Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

I do not like pockets

We are supposed to replace bags with the newly fashionable pockets, ruining the line of your clothes . And what's with those pockets set directly inside the side seam so you look like a chicken trying to get your elbows into them, and bulging out your hips?

"I'm obsessed with pockets," says Anita Borzyszkowska, of Gap, a store that has been at the forefront of the pocket revival on the high street, from hoodie-style pouches on sweater dresses to Chanel-style patches on cardigans and invisible slips sewn into the side seams of dresses. Borzyszkowska - whose personal pocket tally for the day is seven (jeans plus a boyfriend-style cardigan) - cites Gap's collaboration two years ago with the designer Roland Mouret as the turning point. His collection of 10 dresses, much lauded at launch for its jolliness of colour and blousy styling, was in fact conceived with something else in mind. "One of the goals," says Borzyszkowska, "was for everything to have a pocket."

I tried on those Roalnd Mouret dresses and the pockets was the reason I didn't buy one.


Anastasia said...

There is a time for everything, I guess, and men manage to carry their stuff (cellphones, money, etc.) without handbags. Pockets can work well with wideleg trousers. I really like pockets inside jackets or coats, very good for small things. I always have a chestnut in my coat pockets because my grandmother used to pick up the first chestnut of autumn.
But do pockets replace a handbag?

phyllis said...

Sewing books spend pages and pages on the various ways to make pockets; they are easy to do but harder to master (welt pockets in particular are a badge of skill) If they look wonky when you try on a garment the pocket is either (1) constructed wrong, and/or (2) the garment doesn't fit in the first place and the pockets are just part of another fitting problem.

Trevira said...

Whether you like pockets or not depends very much on your style, I reckon.

I've always been a tomboy and I've never used handbags - hate them! The lack of pockets in women's clothing (or the tiny useless ones you sometimes get) has frustrated me for years so this news is most welcome to me.

But I agree with Anastasia. They can't replace the handbag, or at least a bag. I still need a shoulder bag for purse/phone/camera/ipod . . .

Who'd have thought Brigitte Bardot was a fan of big pockets!

miss cavendish said...

If pockets on jackets and coats are basted/stitched shut, I never unstitch them, in order to preserve the line. I find that it works! (And I don't find that there's an annoying bulky pocket inside my otherwise streamlined garment either.)

Kuri said...

I don't think well-constructed pockets really upset the line of the garment - so long as they are not overstuffed.

However, I don't think I've ever seen a well-constructed pocket that could replace a handbag. I don't carry a lot but I need my phone, dayplanner and wallet and those aren't going to fit into any pockets. It's nice to keep keys and transit pass in a coat pocket for easy access, however.

vespabelle said...

The pants I'm wearing right now have never had the back pockets unstitched, but in general I like pockets.

pockets in jeans: yes!
pockets in a slim skirt: no
cargo pockets on the chest of a shirt: hell no!

materfamilias said...

I wouldn't give up my bag in favour of a pocket, and I agree with you about the damage they can do both to seams and the line of a garment. As well, there are, perhaps, reasonable strictures against mature women jamming hands in pockets. That said, I love them for an insouciance I feel when wearing them. As well, since I never have my bag beside me when I lecture, a pocket for a handkerchief/Kleenex if infinitely preferably to having to jam one up one's sleeve!

Mae Travels said...

If they could just invent a way to make the garments signal that you are about to put them in the washer with the kleenex in the pocket. I've even been known to launder a WHOLE pocket pack of Kleenex.

Anonymous said...

I divide things between practical and impractical pockets. Truthfully all my stuff is too big for pockets. Cell, wallet keys, transit pass but for some garments i do cram them in. I think of pockets as a temporary place to stick something until i can free my hand and put it back in my bag. I love pockets on jeans, jackets and coats but i dress very casually. Pockets that will never be used i hate - esp on the front of shirts, on side seams, or on "nice" clothing where you really shouldn't be stuffing your keys in there.

Geraldine Ryan said...

I love pockets! I never put anything in them though apart from train tickets. It's so impractical to have to keep fishing a ticket out of a bag every time you come in or out of a tube station.

I also thinks slant pockets on trousers make you look really slim.

california dreamer said...

Talk about a sore spot! Just Sunday I carefully set my diamond wedding ring on the mantle along with my watch, because I didn't have a pocket for it, and I was washing up. Six hours later, after I moved my things up to my bedroom, I found my watch but not my ring. Have done nothing but look for it for over two days, with no success. Seriously considering burning every item of clothing without a pocket.

greying pixie said...

I think pockets are an interesting subject and one that is rarely raised. Many a time I've sewn up and cut off pockets in dress and skirt seams precisely because they ruin the line on the hip. However in trousers a slanting pocket can be useful for striking a nonchalant pose!

Linda, if you really hate pockets you should look more at Italian trousers which often go without completely, eg. Zucchero. But then you'll have to resort to stuffing your hankie up your sleeve!

Anonymous said...

I'm a feminist and usually very sensible when it comes to clothing, e.g., I hate ridiculously high heels, but most pockets just don't work for me, even in-seam pockets.

And although some men cram their wallet and comb in their back trouser pocket it doesn't mean it's a look to emulate.

Anonymous said...

I think I am going to be the one person on this blog who is in the campaign for pockets.

I don't want to stuff them full of stuff, I have a handbag for that. I need them for two things - at work somewhere to put a hanky and my security pass, so I don't have to walk around either with a great lump in my bra (surely a worse case of distorting clothes) or strew the tissues from my sleeves like a magician with flowers. And the second is when I am out and about, say on the Tube and am heeding the Police, Susie Lamplugh Trust etc. advice and don't have my house keys in my bag. I also like to have my train ticket somewhere it is quick to get at without needing to open the bag.
My concern with the no pocket argument, is that I find it difficult to get precious about mass produced clothes in size 16 and the line of same. It may be Ok in the fashion industry, where everyone wears 5 inch heels, hobble skirts and takes taxis 50 yards, but in the real world there are real reasons that sometimes things need to go in pockets.

I will no longer buy clothes that don't have pockets, but we all have the opportunity not to cut them open.

By the way, the worst offender is M & S which pays people to jet and finish little details that turn out not to have the second piece of material. It really cannot cost more to put the back in. Fo a real woman in the real world of work this means that I am supposed to go around with a little bag attached to my belt or round my waist like a schoolgirl.

Rollergirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rollergirl said...

[Above comment deleted due to typos]

Love the idea of a 'pocket expert'! Now I adore what I call 'pocket-dresses' but only because I love to do the insouciance slouch with hands in pockets. I NEVER put things in the pockets of coats, dresses or trousers, it really does look terrible from the side. The only exception to the rule is my Burberry trench which is so impeccably cut that you could fill the pockets with bricks and it wouldn't ruin the line.

The idea that people can use just their pockets and do away with bags is frankly ludicrous.

(California Dreamer - your poor ring! But can you not use rubber gloves to wash up?)