The Real Reason Women's Clothes Rarely Has Pockets

There's perhaps no greater feeling than trying on the dress of your dreams only to find out that it has the one rare feature women's clothing never has: pockets. If the fact that a piece of clothing has usable pockets further incentivizes you to purchase said garment — even if it's out of your typical price range — you certainly aren't alone. When mentally going through the pros and cons list for buying that beautiful new jacket, "has pockets" is written in big bold letters on the pro side. 

Sadly, pockets that actually work are incredibly difficult to find in women's clothing. Instead, we're forced to squeeze our ever-growing iPhones into tiny pockets, throw our wallets into the bottomless pit that is our purses, and ask our boyfriends to carry our house keys on a night out. As it turns out, this isn't a new problem. In the entire history of women's fashion, the lack of pockets has always been a problem.

Women's fashion has never been about utility

Women have been complaining about pockets for well over a century. In a 1905 New York Times article, one woman wrote, "One supremacy there is in men's clothing... its adaptation to pockets" (via Vox). But the problem goes back even further than the early 20th century. 

According to Vox, it wasn't until the late 17th century that pockets became par for the course in men's clothing. For some reason, though, that same transition wasn't made for women, who continued to wear tiny purses underneath their massive dresses. As women's dress shifted away from those large skirts to sleeker outlines, pockets still didn't make an appearance. Instead, early variations of today's handbag were used. We need to look no further than an oft-cited Christian Dior quip to understand why: "Men have pockets to put keep things in, women for decoration" (via Mic).

That, right there, is the heart of the issue. Women's clothing is designed to make us look better, and bulky pockets apparently just don't do the trick.