Forbidden Fashion: women’s eternal and unrequited love for pockets

women love dressed with pockets (1)

There are some very definite elements emerging from the world of fashion and style that have managed to earn their own following of massive numbers, whether it be for the aesthetic of them or the functionality embedded in their confines, but converging at most times along a singular line of essence that make them rest ultimately in a unidimensional appeal. That allure might be of something that embodies the visual necessity of what we understand as style or evolve instead to be more ‘revolutionary’ an assertion , almost trailblazing in its being, but what prevails through such dualities or even multiplicities of dimension is the fact that these very definitely manage to present themselves as a facet of our lives and lifestyles through time and over years. No wonder then that fashion is accorded also equitable credence as being a way of life and so is style that far surpasses such notions of it that confines it within the limited expanse of what is decipherable to the eyes.

One such really definite component of fashion today is a fairly common exploration that however is more rooted in the forever conflicting realms of what marks the understanding of something as widely debated as sexism. For indeed, fashion is something that allows for a fluid expression of our selves, so too it can and does ignite a whole world of dynamic behavior that resonate in wider societal terms and across myriad social connotations, coming to adhere therefore to an identity that is all things monumental and revolutionary and defining in itself. Conforming to the dimension of this silhouette of the fashionable is something that is seen as very gentlemanly, not as much in its disposition as in usage, although perceptions of it based on evidence would warrant it more of the flair of the frills and the petite and the adorable playfulness of its beckoning, and present therefore instead as rather ‘feminine’. Thankfully though, this element that we are talking about is as unbiased towards women as it to men, though the hierarchies of the world order have ensured that there is a certain very prominent one way to it.

We are concerning ourselves with the mighty fun that the forever loved fashion component of the pocket pockets within its tiny expanse of a certain charm that defies explanation. Until the time we are concerned with the functionality of them, pockets deserve indeed all the hype they command. But the universal fervor over them goes beyond the realms of what is apparent, dwelling instead in such dimensions of human predicament and prejudice that instantly make them resident in a different vibe altogether. It is no secret that women love pockets in any dress they wear. Except perhaps when they are donning their jeans, there is a certain amusing tendency among female folks the world over to flaunt any pocket that their attire might possess. And indeed, why wouldn’t anyone? Delightfully twirling along the multifaceted versality that women’s wear have traditionally been endowed with, swinging and hanging in a particular carefree charisma of their kind, embodying a certain character of relaxed ease and an associated world of what gives off indeed the happy go lucky vibes, pockets are a treasure that women have come to covet through their timeline in history. And yet, despite the essence of comfort for which these mere patches along the length or breadth or edges of dresses are so fun an add on of fashion, pockets do not rest just in as simplistic a style assertion of them.

Perhaps what lies at the core of the very evident universal fancy that the women of the world harbour for pockets is their stark deprival of them. It might come across as somewhat exaggerated an explanation of what is in essence a component of fashion at best, aesthetic or utilitarian or whatsoever, but digging deep into the history of pockets unveils a rather complicated analysis of its ‘gender’. There in fact exists rather stark basis for which not many women’s dresses were designed to allow for the incorporation of pockets along them. One is the conventional notion of beauty that which requires the feminine form to present itself as as slim and trim as possible and pockets, with all the bulge they added on to clothing was indeed an unnecessary ‘liability’ to that effect. That itself is very sexist an explanation for the limited presence of pockets along the wardrobeful of attires meant for women, but that does not make the other associated notion with this limitation any less appalling in its adherence to the ideals of sexism.

The reason for pockets not being seen as typically a women’s thing thankfully does not have to do with the visual unappeal of them. But that perhaps is the most positive element of this whole tragedy of fashion faux pas. The idea that women’s dresses should not have pockets has to do with the societal viewpoint about how us females should not have as free access to freedom and opportunities as our male counterparts. In a world where women are not traditionally required to work outside their endless running after the chores of the domestic, pockets would have been as good as redundant in their functionality. After all, essentially unemployed females would not have the money to stash in pockets to pay the bills, nor would they be required to have their hands free of the cumbersomeness of having to manage a bag or purse because well some men would always pull the chair or push the door for them. And effectively indeed, limiting women have always been the dictum that world has deemed convenient to live by, eked out this time by subjecting them to additional bondage in the form of having to carry around a small purse or even a huge bag to fit their belongings in, continuing therefore to bear a burden large enough to limit their domain of exploration. Despite such conspiring plays of society of the times to ‘fit’ women within the expectations set for them, it indeed was also the business of fashion that further ascertained pockets to be less womanly a necessity, to drive further the sale and economics of the bag trade.

This sexist manifestation of fashion through the realm of something seemingly as inconsequential as pockets was brought more into the domain of the public by trendsetting fashion designer Christian Dior who summed up indeed the view of the society thus: Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration. This however had not been the tale associated with pockets since their origin. It was only during the close of the 1700s that pockets came to lose their functional essence within their incorporation into the women’s arena since till then women’s pockets in fact were much more spacious that those that were sewn on to men’s clothing. So inclusive were the pockets of that era that easily allowed room for everything from what were then considered essentials like stitching and needlework stuff to of course trinkets and baubles and personal belongings while also could expand up to sizes enough to fit in snacks and fruits and stuff. Attributable in part to purses and reticules beginning to take over, necessitating therefore the deliberate creation of a market for them, women began to encounter lesser and lesser options when it came to dresses with pockets.

So overwhelming was the shift from large pockety dresses to almost non incorporative ones that this issue of what pertains perhaps to the exploration of fashion became a more social issue. As sexist and political considerations came to find their way within this stark diversion that began to do the rounds, what emerged was the associated notion of ‘pocket equality’ being pursued by some women. But so deeply penetrating into the echelons of thought, both social and cultural as well as stylistic, was this shun of the pockets far from the reach of the female, irrespective of their societal status and influence that it continues to pervade the fashion choices of the 21st century women.

While pockets today indeed are far more common an occurrence in many pieces of what categorise as women wear, they are intended still for dressier purposes, like in adding a different dimension to the attire, as an element of detail that caters more to the aesthetics, if not exclusively. It is as if women do not even require pockets to be functional, in stark contrast to the manly need of essentially stashing away everything from cash and cards to keys and glasses in their specifically eked out space along the range of the clothes they wear. So ingrained is this concept of men’s wear definitely, assuredly, obsessively flaunting a pocket of pockets that has even governed the origin of a largely men only accessory of fashion called the pocket square. Women’s pockets on the other hand continue to be presented as delicate and dainty existences even in their dotting across a range of clothes, adhering perhaps to the expectation that the female identity fits as well within this bound of diminutive adjectives.

But while the reality behind why pockets still largely cease to be as inclusive a component of fashion as they can be is rooted indeed in such grave issues of concern, the reason why they are so coveted by women goes beyond these understandings. Indeed, in being not allowed access to such a functional element of clothing, women have come to harbour a certain fantasy for it. But this desire for the pocket and the happiness that the discovery of one on a newly acquired dress brings to women is also as resident in the feels of it. There is no denying the leisurely comfort associated with an amble along the path, hands tucked in both pockets, walking along in a gait that beams of a very assuring charm of not having to give a damn about anything in the world, even if just for those few moments of slipping into that blessed dress of pockets galore. There also is no more convenient a way to frolic about in fun for an entire day without having to care about the slipping straps of your handbag, or the bother of placing it somewhere to free oneself up, or just the realisation of an additional baggage, however small, lugging on to you that you cannot let go because it holds all your essentials.

Also of considerable headache can be the desire to flaunt a bag, if you need to indeed, that speaks your style and that suits your dress and that fits your budget and that caters to your convenience and that adequately stuffs in all your belongings- as a multitude of perhaps mindless but very essential concerns still when it comes to making the pick that appeases at least your own fashion senses, if not of the world. The presence of the pocket nullifies all such concerns that you cannot help but care about, endowing you therefore the euphoria of experiencing a freedom that truly is one of the most worthwhile passions of life. By letting the world come across you as your best manifestation of a free spirit in helping you get rid of all the unwanted fuss of prioritising form over functionality, without compromising either style or substance, pockets are far more significant an element of life even outside the concerns of fashion. Pockets helps also in stashing away your unease in situations when you don’t know what to do with your hands apart from fiddling away at something like a nervous child, granting you instead a convenient space wherein you discover something as blissful as the joy of confidence. And while this all might be very surprising, this almost psychological mannerism of work in which pockets function, it also is essentially this nature of them that make pockets so loved, so delighted upon and so brilliant an identity of the fashion and style world and so equally profound an assertion of a whole many life choices.