Saturday, 6 October 2018

What Has It Got In Its Pocketses?

Do you remember Gollum saying this, in The Hobbit? 
I wish to have a little rant on the theme of pockets!
Specifically - why are mens' garments better equipped with pockets than those designed for women?
Lucy Locket dropped her pocket
Kitty Fisher found it
There was not a penny in it
But a ribbon round it
So ran the nursery rhyme learned in childhood. How do you 'drop' a pocket? I asked. Wise parents explained that pocket was a diminutive of pouch,  and originally this was a small bag which was carried- only later was it sewn onto or into the garments.
Well that explained Lucy's mishap**.  But this is not the point. How is a girl supposed to keep her vital stuff to hand|?
I have a relative small phone. Inside its case I keep a credit card and a £5 note. Recently we went out to a Luncheon Party. I wanted to take my phone, a door key and a hanky - all the things I felt were essential for the afternoon. I had to take a small handbag with me [not dissimilar to Lucy's pochette, I suppose] but Bob was able to tuck his 'necessities' in his suit pocket. My bag is attractive and neat - but I still had to remember I'd hung it on my chair when I got up, and make sure I did not leave it lying around in a vulnerable place. My dress, lovely though it was, did not even have a tiny pocket for a hanky.
Hankies are useful - I do not like 'tucking them in' somewhere about my person- up my sleeve, into my waistband, or [heaven forfend] down my bra.
But so many dresses are lacking a 'hanky holder'
Similarly, women's pyjamas are often bereft of pockets. I have a pair of trad style cotton M&S winter pjs which do have one breast pocket in the buttoned jacket - but the teeshirt&loungepants styles I usually wear never seem to possess pockets. All Bob's pj trousers however have one or even two set in the side seams. David Gandy on M&S website demonstrates this.

If I am in bed [or lounging on the sofa] suffering with a cold, I need to know where my hanky is when I feel a sneeze coming on!
In Victorian times, men had pockets, but if women did need to carry essentials, they had little bags called reticules.
Housekeepers had the things they needed on a 'chateleine', attached to their waistband. Christian Dior apparently said in 1954 "Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration".
I have discovered that "Women's Pocket Rant" is a recognised thing.There are those who believe that the fashion industry is incredibly sexist, and lack of pockets is another thing which has prevented women 'breaking the glass ceiling' and reaching the boardroom. 
I've discovered that the increased use of radio mics means that when I go out preaching, I have to wear a jacket so I've somewhere to tuck the battery pack. I am not planning to get a microphone garter belt 
My friend Irene always said that an apron was pointless without a pocket. Let's hear it for the companies who do recognise the need for a safe space. I know all this business about 'it ruins the line of the garment' - if you feel like that, then sew up ther pocket so you are not tempted to put anything in it.
I am planning on sewing myself some new pj trousers this autumn - I found a suitable piece of fabric in The Stash, whilst making angel robes. There will be at least one pocket in this garment!
**Lucy L & Kitty F are sometimes claimed to be courtesans of Charles II, but there is no real evidence for this. John Gay includes Lucy Locket in his 1728 Beggar's Opera- but the name may already have been proverbial. History lesson - and rant - over


  1. There was an exhibition at Louth church (Lincolnshire) of pockets of the old-fashioned kind earlier a few months ago. these were designed to be tied on around the waist and I felt very envious of the beauty of the embroidery and the practicality of a decent sized pocket. It seemed to be a half way house between having a proper pocket in a garment and having to carry a bag and in fact was better than either.

  2. That sounds like the sort of thing I would really enjoy visiting!!

  3. I've seen something recently on wedding dresses with pockets! I often add them to garments, where that is possible but of course with a lined skirt it's not so easy ... definitely agree about the pyjama trousers, though!

  4. I recently bought some pjs from asda that had pockets in the bottoms. The bonus is, they are incredibly comfortable.

  5. I completely agree with you - I have had a bit of a sniffle coming on and yesterday I was tucking kleenex into the waistband of my PJ's as there are NO pockets!
    I remember one of my nieces being fascinated by them and asking why her dresses didn't have them, unlike her brother's clothes. She was over the moon with a dress I'd bought her because it actually had pockets!
    They are probably in cahoots with the handbag manufacturers! :-)

  6. I, too, hate the fact that there are no pockets in many of my clothes, especially when I go for a walk. I've no where to put my house keys or my asthma inhaler (the cell phone is in a knitted case I made with a crocheted strap that I wear around my neck).


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