the case though so silver linings and all!
A brief history of the pocket:
Pockets have been a part of fashion and ingrained in society for the last 400 years since the 17th century. Although according to London’s V&A museum women’s clothing didn’t really have internal pockets for most of history. Instead they had purse like items and makeshift pockets that were worn or hung under their dresses making them difficult to access until they added slits into the sides of their voluminous skirts at the time. The pockets were often attached through strings or small belts and the size of these pockets varied. The women used these makeshift pockets for anything from storing trinkets to gin and sometimes even cakes! However, many pockets were stolen – in the 18th and 19th centuries, thieves known as ‘pickpockets’ removed men’s wallets and cut the strings of women’s pockets and there are many court cases documented over this period with detailed discussion on the said ‘pockets’ stolen.
Fashion historian Barbara Burman wrote a whole book on pockets called Pockets of History: The Secret Life of an Everyday Object, and she touched on the pocket situation for women commenting “The frustrations and limitations of women’s access to money and ownership of property were neatly mirrored in the restricted scope of their pockets”. According to the Victoria and Albert Museum, in the mid- to late-1800s, women started to rebel with dress patterns adding instructions for sewing pockets into skirts advertising it is being an independent woman. Women also started to take their pocket rights back in the early 1900s when they started wearing pants and with both World Wars came a boom of utilitarian clothing for women who were now working in many of the previously male service and labouring roles so there was a requirement for more ‘practical’ clothing including functional pockets.
Obviously today the majority of women’s clothing carry a pocket so most coats, jackets, trousers, jeans etc however pockets are often left out of a garment for design purposes. For example, if the dress is bodycon or the jeans are so skinny a pocket will be unflattering. This I totally understand, no one wants a pocket that is going to add any bulk to your hip area so the construction, position and size of said pockets is very important. We have really considered this in the design and construction of our dresses even down to the fact you also don’t want to be able to see the pocket bag. They need to be discreet to work properly in a dress but are so worth having in terms of finishing you whole look.
The age old debate to pocket or not to pocket lives on but in a very different form to 400 years ago and more in terms of a personal or design preference, you know my opinion now however I would love to hear your view on this so please do get in touch and let us know what you think and if you like to have a pocket, hate a pocket or if it had never really been something you had considered before.