Here's what the little pocket in jeans is really for

Your jeans have plenty of pockets (hopefully), but there is that one little pocket — nestled inside yet another pocket located on the front of your jeans — that has probably piqued your curiosity ever since you started wearing denim. What in the world is that teensy pocket for? Pure fashion? A bobby pin? A tiny key from your diary? Earrings? A sunflower seed or two? 

The truth is, that little pocket appeared for the first time on jeans a long time ago for a very specific reason — to carry a watch (via Today). "It appears on the oldest pair of waist overalls — the original name for jeans — in the Levi Strauss & Co. archives that date back to 1879," said Tracey Panek, a historian for Levi Strauss & Co.

Apparently, the first customers of this type of garment, which included railroad workers, carpenters, farmers, and miners, needed a place to easily stash and protect their small pocket watches. According to the Levi Strauss & Co. blog, it has taken on several other names in the decades since, including frontier pocket, condom pocket, coin pocket, match pocket, and ticket pocket. 

Here's why the tiny pocket on jeans has stuck around

Interestingly, the first jeans the company produced only had four total pockets — one back pocket, two front pockets, and the tiny watch pocket. These days, two back pockets are standard, which makes the watch pocket a fifth wheel, so to speak. 

Apparently, the design was so prevalent in the early days, that even when pocket watch use fell to the wayside, the appearance of the watch pocket was so ingrained and expected that the company continued to use it in their denim designs. 

The watch pocket doesn't only appear on Levi jeans, either — you can find them on many other brands as well. No matter who made the jeans you're wearing, though, that tiny fifth pocket hearkens back to the late 19th century when men needed a safe place to store their pocket watches.