"We need to talk about pockets."
January 8, 2017 2:16 PM   Subscribe

"I wore men's clothes for a month and it changed my life": Motivated by Octieber and determined to combat the world of gendered clothing, Lucy Rycroft-Smith tries menswear for a month and documents her findings.
posted by orange swan (291 comments total) 81 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, pockets are great at first, of course. Handy things. Carry whatever you like.

But then, inevitably, it becomes an obsession. First one's free, don't you know. Keeps 'em coming back.

Then they're onto the harder pockets, like cargo shorts. Cargo shorts are a hell of a thing.

Further down and you enter a Liefeldian nightmare - leg pouches. Too far gone at this point.

Too soon, too soon for all this.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 2:32 PM on January 8 [78 favorites]


I don't get it. Why aren't people solving these problems?
posted by oceanjesse at 2:33 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Problems that effect only people who wear women's clothes tend to not be treated as a priority.
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:38 PM on January 8 [156 favorites]


I like the bit where she realises men have terrible fashion sense and don't give a fuck so she doesn't have to either.

FREEEEDDOOOOOOMMMM

/williamwallace
posted by Sebmojo at 2:41 PM on January 8 [68 favorites]


So much day-by-day narration of the experience, but so few pictures! (I like the one outfit she did post, though - looks sharp.)

I don't have much cause for formalwear in my life right now, but a friend of mine made a blog post several months back about solving the women's pants pocket problem with a visit to your local seamstress, and I've been considering splurging on proper phone-fitting pockets ever since.
posted by deludingmyself at 2:42 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


"I’m starting to feel like it’s ok – an advantage even – to be big, broad and solid. This is the antithesis of literally every message women get about their bodies every single day. I’m reeling because suddenly it’s ok to take up my own space."
posted by ChuraChura at 2:46 PM on January 8 [63 favorites]


There's a woman at work who wears this sort of tiny fanny pack, more like a purse on a string, around her waist. Cell phone. It's the female equivalent of the male belt clip. I thought it was kind of interesting then I realized 'no pockets.'
posted by fixedgear at 2:47 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Maybe it's time to make my carpentry belt more functional.
posted by datawrangler at 2:49 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


For some reason this made me think about Leopold Bloom who had so many pockets he could toss in some lemon scented soap or some mutton kidneys or a novel and not think about them for the rest of the day. I guess it helped that you wore a waistcoat as well with room for even more pockets.
posted by Bee'sWing at 2:52 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


You know when you read something that immediately rings true even though you've never tried to articulate that idea before?

Any time I have left the house to do anything vaguely important, I’ve been uncomfortable, and the more important the thing, the more uncomfortable I’ve been. . . . I start to fully realise how crowded my head is on a typical work day: how full I am of nagging doubts about what I’m wearing and how I look to others. I realise that I have been constantly looking at myself all day in mirrors and shop fronts and car windows and focusing on that bit and breathing in and sighing and feeling inadequate.

I'm going to try my own version of this experiment. I'll have it a lot easier - I'm on medical leave from work right now - but I'm hitting the men's department from now on. I've already cut off most of what was once waist-length hair because I didn't want to devote any more time to worrying about it (although I told my hairdresser that I wanted a super short style that didn't read "worry-free look" so much as "fuck the patriarchy!"). Clothes seem the logical next step.
posted by bibliowench at 2:53 PM on January 8 [24 favorites]


"I remember being crouched over my handbag, furiously ferreting for a business card while my male colleague coolly produced one from his manly chest-cavity as though he lactated them to order."

This is my favorite sentence of the year so far, and it'll take some doing to outdo it.
posted by Kattullus at 2:55 PM on January 8 [221 favorites]


There's one aspect in which this works the other way around too: I think handbags are great. In the summer when I don't wear a jacket I use a "man-bag" and I find it super-convenient to stash all the heavy junk (keys, wallet etc) in there. No bulging pockets or weighed-down pants.
posted by Koheleth at 3:00 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


It’s an uncomfortable truth that the privilege of being white, average sized and reasonably attractive allows me to ‘get away with it’

Which is why I will not be shopping in the men's department because I am none of those things. Are pockets really such a problem? My dresses and cardigans always seem to have them, so I squirrel away pens and USB drives and keys even though they would better off living in their dedicated spaces in my bag where they would be safe from being sent through the wash.
posted by betweenthebars at 3:02 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


We've just joined a hill walking group and I've been kitting myself out and I am THRILLED with the amount of pockets I've suddenly accumulated. Cargo trousers and fleece and jacket = pockets all over the damn place. Zipped ones and Velcro ones, in the legs, hidden ones, waterproof ones, more pockets in fact that I know what to do with. And I suddenly remembered being a teenager and wearing army trousers and big boots a lot and never carrying a handbag because my keys and lipstick and money were all conveniently located about my person (and good lord they hadn't yet invented mobile phones). I think the day I started wearing official womenswear and needing a handbag was the day I started to become burdened by womanhood and all it entails. So yay for this article, and yay for choice in clothing. Wear a dress if you want to no matter your gender, wear a tie and a waistcoat whether you're "supposed to" or not, and for the love of all that is holy, pockets for everyone.
posted by billiebee at 3:02 PM on January 8 [22 favorites]


Maybe it's time to make my carpentry belt more functional.

I have indeed seen designer waist pouches directly inspired by carpentry belts, just done up in finer materials/stitching and $0.20 metal embossments that lets it sell for $300.

There are local micro fashion houses in town that pop into (and pop out of) existence in the local shopping districts and pockets have been much more popular in women's fashion. However, it seems like consensus fashion is tighter fits (for both men and women, and leggings are definitely en vogue around here) so pockets tend to look like bolt-ons or are small enough not to be functional.

The functionality of pockets in men's business fashion, I think, will depend on the city. Aren't men's handbags popular in Europe/Asia so you don't have wallet/keys/cell spoiling the lines of one's suit?
posted by porpoise at 3:02 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


As someone who is "what society might deem as 'fulfilling the lesbian stereotype'" who has done this every day for years (not formalwear everywhere, though), I'm pleased that some presumably-cis folks are catching on to the role sexism plays in gendered differences in clothing, and I'm more than happy to humor them and pretend they invented the idea.
posted by thetortoise at 3:03 PM on January 8 [59 favorites]


Over the past couple of years I've switched from wearing women's clothes to men's. I tried on some of my old clothes when I was getting ready to go home for a visit - I thought I'd wear some of the more androgynous women's clothes that I used to wear. I tried them on and I just...couldn't. They were flimsy and clingy and tight across the shoulders and too short to stay tucked in, and I remembered how these were just the normal problems of having women's clothes before - that nothing would ever fit right and everything rode up or gaped or didn't fit my biceps because it's bad enough to have fat arms but to have muscular fat arms is something that cannot be admitted to happen.

It is so much better, I cannot even tell you.

And a big part of it is because women's clothes are supposed to make you look as small as possible, so they're tight and small and flimsy on purpose. Men's clothes are, even at their most youthfully hipstery, supposed to make you look the size you are - or else bigger.

And shoes - women's shoes are garbage. You can get garbage men's shoes if you try, but almost all women's shoes are garbage. It's almost impossible to buy women's shoes that are as good as good, solid men's shoes, no matter how far up the market you go.
posted by Frowner at 3:04 PM on January 8 [33 favorites]


My dresses and cardigans always seem to have them,
As a general rule, my dresses and cardigans don't have pockets. Most of my skirts also don't have pockets. Most, but not all, of my pants do have pockets. I don't think that any of my clothes have pockets that I could fit a wallet or a phone in. This becomes a problem at my job, because they lock the doors at some point in the evening, and you need your ID card to get back in from the hallway where the bathrooms are. Women, but not men, get locked out all the time, because men typically have their ID cards in their wallets in their pockets, and women forget to bring their handbags with them when they go to the bathroom.

Having said that, I don't think that I could shop in the men's section. I'm too short, plus boobs.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:09 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


The men I’m mixing with will happily mix navy blue suits with black shoes, pink shirts with red ties and trousers with jackets three shades different, and appear to care not a jot

Should they care? AFAIK, all the ones she listed are not faux pas for men's fashion. Can women not wear navy and black, or pink and red?
posted by FJT at 3:10 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Can women not wear navy and black, or pink and red?
No? I mean, you might be able to get away with pink and red, but you'd have to have a lot of confidence to pull it off. Navy and black is typically considered a fashion don't. Black and brown used to be thought of the same way, but that's not really true anymore, although it would depend on the brown.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:12 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


On pockets:
some years ago, men's jeans were nearly sprayed on, very tight fitting, to be fashionable. Nothing ever put in pockets, so man bags carried. Men's clothing tends to be conservative; style changes are slow in the making, or when changes are made, they are modest. Now we can see a change taking place, but not yet fixed , so that we will see pundits, anchors, guests, on tv with or without ties. I have seen the same male on one show wearing a suit and tie, and later in the week, the same guy with suit and no tie.
And the handkerchief! Older males always had one in a pocket, ready to grab as needed....now this is no longer so. Males today assume that blowing your nose and putting the cloth back in your pocket for later use is unsanitary.
Einstein never wore socks. He claimed that he did not want to waste time putting them on, but some people claimed he purposely left out socks when dressed to embellish his mystique of eccentricity.
I used to have a set of cuff links and of course a few sharp tie pins to keep the top piece properly aligned over the bottom, shorter piece of tie. And the vest?
Now some clothes makers must consider a spot for cell phones. But what, oh what, is that little pocket for on the traditional blue jeans? pocket watch, small knife? or illegal pills kept in handy accessible place?
posted by Postroad at 3:13 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


The men I’m mixing with will happily mix navy blue suits with black shoes, pink shirts with red ties and trousers with jackets three shades different, and appear to care not a jot

I'm pretty sure there are a fair number of women who leave the house every day mostly mismatched and who DNGAF. I get this this a stereotypical men-vs-women thing but if I found an uncoordinated woman I didn't know and told her my opinion I don't think the resulting tears would be hers.
posted by GuyZero at 3:14 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


FREEEEDDOOOOOOMMMM

/williamwallace


A noted skirt-wearer.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:16 PM on January 8 [34 favorites]


Notes for the coming Sartorial Revolution:

Ties are terrible. They are button curtains that choke you. And suit jackets/sports coats, with their button cleavage, aid and abet the button curtain industrial complex. Bow ties are obviously less obtrusive to the wearer, but I refuse to be reminded of Tucker Carlson everywhere I go. All of these should be binned.

I hope that the author comes to see my point of view, once the novelty wears away.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 3:16 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


But what, oh what, is that little pocket for on the traditional blue jeans? pocket watch, small knife? or illegal pills kept in handy accessible place?

It was for a pocket watch. Back when jeans were designed, people still used pocket watches.
posted by dazed_one at 3:17 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


I'm also encouraged because my husband is able to keep his clothing for what seems like forever. We both shop somewhat unadventurously at places like Eddie Bauer, but while I have to replace my clothing fairly frequently - either because of holes or snags, because they just stop hanging/fitting like the did at first, or because they're now a millimeter too short/long to avoid mockery - his stay perfectly serviceable. Clothing just seems like another example of something being less complicated for men because they won't stand for the needless bullshit that women have been conditioned to accept as inevitable.
posted by bibliowench at 3:21 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


But what, oh what, is that little pocket for on the traditional blue jeans? pocket watch, small knife? or illegal pills kept in handy accessible place?
Change pocket?
Things I have put in it: Fitbit, Swiss Army knife, not change.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:21 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Any time I've tried to wear men's pants, in order for them to fit my hips they are quite gappy at the waist.

Besides, I like dresses.

I have indeed seen designer waist pouches directly inspired by carpentry belts, just done up in finer materials/stitching and $0.20 metal embossments that lets it sell for $300.

I have this and it's almost too many pockets - I keep forgetting which one I've put stuff in.
posted by Lucinda at 3:21 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Navy and black is typically considered a fashion don't.

That's what confused me. I thought pretty much the same as you, but a month ago I looked it up and it's changed! Who makes these rules?

It's gotten to the point where I use Google at least once a week to check if this goes with that!
posted by FJT at 3:21 PM on January 8


(not ditching the bra, though)
posted by bibliowench at 3:22 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


What ends up being most interesting to me about these things is the variability of human body shape. I simply cannot wear men's pants. The length of my torso, my hip to waist ratio, my thighs. Men's pants are even harder to fit on me than women's and at least twice as uncomfortable.
posted by crush-onastick at 3:24 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


I think this must be a problem only if you have never dressed for comfort as a woman. Since i'm oversensitive to many fabrics and to tightness, I've always bought my clothes to be soft and not overly tight. Can't bear things around my neck, so ties would be awful. Can't deal with nylons, so wear cotton tights or nothing.

i like pockets, but there are certainly many types of athletic clothes and outdoorsy stuff for women that have them. Business suits— male or female— with ties are genuinely my idea of uncomfortable clothes.
posted by Maias at 3:24 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


FWIW, I am a female-presenting person and my go-to outfit for weddings & events of similar formality is a navy blue dress with black shoes. I consistently get complimented on it, too.

(I definitely aspire to rock a tux one day when I can afford a nice one, though.)
posted by waffleriot at 3:29 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


(But, I just realized the fact this black/blue rule can be broken is another sign that men's fashion rules are not only fewer, but also most likely less rigid and breakable than women's fashion rules.)
posted by FJT at 3:30 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Used to drive me nuts, back when I was married, that when we would go some places, my wife would immediately start rummaging through her purse and start handing me things to pocket for her so she didn't have the purse. I would end up looking like my thighs were squirrel cheeks sometimes.

Also, ties. I hate them. I have rather a large neck, and trying to find ties that look right (16+" neck means they tend to hang too short) not to mention having them be anything like comfortable is a complete no go for me.
posted by Samizdata at 3:31 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I've recently started wearing bowties because I hate normal ties. I can't for the life of me figure out how to actually tie one, and I presume there is some fel art involved. The pretied ones are all adjustable though, so they aren't uncomfortable unless your shirt collar is already too tight.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:33 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Also you could put one on a cat if you needed a business casual cat for an event or fête.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:35 PM on January 8 [59 favorites]


There just isn't a black/blue rule for men. There are rules, though - it's been like a century since men's suits were available in anything but solid colours or pinstripes; you don't generally see business-style shoes in anything but black or brown; fashion in ties changes according to arcane rules and I can easily spot ones that are too wide/narrow/floral/plain.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:35 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


all cats in ties must for the duration of tie-wearing be referred to as Mister Fancy Britches
posted by poffin boffin at 3:37 PM on January 8 [36 favorites]


Maybe you can spot them, but do you judge and/or comment? Because women will be told if what they're wearing is too tight or short or young or inappropriate or if it makes them look ugly or they're too fat for it, often by a helpful young man passing in the street or driving by. Is that how men find out what they're wearing is wrong?
posted by billiebee at 3:38 PM on January 8 [35 favorites]


Is that how men find out what they're wearing is wrong?

as long as breath remains in my lungs, yes
posted by poffin boffin at 3:40 PM on January 8 [63 favorites]


This absence of pockets in women's clothing has puzzled me for years (I'm a guy, so no surprise there, I guess). I first saw it come up when I was part of a small IT department where everyone traded a pager in rotation, and the women hated it because they rarely had a belt or pockets. As far as I'm concerned, its stupid.

As a pocket-wearing male, I both love them and hate them. In the summer especially it can be a pain where there's too much stuff for comfortable pockets. This is when the fanny pack comes in. I don't care if it makes me unfashionable, I'm unfashionable even without it! A medium sized satchel would be nice.

I downvote ties as well, but I'm required to wear them at work.
posted by lhauser at 3:41 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


But what, oh what, is that little pocket for on the traditional blue jeans? pocket watch, small knife? or illegal pills kept in handy accessible place?
Change pocket?
Things I have put in it: Fitbit, Swiss Army knife, not change.


Guitar picks.
posted by Daily Alice at 3:41 PM on January 8 [13 favorites]


I think men are generally safe from nasty comments on the street about their clothing unless they're already in a vulnerable category because of their weight/sexuality/ethnicity or whatever.

Is that how men find out what they're wearing is wrong?

That's an amazingly insightful question! I have never thought about it and I really have no idea! I presume it's just osmosis from popular media?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:43 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


...fashion in ties changes according to arcane rules and I can easily spot ones that are too wide/narrow/floral/plain.

I remember in high school when we discovered thrift stores, the racks and racks of unnaturally wide men's ties from the 70's were striking. Those have never come back - I suppose the thrift store ones went to landfill. Nor, God willing, will those squared off early 80's knot ties.

Anyway. Right on to the article. The reason for the absence of pockets seems evident, to me - the clothes are supposed to be for beauty and social signalling, not to help you in daily tasks.
posted by thelonius at 3:44 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I know this is besides the point but as a UK person every time I read the words "fanny pack" I die a little inside.
posted by billiebee at 3:44 PM on January 8 [42 favorites]


So what color shoes should you wear with a blue suit? They don't generally make blue shoes for men.
posted by octothorpe at 3:45 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


But what, oh what, is that little pocket for on the traditional blue jeans? pocket watch, small knife? or illegal pills kept in handy accessible place?

That little pocket is what most of my boyfriends have referred to as "their place to put their fingers" when their arm was around my waist. 😑
posted by Hermione Granger at 3:49 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Day one: We need to talk about pockets.

Funny. I've started carrying a purse, and I find it very nice not to need pockets. Wallet and phone in back pockets get really annoying to me, especially in nice pants.

Is that how men find out what they're wearing is wrong?

No, we are yelled at and called "fags" by groups of young men. (Or rejected sexually by women or men, but that's usually at least a little nicer.)

There aren't many men who wear women's clothing. Even in Berkeley, I feel uncomfortable. I wear women's pants, shirts, sweaters, but in a very androgynous (i.e. mixed and matched with men's or gender-neutral clothes) way, and I still feel awkward often.

It takes a fair amount of courage (IMO) to violate gender norms. Dudes: don't wear color, don't wear anything form fitting; don't show skin, don't wear jewelry, etc. etc.

I've recently started wearing bowties because I hate normal ties. I can't for the life of me figure out how to actually tie one, and I presume there is some fel art involved.

I wore one often for a while. Once you get it down, it's as easy as tying shoelaces. Bow ties are great, if a bit "nerdy." Any number of videos can quickly teach you.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:50 PM on January 8 [17 favorites]


There just isn't a black/blue rule for men. There are rules, though - it's been like a century since men's suits were available in anything but solid colours or pinstripes; you don't generally see business-style shoes in anything but black or brown; fashion in ties changes according to arcane rules and I can easily spot ones that are too wide/narrow/floral/plain.

Yep. There may be some subtle patterns for men, and some general rules. (You do wear black shoes with a blue suit, as well as a grey and of course a black suit; brown shoes work with earth tones and green; if you're wearing a suit in bright primary or secondary colors, wear enormous shoes because you're a clown.) One of the rules that I remember seeing in GQ is that according to classic rules, your pocket square should match your shirt instead of your tie because it's supposed to be made from spare material from your shirt--you do have your shirts made bespoke, right? I say fuck it, rock that lavender paisley pocket square all you want.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:51 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Because women will be told if what they're wearing is too tight or short or young or inappropriate or if it makes them look ugly or they're too fat for it, often by a helpful young man passing in the street or driving by.

Helpfully this same exact process is used to let women know when our clothes are correctly showing off our bodies! Catcallers: what would we do without em'? /hamburger
posted by holyrood at 3:52 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


(But, I just realized the fact this black/blue rule can be broken is another sign that men's fashion rules are not only fewer, but also most likely less rigid and breakable than women's fashion rules.)

Eh, it cuts both ways. Women probably have more "rules," but they also have the flexibility to wear traditional men's clothing with less backlash. (Probably b/c lots of women's clothes are very impractical, and almost none of men's clothes are.)

Women can wear men's suits without *too* much fuss. A man in a dress and heels ... seems harder to pull off.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:53 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Brown or tan shoes with navy. Generally a tan to look nice and dapper.

But black is also acceptable. Think dress blues in the military... Blue pants, black shoes.
posted by sio42 at 3:55 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I wore one often for a while. Once you get it down, it's as easy as tying shoelaces. Bow ties are great, if a bit "nerdy." Any number of videos can quickly teach you.

That looks like a better video than the ones I watched, thanks. Maybe I will be able to rock that light blue bow-tie with cherry blossoms without invoking some horrid deity from the ninth realm after all.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:56 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


According to the BBC, it was the late 1700s before anyone in England had (modern) pockets; before then a "pocket" was a bag attached to a belt. But from what I know of historical English clothing, women's clothes have never had pockets: this radical new idea was only adopted by men! Women had purses or bags, or chatelaines, but they didn't have pockets.

I really think this must come down to the deliberately-impractical nature of most women's clothing. Pockets are useful, so if you have pockets you're signalling that your attire has a secondary purpose. It's OK to carry your daily tools around with you on a chain or in a bag, but you need to demonstrate that you can discard them at a moment's notice and present yourself as a beautiful butterfly.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:02 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


it's been like a century since men's suits were available in anything but solid colours or pinstripes;

Ha. I know this isn't true because of my brother's predilection for finding original 70's wear at Goodwill, but you can still find new suits with a paisley pattern or, more commonly, some kind of plaid.

Over Christmas I sewed real pockets into a pair of jeans and now every time I put something in my pockets I get a little thrill of satisfaction, a combination of 'so useful' and 'I built that!' Definitely recommend it - as mentioned above, hand-sewing is unlikely to stand up to pocket usage so if you can get to a sewing machine do that. It probably took me about half an hour, half of which was remembering how to use a sewing machine.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:02 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


As a thirty-ish male, I should note that this very comment thread is the first time I've ever encountered the concept of a "fashion rule."

I think it's safe to say that fashion rules don't exist for men, at least in ones in my situation.

(In fact, my first thought upon going through these comments was, "Wait, how does one wear clothes wrong? Inside out? Does pairing black and navy signify you're in a cult or something?")
posted by ragtag at 4:06 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


My husband recently observed that his PYJAMAS have larger pockets than many of my clothes.
posted by cheshyre at 4:07 PM on January 8 [13 favorites]


Is that how men find out what they're wearing is wrong?

Wrong? We got the clothes in a store. They can't be wrong.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:08 PM on January 8 [31 favorites]


Women can wear men's suits without *too* much fuss.

In the places where it matters most to be wearing suits--which is to say, important corporate stuff, attorneys, etc--it is still often regarded, at least off the coasts, as being at least a bit low-class for women to wear pants. Both moot court and career services at my law school had a hard no on women wearing pantsuits to competitions or interviews. This was only a couple years ago.

Men tend to assume that women can break these things without consequences because women in TV and movies break these things without consequences. Yes, these consequences are less than men going the other direction, but they're still huge, especially given that men's dress standards don't require them to be trying to make themselves attractive, just presentable; the same can't be said for women. It's not that people will laugh at you or anything. They'll just smile and tell you that they'll let you know, and you'll sit at home wondering if you got the job while they say that your male competition, or the women in skirts and heels and makeup, were so much more polished than you.

Hillary Clinton's pantsuits were more than just a fashion statement. When she finished law school, I'm not sure there would have been any courts in the US where she would have been allowed to argue in what she campaigned in. Progress has been made, but on many fronts, not as much as you'd think.
posted by Sequence at 4:12 PM on January 8 [101 favorites]


I see we are talking about my Pet Peeve today! :). I have always disliked carrying a purse. I am obsessed with pockets!

When I was younger, cargo pants and BDU pants were my favorite thing. Loads of pockets, I could get away with them in the office.

Then I put on some weight which would not go away. Also in the Bay Area another problem was park public rest-rooms which lacked doors. Basically a long skirt does preserve a bit of one's dignity in those circumstances. So my choices were somewhat dictated by bathroom privacy issues. So if I knew that I wasn't going to the park ('where all the no door bath-rooms were...) I would wear pants.

Once I ended up with all the belly weight and a couple medical issues, pants became wildly impractical.

The lack of pockets is a real pain. I actually put pockets in some clothes or use a fanny pack.

There is a new type of waist pack called the 'Flip-Belt I want to try out. It looks like a solution to having necessary items handy without being bulky.
Purses can be more easily lost, forgotten or stolen.

There are many practical reasons many women might go for skirts as opposed to hitting the men's wear department.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:13 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I recently went to a family wedding in New York. The invitation requested formal attire. Yea verily I am but a flyover rube so a Manhattan formal wedding made klaxons of panic sound. I went to the mall. I spent four hours at the mall. I left the mall empty handed. I realized that I was woefully unprepared to navigate the following female fashion shoals:

Formal but not so formal as to show up the bride (I had no idea what the bride was wearing so...)

Not a color or style that might make me look like a bride's maid (didn't know what they were wearing either)

Fitting for a married lady of my age, not too young, but also not something that's make me look like the mother of the bride or groom.

Not too colorful, but not something that looks too funerary. Also keeping in mind that it should be a color that I can buy shoes to match that won't be shoes that only go with that one thing, i.e. something that doesn't require like fuschia shoes.

It was a weeks long angst. Modcloth finally came to my rescue and I wound up with a black brocade cap sleeve a-line fit and flair and purchased some simple black kitten heels to go with it.

Meanwhile, husband decided this was a good occasion to get a new suit (he doesn't wear suits to work so he only had one suit that was over 10 years old). He went to Brooks Brothers on his lunch hour, picked a charcoal suit off the rack, got measured, went back a week later to pick it up, done.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:14 PM on January 8 [22 favorites]


But from what I know of historical English clothing, women's clothes have never had pockets

Not exactly. They had their own version of the pouch-on-a-belt kind, worn under their clothes (but over the shift and stays). Gowns and petticoats had a slit or a gap in the seam so you could get at them. Like so.
posted by nonasuch at 4:16 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


/r/malefashionadvice/

My dad was a snappy dresser. He used to regret the pinks and greens and brown shoes uniform of the Army (kind of what Patton was wearing in the movie).
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:16 PM on January 8


By the way. I love Hillary's pant-suits! They all have POCKETS! :)
It's quite true that the legal profession has had a problem allowing women to step out of a very specific Euro-American dress-code. I am very grateful to Hillary for breaking that set of rules.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:18 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


The functionality of pockets in men's business fashion, I think, will depend on the city

Any formalish jackets I've had have had fake pockets, even on the inside. Why would you put a pocket somewhere that can't be seen, and make it useless?

And a big part of it is because women's clothes are supposed to make you look as small as possible, so they're tight and small and flimsy on purpose

Yes, women's clothes are way, way tighter - that's the main difference (take whatever value judgements you will from that). I'm a reasonably serious (slim, male) cyclist, and any slim-ish male pants are pretty tight on me as my lower half is a bit bigger, and they wear out crazy fast too - I think anything tight is under more strain.

I think men are generally safe from nasty comments on the street about their clothing unless they're already in a vulnerable category because of their weight/sexuality/ethnicity or whatever.

I've definitely got some abuse for stuff I've wore - I'm a straight guy and my hair, general clothes etc. are pretty straight and boring, but I've had plenty of stuff like wearing a paisley tie at a music festival and having a guy behind me tap my shoulder and say "that tie isn't doing you any favours with the ladies, if you're into ladies, that is". As a 6ft guy it doesn't bother me in the slightest, but men definitely police men, just as women police women.

So what color shoes should you wear with a blue suit? They don't generally make blue shoes for men.

The cliché rural thing right now in Ireland, especially for weddings etc., is a blue suit with brown shoes. I give you the 2014 Tipperary hurling team.
posted by kersplunk at 4:18 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


(But, I just realized the fact this black/blue rule can be broken is another sign that men's fashion rules are not only fewer, but also most likely less rigid and breakable than women's fashion rules.)

Well, yeah. Where do women learn all these fashion rules? Wherever it is, men don't have an equivalent source, and are generally discouraged from seeking such information out. A man overly concerned with fashion is very often regarded as effeminate. We mostly don't care too much about fashion rules because we're not allowed to. It's just as well, because our choices are extremely limited anyway. Go ahead and shop in the men's department. Add a whole five things to your wealth of choices.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:19 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Evan Rachel Wood is in a pantsuit at the Golden Globes tonight, and explained to Ryan Seacrest that she did it because she usually wears dresses and wanted to show all the little girls out there that they didn't have to wear a dress! Video.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:22 PM on January 8 [28 favorites]


I should actually note that you can (sort of ) blame the French Revolution for the demise of 17thc women's pockets: the post-revolutionary high-waisted styles aimed for a slim, columnar look, and thus required a reticule. When skirts started getting fuller again in the 1820s, nobody bothered to bring pockets back while they were at it.
posted by nonasuch at 4:22 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Count me as another guy plugging away at gender norms from the other side. My pockets are for keeping hands warm on cold days, period. I gave up on 'em in high school and have been using various flavors of messenger bag ever since. I don't see how guys get by without a bag... who wants to walk around with your keys stuffed into a pocket and digging into your thigh? Add wallet, phone, sunglasses, aspirin, notepad and pen... where's it all supposed to go? You either have to go without useful stuff, figure out how to carry it in pockets without breaking anything or visibly bulging at the hips, or you just throw it in a bag and get on with your day.

(That said, if pockets are making the author's and any other women's lives better, cheers and more power to you. Y'all can have my pockets as soon as I figure out how to detach them without my butt hanging out.)
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 4:23 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


Re Hillary's pantsuits: female Senators weren't allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor until 1993.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:23 PM on January 8 [25 favorites]


/williamwallace

A noted skirt-wearer.


One of my favourite pieces of clothing is a utility kilt. Right now I wear it one weekend a year during the weekend Scottish festival. I love the thing. Not only are the pockets it amazing but the it is so comfortable and just makes me feel all badass. It is a skirt you feel like you can do anything in.

Reading this post made me think about why I am not wearing the thing more and also why not try some 'man' clothes. It was a real 'well of course duh' moment for me.
posted by Jalliah at 4:25 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Any formalish jackets I've had have had fake pockets, even on the inside. Why would you put a pocket somewhere that can't be seen, and make it useless?


Were they fake pockets, or just stitched closed? You have to slit the thread on pockets for many flavors of formal menswear (so they don't droop while on the rack)
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 4:28 PM on January 8 [19 favorites]


Well, yeah. Where do women learn all these fashion rules? Wherever it is, men don't have an equivalent source, and are generally discouraged from seeking such information out. A man overly concerned with fashion is very often regarded as effeminate. We mostly don't care too much about fashion rules because we're not allowed to. It's just as well, because our choices are extremely limited anyway. Go ahead and shop in the men's department. Add a whole five things to your wealth of choices.

I'm not sure if you're older than me, but that's not my experience at all. Most of my immediate circle of male friends know basic stuff about color matching, and several of them have a few sources of men's fashion guidance - Reddit is unfortunately popular. In general, the people I know take some amount of pride in being able to dress competently to general fashion rules. Some of them don't care about fashion, but nobody gives the guys who do much grief. Men's fashion blogs are very, very easy to find, and (once again, thanks to the Internet) there are tons of choices for either lazy or fashionable menswear.

I agreed with the analysis in the FPP, in terms of streetwear and business/formalwear, you get a lot of freedom to either dress up or down as a man.
posted by codacorolla at 4:29 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Where do women learn all these fashion rules?

In almost every piece of media women might be expected to glance at, frequently couched in "Fashion Crimes," "Do's/Don'ts" or "Get a Load of what that Stupid Cow is Wearing God Wouldn't You Just Die" context.
posted by bibliowench at 4:29 PM on January 8 [19 favorites]


It's just as well, because our choices are extremely limited anyway. Go ahead and shop in the men's department

That's another point. I can't remember what America was like because I mostly went to European shops when I lived there, but if you go to somewhere like H&M, the women's department is three times bigger than the men's. It'll usually be two story, with one floor women's and the other shared between men's, children's, and women's shoes and accessories. And there's way more uniformity in the men's department, even between different companies. It's like they have a secret meeting and decide "for the following 12 months, men shall be permitted to buy t-shirts in the following colours".

I think there's pressure on men to act like they got dressed essentially by accident, without any conscious choice at all. Our clothing choices are narrower and more utilitarian. Pockets tho. Pockets are great.
posted by kersplunk at 4:29 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Goddamit no if women are going to colonize male clothing as well then I have no choice but to escalate the masculinity of my own garments which is why I'm dressed in a bearskin, mud, and a pouch bandolier
posted by um at 4:30 PM on January 8 [23 favorites]


"I know this is besides the point but as a UK person every time I read the words "fanny pack" I die a little inside."

billiebee, a linguistically adept friend of mine once dubbed it a scrote tote, it being a thing mostly worn by men.
posted by kaymac at 4:31 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


I...don't know what to do with that
posted by billiebee at 4:34 PM on January 8 [18 favorites]


Back when I was going to a lot of Phish shows (shut up), it actually wasn't all that unusual to see men in long, flowing skirts, and the occasional utility kilt. My husband wears both around the house during the summer as a result of being around that subculture for years. But he always changes to shorts before going out amongst the normals. The patriarchy hurts everyone.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:36 PM on January 8 [13 favorites]


For jeans, I ended up just buying a few that fit comfortably and my mom kindly sewed some extensions for me. FYI American Eagle Vintage High Rise jean pockets fit my Galaxy Prime phone pretty well.

For dresses, eshakti.com puts pockets by default on almost everything and they are actually functional. The styles are all rather similar but it's great for people whose bodies are rather outside "normal" proportions.
posted by Willow Jane at 4:36 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


And there's way more uniformity in the men's department, even between different companies. It's like they have a secret meeting and decide "for the following 12 months, men shall be permitted to buy t-shirts in the following colours".


This absolutely happens in fashion, and the whole point is to make it so that the people who follow fashion trends can all trend together, trendingly. Accessories match clothing, shoes match clothing - it's how the fashion industry works, all of a sudden everyone is into coral.

https://www.quora.com/How-are-the-in-colors-selected-by-fashion-designers-each-season
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 4:37 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


My diary going the other direction:

Day 1: Dear lord why is everyone staring at me like I'm a deviant. This is terrifying. But omg skirts. Long swishy skirts. Why aren't I allowed to wear these. WHY ARE THEY STILL STARING AT ME? Am I really such a disgusting failure as a human, or am I seeing things out of sheer terror?

Repeat forever.
posted by ceci n'est pas une sockpuppet at 4:43 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Were they fake pockets, or just stitched closed? You have to slit the thread on pockets for many flavors of formal menswear (so they don't droop while on the rack)

Apologies, I've checked my two suit jackets and they both have functioning inside pockets, although the outside pockets seem to be completely fake - I can't feel any pocket sized material bumps. I got mixed up with my coat, where the inside pocket is similarly off-limits, although that does seem to have a pocket I could cut open if needed.
posted by kersplunk at 4:58 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Thank you for pointing to this piece!

For the sake of comparison, here is a blog post about Umberto Eco's 1976 essay on what clothes can do to the mind.

Sample:
But the problem of my jeans led me to other observations. Not only did the garment impose a demeanor on me; by focusing my attention on demeanor, it obliged me to live towards the exterior world…I thought about the relationship between me and my pants, and the relationship between my pants and me and the society we lived in. I had achieved heteroconsciousness, that is to say, an epidermic self-awareness.
posted by Caxton1476 at 5:01 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


I wore men's clothing for several years, from my late teens into my mid-twenties. I can confirm that it is are more comfortable, practical, and durable than women's clothing (pockets! machine wash! tumble dry! NO-IRON FABRIC!). For years the only time I carried a bag were those times I wanted a book and/or a water bottle. I gave them up gradually once I started working office jobs. My body shape (short, small-boned, but busty and hippy relative to my stature) swam and bulged in awkward places, making me look less like a professional and more like a kid who had raided her dad's closet. I also got sick of shopping for pants -- boys' sizes were the right length but never wide enough in the hips, and men's sizes were too long and gapped weirdly at the waist (I feel you, ArbitraryandCapricious). However, I never gave up men's ("unisex") t-shirts, sweaters/hoodies, and pajamas, still like throwing an open button-down on over a t-shirt and jeans, and still carry a men's wallet (which can be persuaded to fit into some women's jeans' front pockets).

My search for a women's coat or jacket with an inside pocket that can accommodate my smartphone continues, and my corresponding bitterness grows apace.

mrgrimm: Women can wear men's suits without *too* much fuss. A man in a dress and heels ... seems harder to pull off.

The source is lost to memory, but I remember reading something (maybe in college?) suggesting that women tend to be penalized less than men for doing this because it scans as an attempt to appropriate privilege, and that men embracing women's clothing scans as relinquishing it. The piece went on to suggest that a patriarchal culture would be more freaked out by the latter and that different expressions of transphobia map to whether someone is perceived as trying to appropriate a privilege previously unavailable to them or relinquish one they possessed by default.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 5:01 PM on January 8 [36 favorites]


As a thirty-ish male, I should note that this very comment thread is the first time I've ever encountered the concept of a "fashion rule."

I think it's safe to say that fashion rules don't exist for men, at least in ones in my situation.

(In fact, my first thought upon going through these comments was, "Wait, how does one wear clothes wrong? Inside out? Does pairing black and navy signify you're in a cult or something?")


No disrespect intended at all, but ... you're a computer programmer. Your experience is not universal.

I'm reminded of the time last April I went into court to argue a motions hearing for a suit on which I was the plaintiff's attorney, and the very first thing the judge did was spend about two full minutes insulting me for how I was dressed. He refused to tell me what I had done wrong, saying only that it was insulting and disrespectful and that if I showed up in his court again dressed like that he wouldn't even let me sit as counsel. I was dressed in a full suit and tie, clean and in good repair, as best as I was able, but apparently there were unspoken rules I was unknowingly violating. It was confusing and humiliating and infuriating and to this day I don't know what he was talking about.

There are rules, they are impossibly strict, they are rigidly enforced, and what they actually are is a fiercely guarded secret that I am not in on.

We were thrown out of court on a procedural technicality, for an insufficient affidavit in the response to interrogatories. I'm not convinced we had a chance from the moment we sat down.
posted by kafziel at 5:21 PM on January 8 [25 favorites]


mrgrimm, I am so sorry you get any shit whatsoever for wearing what you want in Berkeley and the greater Bay Area. I can say that every time I, white cis female oldster, spot a seemingly male person wearing a skirt or dress it makes my heart leap with joy. Once I saw a male-presenting person wearing a super loud long velvety skirt near the Ashby station and it made me happy all day long.

OP, thanks so much for posting! On my way home from an outing today I stopped at Ross specifically to see if there were any cheap ass men's suits that might fit me. Nope. But there's a Goodwill nearby and I used to wear guy's clothes so I'll visit there soon. I loved the piece partly because of that jolt of recognition--yes, why the hell HAVE I allowed myself to be steered into the gal's clothing section the past many years?

I'm not especially girlie, and I choose clothes for comfort--but that's not the point. The point is that I head to the women's section like I'm obligated to find my clothing there. When, in fact (not least because of my AA bust), I can probably find stuff in the men's or boys' departments as well.

Once I shared a public bathroom visit with a drag queen and wondered why she got off on wearing stuff (like a girdle, cause I'm old, and high heels) that I was avoiding with every fiber of my being. And now here I am happily, happily contemplating finding ties I might want to wear even though all the guys I know hate them. And that's fine. I'm not asking them to wear a tie. I'm considering what I truly want to wear and that feels both lovely and long overdue.
posted by Bella Donna at 5:23 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Yeah, the reason for the asymmetry in acceptability is the asymmetry in power relations between men and women, for sure. I would also suspect that even for women, the ability to pull this off without (more than usual) harassment probably decreases if you are not conventionally attractive.

Having said that: in my experience suit jacket pockets are not fake, no matter inside or outside, but they are tacked closed when you buy them. The theory is that if you go stuffing them with things it spoils the line and causes sagging. I always unpick the tacking because I do want to use my jacket pockets from time to time.

However I do dislike the way wallets and phones disrupt the line in trousers, and so I have started using a man-bag, which let's face it is just a handbag except god forbid men should adopt a thing women use without endangering fragile masculinity so it has to have man- prefixed to it.

I don't find kilts practical for the office or cycling, so I would not wear one, but they are fantastic in other contexts. I have friends who wear them in the bush tramping. Warm, breathes, freedom of movement.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:27 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I used to wear a thrift store men's overcoat and was ASTONISHED to find a handy little finished slit at the top of the pockets that allowed me to reach the pockets in my skirt or trousers underneath without taking off the overcoat. Now, any coat without this feature is defective in my mind, despite the fact that I have only owned one women's overcoat with it (Brooks Brothers. Duh, I guess)
posted by janey47 at 5:27 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


women tend to be penalized less than men for doing this,

Women were penalized to every extreme you can imagine and the only reason we are not persecuted for cross-dressing now as much as we used to be is because women did it anyway and kept on doing it and taking the consequences until we stopped being thrown in jail for it.

Men are free to take the same great risk of violence and social exclusion that women did, if they care to do so in service of expanding their freedom of dress. It wasn't easy for us, but I would speculate that it seems harder for men because men don't expect simple things like wearing clothes to be hard for them. although menswear isn't simple! but you never notice the complexity of what you're used to I guess.

( my god this idea that men's style rules are simpler and/or men don't know anything about dressing themselves and/or men don't need to know how menswear works! Menswear rules are exhaustively documented, satisfyingly historical, and delightfully intricate. sock garters, Windsor knots, dressing to one direction or another, the shape of your shoes going in and out of fashion every couple of years, the width of LAPELS for christ's sake - I am thank god one of those women who never wears men's clothes because the exact moment I purchase an item from the men's department, it becomes women's clothing because I'm a woman and it belongs to me. this is lucky for me because men's clothing rules are HARD and I am not meticulous enough to get them right enough of the time. I know enough not to wear a bow tie or pleated pants, I am not a barbarian, but the restricted palette and repertoire of shapes means that men's clothes at the middle and high end are both a lot more expensive and a lot more complicated than anything I have to deal with from the women's department.

men are used and educated to this sort of thing so they can handle a level of detail and refinement in their dress that would give me a panic attack to try to coordinate.)
posted by queenofbithynia at 5:29 PM on January 8 [39 favorites]


My father once observed (paraphrasing): "If aliens were to arrive on Earth in the middle of the night in awell-stocked but deserted department store, they would surmise that 3/4 of the population of the Earth is female"
posted by jeff-o-matic at 5:29 PM on January 8


And also patterns and colour and texture in mens suiting do too exist, even now: Prince of Wales check, herringbone, pale linen. Odd jackets go further with tweed and plaid and houndstooth and so on.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:30 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


As an aside, since it's been mentioned in the thread: the biggest complaint men make, is about ties, and how they are uncomfortable, and tight, and not fun to wear. It's not your tie, it's your shirt. Buy a shirt that fits a bit big at the neck when you do up the first button, fit your tie to the shirt, don't try to wring your neck with it, and you won't even notice you're wearing a tie. (size 16.5 neck here btw).
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 5:39 PM on January 8 [18 favorites]


Is that how men find out what they're wearing is wrong?

Wrong? We got the clothes in a store. They can't be wrong.


I (late 20s male) haven't quite figured out what to do at weddings when I see distance acquaintances wearing their suits with the temporary stitching still in the vents.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 5:48 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


As somebody who's been taking small steps in the opposite direction, I have been ranting about the inadequate pockets in clothing marketed to women.* I have experienced the real thing! I know what I'm missing!

I mean, I like purses, but they serve a slightly different function. Or ought to.

* (Among the subset of genderqueer-friendly people in my circle of friends to whom I can safely rant about such things.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 5:50 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's time to make my carpentry belt more functional.

I have indeed seen designer waist pouches directly inspired by carpentry belts, just done up in finer materials/stitching and $0.20 metal embossments that lets it sell for $300.


The google-able term for a fae, glammed-up utility belt is "festival belt." When I was doing bench science, I got a canvas one for use on the days when I didn't have pockets. It worked wonderfully, and it looked pretty decent. And you can get one for well under $300.00, especially if you don't insist on doeskin or the like.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:55 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Men are free to take the same great risk of violence and social exclusion that women did, if they care to do so in service of expanding their freedom of dress. It wasn't easy for us, but I would speculate that it seems harder for men because men don't expect simple things like wearing clothes to be hard for them

As a transfeminine person I can promise you that absolutely doesn't sound transmisogynistic at all and I am very much enjoying exercising my freedom to choose to be viewed with disgust by my fellow humans and have my terror mocked. Thanks!
posted by ceci n'est pas une sockpuppet at 5:56 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


women tend to be penalized less than men for doing this,

lol there is literally nothing on earth for which this is true
posted by poffin boffin at 6:03 PM on January 8 [24 favorites]


When I was doing bench science

We have so much more to learn about benches
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 6:03 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


Hey folks, can we all (like all, this is not directed to any one single individual) skip the gender-war derail among fellow MeFites and stick to the gender-based clothing wars? More on target, less hurtful IMHO. Thank you!
posted by Bella Donna at 6:06 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


women tend to be penalized less than men for doing this

You're right, queenofbithynia and poffinboffin, and I apologize for the error. I guess I had the comparative privilege of coming of age in a time when a boy who tried to wear women's clothing seemed to run a greater risk of being physically attacked; although I absorbed some verbal abuse for it I tended to feel safer from actual physical assault in men's clothing than women's, but I shouldn't have generalized my experience to everyone.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 6:09 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Re: that little pocket on jeans, that's where I stick my wedding band when working with my hands.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:09 PM on January 8


Where do women learn all these fashion rules?

In almost every piece of media women might be expected to glance at, frequently couched in "Fashion Crimes," "Do's/Don'ts" or "Get a Load of what that Stupid Cow is Wearing God Wouldn't You Just Die" context.


And of course "who wore it better" columns-because it's not enough to wear it well, there's always got to be a media driven competition.
posted by beaning at 6:22 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Finding navy shoes that match any other navy thing I own is impossible, so I have always paired navy with either black or brown shoes. Which are the only colors of shoes I own. If I wanted to rock those late-80s metallic shoes, I guess those would also work.

But seriously, put black or brown or tan with your navy who gives a fuck ya'll it's fine.

Also I have a pair of men's cargo shorts that don't really fit well in the waist but fulfill my need for a million leg pockets. I wear men's t-shirts that aren't a great fit but fill me less full of rage than the tiny rags of transparent cloth called women's t-shirts.

I love winter mostly because my (women's) coat has inside and outside pockets and I can leave my purse at home. Glorious freedom, there.
posted by emjaybee at 6:23 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


It's not only regular women's clothing either - I just bought a new parka, and it appears to have 6 pockets... but what it actually has is 2 fake pocket flaps (with, unbelievably, 2 snap closures each), a lower pair of slit pockets that are too small to fit my hands in if I'm wearing mittens, and a pair of small slit pockets on the chest which are too shallow to trust with my keys. I HAVE TO WEAR A HOODIE UNDER MY PARKA SO I HAVE POCKETS FOR MY KEYS rather than risk losing them on in a snowbank and freezing to death on my front stoop. What a stupid thing it would be to fucking die because somebody thinks women's clothing doesn't need functional pockets.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:27 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


Ever since Ellen Ripley a woman in non-women's clothing has always signalled to me a certain independence of spirit that means they're likely to be a good conversation.

(While it may be true that lesbians have always had a presence in that space that's only a difficulty for having conversations where you hope to mate at the end of it, which is a minority of conversations at least in my circles.)

Women in non-women's clothing are often colourful characters with interesting insights. Often they are brave iconoclasts. It's like wearing a lapel button that says, "Ask me about my non-conformity!" (I'm talking about in socially appropriate circumstances for going up to people to start conversations, like parties, not about an excuse to bother strangers in the street.)

Women in menswear are often nifty. I guess that's my bottom line.

Also: Pockets are important and good. The best thing about winter is my parka. I could carry a grand piano and a small animal and it would all fit in my parka's pockets. Everyone should have access to pockets. Pockets are dignity, man.
posted by Construction Concern at 6:29 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]



I love winter mostly because my (women's) coat has inside and outside pockets and I can leave my purse at home. Glorious freedom, there.

Me too, for this exact reason. I find that carrying a bag or purse adds stress to my day because I have to keep track or it as well of track of what I put in it. I also have a generalized worry about things falling out. Having things I need in pockets is just way less stressful for me.
posted by Jalliah at 6:30 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Last year I was on the train platform at about 5am by myself. There were some other people on the platform down toward the other end, and one of them had kind of glared and mumbled at me as I came up the stairs. He started toward me and his girlfriend started yelling, "That's a DUDE, don't bother him, that's a DUDE". Like, when I was read as a butch woman that guy wanted to harass me or beat me up, but he was persuaded that I was a man and decided to leave me alone. It was actually pretty scary and has made me really nervous on the platform since.

I think that there's lots of social violence dished out toward anyone who is even slightly gender-non-conforming, but I think it's also pretty clear that the social violence intensifies the more you challenge norms. I mean, statistically speaking trans women face a lot more violence than trans men - that's pure fact. I would be astonished if femme cis men didn't face a lot of very similar violence, presumably modulated by facing less employment and housing discrimination.

I have lived my entire life as an AFAB person who does not look womanly or feminine, and probably about 1/3 of my life now (taken in as separate blocks) has been spent dressing and cutting my hair in visibly masculine/queer/etc ways. I've had some scary and unpleasant encounters with people. I encounter small and sometimes large acts of discrimination and hostility regularly - very regularly, in fact. I am never, except in queer spaces, not conscious that most people think I look weird and unnatural (despite my extremely dapper and sharply dressed stylings, people. I mean, my shoe wardrobe alone!). But I would say that I have rarely felt physically unsafe. My trans women friends mostly really hate riding the bus because they get harassed a lot. When I ride the bus, I feel like people think I'm a weirdo but I expect them to keep quiet about it - that's the difference.

So I do want to say that I totally support cis women (and women of any gender identity) wearing men's clothes, and I do recognize that there are varying degrees of social costs, I myself have observed that it is very true that there's a lot more street-level, scary social sanction placed on men and AMAB people wearing feminine/women's/etc clothes.
posted by Frowner at 6:31 PM on January 8 [64 favorites]


Thank you Frowner
posted by ceci n'est pas une sockpuppet at 6:33 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


When I was a design major I got told that women were too small sized for pockets. I remember having to put tiny (like, hand didn't fit in) pockets into a jacket I was designing because I was supposedly too small to have the room for pockets.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:33 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I just want to say that, as a certified female person, I don't care about "fashion rules" at all. I wear what's comfortable for me and you can pry my pockets from my cold, dead--ha! You can't even get to my hands, because pockets.

Checkmate, fashion police.
posted by byanyothername at 6:36 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Hmm, checks are out right now, could it possibly be some form of plaidmate?
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 6:39 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I want to know more about this Yonic Knot she learned for her neckties.. it's proving difficult to Google and I love a good necktie.
posted by ApathyGirl at 6:49 PM on January 8


There are plenty of rules when it comes to men's suiting, but most of them are only followed by the English. I'd guess that this knowledge was probably passed on mostly from father to son or in some kind of older male relative to younger male relative kind of way, and as an entire generation stopped wearing suits for work the knowledge and the standards based around this knowledge slowly faded away.

For instance, you don't wear brown shoes with navy suits generally because "no brown in town" (you can search this phrase in google and it brings up forums on men's suit and not racism, trust me), ie you save brown shoes for the countryside. The absolutely proper color for a navy suit would be burgundy, or if you prefer the more masculine nomenclature, oxblood. Since nobody owns oxblood shoes anymore, things probably just adjusted themselves to make it so that black was now okay with a navy suit.

A couple of other rules on men's suits that people are no longer aware of:
* Bottom button of jackets and waistcoats are always unbuttoned, unless the jacket only has a single button
* Jacket buttons are always unfastened when sitting down
* Tie color should be darker than shirt color
* Pocket square shouldn't match the tie

There are plenty of other rules that nobody pays attention to anymore, like no derbies with suits, but your eyes have probably already glazed over and I should stop for the sake of politeness.
posted by C^3 at 6:51 PM on January 8 [25 favorites]


Evan Rachel Wood wore a tux and Octavia Spencer wore a pants suit to the Golden Globes and it's NEWS. /eyeroll (And neither made US's top 10 best-dressed.)

I haven't worn a skirt since college and since I live in California and work at a non-profit ( a well-heeled one, but still), I don't anticipate ever having to again. Once in a while I find I have Too Many Pockets Where Is My Phone, but I will pay that price.
posted by rtha at 6:55 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


You could always try a holster with some extra storage instead of the purse or pockets.
posted by humanfont at 7:11 PM on January 8


wearing a paisley tie at a music festival and having a guy behind me tap my shoulder and say "that tie isn't doing you any favours with the ladies, if you're into ladies, that is"

*sigh* People!

If I'd have been standing next to you, and I'd have heard that, I would have probably told the guy he was so full of shit.

Wear what you want to wear. Wear it with pockets, HARD!
posted by BlueHorse at 7:12 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I read a detailed report, when I was still living in Sweden, about the fact that retailers design clothing made for infants differently depending on if they are seen as male or female--even though babies (who vary in size, naturally) have the same frigging body shape for several years.

It wasn't possible for me to find that old and original reporting. But I did find an article about it, in Swedish, that shows in the photos how a size 92 tee is noticeably smaller and tighter for a baby girl than the same size tee for a baby boy. (Scroll way down to see the girl's top laying on top of the larger boy's top.)

And that's not even mentioning the ruffle shit and other nonsense that is added to baby girl clothes, or the tedious grim insistence on a dull, limited palette of colours and patterns for baby boys. I currently have a young grandson and am about to get a baby granddaughter and it enrages me to go shopping for them. A onesie for a 6 month old baby girl at a local big box store had the motto, "You make me happy" and I told a first date how ridiculous it is that we start training girls from birth to do emotional labor even on their fucking too small and too tight and too sexy onesies! (He said, "What's wrong with that slogan?" and I explained it to him and then didn't see him again.)

Then I go see some younger friends who asked for pink baby clothes for their two boys who are now 9 and 11. And I see their sons in long hair (because that's what they want) and at least one of them wearing hot pink velour leggings (because they get to wear whatever the hell they want) and a tie-dyed tee and the other one is wearing something that does not have a camo pattern or trucks on it. And the kids in this single family give me hope that one day children of all genders and shapes and sizes will stop being forced into itchy, too tight, too big, too lumpy, too whatever, uncomfortable, ugly, stereotypical, gendered, stupid clothing hell.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:14 PM on January 8 [25 favorites]


> "When I was a design major I got told that women were too small sized for pockets."

But clothes for young boys of course get pockets because mumble mumble smokebomb LOOK OVER THERE!
posted by kyrademon at 7:22 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


I envy professional menswear mostly because it seems so practical and comfortable and often warmer than women's wear (my office is freezing). I try wearing button-front shirts and slacks to work but I guess because I'm long-waisted and my pants are slightly lower than my actual waist it just feels off and my belt is at my least-flattering, widest part. I love button-fronts but can't deny that on me they go best with skirts.
posted by bunderful at 7:27 PM on January 8


Pockets: I judge my male friends second and third wives by whether they have pockets in their wedding dresses. If they do, they will stick around. If they do not- it lasts about 2 years and half the community property.

Man pants for ladies- I used to shop at the Antique Boutique in New York back in the 80's 90's- the fatgirl man pants I wore with a cami and boots never failed to attract gender non specific sexual attention (everyone tried to have sex with me :).

But isn't everyone always in drag in some way? We dress for the occasion. Otherwise we would all be wearing jammies and hoodies at all times.
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 7:27 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Women in menswear are often nifty. I guess that's my bottom line.

While it's fascinating that you think you can judge women's conversational skills by their clothing, and very open-minded of you to not care that women you converse with might be lesbians, you may have overestimated the extent to which anyone cares if you personally find women in menswear more interesting than women in more traditionally feminine garments.
posted by misfish at 7:28 PM on January 8 [25 favorites]


Match your belt to your shoes. Another menswear rule that nobody pays attention to, and it drives me crazy. (not that long a drive tho)

You can echo the colors in the tie with your socks if you want to be cute, but best practice is to make the socks the same color as the pants-- an extension of the pants.

For me the pockets are basically symbolic, because no matter what pants I wear, I can't fit an iphone comfortably into any pocket (it's either poking me in the bend of my hip or I'm sitting on it awkwardly like I'm going to smush it) and all my other pocket litter is constantly trying to make a desperate bid for freedom (sliding out the back of the hip pockets, or riding upwards from the back pockets as I walk.) So either I'm not shaped like a normal human, or there's something about pants fit I have yet to address. Thus far I've solved this with bags, but I'd love to not do that if there's an easy pockets fix that isn't cargo pants.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:29 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I somehow wound up with an infant onesie for my son that said "Brave like Daddy." :-|

Meanwhile, in actual reality, the person who had terrifying emergency surgery to actually birth this baby and then endured weeks of pain so bad it made me sob every time the baby needed to eat was decidedly not Daddy.

Fuck that onesie. I threw it out.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:31 PM on January 8 [76 favorites]


I want a pocket square. Should it match anything apart from not matching my thus-far imaginary tie?

Otherwise we would all be wearing jammies and hoodies at all times.

For me, that is the clothing Golden Mean I aspire to but rarely attain. YMMV.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:31 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


a crisp shirt. or t shirt if its not too faded, a good belt w a lil flair, well made cowboy boots (Im Texan) and jeans....un starched but good fitting....and I am good.
posted by shockingbluamp at 7:40 PM on January 8


After the tie rule, there isn't anything else that would be considered a true rule when it comes to pocket squares. The rest would be more subjective stuff, like probably pairing something a bit more plain with a louder jacket. The shirt-matching rule stated above I've heard, but I haven't seen anyone put it into practice outside of the standard white shirt and white square combo.
posted by C^3 at 7:45 PM on January 8


Problems that effect only people who wear women's clothes tend to not be treated as a priority.

It's not a problem in the eyes of millions of women. The fact is that women buy the clothes that they want to buy; this author bought the clothes that she wanted; we all buy the clothes that we want. The reason that most women's clothes don't have pockets is because most women don't buy clothes with pockets because pockets don't go with the form-fitting aesthetic that has been in fashion.

Fashion is linked to the desires of others — obviously. If people dress in garbage bags, or wear their underwear as an ineffective hat, there are societal forces arrayed against them. That is the conservative force of fashion. We all live conscious of society's reaction to us.

But fashion is also liberal: it gravitates to new ideas. Fashion wants innovation and the individual wants the freedom to express himself or herself. There exists skirts with pockets, dresses with pockets, ladies' pants with pockets. They are not popular today. They may be popular one day. We all live conscious of our own aesthetic and comfort.

This is not an issue about "the patriarchy" repressing the desire of women everywhere to wear "men's clothes". This is an issue about a few people who probably should give "men's clothes" a go. Make the most of your freedom, by all means. Ignore the strange looks. You are an innovator. Be the change you want to see in the world. Maybe it will catch on, and in the mean time, you'll be comfortable along with people in ultra-baggy clothes, and leisure suits, and sweats…
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 7:49 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Women's pockets are an interesting question and a much more complex reality. I sew a LOT of patterns for women's clothes from the mid-50's through the early 70's and they almost always have pockets in them. Less often in the 70's. more often in the 50's.

Patch pockets, in-seam pockets, waistband pockets, breast pockets. Pockets Pockets Pockets. Except in the pants, but I hate pants with a firey passion, so I have very few patterns for pants.

I don't have any sort of theory, whether feminist or fashionist, societal or otherwise. And I can't compare the pocket situation between store-bought and home-sewn clothes because I only have the patterns, not gobs of department store clothes from the same years. But the idea that you can't fit pockets in the patterns of women's clothes is plain silly and the notion that you can't get a seam on a women's garment to lay straight with a pocket in it is also silly. I'm a pretty half-assed seamstress and I can manage it.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:52 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


I think store-bought clothes don't have pockets in part because manufacturers are looking for a step they can skip to make items more cheaply. Like how wedding dresses never have sleeves any more-- it shaves down the overall cost of the garment, increasing profit margin.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:56 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


Pockets: I judge my male friends second and third wives by whether they have pockets in their wedding dresses. If they do, they will stick around. If they do not- it lasts about 2 years and half the community property.

That's objectively terrible. You just sit there and judge other men's wives? Feh.
posted by mochapickle at 7:57 PM on January 8 [17 favorites]


It's not a problem in the eyes of millions of women.

It obviously is a problem in the eyes of millions of women. Complaining about the lack of pockets in women's clothing is a very common discussion among women.
posted by lazuli at 8:00 PM on January 8 [38 favorites]


Is that how men find out what they're wearing is wrong?

No, men have to find this out from their overbearing fathers.
posted by eustatic at 8:01 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Those have never come back - I suppose the thrift store ones went to landfill

My mom used to make quilts out of them. She'd undo all the stitching and then sew them together into big rings. At that point, us kids would take them and put them on like Can-Can skirts and dance around like dervishes before she took them back and quilted them together.

When I was a young beanpole I wore a lot of menswear. Now that there's a bit more of me around the hip area the trousers don't fit as well. I suppose I could wear suspenders; that might actually be fun. I could snap them and talk like an old-timey barkeep.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:01 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


A lot of my wardrobe is from Goodwill, and it's harder to insist on pockets. I have several small purses that I wear with the strap cross-body, for my phone and keys.

Men's clothing is constructed so it can be let out and taken in. The pants are easy to hem. Men's fashion doesn't change as fast, so men can buy a decent suit, get a lot of wear out of it, have it altered as their weight changes.

It always seems so odd to see a room full of men in suits and women in lightweight dresses. No way everyone can be comfortable in that scenario.

We are treated as different species when we are really not so different within our wild diversity.
posted by theora55 at 8:05 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


It's not a problem in the eyes of millions of women.

It obviously is a problem in the eyes of millions of women. Complaining about the lack of pockets in women's clothing is a very common discussion among women.


It may be — just as complaining about wool suits at summer weddings is a common conversation for men. And yet people continue to vote with their dollars. So, it's not a problem that will ever be addressed by an industry that responds only to selling potential.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 8:05 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I bet the suits vs. flimsy dresses thing explains why so many offices have thermostat wars.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:08 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Glad we have another dude in here to lecture us on the glories of capitalism. Come on, ladies, you're just not bootstrapping your way into pockets!
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:09 PM on January 8 [57 favorites]


But fashion is also liberal: it gravitates to new ideas. Fashion wants innovation and the individual wants the freedom to express himself or herself. There exists skirts with pockets, dresses with pockets, ladies' pants with pockets. They are not popular today. They may be popular one day. We all live conscious of our own aesthetic and comfort.

It's like Ayn Rand married Stanley Tucci in The Devil Wears Prada.
posted by thetortoise at 8:10 PM on January 8 [34 favorites]


So, it's not a problem that will ever be addressed by an industry that responds only to selling potential.

I think it might be a bit more complicated than that. Here's some evidence for you to consider: there are lots and lots of fat women in the world. They wear clothes. Vast swathes of the fashion industry flat out refuse to sell clothes that fit fat women, even though they have money to spend. Why?
posted by misfish at 8:12 PM on January 8 [50 favorites]


So, it's not a problem that will ever be addressed by an industry that responds only to selling potential.

You're talking about an industry where they literally have meetings to determine what the cool colors will be this year, not because we're demanding those colors but because those are the colors they feel like having be the cool colors this year. Fashion is by definition the industry that pushes its ideas on us instead of responding to demand.

eShakti is very popular among people I know despite having very limited styles and fabrics and many of them not precisely comfortable by mass-market clothing standards, just because of the pockets. If everybody started deciding today only on pockets, sure, we'd be seeing pockets tomorrow. But as long as we have any other concerns and we're buying these clothes to wear, not to look at, we're a captive audience. The amount of money I'd have to spend to have choices in this area would quickly leave me with no money for anything else in my life, and they know it.
posted by Sequence at 8:23 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


I wear lots of my husband's clothes, and while pockets are handy, so is my purse. I don't get all the drama about this stuff--I buy thrift store cashmere and very expensive shoes and wear them together. I wear men's suit jackets and women's skirts and sometimes vice versa.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:24 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Hi I'm here to write a patronizing comment essay on a topic I have no first- or second-hand knowledge about.
posted by bleep at 8:29 PM on January 8 [37 favorites]


This is not an issue about "the patriarchy" repressing the desire of women everywhere to wear "men's clothes". This is an issue about a few people who probably should give "men's clothes" a go. Make the most of your freedom, by all means. Ignore the strange looks. You are an innovator. Be the change you want to see in the world. Maybe it will catch on, and in the mean time, you'll be comfortable along with people in ultra-baggy clothes, and leisure suits, and sweats…
There are something like 100 comments in this thread which are quite literally, in the literal sense of 'literally', describing violence and aggression directed towards actual people who actually experienced that violence and aggression because they were wearing the 'wrong' clothes and/or appeared the 'wrong' gender or sexual orientation. TFA describes this violence and aggression actually occurring.

'Ignoring a strange look' is very difficult when the stranger is looking with their fists.

There is absolutely nothing of 'freedom' in clothing. Not fashion, clothing. Everything a human being puts on their body enacts a kind of social display, an outward seeming that is only incidentally about personal satisfaction or pleasure. Even practical, tradesperson's clothing - double-knee work-pants and hi-visibility - enacts a display of identity to the world.

Just because the rules are more arbitrary than skin color or genital conformation doesn't mean that they are not enforced.
posted by prismatic7 at 8:32 PM on January 8 [43 favorites]


I bet the suits vs. flimsy dresses thing explains why so many offices have thermostat wars.

You are indeed correct. A paper (Nature Link, New Yorker Write-up) studied the history behind the standard that sets office building thermostats. Original standards were set with the idea of men wearing bulky, 70s era suits with heavy fabrics. It was then baked into common practice, and never really changed or questioned. As offices diversified, and clothing styles changed, our thermostats largely remained in place. The paper argues that reconsidering this standard, and thinking about changing how we dress, could not only create more comfortable and equitable workplaces, but also reduce carbon emissions from office buildings considerably.
posted by codacorolla at 8:38 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


It's not a problem in the eyes of millions of women. The fact is that women buy the clothes that they want to buy; this author bought the clothes that she wanted; we all buy the clothes that we want.

It's a problem for me and every woman I know who wears woman's clothing, but there are lots of reasons to continue to shop in the women's department regardless of how well the selection squares with our preferences. Just off the top of my head:

-- making your own clothing is not always a viable or desirable option
-- bespoke options are not affordable
-- men's clothing can be difficult to fit in a way that's comfortable and or professional-looking

Just because someone buys and wears fitted, flimsy, high-maintenance women's clothing doesn't mean they're happy about it.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 8:41 PM on January 8 [32 favorites]


Navy and black is typically considered a fashion don't.

One can get designer clothes in which the very same garment contains both navy and black, though.
posted by kenko at 8:47 PM on January 8


One can get designer clothes in which the very same garment contains both navy and black, though.
I think you'll find that it's white and gold.
posted by prismatic7 at 8:49 PM on January 8 [52 favorites]


I don't want to take away from the experiences of non-gender-conforming people, because those are really important. Telling us we can just choose to flout gender and fashion norms ignores all of the consequences (from the subtle to the violent) that people face for doing so.

But there's something else weird about the "it's just capitalism" comment, which is the assumption that if you want to wear fashionable, feminine clothing, you can't criticize what the rules for fashionable, feminine clothing currently are.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:49 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


> Ignore the strange looks.

I have literally (like, literally literally) been chased aaaaalllll the way down the escalator at the Dupont Circle Metro in DC because me and the also insufficiently femininely attired friend I was with offended the sensibility of a dude SO MUCH that he yes chased us all the way down the escalator - it is a very long escalator - screaming about how HE WOULD SHOW US HOW TO BE A MAN YOU WANNA BE A MAN, BITCH.

If only strange looks were the worst of it.

I live in San Francisco now, and I am 50, and I have no fucks to give, and there are enough other gender-non-conforming people here that it's just easier to all-around blend in. But the gay bashers still love to come to the Castro to bash people they think don't sufficiently conform to their perceived gender, so there's still always that risk.

Also, you might want to think about your market model. If 90% of what's available is pocketless, then chances are most women are going to take the path of least resistance and buy the pocketless stuff even if we would prefer women's clothing with pockets. It's hard to buy shit that is hard to buy, you know?
posted by rtha at 8:51 PM on January 8 [59 favorites]


If we're talking about pocket-belts and attachable pockets I feel like you all should know that:

You can walk into any restaurant supply store and get a half apron that ties around your waist to give you three pockets, made for people waiting tables. Walmart might have them too. Obviously not suitable for a lot of occasions, but they have the virtue of being plain black canvas, washable and impossible to break.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 8:57 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


Looking for sweatpants once and finding nothing but cheap, weirdly cut ones in the women's department, I strode into the men's section. Their sweatpants! Thicker, a bolder cut, pockets (that zipped), infinitely sturdier quality. Sweatpants designed to be comfy and warm, not to make me look as slim as possible. The pair I got has far outlasted actual "sturdy" women's jeans I've owned. Come on, that's ridiculous.

I'm convinced. Anyone have recommendations for buying menswear for the shorter-and-curvier-of-center set?
posted by Emily's Fist at 8:58 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


There will come a day when all of the people in the world realize that all a body really needs in the way of coverings, regardless of social milieu, is a T shirt (two on a cold day), cargo shorts and (optionally) socks and boots.

On that day I shall be hailed as a fashion visionary.
posted by flabdablet at 9:03 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Jumpsuits for everybody!
posted by peripathetic at 9:16 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]



Jumpsuits for everybody!


I like wearing a jumpsuit and find them quite comfortable. They're great except for the going to the bathroom part. Having to remove top to get to the bottom is annoying.
posted by Jalliah at 9:26 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


There will come a day when all of the people in the world realize that all a body really needs in the way of coverings, regardless of social milieu, is a T shirt (two on a cold day), cargo shorts and (optionally) socks and boots.

Okay, I'm all for socially relaxing these standards, but now you want some of us to freeze to death!

I had to go put on another sweater just thinking about this.
posted by Sequence at 10:03 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


I'm convinced. Anyone have recommendations for buying menswear for the shorter-and-curvier-of-center set?

I have nothing to offer for professional or formal wear, but for casual stuff: Old Navy and and sometimes Levi's bootcuts fit over my hips without being too snug or gapping. You might need to hem them. For dress shirts Arrow makes button-downs of a softish and I think wrinkle-resistant fabric that button over my boobs without gapping but are also really comfortable just over a t-shirt. If you're short, also explore boys' departments -- my two favorite hoodies are boys' large (12-14) from Target.

Finally, a protip: Avoid department stores, because if you want to try on a bunch of stuff from the men's department you will still need to haul it over to the women's department for fitting room access. Shop at places like the Gap, Old Navy, and Uniqlo, which have one set of unisex fitting rooms and (at least in my experience) the employees don't really care how gender-conforming your selections are.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 10:10 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


I'm a transwoman and I guess I maybe vaguely miss pockets sometimes? Maybe? I mean really if I'm going out of the house I'll just grab my purse, which contains all the Basic Survival Items of wallet, keys, kleenex*, phone, nail file, phone battery, bus card (located such that I can just bash the purse against the reader), collapsible shopping bag, and a couple other lightweight things. If I'm not swapping to a different purse than the last one I used it's just one thing to pick up and go versus cramming multiple pockets with stuff. My favorite bag is just big enough to carry the laptop along with those other basics.

I kinda miss them when I want to go out to the store for one quick thing and really only need phone and keys and shopping bag but that's what the tiny bag that's basically a fat wallet is for. Or the pockets of my coat in winter.

I dunno, I quit wearing men's jeans something like twenty years ago, maybe I just can't remember the glory of pockets. But if they make you happy then by all means enjoy your pockets.

* i'm allergic to the world, trust me those are a requirement
posted by egypturnash at 10:10 PM on January 8


Jumpsuits for everybody!

Speedsuit!
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:12 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


The fact is that women buy the clothes that they want to buy

Even if you want to go down that revealed preference route, it doesn't tell you that women buy the clothes they want to buy. It tells you that women judge the utility from one bundle of clothes *and* the lottery over consequences for wearing those clothes, compared to some other bundle of clothes and the consequences lottery for wearing those clothes, and choose the bundle of clothes and consequences with the higher utility. But you can reasonably expect that for most people this will be driven more by the consequences than fashion preferences because most people have stronger preferences for "not being fired" and "not being beaten" than they do for "wearing clothes I prefer."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:14 PM on January 8 [27 favorites]


Also this isn't just about pockets it's that mens clothing offers a lot more in terms of utility & comfort that womens clothes just don't bother with for the most part and they just do whatever they want and get away with it because we're a captive audience.
posted by bleep at 10:33 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


Vast swathes of the fashion industry flat out refuse to sell clothes that fit fat women, even though they have money to spend. Why?

Because you're already shopping somewhere else and they don't want to compete for that part of the market. This is the bane of all people who aren't shaped like the average person in a given area. Custom clothing is expensive, and well-fitting clothing off the shelf is time-consuming to find and expensive.

You're talking about an industry where they literally have meetings to determine what the cool colors will be this year,

This is cartoonish. One of my best friends is a women's fashion buyer. That means that she decides what goes into the stores. There is no conspiratorial meeting to decide the cool colors. She tries to figure out what will sell. If she buys things that don't sell, she gets fired. It's as simple as that. Fashion is hugely competitive with large turnover and tiny margins.

(And honestly, if you're being assaulted over your clothing then this is not a problem with the fashion industry. This is a police matter or a human rights issue.)
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 10:35 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


According to the BBC, it was the late 1700s before anyone in England had (modern) pockets; before then a "pocket" was a bag attached to a belt...

When I was young, we'd keep an onion in that belt bag, which was the style at that time.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:38 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Thank you Celsius1414. This thread made me go open up some websites and look for speedsuits. Sadly the one I have right now is a touch tight in the torso, what with me being a 6 foot tall woman and the design being from BetaBrand which sucks at tall (though they are not alone). No really: they will show a model in a dress that hits an inch or so above the knee, the text will say it hits just above the knee and I'll order the size that fits my waist / bust right and it will be so short the women on Kirk's Enterprise would have been embarrassed. I love that men's pants far more often specify length and wish women's skirts and dresses did.
posted by R343L at 10:38 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


The fact is that women buy the clothes that they want to buy

Currently, I want to buy and bought instead:

1) Warm leggings with large pockets on the front and back, so that I can both carry lots of stuff and not worry that my smartphone will fall out of my back pocket. They should have belt loops so that they will stay up on my waist, and have small ankles so that I can fit my socks over them or fit them into my boots.

Instead, I got leggings with small pockets and leggings with no pockets, one pair with no belt loops that is _always_ scootching down, and had to get one pair altered so that it wasn't too long. In addition, they're not as warm as I would like.

2) Heavy denim or canvas skirt, A-line so that I can sit and walk comfortably (and so that putting lots of stuff in the pockets isn't a problem), with large pockets, that never requires ironing, is easy to clean, holds lots of stuff, and can be worn over inadequate leggings.

Instead, I found _one_ company that sold an A-line "denim" skirt, that is based in India and so had to ship the skirt long-distance, and it turned out to be chambray or broadcloth -- not the sturdy denim I really wanted. I still recommend this skirt enthusiastically because it does have big pockets.

3) A button-down shirt that is non-gapping, no-iron, thick cotton Oxford-style cloth in a sharp but not-too-sharp stripe, that is completely opaque, and that fits well.

No luck so far. In the same niche, I got a semi-drapey stretch-cotton-knit shirt from the skirt company above that has a similar loose/open feel at the neck, but it's a cowl neck, and it turned out to lose shape when I washed it. Also, the fabric does not at all have the same feel as a crisp Oxford cotton would. Also it's mauve, not blue and white. It does manage to stay on my shoulders, which is wonderful.

4) An unornamented thick cotton knit shirt with a tiny neck opening, kind of like a man's t-shirt, but cleaner looking and thus dressier. Such a shirt would be a perfect background for a nice understated necklace.

Instead, I've started wearing some v-neck women's shirts backwards. The look is exactly what I'm going for, and it's not bad from the back either. Unfortunately, it turns out that the logo/tag shows through the new front, so this won't work.

5) Some non-heeled boots that don't have horse tack, multiple straps, corset-lace-looking ornaments, rhinestones, ornamental zippers, or suede, that are decently constructed, and that don't have pointy toes or otherwise seek to modify my feet. Just simple, brown boots. Tall enough to go to just under my knees (I'm short, so sometimes boots cut into the back of my knees when I sit). Originally I wanted size 5.5, but since I started looking, my feet seem to have become larger, so that's handy.

Instead, I have some cheap zippered black ripstop boots that are ankle-height and not very warm. Maybe they were on sale somewhere, probably in the children't section of a department store. I'd love to replace them. This is not my aesthetic.
posted by amtho at 10:46 PM on January 8 [21 favorites]


I once took my large lady feet to a shoe store in Ottawa andcompletely freaked the young man out who worked there by suggesting I try on an awesome pair of men's sandals that were sturdy and had enough support for all the walking I was doing. He refused... Even though they had no women's sandals in my size. I asked him to explain the difference between men's and and women's feet but he couldn't.
I alio had an older saleswoman insist on giving me a receipt for warranty on a watch that said "ladies watch" when I bought a man's watch because it had one of the metal expanding wrist bands I conveted and the women's watches did not. When I argued that my warranty did not describe the product she was unmoved. The watch lasted far longer than others I'd had, though!
posted by chapps at 10:54 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


mens clothing offers a lot more in terms of utility & comfort that womens clothes just don't bother with for the most part and they just do whatever they want and get away with it because we're a captive audience.

Yep. I default to dressing in a very neutral/unisex style which draws from nearly every clothing department (except baby/maternity, i suppose), and even around women who have in the past given me shit for other kinds of non-gender-conforming stuff (hair, no makeup, general unladylike demeanour), they totally get it when I point out how much more practical clothing from the men's section* is, both in terms of function and also just general quality of materials and construction vs price. But then we all just shrug and sigh, because what can you do? I recognize that I am ridiculously fortunate to a) be able to fit into clothing from the men's section in the first place, b) have a (boring) personal aesthetic that works well with the (boring) styles associated with the men's section and c) work in a place where this is all largely unremarked upon. Take away any one of those three elements and things suddenly get a lot more difficult.

*not men's clothing, because, to paraphrase Eddie Izzard, it's my clothing. I paid for it.
posted by btfreek at 11:02 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


I just signed up for a local art collective's workshop advertised as "how to sew pockets on/in anything" and I am SO EXCITED.
posted by queensissy at 11:07 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


And honestly, if you're being assaulted over your clothing then this is not a problem with the fashion industry. This is a police matter

So if you've just been beaten up in the name of enforcing social conformity it might be maybe a little bit sort of reasonable to be less than excited about taking this problem to the people who are empowered to enforce social conformity with lethal violence.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:26 PM on January 8 [33 favorites]


> You're talking about an industry where they literally have meetings to determine what the cool colors will be this year,

> This is cartoonish.


Really. This is actually fairly well known, and has been reported on:
People in the fashion business say trends are rarely decided by individuals. Instead, they are decided by committee.

One of the most influential committees is a group of 10 people whose names are a secret. They meet in Europe twice a year — May and November — at the invitation of Pantone, a company based in Carlstadt, N.J., whose only business is color.

In fact, Pantone has a hand in the color of roughly half of all garments sold in the U.S., according to NPD, a market research group.
More about Pantone's Colour of the Year process.

One of my best friends is a women's fashion buyer.


Bully for you. One of my best friends is a Mergers and Aquisitions lawyer. That doesn't mean I know the first thing about their business.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:25 AM on January 9 [40 favorites]


It may be — just as complaining about wool suits at summer weddings is a common conversation for men.

Surely not? A pure wool suit is perfect for the English summer. Light, cool -- everything you want in a suit.

Fuck those synthetic fabrics though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:03 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


I'm convinced. Anyone have recommendations for buying menswear for the shorter-and-curvier-of-center set?

This advice really goes for anybody, but know your size and get a good tailor.

Men's dress shirts are size by collar and arms length. For example, a shirt sold in America might be 15.5- 33/34, where 15.5 is the inside collar circumference in inches and 33/34 is the length from the center of the back to the wrist in inches. Some brands also come in slim or traditional cuts. A good tailor can shorten a shirt's length and take it in (ask to have it taken in at the seams and not darted at the back). A really good tailor can shorten the sleeves. No tailor can change the collar, broaden the shoulders or let the shirt out more than a few centimeters. So when buying off the rack, it's most important to get the neck and shoulders right and maybe leave a little extra room.

Men's jackets are measure around the chest. For example, size 40 is 40in circumference usually measured just under the arm pits. Here the key fit is at the shoulders. The jacket collar should sit against the shirt collar with almost no gap. Ideally, you should be able to put two fingers between the shirt and the inside of the jacket when buttoned (alterations can fix this). Length varies with style. Go with two buttons or maybe one button for a shorter cut. Most other parts of the suit can be altered, but be careful of the suit construction. Glued structured suits are more difficult to alter. That said, I've seen some advice that a structured or Italian style shoulder (which can extend slightly beyond the sleeve) can compliment a fuller figure.

Men's pants are the easiest to alter. You just need to get reasonably close on the waist size. As with everything, it's easier to take in than let out. Length should be too much of an issue since hemming is one of the most basic alterations.

Depending on the type, shirt and pants alterations are easy and relatively inexpensive. A good jacket alteration might be pricey.

If you want to go straight off the rack, try something traditionally more preppy, like Brooks Brothers, as traditional preppy tends to run smaller and fuller.
posted by chrisulonic at 1:20 AM on January 9 [8 favorites]


Since the introduction of fast fashion, nearly all women's mass market clothing is made to the standards of fast fashion, which is a major reason why they usually don't even have sleeves let alone pockets. Things that do have sleeves have a higher chance of also having pockets.

Higher end stuff that has sleeves often also turns out to have pockets that I don't notice for years.

But pockets are a MENACE. They seduce you into putting your phone in there, you go into the bathroom and all you do is lean over and your phone goes "goodbye, cruel world" and dives headfirst into the toilet. And then your colleagues jeer at you for playing Candy Crush while sitting on the loo, which you were not doing AT ALL.

(A male colleague told me that he had his phone in his shirt pocket and he leaned over in his chair and his phone dived headfirst and with unerring accuracy into a mug of tea that was on a vast expanse of empty floor. The male pocket hegemony is just another form of OPPRESSION and we should WAKE UP SHEEPLE.)

Not only do pockets encourage me to lose and launder things they also make me look like I'm playing a game of Not My Hands every time I need to retrieve a thing from said pockets. If I'm carrying that thing in my bag, I don't have to play this because I KNOW WHERE IT IS, ITS IN THE BAG.
posted by tel3path at 1:50 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


And yeah I am not opposed to wearing men's pants and do so fairly regularly, but the fit is terrible. Yes of course if I get close on the waist size, it's great, as long as the hip size doesn't matter... this is where the "easier to take in than let out" problem becomes a problem.

Basically if I wear men's pants I have to accept a certain amount of paper bag waist. I have the same problem with certain women's brands, for example Boden, which are very straight cut so if I wear one of their skirts I kinda look like a comedy naked-man-wearing-a-barrel.

Likewise, unless a shirt is too big, it's probably going to be tight around the bust and hips for me. I do wear men's shirts, but they're not my best fit.

But if someone's more rectilinear then men's clothes are going to be easier for her and those fit problems disappear. There are also use cases where I'd prefer a man's suit regardless. For example, Melissa Leo's character in Homicide wears a man's suit and shoes routinely, and the reasons why are never discussed but are easy to see: so she can comply with the dress code and still have the necessary freedom of movement, for example when chasing down a suspect. Can't do that if you have to carry a purse.
posted by tel3path at 2:01 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Men's pants are the easiest to alter. You just need to get reasonably close on the waist size. As with everything, it's easier to take in than let out. Length should be too much of an issue since hemming is one of the most basic alterations.

I'm a person with a small waist, wide hips, a large bum and short legs. The amount of alteration men's trousers would need to fit me totally defeats the purpose of being able to stroll in to the menswear department and lift something practical and sturdy. I can't afford tailor made and I can't sew and have no interest in learning, much though I admire people who make their own clothes. Women's trousers often don't accept my measurements either - my waist is a UK 8-10 and my butt is a UK 12 and while this doesn't seem freakishly abnormal to me and I know other people like me the fashion designers have clearly decided we don't exist - so finding trousers in either department is a pain. I get closer with womenswear but back to no pockets because your hips are already freakishly big woman you can't add pockets and make them even bigger what are you crazy??
posted by billiebee at 2:12 AM on January 9 [9 favorites]


chapps: I once took my large lady feet to a shoe store in Ottawa andcompletely freaked the young man out who worked there by suggesting I try on an awesome pair of men's sandals that were sturdy and had enough support for all the walking I was doing. He refused... Even though they had no women's sandals in my size. I asked him to explain the difference between men's and and women's feet but he couldn't.

Oh damn, this happened to me too. I'd forgotten all about it until I read your comment. I just wanted to buy some athletic shoes. Not even for actual sports, just to wear on a day to day running errands sort of basis.

I went to Foot Locker, took one look at the Men/Women walls and gravitated right to the Men section. They had so many cool designs and colours! The women's were less so, a lot of pink, purple, white. I wanted all of the black-with-neon shoes or the ones with metallic stripes, or in general, just more black and less white. (I don't know why women's athletic shoes tend to be coded more white and men's black? But that seemed to be the way of it at the time.)

Either way, I fell in love with these rad all-black basketball shoes with a deep aqua sole. Kind of like these. They were amazing. I was prepared to hand over a ludicrous amount of money for them then and there.

The storeguy wouldn't even let me try them on.

I got the same 'men and women's feet are different!' thing. Which...okay, let's say that's true for a minute - i'm the one taking that risk, right? And i'm just using them to walk around in! He disagreed, and continued to refuse to let me try them on. I was a younger and meeker self then, so I just left and went home and felt like shit.

Fuck that guy, and all others like him.
posted by pseudonymph at 2:36 AM on January 9 [31 favorites]


There are rules, they are impossibly strict, they are rigidly enforced, and what they actually are is a fiercely guarded secret that I am not in on.

There are menswear rules that pertain to access to certain elite classes for sure, which is what your anecdote describes. Whatever crime the judge thought you'd committed would be completely irrelevant to almost anyone not actually in court.
posted by Dysk at 2:59 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


The women's were less so, a lot of pink, purple, white.

Oh God, this too. I was trying to buy a backpack at the weekend. Who even knew a waterproof bag to put a map and a Thermos in could be gendered? Not me! All the ones "For Women" (I couldn't figure out what adaptation made them so) were pink, purple, grey with pink and purple trim, and in one case had a flower on the label. I'm buying this to put on over my waterproof coat (with tons of pockets, wheee!) to carry shit up a fucking mountain most likely in the wind and rain because Ireland, fuck you idiot designers. I bought a nice black one from the men's section and I'll put some lipstick or potpourri in some of the special man pouches as I'm wont to do as a lady or something ffs
posted by billiebee at 3:13 AM on January 9 [14 favorites]


I used to wear a women's running shoe because the running shoe store salespeople told me with barely concealed smirks that they did not stock small sizes for men and that my only option if I wanted to try something on there, was a women's shoe. The smirks should have been my cue to walk away but I needed a pair that I could try on rather than order online on a prayer. I found a pair that fit reasonably well but a little too tight in the toe box which was unlike my other shoes.

Go forward a few months and my podiatrist tell me narrow shoes are a definite no no and if possible to go zero drop. I started the search all over and found a pair of men's shoes at another store that were one size higher and so tried to fit in the women's shoe that corresponded to my size. I could barely fit my toe box in to the women's shoe while the men's shoe was roomy and comfortable. These were athletic shoes no less. I compared my feet with my SO and they weren't any wider but the women's shoe was tighter because reasons.

I could get no reasonable explanation for why this was so from the store people. I am bitter that I had been wearing an expensive shoe that was actually hurting me because women's shoes are narrower for no good reason. God Bless closed toe Birkenstocks because that's all I can wear to work and not fall afoul of my boss's standards but even that brought forth some "are you wearing lady shoes" responses.
posted by viramamunivar at 3:22 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


/williamwallace

A noted skirt-wearer.


Not unless he was a time traveller, kilts were a few hundred years in the future when he met his grisly end.

Is that how men find out what they're wearing is wrong?

If they're young men working in professional jobs in London and people like them, someone will make a joke about what they're wearing if it breaks the rules. If their peers don't like them, it won't get mentioned but they'll be considered unpolished and their careers will suffer.
posted by atrazine at 4:10 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


I've started wearing some v-neck women's shirts backwards. The look is exactly what I'm going for, and it's not bad from the back either. Unfortunately, it turns out that the logo/tag shows through the new front, so this won't work.

You can snip the tag off! Usually (although not always) tags are sewn on with different thread than was used to sew the shirt. Meaning you can snip those threads – a seam ripper also works nicely – and take off the tag without damaging the shirt. You do have to check that it's not sewn on as part of the shirt though. Ones that are just tacked on at the ends are almost always OK to snip off.

Re: women's shoes. I remember growing up in the 80s in the PacNW and grunge being a thing. So, like, we stylin' boondocks kids were all wearing Costco and REI flannel shirts and jeans and Converse that you had to wear for yeeeaaaarrrs so they'd get nice and grunged up. Note that none of that is gendered. You just bought A Shirt, Some Jeans, and Converse. Converse were not gendered until they came back into the fashion fore a few years ago. Imagine my surprise when I went to a Converse shop in Nice and asked for my size, and they were like, "well in women's that would be [bla]" and I was like, we are talking about Converse, right? And yeah, since when are sports shoes gendered?? That was not a thing in the 80s or early 90s I recall either. Hell, our marching band – U of Oregon so basically a Nike showcase – ordered our sizes in shoes Nike offered us. No gendering. We did get to keep the shoes.

Y'all women runners, try out Merrell's zero drops if you want zero drops and a wide toe base. Also awesome colors. The women's ones come in blue and black and green and gold and stuff. They at least specify that the important difference with men's shoes are our narrower heels, which I'll admit I noticed once it was pointed out to me. But the only shoes that's a consideration for are those you're pounding pavement in. Even basketball shoes it matters less since you can get hi-tops that neutralize a narrower heel. Also: try a size larger if your regular size is a touch too small.

Re: men and fashion police. I have a friend here who climbs the corporate ladder in flannel shirts and jeans. This is Paris, eh. He catches utter hell for it. I've seen him get laughed at, pointed at and jeered in meetings, told to go home and change, et cetera and so forth. He still does it though. It's his thing and he owns it. His response is always, "if my clothes are more important than my work, you can pay for new ones."

Women here (Paris) it all depends. It can be quite similar to what atrazine just said about London – if someone likes you, they'll gently clue you in. If they don't you just end up hearing critiques behind your back. The only actual rule I've been able to deduce is you're supposed to flirt with the men, which has nothing to do with clothes, but they'll jeer at your clothes as a proxy for not "being fun." This is most clear when you see women dressed in all sorts of different ways who are praised for their fashion sense... because they flirt with men.
posted by fraula at 4:23 AM on January 9 [10 favorites]


I wear shorts with pockets under my dresses.
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:47 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


All the ones "For Women" (I couldn't figure out what adaptation made them so)

They're designed for shorter torsos generally, sometimes more narrow and sloping shoulders.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:48 AM on January 9


They're designed for shorter torsos generally, sometimes more narrow and sloping shoulders

And so yet again as a long-torsoed broad-shouldered person I am outside what constitutes a "normal" woman's physique. Adjustable straps neatly eliminates the need to pigeon-hole human bodies but then how would they even know which bags to put the flower labels on??1!
posted by billiebee at 6:01 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


I used to work at REI HQ in Kent Washington.

I said to so many people "can we make stuff that's functional and stylish?"

They'd look at me as if I'd just asked them to murder a baby seal.

Imagine functional clothing with proper darts and fitted seams on the femme of center spectrum that's not forest green. It's possible to imagine this.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:11 AM on January 9 [19 favorites]


Unfortunately, it turns out that the logo/tag shows through the new front, so this won't work.

You can snip the tag off!


It's probably a printed-on-the-shirt "tag" (which I'd assumed wouldn't show, but was wrong), or sewn in on both ends -- and the stitching shows through. Believe me, I thought of that solution. Thanks for trying to help, though.
posted by amtho at 6:19 AM on January 9


Thank you, orange swan. I needed a smile this morning. This rocked.
posted by Conway at 6:30 AM on January 9


Here's a fun thought exercise: Imagine if the world had only one gender and it was women. What would be the default for business? Formalwear? Shoes? Casual clothing?

So much of the grief around clothing, as with many other things, is that it assumes either that men are the default (so: needs a fly, no boobs, no hips), or that clothing should be designed to make women appeal to men.

What if there were no men? We would presumably still have a society, status, rank, uniforms. What would clothing look like if women's bodies were the default?
posted by emjaybee at 6:59 AM on January 9 [15 favorites]


This is cartoonish.

That's pretty rich, coming from someone whose entire argument rests on the cartoonishly simple assumption that everyone involved in buying things (clothes, in this case, but it certainly applies elsewhere) is an entirely rational actor with no asymmetrical information between parties and infinite choices. Might work for developing theoretical economic equations, but it's not how the actual real world works at all.

we all buy the clothes that we want.

You obviously forgot the rest of that sentence, which is, "from among the limited options we have." This is true for pretty much all consumer products - buyers do not have infinite choices, because manufacturers do not make every single possible option. If I want a mop and I go to the Big Box Hardware Store I don't have 500 mops with every possible variation of head and handle size, I have like 20 choices, and if I'm looking for a "traditional" mop, I can pick one of maybe three. Claiming that this is all just the free market at work is completely ignoring reality on the ground.

One of my best friends is a women's fashion buyer. That means that she decides what goes into the stores.

Right, so then you should be aware of the basic fact that she can only buy what manufacturers offer. And then, of course, your friend is another gatekeeper, because if she decides "I don't like pockets, ruins the lines" then no pockets for women who shop at her store. Furthermore, how does she decide what to buy and what not to buy? I don't doubt that a lot of that is based on the sort of meetings and trade articles about "What's In For Next Season" that you deride as foolish conspiracy theory - where else does she get ANY information about what she needs to be planning to sell six months to a year from now?

I suppose she could use what has sold in the past as a guide, but considering that when we're talking about women's fashion we're talking about an industry that has decades of cultural assumptions about women's clothing being decorative rather than utilitarian - which is based on decades of cultural assumptions about how women's value is based on their appearance - there is no point at which women have truly had a full set of "free market" choices wherein you can reasonably claim that women have chosen and therefore continue to choose clothing they like free of all other influences and market forces.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:06 AM on January 9 [45 favorites]


How does L. L. Bean do on this front? I *hope* it would be "meets expectations", but i buy from the boy's side...
posted by mikelieman at 7:06 AM on January 9


My Kindle does not fit in my pocket. Purse wins.
posted by Lucinda at 7:09 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


I wear men's clothing for work as a gardener. This was all fine and dandy until I decided to have a kid and needed maternity workwear. Maternity workwear doesn't exist in any reasonable form. Ended up going to my usual clothing place and bought large overalls with short legs.

It looks a bit odd to be wearing enormous lined overalls outside of work so I had to buy women's maternity pants. Which have either no pockets or pockets the size of [something smaller than my cellphone, or my wallet, or my keys or ...]. And I keep my keys on a carabiner which I generally hang from a belt loop. No belt loops on maternity pants.

I also wanted to note that a good friend bought a "Tough Like Mommy" onesie for my kid. Which he wore until he grew out of it. At 11 months, he has pants with pockets.

I hate wearing clothing without pockets or with inadequate pockets. I pretty much refuse to do it except in mandatory dress up moments. I hate that it is a total pain in the butt to try to find work boots in my size that aren't a pale replica of functional work boots. I hate that women's clothing is so often so poorly constructed as to be disposable.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:11 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


What if there were no men? We would presumably still have a society, status, rank, uniforms. What would clothing look like if women's bodies were the default?

I can't speculate about the clothes but offer (t)his about society and status...
"Witches are not by nature gregarious, at least with other witches, and they certainly don't have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn't have."
- Terry Pratchett
posted by mikelieman at 7:12 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


You like pockets? How about 43 pockets in one garment?
posted by Damienmce at 7:34 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


I find it interesting that there was no reference to the arbitrary changing of the arbitrary sizes.

Many years ago, I found a cargo skirt on clearance at J. Peterman, and ordered one for my wife.

However, as a non-wearer/purchaser of women's clothing, (my kilts are not male skirts, thank you very much), I was unaware of how strongly the new trend of size deflation had caught on, and what matched the label size on the clothes in her closet was now one size too large. (Nowadays the same size number would be at least two sizes too large.)

I do understand the appeal, even in men's clothes, where what was a factual based 33" waist is now a randomly defined 33" that measures 35" or more, when I size myself for an aforementioned (true size) kilt that shows something much larger than the waist on my jeans.

All that said, while doing a brief bit of research, I did find this. So at least someone is making pocketed skirts, albeit with a 50s teen dance party look. Just watch the sizing.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 7:48 AM on January 9


But I did find an article about it, in Swedish, that shows in the photos how a size 92 tee is noticeably smaller and tighter for a baby girl than the same size tee for a baby boy.

I would someone to give me a single rational argument for why there is gendered sizing for baby clothes.
posted by thivaia at 7:52 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


I would someone to give me a single rational argument for why there is gendered sizing for baby clothes.

According to one of our users here, it is because babies like them that way and capitalism is rational, and there are zero other possible explanations
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:55 AM on January 9 [38 favorites]


No it's because parents prefer their babies to conform to gender norms and capitalism responds rationally to irrational desires.
posted by Bobicus at 8:09 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


I am having flashbacks to the Annie Hall boutique at JC Penney. When I finally found that perfect brown tweed blazer I thought I was *so* cool.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 8:14 AM on January 9


women buy the clothes that they want to buy

And yet I still don't own a Star Trek jumpsuit :(

This year I spent a truly inordinate amount of time trying to find a short sleeve shell to replace one that I'd had for years that had finally given up the ghost. The beloved shell was dark brown, and a heavy, thick rayon blend. It hung really well because it was so heavy. No clinging, no having to worry about whether people could see my bra or the shadow of my belly button.

I looked everywhere. In person, at the super high end mall, online using different keywords and Google image search.

What I found were racks upon racks of "layering" shells. If you've never had the pleasure, these are shirts that are extremely thin and I guess you're meant to wear several of them at once. You can probably spot the market incentive here. Make clothes that are see-through unless you buy multiple of everything and wear it all at once. Another problem with this popular fast fashion "tissue weight" material is that it is clingy as fuck, even when layered. I am 42, have born a child, and have many lumps and bumps that I'd rather not expose to the people I work with.

I finally--finally--found an online source for rayon shells. A very low end department store sells them. Not quite as heavy as I'd like, a bit too shiny for my taste, and pretty low quality, but I bought three, in three different colors.

So I guess I eventually kind of bought what I wanted? Sort of? But thanks for the mansplaining. That helps a lot.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:18 AM on January 9 [22 favorites]


Fuck, we're like perpetually envious of our baby precisely because the BABY gets POCKETS. POCKETS. But only the boys clothing, because reasons™.
posted by XtinaS at 8:31 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


Mens shirts usually come in both neck and arm sizes, except for some reason in the UK. I had to get a new shirt and went to a lot of shops trying on quite a few but none of them would fit well at all. I'm an 18 inch neck with only 32 inch arms. I could get an 18/34 or a 17/32 so I could either get a shirt that fit around my neck but was way too long in the arms and too big everywhere else as well, or I could get a shirt that fit, but I could only fix the top button via strangulation.

Luckily there was a costco nearby which had shirts in US sizes so I didn't have to strangle myself, but the bare faced lies that were coming out of salesmen mouths about how that shirt fit. Its supposed to look like that was amazing.

Length should be too much of an issue since hemming is one of the most basic alterations.

Especially as in the best clothing shops all of the pants come un-hemmed and are hemmed to fit once you buy them, usually at a price that is rolled into the sticker price. It is maybe 5 minutes work for a skilled tailor so why bother having them in lengths at all?

I'm always glad that mens clothes are sized in measurements usually so much that I can walk into any store and get anything and if it matches my measurements it will fit, not necessarily perfectly, but good enough.
posted by koolkat at 8:41 AM on January 9


Oh also in the Great Shell Search: everything is sleeveless. I go to work 12 months a year, yet everything is sleeveless. December? Sleeveless. February? Sleeveless. July when the a/c is cranked up to bejeezus? Sleeveless.

I. do. not. want. sleeveless. shirts. I do not want them with a fox, I do not want them in a box. Please, for the love of all that is holy, please can I have some shirts with sleeves?

Confidential to amtho: Look into Franco Sarto boots and shoes. They tend to be pretty free of bling. My favorite pumps and my favorite boots are both Franco Sarto.

Confidential to eShakti: I want to love you and your copious pockets, but everything has pleats (pieces are easier to fit together if there are pleats to adjust to get things seated correctly) and everything is cotton which means everything is an ironing nightmare. And also pleats make me look like a pirate. I don't wanna be a pirate. I got rid of my eShakti shirt-dress because I realized it was just hanging wrinkled in my basement for weeks rather than being ironed and worn.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:45 AM on January 9 [16 favorites]


Soren! I want to know your source! Also, if I ever find my Star Trek jumpsuit, I will let you know!

You can get a jumpsuit made-to-measure -- with pockets -- for < $100 at eShakti (there are several listed on the pants page). I just realized this, and will probably order one soon.
posted by amtho at 8:45 AM on January 9


I mean, women have been complaining about the lack of pockets in our clothing for literally as long as I can remember (I'm 46). Why on earth would you not believe us? We don't not have pockets in our clothing because we're buying pocket-free clothing. We don't have pockets because it's often incredibly difficult to find clothing with pockets! I promise you, I have looked. I'm not the only one.

I just...I can't even understand why people are coming into the this thread, reading the comments, and then going, "Hey, the reason you ladies don't have pockets is because you clearly don't want pockets because you don't buy clothes with pockets so pocket clothing doesn't get made. Duh."

WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK.
posted by cooker girl at 8:47 AM on January 9 [44 favorites]


soren_lorensen: Do adult onesies count?
posted by XtinaS at 8:48 AM on January 9


Sorry, I know this is very far upthread, but I'm late to the party.

kafziel: I'm reminded of the time last April I went into court to argue a motions hearing for a suit on which I was the plaintiff's attorney, and the very first thing the judge did was spend about two full minutes insulting me for how I was dressed. He refused to tell me what I had done wrong, saying only that it was insulting and disrespectful and that if I showed up in his court again dressed like that he wouldn't even let me sit as counsel. I was dressed in a full suit and tie, clean and in good repair, as best as I was able, but apparently there were unspoken rules I was unknowingly violating. It was confusing and humiliating and infuriating and to this day I don't know what he was talking about.

kafziel, your experience is truly bizarre (judges, amirite?), but when I was a junior associate, I was once politely dinged by a partner for wearing a light green shirt to court (with a dark suit and darker green tie). He said that a lot of judges are super-traditional, and you don't want to do anything to distract the judge from your arguments. So only a white or light-blue shirt to court. Another silly rule, but I can understand not wanting to stand out sartorially in that context.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:50 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


I want to like jumpsuits, but the thought of having to disrobe 3/4 of the way to go to the bathroom turns me off.

(especially since the bathroom at work is unheated)
posted by Lucinda at 8:50 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Hilarious, soren_lorensen. I'm not thrilled with eShakti's fabrics, either, but they do have some knits that are less wrinkly if you are extremely prompt with removing from the dryer.

I hear you _so much_ about thin fabrics.
posted by amtho at 8:50 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


I mean, I would tend to count myself as someone who doesn't want pockets, but do you know what I do when I get pockets I didn't order?

I JUST DON'T PUT ANYTHING IN THEM

THAT'S WHAT HYPOTHETICAL WOMEN DO WHEN WE GET HYPOTHETICAL POCKETS WE DIDN'T WANT

WE DO NOT BOYCOTT GARMENTS WITH POCKETS IN ORDER TO DESTROY THE MARKET FOR POCKETS
posted by tel3path at 8:51 AM on January 9 [15 favorites]


No it's because parents prefer their babies to conform to gender norms and capitalism responds rationally to irrational desires.

We have heard that those who do not submit to gender norms can be punished for it, suggesting that parents are responding rationally to an irrationally arising set of societal norms.
posted by biffa at 8:51 AM on January 9 [8 favorites]


Right here, amtho.

I mean, the pockets thing is only a major plot point in a Doctor Who episode, I don't know how anyone could ever know that for women the lack of pockets in our clothes is kind of a thing. Us inscrutable dames, amirite?
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:51 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Franco Sarto has one boot that is flat with non-suede leather. It is currently available only in black and only in size 4, 4.5, and 12. Otherwise I'd be all over it, even in black, although I'd prefer dark brown.
posted by amtho at 8:52 AM on January 9


Re the cold office thing, I have a shawl I wear over my business casual/layered/semi-transparent nonsense that is ALL THERE IS for women out there. At least that I can afford. Again winter is my friend, I can wear sweaters and feel normal.

I have never ever wished for a transparent shirt. Never. I would gladly see them all tossed into a volcano. But I own some, because that is ALL THERE WAS to pick from in a color/style that I could use.

Oh if you wear one, and only have a tank to go under it, then you can't just wear ANY bra--you need a dark/discreet/thin-strapped one that doesn't show. Something you would not worry about if you didn't have to wear a fucking TRANSPARENT SHIRT.
posted by emjaybee at 8:52 AM on January 9 [11 favorites]


What if there were no men?

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

I would someone to give me a single rational argument for why there is gendered sizing for baby clothes.

In order to maintain unquestioning acceptance of the gender hierarchy, enforcement needs to start before conscious thoughts can be formed. A combination of seemingly minor insults like this can help prepare girl children for being diminutized for the rest of their lives, just as a combination of seemingly minor perks can help prepare boy children for being lionized for the rest of their lives. The more consistently these standards are disseminated, the easier it will be for the status quo (patriarchy) to remain in place.

I wore boy's clothing as a girl because I was very rough and tumble, the clothes were more durable, and I preferred neon blue and green to neon pink. I grew up to be too small for even the smallest men's clothes, so I just kept shopping in the boy's department for tops and pants. Then my boobs got substantially bigger, so I couldn't wear boys' shirts anymore because they either gapped super-uncomfortably or the buttons would just straight-up pop open or off, I still couldn't wear men's tops because I would be swimming in them, AND I couldn't wear women's tops, either -- not just because most of them are very aesthetically displeasing to me, but because the sleeves are T-Rex-esque on my apparently comically long arms. Then the rest of me got substantially bigger, and the curves of my new figure made men's clothing an impossibility -- shirts that fit the rest of my torso just fine are way too tight around my hips, the pants that fit at the waist are like sausage casing around my thighs. Alas, much as I would love to don them and be done with it, neither a muumuu nor a cardboard box with holes cut out for my arms meet the standards my company has when it comes to "work-appropriate."

So these days, in my quest to simply "buy the clothes [I] want to buy," I have to go to Goodwill every week and look through three or four different women's sizes in hopes of finding even one goddamn work shirt or pair of work pants that a) has pockets, b) does not contain any frippery, like sparkling embroidery or rhinestones, and c) FITS. It was very easy to go clothes shopping for a body that didn't have noticeable breasts, thighs, or hips; now that I have all of those things, shopping has gone from annoying-but-necessary to a gauntlet of self-esteem annihilation, and every time I have to do it, the level of hatred I have for my physical self ticks ever skyward. But yeah, I'm obviously just buying what I want to buy! Whee!
posted by amnesia and magnets at 8:53 AM on January 9 [32 favorites]


Easy Spirit have some fairly basic/non-blinged boots and also tend to have lots with wider-calf options for those that need them. Wearing some now. Very comfy.
posted by emjaybee at 8:55 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


I am the owner of a very very petite boy child. Dressing him is interesting. I would dress him in more girls clothes, but girls clothes are so aggressively gendered. Also, flimsier.

I do a lot of adding darts to waistbands.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:56 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


This year as part of my rotation of summer to winter clothing rotation, I gave away every pair of pants, dress, and skirt I owned that didn't include pockets. My wardrobe is much smaller now but every time I put my hands in my pockets I am delighted. Sometimes I twirl. It's great.

Of course, now I am probably doing clothing wrong because a) I basically now live in either jeans, or three different-color variations of the same skirt from Decent Exposures (where by god I paid extra to have pockets put in) or three variations of the same dress from Lands' End (which used to be great about pockets but seems to be backsliding). But, you know, I'm a tall, fat woman so I was never going to be doing clothing "right" anyway. Fuck it. I'm comfortable and happy and I never lock myself out of my work building anymore because I now have a place to put the special pass card I need to get back in.

I apparently rant about pockets enough that people have been known to send me articles about pockets out of the blue, and it makes me happy every time. As personal brands go, "deeply and perpetually annoyed about the gendering of pockets" is not a bad one to have.
posted by Stacey at 8:57 AM on January 9 [12 favorites]


We buy a whole lot of boy's clothing because it's sturdier, less form-fitting (for... a baby...), and less likely to be Aggressively Gendered. For serious, who decided that what girl-type babies need for winter clothing are skin-tight thin goddamn leggings, while boys get fleece sweatpants (with pockets)? Why why why?
posted by XtinaS at 8:59 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


I used to work at REI HQ in Kent Washington.

I said to so many people "can we make stuff that's functional and stylish?"

They'd look at me as if I'd just asked them to murder a baby seal.


Aw, but I just biked 6+ miles to work in a dress I bought from REI. I like to think it's stylish.

No pockets, but I carry waaaay too much stuff everywhere I go for pockets to be a reasonable solution short of one of those Scott eVest jackets. And even those aren't really suitable for crochet works-in-progress, so... I'll be carrying bags for life, I guess.

FWIW, I do own and wear some men's jeans that fit me OK, and they have enormous pockets, but I would need to wear those jeans a lot baggier in order to get anything in or out of them when seated, and even when I'm standing it's a squeeze to get my hands in the front pockets. It's definitely not comfortable to sit with things in the back pockets, and it's probably not healthy, either.

It's ridiculous that even non-form-fitting women's clothes don't usually have pockets, but I am genuinely confused about how items like leggings could have pockets large enough to be useful for more than attaching a work badge. It's possible to simulate the effect by jamming your phone or keys into your leggings where pockets would go if they had them. I didn't find it very comfortable when I tried it.
posted by asperity at 9:01 AM on January 9


My favorite quote from this article is "I remember being crouched over my handbag, furiously ferreting for a business card while my male colleague coolly produced one from his manly chest-cavity as though he lactated them to order."

I apologize all the time for how I temporarily lose things in my purses and have always chalked it up as a personal failure. I feel guilty when my boyfriend has to wait while I root around in my purse for my phone or keys or stop in the middle of the sidewalk to do a quick check to make sure I haven't forgotten something. This quote made me realize it's not entirely on me. Men don't have to be utterly organized with their everyday stuff within an inch of their lives, because a quick pat of their pockets tells them where their phones and wallets and keys are. Meanwhile I have a large dark purse with misbehaving lining that swallows everything I put in it. Smaller purses or ones with more pockets don't solve this problem, because each bag is different so I never establish a "phone goes here, wallet goes there, chapstick there" system. And my other option is... basically nothing, because so few of my clothes have pockets and many of the ones that do don't fit my phone or my wallet.
posted by misskaz at 9:02 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


misskaz - Handbag organizers.
posted by tel3path at 9:05 AM on January 9


I carry bags with o-rings and straps everywhere so all I need to do is pull on a strap and out come my keys. I'm willing to put up with slightly less functional clothes (but nothing I can't bicycle in, thanks) but no way in hell am I gonna carry a non-functional bag.
posted by asperity at 9:07 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


misskaz, I have a sort of workaround for misbehaving bags: other, smaller bags. I know, I know, just bear with me.

I bought several small cosmetics/travel bags to use in my large bags. One has lip balm, tissues, safety pins, random makeup that I sometimes wear, etc. One has pens/pencils, post-it notes, etc. One carries my phone and a charging cord. Sense a theme? Each little bag has its own purpose and I've memorized which one is for what, so all I have to do when I change bags is dump in all my little bags (really only three or four depending on the season and the size of the large bag I'm using at the time) and it's super easy to find what I'm looking for. Oh, also, I accidentally bought bags with different textures (one is sort of silky, one is kind of like waxed canvas, etc.) and that makes finding each bag quite a bit easier.

On preview, I have tried to use a handbag organizer like tel3path linked to and they never work for me. My mom likes them, though.
posted by cooker girl at 9:08 AM on January 9 [10 favorites]


I am genuinely confused about how items like leggings could have pockets large enough to be useful for more than attaching a work badge.

I genuinely don't care if there are lumps where my pockets are. I only want leggings because, much like a wetsuit, they hold the heat. I can wear a long cardigan or jacket if I want to look a certain way.
posted by amtho at 9:08 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but the edges of the phone dig in when sitting down. Maybe if they were cargo-style thigh pockets so they didn't sit against any body parts that bend?
posted by asperity at 9:13 AM on January 9


I'm reminded of the time I ordered a bunch of shirts from the internet, and they accidentally threw in a men's long-sleeved henley. I initially tried to return it, but they were like, "Nah, just keep it," because Zappos is awesome. Lo and behold, this randomly selected men's shirt fits me better than many of the women's shirts I've bought myself on purpose.
posted by gueneverey at 9:15 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


I bought some nice hiking pants at REI (I think they advertised as "soft shell"), and they've got great pockets and are way more comfy than jeans. (I'd buy more, but it's hard to find pants in the women's section that fit me at 5' and 95 lbs, and so far the kids section hasn't come through for me either. Maybe next season.)

But the nice thing about my job (math professor) and where I live (Alaska) is that no one dresses up for anything ever. So jeans/hiking pants and a shirt is good for all occasions, from teaching to going out to dinner to going to the opera.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:19 AM on January 9


amnesia and magnets: shopping has gone from annoying-but-necessary to a gauntlet of self-esteem annihilation

THIS.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 9:37 AM on January 9 [9 favorites]


Smaller/organizing bags don't solve my general complaint, which is that I shouldn't *have* to be organized within an inch of my life just to walk out the door. I'd be fine with just pockets if only clothing that fit me had them. I mean, my purse typically only has my wallet, phone, chapstick/lipstick, and keys in it. How would I organize that differently in a way that would make things any easier to reach quickly? How is having to (often in the dark if I'm at a bar or it's nighttime) see, locate, and open yet another bag within my bag going to speed up the process of grabbing my keys to open a door or get out my wallet to show the bouncer my ID?

Despite not carrying all that much stuff with me, somehow I still end up rooting around in my purse, or trying to put my phone in the outside pocket but then realizing we're taking the subway and that outside pocket isn't very secure so moving it back to the cavernous interior space, where I either forget that's what I've done or once again end up digging around to find it while my boyfriend rolls his eyes and says "did you forget your phone AGAIN?"

And some of the problem is my cheap Target purses with the loose lining but unless someone starts a GoFundMe for a purse collection, that's unlikely to change. I can't buy my way out of the shitty patriarchal systems that make it so that I have to bring a purse even if I'm not carrying that much stuff.
posted by misskaz at 9:40 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


so finding trousers in either department is a pain. I get closer with womenswear but back to no pockets because your hips are already freakishly big woman you can't add pockets and make them even bigger what are you crazy??

A look I used to wear and enjoy was a men's shirt, tie, and jacket over a long, straight pinstripe skirtand flat shoes ( tights and ankle boots in cold weather). I didn't have to worry about trouserfit, which can be problematic on both sides of the department store aisle, but I still got the benefit of the men's jacket construction.

I almost always wear men's athletic or casual shoes. They generally don't look that different, and the construction and comfort are usually better.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:41 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to think there's a need for a "Subversive Sewing" movement. I've gotten good enough at sewing (and altering patterns to fit, which is the hard part), that it is actually faster and more pleasant to make a garment than to shop for one that fits, in the right color/fabric, with pockets etc. Of course, it took me a lot of time to develop the skills, and not everybody has that luxury, but now whenever I go to a clothing store I'm so thankful I don't have to actually rely on stores for my clothes. Shopping for clothing is just a horribly depressing experience - nothing fits, quality is dismal, styles are yougottabekiddingme.

Sewing feels delightfully subversive to me because I can add all the pockets I want (and I do!), and I can use good fabrics that aren't see-through, and my clothes fit the body I have, not the body the fashion industry says I should have. (I've noticed an odd thing, which is that when clothes don't fit, it's the the body inside that looks wrong, not the clothes. Just an added insult, I guess.)

I actually don't give a shit about fashion, I just enjoy making things, but making clothing has this additional benefit of giving the middle finger to the fashion industry, tool of the patriarchy.
posted by Quietgal at 9:56 AM on January 9 [11 favorites]


I mean, my purse typically only has my wallet, phone, chapstick/lipstick, and keys in it.

Yeah I see your point. I tend to pretty much carry my entire life with me (including a journal and sketchbook plus I still have an actual real-life planner/calendar because that's just how I roll) so my system wouldn't work for you.

Smaller bag? Wristlet (my daughter uses one and carries basically what you do)?
posted by cooker girl at 9:57 AM on January 9


Real life pocket testimony:

I spent many, many nights in my young life attending crowded rock shows, in hot clubs, where carrying a purse was a real hindrance and would often get you dirty looks from dudes who occasionally make fun of women who bring bags to rock shows ( I literally remember reading at least one or two snarky punk rock columns about this back in the day), and wearing a jacket or coat would more or less guarantee death by heat stroke by the end of the first band's set. I don't have an ideal shape for jeans because I am curvy and painfully feminine and sort of pear shaped no matter how often I've prayed to the old and new gods that I would wake up one morning looking a lanky, Tilda Swinton-esque, rock and roll androgyne. The jeans that fit were often jeans with pockets too small or too tight to be practical. The pants that fit often didn't have pockets at all. So I wear/wore dresses, and skirts and leggings because they were generally more comfortable, but usually without pockets and took to stuffing shit in my bra. My dude friends thought that was hilarious, especially given that the dresses were often low cut (not necessarily my choice, but that's what was available) and my tits are large-ish (which was not something I particularly ever wanted for myself, but biology). Sometimes I would stuff IDs and keys and cash inside the cellophane wrapper of a cigarette pack (back when I still smoked, back when clubs were still smoke-friendly) and stuff the cigarette pack down the front of my dress. Sometimes I would safety pin my house key and cash inside the pleats of a sundress and try not to look awkward unfastening dollar bills at the bar. These days, I try to only buy dresses with pockets. I don't always succeed because most dresses don't have pockets. Sometimes I just carry my phone in hand with money and cash tucked in the back if the case, which makes me feel like the asshole who can't surrender her phone, but my iPhone does not fit comfortably in my bra. Once I was buying merch at a riot grrrl show back in the 90s and got hassled by a dude behind me who was annoyed at how long it look me to pay and collect my change in my jury rigged boob and safety pin storage sister. The woman (who was in one of the bands) behind the counter gave me a sympathetic look and was like, "She doesn't have any pockets, you prick. Pipe down." I felt a flush of joyful solidarity with this semi-famous person I admired, even though I was like, Pockets? The thing we bond on is pockets? This doesn't feel very punk rock
posted by thivaia at 10:10 AM on January 9 [35 favorites]


Pockets? The thing we bond on is pockets? This doesn't feel very punk rock

Au contraire. That is so totally 100% punk rock.
posted by cooker girl at 10:16 AM on January 9 [23 favorites]


YES I see a lot of live music and the pockets/coat/purse thing is the worst. I do have a wristlet (thanks for the suggestion cooker girl! I love my Fossil wallet/wristlet when I don't have to worry about keys) and that works okay. Sometimes for shows I pare down to just phone, id, debit card, in which case usually my jeans pockets are good enough, and I do have a phone case that is made to carry 2 cards. Earplugs in the tiny front pocket.
posted by misskaz at 10:20 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


princess seams and pockets please.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:22 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


As a very fat, busty and hippy femme nonbinary person, this thread was a wild ride.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:27 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


If my sewing machine could handle leather, I would totally adapt the tailor's gauntlet to replace my handbags. I used to have a leather pouch that strapped to the D-Rings of my Fluevog BondGirls boots for clubbing, but it's long gone. I should make a replacement one, even though I'm never in clubs anymore.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:28 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but the edges of the phone dig in when sitting down.

Phone goes in the back pocket. Which makes large pockets important, becasue you won't see it if the phone falls out.

(This is not the best approach if you're going to be in a high-crime area with your pockets visible and accessible, but in that case I usually have a satchel or coat with large pockets that zip).
posted by amtho at 10:38 AM on January 9


My Kindle does not fit in my pocket. Purse wins.

My Kindle doesn't fit in my pocket. My husband's Kindle does fit in his pockets. Suitably-sized pockets win.
posted by Lexica at 10:40 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


My husband's Kindle does fit in his pockets

"attached leg compartments"
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:42 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


There is occasionally commentary about it being gross to take your phone to the john at my work, but sometimes I'm bored and in there a while, so I utilize the convenient bra storage trick Thivaia described to smuggle it in. (also good for tampons!). I did get caught stuffing my phone in there while a dude fellow employee was walking by once, but eh. I don't care. Guys can reach into their pockets and scratch themselves, I don't know why storing stuff next to boobs is somehow weirder than next to nuts.
posted by emjaybee at 10:46 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


I would really love it if my bras came with pockets, too, come to think of it.
posted by Sequence at 11:07 AM on January 9


I do use my bra as a pocket, either when I'm at home or when I'm in the bathroom at work and need to put my phone somewhere while I flush the toilet. It shouldn't have to come to that!

On non-preview - oh that's a good trick too, emjaybee!
posted by hazyjane at 11:10 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I would really love it if my bras came with pockets, too, come to think of it.

Back when I was a kid, the Harriet Carter/Walter Drake-type catalogs sold special pouches you could attach to your front bra straps.
posted by Lucinda at 11:12 AM on January 9


In the places where it matters most to be wearing suits--which is to say, important corporate stuff, attorneys, etc--it is still often regarded, at least off the coasts, as being at least a bit low-class for women to wear pants.

Absolutely. And, sure "off the coasts" are more traditional, but I think it's still that way in NYC/LA/SF too. My sister-in-law is a lawyer at a huge firm in SF and I doubt she could wear pants to court (she *could* of course, but I bet she wouldn't).

And yet, while the "rules" for women (look pretty, wear makeup, etc etc.) are much, much more oppressive than the very few rules for men, those rules for men (e.g. no dresses, no jewelry, no makeup) seem a bit stricter in the civilian world (as opposed to corporate/institutional world) than those for women. I.e. I see women with intentional facial hair (beards) all the time. I don't see many men with makeup and jewelry, even in SF.

I'm not equating my own inability to wear dresses and makeup in public as being oppressed, but there's something there (that I'm not able to express well. other have made the same point better above ...)

Meanwhile I have a large dark purse with misbehaving lining that swallows everything I put in it. Smaller purses or ones with more pockets don't solve this problem, because each bag is different so I never establish a "phone goes here, wallet goes there, chapstick there" system.

As a man who carries a purse ("messenger bag," if you prefer traditional men), I can empathize. It does take a few extra seconds to get out my wallet or phone (as opposed to whipping them out of a back pocket.) However, I only use one purse, and I empty it every time I come home (a la Marie Kondo) and throw out shit. I don't have a specific place for phone or wallet, and yeah, sometime it takes 10-20 seconds to find one. If people can't wait 10-20 seconds for you, I'd say the purse is not the problem.

Then again, all I've got in my purse is books. I'm not forced to carry makeup, mirror, etc. etc. so fair enough...

I mean, I would tend to count myself as someone who doesn't want pockets, but do you know what I do when I get pockets I didn't order?

I JUST DON'T PUT ANYTHING IN THEM


Sometimes I cut mine out. It's easy.

sewing feels delightfully subversive to me because I can add all the pockets I want (and I do!)

My 8 y.o. learned how to sew and now puts secret pockets inside all her coats.

(I really love how most of this convo has been about pockets. POCKETS ARE GREAT (but I don't really use them anymore).)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:28 AM on January 9


I am genuinely confused about how items like leggings could have pockets large enough to be useful for more than attaching a work badge.

i am currently wearing leggings that have 4 pockets, two of which have zipper closures. these pockets currently contain: my phone; my ipod; a pocketknife bc it's cardboard recycling day; some tissues bc it's winter; extra hair tie in case i want to switch from single ponytail to 2 braids depending on which parts of my head are in excruciating pain; and chapstick. if i need to leave the house i swap out the knife for my keys.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:54 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


also they're fleece lined so they are quite toasty
posted by poffin boffin at 11:54 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


You like pockets? How about 43 pockets in one garment?

Ha! The women's vest/jacket with the most pockets comes in at 42.
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:00 PM on January 9


Please link to leggings that have pockets. None of my leggings have them!! (It's currently oh my fucking crap cold in Canada right now, so a fleece-lined and CAD pricing is preferred.)
posted by Kitteh at 12:04 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Frowner's comment from waaay upthread: I would be astonished if femme cis men didn't face a lot of very similar violence

I know several femme trans men and wow, that's a double whammy.

"You're a girl [sic], but you're a guy, but you're wearing makeup/jewelry like a girl..."
*confused math lady meme*
One of these friends got attacked for precisely this. "Does not compute, so I'll just punch you in the face."
posted by AFABulous at 12:07 PM on January 9


You guys remember JNCOs? You can slip a 2-liter bottle in each pocket of those motherfuckers like it's nbd. Shit, you can probably fit that carton of smokes you just stole from the gas station in there, too. Even though it already looks like you're wearing a flared dress on each leg, kids in my high school used to split them up the sides and patch in huge triangles of kiddie-themed fabric -- this was the era of Peak Elmo -- to make them EVEN WIDER. Anyway what I am saying is that JNCOs are obviously a strong contender for highly evolved gender-neutral uniform of the future: To each a skirt (or two), and purse-sized pockets for all. What could possibly go wrong?
posted by amnesia and magnets at 12:19 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


Please link to leggings that have pockets. None of my leggings have them!! (It's currently oh my fucking crap cold in Canada right now, so a fleece-lined and CAD pricing is preferred.)

they are obnoxiously expensive lululemon running tights which are always sold out but you can still get them (used or NWT) on ebay. athleta makes a similar pair of tights which are called windwarrior, which are also all over ebay. i don't know how many pockets those have, though.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:25 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


amnesia and magnets, yo I can stitch you up some phatty patchies in no time.

🎵 Those were the days... so many pockets. So much contraband to put in them.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:41 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


I get that the fashion industry is strangely antagonistic to pockets and other practicalities for reasons we can debate, but this is the website for best of the web, right? Maybe someone could make a FPP listing a bunch of places these things can be found. Between Etsy and people ordering so much stuff online, it doesn't seem like this should be an insurmountable mercantile filibuster.

Just skimming these comments there were a few possibilities:
poffin boffin: they are obnoxiously expensive lululemon running tights [with pockets] which are always sold out but you can still get them (used or NWT) on ebay. athleta makes a similar pair of tights which are called windwarrior, which are also all over ebay.
tel3path: Handbag organizers.
willow jane: www.eshakti.com
amtho: You can get a jumpsuit made-to-measure -- with pockets -- for < $100 at eShakti

It sure looks like there's money to be made, if nothing else by a website aggregator if not an actual clothing producer. Articles with tips on how to adapt easily obtained men's clothes to specific feminine body types? Advice on making your own?

Quietgal: I'm starting to think there's a need for a "Subversive Sewing" movement. I've gotten good enough at sewing (and altering patterns to fit, which is the hard part), that it is actually faster and more pleasant to make a garment than to shop for one that fits, in the right color/fabric, with pockets etc.

Sounds awesome. I assume you don't have the time or interest to make clothes for a living -- and the economics probably suck, which is why those jobs head to low-wage countries -- but what about workshops / events in bars like "Stitch N' Bitch" where you teach those skills to others?
posted by msalt at 1:37 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


Once you've gone proper pockets it is almost impossible to go back. I'm butch so wear menswear constantly but need women's shorts to fit properly. In the spirit of feminism I now just call all my women's wear "patriarchy pants". Really easy to go down the conspiracy route that it is all a plot to force women to carry purses and thus slowing them down. I also figure that people who wear womens wear must have a lot of money because these stupid shorts have come close to costing me a new cell phone, a locksmith for my car, and all the change that spills out every time I sit down.
posted by kanata at 1:52 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


I'm pleased that some presumably-cis folks are catching on to the role sexism plays in gendered differences in clothing, and I'm more than happy to humor them and pretend they invented the idea.

I think the last part of that sentence represents an uncharitable reading of the article. Sharing one's personal discovery of a thing is not the same as claiming invention of that thing.
posted by nnethercote at 1:53 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Reading this thread has made me realize that I've been harboring some serious self-judgement from when I used to go the type of parties wherein everyone would dump their coats on a bed.

I never knew what the fuck to do with my wallet/keys/phone/emergency tampon if the party had more than just close friends. My pockets were never big enough and it seemed so ... prissy? indulgent? ... to carry a purse inside. But it seemed naive to leave shit in my coat to be possibly stolen. And it felt weak and dependent to ask my boyfriend to put stuff in his pockets for me.

In the back of my mind I thought it was a personal failing that I couldn't solve this particular problem of how to be a woman in public.
posted by mcduff at 2:01 PM on January 9 [13 favorites]


I'm pleased that some presumably-cis folks are catching on to the role sexism plays in gendered differences in clothing, and I'm more than happy to humor them and pretend they invented the idea.
I think the last part of that sentence represents an uncharitable reading of the article. Sharing one's personal discovery of a thing is not the same as claiming invention of that thing.
posted by nnethercote at 4:53 PM on January 9 [+]


I mean, yes. She's sharing what she's discovered. But in the long run it's still "Here's what I've found out after ignorantly foraying for a month into what other people have been doing their whole lives"

I don't think it ever crossed her mind that GNC people exist. She's seems woefully ignorant in regards to trans issues, several times she's equated "penis=man" and "clit=woman".
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:16 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Pockets:
There is nothing more glorious an outfit to wear when traveling than to proudly don a pair of cargo shorts and this, along with a Tilley hat, also with pocket. I have done this before and I will do it again.

Suits:
Suits are interesting, since some of the pockets are sewn shut and therefore optional to open up and use (I keep the jacket front pockets and kerchief sewn but the rest are open). None of my three piece suit vests have their pockets opened. Even still, that gives me 8 pockets (4 for the pants, 4 for the jacket) so no need to open up two to four more. As to mixing and matching, I think rules have relaxed quite a bit. Frankly, the navy/black thing hasn't been an issue since I've had to wear suits to work. I am literally wearing a three piece suit right now that is black and navy checkered.

As to a hard and fast rule... uh... not all three can be striped, try to keep the stripes at different sizes, you can have three solids but have at least one contrasting color? But really, whatever. I know a lot of people who rebel against the boring norms of how to wear a suit by clashing accepted norms. As far as I can tell, you can dress however you like as long as you are confident about what you are wearing, then no one really says anything about it. Even if you keep to what is prescribed as accepted mixing and matching, suits give you patterns and colors that would otherwise be considered feminine and therefore aren't available in the "men's section" of a clothing store.
posted by linux at 2:24 PM on January 9


I mean, yes. She's sharing what she's discovered. But in the long run it's still "Here's what I've found out after ignorantly foraying for a month into what other people have been doing their whole lives"

Is that a bad thing? I love well-written descriptions from beginners discovering new things, and I think this is a very nice example of such a thing. I learned a lot from reading it.
posted by nnethercote at 2:43 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]


via today's Boing Boing which must be following MeFi to helpfully remedy any deficiencies:
Add Pockets to Any Skirt or Dress Without Ruining the Look
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:45 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


* Jacket buttons are always unfastened when sitting down

I recall seeing a lot of button fastening/unfastening from the male lawyers during court scenes in The Good Wife.
posted by nnethercote at 3:10 PM on January 9


1. I would someone to give me a single rational argument for why there is gendered sizing for baby clothes.
2. According to one of our users here, it is because babies like them that way and capitalism is rational, and there are zero other possible explanations
3. No it's because parents prefer their babies to conform to gender norms and capitalism responds rationally to irrational desires.

I think it's because the patriarchy works overtime to keep women in their place and capitalism is happy to double down on that in service of making profits via a sexist system. At one time the marketing category of tween did not exist. There were children, then teens, then young adults, etc. Then marketers figured out that younger girl children (not boys for the most part), could have their childhoods prematurely ended and enticed to become sexualised at ever earlier ages in order for companies to sell them the makeup that was once restricted to their older sisters. Along with sexy clothing, more adult music products, videos, etc.

This marketing effort was stunningly successful. So successful that it continued to infect products for younger and younger girls until we got to tight 'n' sexy products for baby girls such as the pleather miniskirt from the Kardashians sold at Babies "R" Us. And, of course, the commercial pressure for teen girls to be "sexy" continues unabated. Profits and patriarchy, it's the chronic infectious combo that just keeps spreading.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:27 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


You guys remember JNCOs?

Dunno if we had that brand in Ireland but we did have comically wide pants, often cords, unfortunately they weren't very compatible with Irish weather as they soaked up rainwater like blotting paper.
posted by kersplunk at 3:33 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


* Jacket buttons are always unfastened when sitting down

I recall seeing a lot of button fastening/unfastening from the male lawyers during court scenes in The Good Wife.


A few years back I was sitting in a pew in a church at a wedding with two friends. All three of us (male) lawyers, and suited. I noted with some hilarity that, when we got up, we all unconsciously buttoned and smoothed our jackets in the same practiced rhythm, and it was perfectly synchronised like we were the most boring boy band in existence.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:54 PM on January 9 [27 favorites]


I think the last part of that sentence represents an uncharitable reading of the article. Sharing one's personal discovery of a thing is not the same as claiming invention of that thing.

I liked the article too. I'm just poking fun.

Brief empathy exercise. Imagine for a moment that you've read criticisms of the fashion industry making all the same points for decades, but people don't take them seriously because humorless feminists write them, and who reads those except other humorless feminists? Imagine that you have lived your whole life wearing these clothes and get called "mannish" and "a thing" and "dyke," once by someone who was threatening to kill you. Imagine that incredibly stylish celebrities who live that way, few of whom you see, get called the same thing, unless it's a "lesbian chic" year. Imagine wondering for years whether this is what's holding back your career prospects. Imagine (this is not me personally) you are someone assigned male at birth who feels unbearable dysphoria but is afraid of what would happen to you if you started to wear women's clothes, and you read this sentence: "I’ve been posting all over social media and I’ve had so much positivity pouring in from other women that I’m grinning from ear to ear."

Now read the article. How would you feel?

This is not me trying to tear down the author. I liked it! I really did. I thought it was witty and insightful and made serious points about the patriarchy with grace and style. I just wish more people would listen to us once in a while.
posted by thetortoise at 3:59 PM on January 9 [11 favorites]


Leggings with pockets:

These C9 Champion leggings from Target are my favorite - I have three pairs. The pockets are great - they're the perfect size for my giant phone (the plus sized iphone), and since they open to the top the phone doesn't fall out. The pocket location works really well for either standing or sitting, and they have a high waist, which I orefer. They're not warm, but I often layer silk long underwear or Uniqulo heattech leggings under them.

I also have these super super warm Athleta leggings. The pockets have zippers which is nice I guess, but they open to the side so my phone feels a little less secure unless I actually use the zipper, which is an annoying extra step.

I hadn't really realized it until now, but the pockets are 90% of the reason that I wear the above leggings pretty much daily. I carry my baby around a lot (including inside the house) and I like to have my phone on me so that it's handy if I want to read it while she nurses / take a photo / etc. I don't want to carry a purse in the house and if I have my phone in my hand it either gets left on a counter somewhere or the baby tries to eat it. Pockets are awesome.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:59 PM on January 9 [7 favorites]


What if there were no men?

I regularly fantasize about a TV show that is set in a world where that was the case. I don't particular care what kind of show it is -- police procedural, family drama, sitcom, whatever. The lack of men would never be mentioned, because in that world such a mention wouldn't even make sense. Lots of interesting world-building decisions to be made w.r.t. language, reproduction, power structures, etc.

In my fantasy the advertising for the show doesn't mention the lack of men either. I wonder how long it would take for viewers to cotton on. I wonder how many people's heads would explode at the notion.
posted by nnethercote at 6:48 PM on January 9 [8 favorites]


Because you're already shopping somewhere else and they don't want to compete for that part of the market.

No, actually, I'm still shopping at Old Navy and Target and just fitting into the top end of their straight sizes, sometimes, because I'm unwilling to pay Lane Bryant's prices and I've tried Catherine's and it just doesn't work on me and I get so tired of the order online and return cycle (Old Navy, like a lot of retailers, has moved their plus sizes to online only, which pisses me off and yet I still shop there, because cheap leggings and amazingly, active wear that actually fits and what used to be cute dresses, before they decided that no one needed to wear a bra ever again).

So, I'm mostly shopping at Goodwill and Amazon these days, because fuck everyone.

If more stores had good plus sized options, they'd make a killing. But we shop elsewhere because we don't have the choices. Even J.C. Penney, which used to be pretty reliable, is hit and miss anymore.
posted by joycehealy at 7:02 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I think this must be a problem only if you have never dressed for comfort as a woman. Since i'm oversensitive to many fabrics and to tightness, I've always bought my clothes to be soft and not overly tight. Can't bear things around my neck, so ties would be awful. Can't deal with nylons, so wear cotton tights or nothing.

I turned that corner this year. Never thought it would happen, because I love colour, pattern, play, but at this point in my physicality (pain + working out often to minimize future pain), it's comfort all the way. All outfits must work around leggings (and legwarmers now bc it's cold).

Totally agnostic wrt gender for individual items - I get oversized men's sweaters (which are available at mid-priced retailers in 100% wool for less than $150, sometimes less than $50 if you luck into a sale). And men's running shoes - their normal "D" width is the same as ladies' "wide", fyi. (And a ladies' 9 is a dude's 7.) Because I can no longer walk in normal women's shoes, not even their "comfort" or shit's medical options.

I still care a bit about how this all might impress people looking at me, I mean I stick to neutrals to prevent looking like an extra from the tv show Fame (maybe a teacher at a school assembly?), but not a whole lot.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:35 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I get oversized men's sweaters (which are available at mid-priced retailers in 100% wool for less than $150, sometimes less than $50 if you luck into a sale).

if finding wool sweaters under this price point is a thing, I've been very pleased with Woolovers.

posted by lalex at 7:45 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]


> what about workshops / events in bars like "Stitch N' Bitch" where you teach those skills to others?

msalt, I've actually daydreamed about it a bit. I'm by no means a pro, and any victims students would have to be very patient and good-natured about it, but if anybody in the Bay Area wants to get together sometime and give it a try, please MeMail me! (You're right about the economics of making clothes for sale - it's so time-consuming to do a really good job, you couldn't sell anything for a living wage. But it's a reasonably affordable hobby.)

For people who want to give it a go on their own, there are tons of books and videos about sewing and altering patterns. Sewing machine dealers also offer classes, as do some community colleges. I find pattern alteration much harder than actual sewing, and after looking at a zillion books and videos, I found one that actually clicked: "Sewing the Perfect Fit" by Lynda Maynard on Craftsy. Everybody's brain is different, though, so YMMV.
posted by Quietgal at 9:49 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


yeah as my chronic pain gets worse and worse pretty much on a daily basis i haven't worn anything but gym clothes type stuff since like 2014 or so, maybe earlier. i can't imagine caring for even a fraction of a second what people think when they see me being comfy all the time.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:50 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


While it may be true that lesbians have always had a presence in that space that's only a difficulty for having conversations where you hope to mate at the end of it, 

Hipsters broke my gaydar/
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:52 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


My girlfriend makes a few items of clothing for sale, particularly hoods and a shawl variant.
Some of them have pockets.
I have advised her to make all things have all the pockets.
posted by flaterik at 2:14 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Also, festival/utility belts are fantastic. Previously mentioned girlfriend wears hers all the time, while mine is saved for festivals for the most part.
They differ significantly from carpenter/construction belts in that all of the pockets have closures.
posted by flaterik at 2:21 AM on January 10


It's interesting when women do decide to dress for comfort, society finds a way to both monetize that desire while simultaneously mocking them for it. Hence the "athlesiure" trend but also "leggings are not pants" rants.

I'm 40 so I resisted the legging thing for some time but now that I'm on board, I am FULLY on board. I appreciate the links to leggings with pockets; I do wish there were pocketed leggings that aren't so tech fabric/workout-y so I could get away with them at work. I recently got a pair of Girlfriend Collective leggings (they're a new company and doing a promotion where you can get them for the cost of shipping from their ISO certified fair labor practices factory in Vietnam not affiliated with them I swear just think they're cool) and they are pretty fantastic in terms of fit and quality, but no pockets.

I still wear jeans and unlike some I am grateful for the added stretch in most women's jeans now. But leggings are just so much better.

I'm wearing a jumpsuit today and it's so great because it looks really chic and pulled together but is basically like wearing PJs at work. The only downside as noted above is going to the bathroom.
posted by misskaz at 7:56 AM on January 10 [6 favorites]


the dress I am wearing today (sleeveless [though I am wearing a long sleeved tshirt under it] swingy knee-length) could benefit from pockets.

The problem with it is the collar - it's very close to my neck - pretty close to how I imagine a person who wears a tie would have their shirt collar - and it's very uncomfortable.

(But it was only $17 [hooray for 75% sales] so I'm not going to complain that much)
posted by Lucinda at 9:03 AM on January 10


Emily's Fist: I'm short and curvy and have had good luck with King Sized Direct - I got a pair of lined sweatpants there that have pockets and they are my favorite cold weather around-the-house pants.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:27 AM on January 10


I thoroughly enjoyed this article, and it was really eye-opening how uncomfortable and inconvenient women's formal wear can be.

That said, I'd really like to read her experience with men's formalwear in the middle of the summer. Even with the very lightest of fabrics, you still have 2 or more layers on everything but your hands and head. I kind of hate it.

Of course, I'd hate to have to wear womens' formalwear in the middle of winter.

Somehow western culture has decided that one sex will be dressed inappropriately for the weather at formal events for half the year. At least we take turns.
posted by Cranialtorque at 2:38 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Not everyone wears nylons these days but do try to imagine wearing nylons in heat and humidity.
I am not sure that there is a good time of year for women's formal wear.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:44 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Cranialtorque I hear you that men's formalwear can be uncomfortable too. But I will see your formalwear discomfort and raise you the fact that women are not allowed to sweat. Man takes out handkerchief in public and mops his sweaty forehead - a-ok. Woman takes out handkerchief in public and mops between her boobs which are squished together by bra/dress - wtf?!
posted by billiebee at 4:00 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


On the one hand, women can wear bare legs and sleeveless dresses in the summer. On the other hand, we're expected to rip off all our body hair with hot wax before we can do so. I think I might trade you the hot tuxes!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:03 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I just remembered (upon donning it) that the robe my husband got me for Christmas is a boys size 18, which has two ample-sized pocketsand a hood, and which he bought because it was made of heavier fleece than the ladies version. Note to self: time to go scour the kids section again soon.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:16 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


Okay, I'm all for socially relaxing these standards, but now you want some of us to freeze to death!

I had to go put on another sweater just thinking about this.


I had to suffer for my art. Now it's your turn.
posted by flabdablet at 7:26 AM on January 13


The best thing about wearing a waistcoat is that everything you put in the pockets is an investment.
posted by Jode at 8:03 AM on January 13 [5 favorites]


More leggings with pockets at a very reasonable price.
posted by tangerine at 7:02 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Oh hey a store where all the clothes have pockets. Some may find this useful.
posted by tel3path at 3:55 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


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