I am a big believer in pockets. I love pockets. I love them so much that when it comes to my weekend workplace, I wear my men’s cargo shorts because they let me carry my flashlight, keys, utility knife, phone, radio and other equipment I might need.
They let me do my job.
I was at the mall last night, got chatting with people, and then went to get some ideas about brands and prices before dropping my next paycheck on some work pants. Well, three major retailers, and no pants to speak of…at least, not in my size. And I’m too short to wear men’s slacks to work, and really shouldn’t.
Seriously, women’s pants need usable pockets, too.
So, why don’t they have them?
Thankfully, I’m far from the only person who has asked this question. It’s a fight between fashion and function (and fashion’s been winning). The iPhone 6–in theory, at least–has made designers have to think outside their comfort zones of going for aesthetics over function.
And yes, there’s a bit of a sexist history involved. Women don’t need pockets because they have purses, and they can carry much more.
But there’s a problem with that–at work, you can’t walk around the building/ site/ counterspace with a purse over your shoulder. If you need to use pens for the job, pockets. If you need to keep the lock-up keys on you, pockets. If you need to write notes and have a small notepad on you, pockets.
Not every job requires a service apron, dammit, or constantly sitting at the desk. Even with e-mail, messaging, phones, we have to walk around once in a while, and some things we may have to take with us. Pockets would be great.
And I HATE purses. They get in my way. I keep mine locked in my car probably 75% of the time because I usually only need a few things out of it. If I’m at work, I probably only need my phone and some headache tablets. Everything else can stay. And I can put my keys in my bookbag with other crap I’m working on if I have to.
At Starbucks, I put my starbucks card in my pocket, my keys, and phone. That’s all I need to go with my box of stuff to work on.
I’ve built my working life AWAY from the purse and with pockets in mind. It falls over and gets in the way more than it helps. I only find it useful if I’m walking all over for long periods of time and to several places (like at the mall, and even then, that’s occasional) and may buy a few things.
But my good work pants are showing their age. They don’t have useful back pockets, but they do have deep front/side pockets that you barely notice. I can keep a lot in them.
But searching through the racks yesterday was damned annoying. Row after row of nice-looking, affordable slacks, but I’ve learned to check for pockets. Some had front pockets that I couldn’t even get 4 fingers into past the middle knuckle. If I put my coffee rewards card or debit card in there, it’d be poking me when I sat down (I do have a hefty middle) or start sliding out. The first day I wore a new pair (that I didn’t check pockets on), I had four people tell me in one morning that my debit card was about to fall out of my “pocket.”
That pair went to charity real fast. I need to have legit pockets.
With women walking around with the bare essentials on their person more and more, it makes sense for fashion designers to get on the ball and give us what we want. Two customers and I were sorting through the same racks of clothes for good work pants and I said the word “pockets.” They looked at me, then at each other, and we all just shook our heads when one of them said, “yeah, these pockets suck. They’re not pockets.”
When at work, we can’t carry our purse all over the place. We’re there to work, not make a damned fashion statement. We lock the thing up and carry what we need…or try to…but we need POCKETS!
So, when the hell will women’s work pants get pockets? I’m getting ever closer to retaking my measurements and shopping the guys’ section anyway…but I’m too short and I know none will fit me right. I know what size I wear in womens (or sizes, because I’m perpetually between them), but they need pockets.
And I look enough like a dumpy slacker when I gotta wear my big cargo shorts to one job–I don’t want that for my other jobs, where I’m around mostly other women and customers face-to-face.