Why don’t women’s clothing have pockets?


Being a woman in the 21st Century is a mixed bag. On the one hand, wearing comfortable activewear has become a trend which means that we can basically roll out of bed and call it “fashion” – but on the other hand, WE STILL DON’T HAVE POCKETS. Okay, so we do have pockets sometimes, but there is nothing worse than buying a slick new outfit and realizing that those pockets you saw on the front of the pants weren’t really pockets at all. Yep, the whole world is a lie and us women are having to suffer because of it. Have you ever wondered why women’s clothing doesn’t have pockets? Well, it seems as though we have to go back in time to find out…

Why don’t women’s clothing have pockets?

17th Century: Women have to hide their pockets

If you’ve ever seen pictures of what women in the 17th Century had to wear, you’ll probably get a little hot under the collar. And not in a good way. This is mostly because women had to wear layers upon layers of clothing, from a shift to an under-petticoat, to a petticoat, and then the actual dress that they wanted to wear. There was no rolling out of bed and onto the street for these ladies. During this era, men had started to embrace pockets in their own pants, but women hadn’t. However, they did decide to take things into their own hands and create their own pocket by hanging a small pocket underneath the under-petticoat. That just doesn’t seem comfortable.

18th Century: Making a pocket statement

By the 18th Century, women had got a little fed up of having to hide their makeshift pockets under all of those layers. To combat this, they designed and accessorized these pouches to incorporate them into their outfits. These intricate designs would be slotted into the sides of their dress, so they could hide their cakes from their husband. Now this sounds like our kinda pocket experience.

Why don’t women’s clothing have pockets?

19th Century: Pockets lose their traction in the world

It all seemed to be going so well. We had so much faith in the world. Why did they have to ruin it? During the 1800s, society decided that these makeshift pockets just didn’t fit into the ‘vibe’ of the fashion world. By this time, large puffy dresses had gone out of fashion and women were expected to wear form-fitting dresses that made them look slim and slender. Because of this, there was no room for pockets in these dresses, and women were expected to carry their pockets instead in the form of small purses.

Early 20th Century: A pocket and pants revolution

Thankfully, women started to realize that they weren’t being treated fairly in the late 1800s, and they decided to rebel against the patriarchy. Marlene Dietrich was at the forefront of this movement and fought for women’s rights to wear what they wanted when they wanted. This was further heightened when both World War I and World War II came around. Because women stepped up to the plate and took themselves off to work, they decided to wear pants with pockets to make life easier.

Why don’t women’s clothing have pockets?

Late 20th Century: Fashion ruins it for us all

Well, this is an emotional rollercoaster. After the epicness of the early 20th Century, you would have thought that pockets would have stayed in fashion – but apparently not. During the late 20th Century, women were expected to be thin and feminine at all times. Our pants were supposed to be tailored and tight, and so were our skirts, which meant that there was just no room left for any pockets. Because of this, fashion houses stopped making some clothing with pockets altogether.

21st Century: It’s so-so on the pocket front

So there we have it. We’re up to date. Although we’ve come a long way and have a few items in our closet with pockets in them, we’re still not where we want to be. Even if we want pockets in our jeans or in our skirts, they are more for decorative purposes. They might be sewn shut, located in a completely impractical place, or just be so small you could barely fit a cookie in there. Sort it out, world.

Is it so difficult to give us women what we want? We just want pockets, man! Perhaps in a few years time, we’ll have so many pockets we won’t know what to do with them…