Long suspected, now proven
August 16, 2018 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Our measurements confirmed what every woman already knows to be true: women’s pockets are ridiculous. [slThePudding]

Like so many things on the internet, we could find complaints and anecdotes galore but little data illustrating just how inferior women’s pockets really are to men’s. So, we went there. We measured the pockets in both men’s and women’s pants in 20 of the US’ most popular blue jeans brands. Take a look at what we found.

Pockets, previously: 1, 2
posted by atlantica (172 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
As a dude I usually won't buy pants or shorts if the front pocket won't fit a paperback.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:50 PM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


This is why I buy men's jackets. I live for a nice deep breast pocket. Also- Uniqlo. Even their dresses (well most of them anyways) have good pockets usually.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:53 PM on August 16, 2018 [9 favorites]


Now I feel guilty about my HUGE cargo short pockets.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:55 PM on August 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


Bring back giant historical pockets!! If I can't keep three oranges, a tablet, a giant set of house keys, six handkerchiefs, a fully stocked pharmacy including different kinds of tampons and pads, and probably a wretched street urchin in my pockets then they don't count.
posted by Mizu at 3:00 PM on August 16, 2018 [67 favorites]


As a dude I usually won't buy pants or shorts if the front pocket won't fit a paperback.

As a dude, I apologize from the bottom of my heart that the assholes running the Patriarchy have chosen this method of oppression.
posted by mikelieman at 3:07 PM on August 16, 2018 [22 favorites]


What do we want? Functional pockets. When do we want it? NOW, but really like several centuries ago.

Several centuries ago, women did have lovely, HUGE pockets - bigger than men's, as there was plenty of room under their skirts. I've seen them at clothing museums.

This is really a post-1800 problem, so obviously, I'm blaming the French Revolution. Down with classically inspired fashion!
posted by jb at 3:10 PM on August 16, 2018 [14 favorites]


This is one of the reasons I like skirts so much - it's easier to find skirts with good pockets than women's pants, because current styles for women's pants are so form-fitting. It's not just that the pockets are too small; it's that putting anything in the pockets is uncomfortable.

I want the fanny pack to be cool. One of my friends has one in gold lamé that looks great. Somehow she pulls it off; I think it might be the only cool fanny pack out there.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:10 PM on August 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


Oh okay I actually read TFA and see that they talk about historical pockets near the end there. Good. Everybody should know about this. Women had glorious giant secret pockets taken away from us because we were too lumpy. Unacceptable.
posted by Mizu at 3:10 PM on August 16, 2018 [43 favorites]


Yep. As a man who has hips and likes colorful clothing, I am not opposed to wearing women's pants, and I sometimes browse the women's section at the store. But I always check the pockets first thing, because it's the quickest way to rule out 75% of pairs. What the hell, clothing designers?
posted by aws17576 at 3:12 PM on August 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


(This is slightly tangential, but the other thing I check is whether there's a button or flap that comes from the opposite of the side I'm used to and will drive me crazy. Of all the ways clothing is gendered, that has to be one of the most odd and artificial.)
posted by aws17576 at 3:14 PM on August 16, 2018 [13 favorites]


It just seems like one of those things where people keep saying they want something, and then don't put their money where their mouth is. If women preferentially bought clothes with pockets, and poorly rated or returned clothes for lack of pockets, designers and retailers would shift to meet demand.

If pockets were really a higher priority than silhouette or general fit, then cargo pants wouldn't be the punchline that they've become.
posted by explosion at 3:15 PM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


If women preferentially bought clothes with pockets, and poorly rated or returned clothes for lack of pockets, designers and retailers would shift to meet demand.

I'm trying really hard not to be sarcastic here, so I'll just say that you don't really have any idea what you're talking about.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:29 PM on August 16, 2018 [219 favorites]


I remember when I was young, started wearing women's clothing rather than girls', and suddenly found that pockets had disappeared. They spoiled the line, Mom told me. Spoiled the line, hell -- I never had a line to spoil down there! It was always a curve! The insult of trying to put my hand in the pocket of a pair of pants at the store, only to find it's a decorative applique --

If women preferentially bought clothes with pockets, and poorly rated or returned clothes for lack of pockets, designers and retailers would shift to meet demand.


They have to make them before we can buy them. And there's a difference between a quick dignified pair of hip pockets and a full-on cargo pant hold.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:30 PM on August 16, 2018 [25 favorites]


If women preferentially bought clothes with pockets, and poorly rated or returned clothes for lack of pockets, designers and retailers would shift to meet demand.

It is, though. Dresses with pockets are increasingly common nowadays. I also think that pants are slowly getting bigger pockets as well, at least at the fast fashion end.
posted by muddgirl at 3:33 PM on August 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


It just seems like one of those things where people keep saying they want something, and then don't put their money where their mouth is. If women preferentially bought clothes with pockets, and poorly rated or returned clothes for lack of pockets, designers and retailers would shift to meet demand.
I think that is a very naive interpretation of how markets work. We don't have the infinitely free market that econ 101 professors talk about. And it flies in the face of all the other gender and race inequities that market forces have spectacularly failed to correct.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 3:37 PM on August 16, 2018 [64 favorites]


I surely can’t be the only person who often goes multiple consecutive years between major wardrobe updates specifically BECAUSE the clothing available in the stores is just that unsuitable. And buying men’s clothes doesn’t help, because they just assume it was bought for a man. It does nothing to change trends in women’s clothing. I mean, if having a gazillion blogs and articles about it, writing letters to fashion magazines, posting about it on social media, boycotting brands, and changing patronage to specific fashion providers doesn’t change the overall fashion industry, and last time I checked, it hasn’t, then what the heck do you expect people to do? Sometimes you need a new pair of pants and you have to choose from what’s on the shelf.
posted by Autumnheart at 3:45 PM on August 16, 2018 [40 favorites]


Like so many things on the internet, we could find complaints and anecdotes galore

This is a super common complaint. I'm not the one to do this, so I'll just throw it out there. Isn't it a bit trivial to replace a pocket with a bigger one? It's like a five minute job. Not for me, not for a lot of people, but for someone with the skills.

So you set up WEWANTPOCKETS.COM. You could get your pants sent via them, so when they get to you there are *gasp* actual real life fucking pockets in them. Standards like Levi's could be predone so you can order straight from the site.

I'm probably missing some giant flaw in this. Oh, yeah. If it were ever successful, manufacturers will see that and start putting actual real life fucking pockets in their pants and we'd be out of business. WHAT A DISASTER.
posted by adept256 at 3:45 PM on August 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


I buy most of my clothes at thrift shops and end up with skirts or pants that have no pockets, or pockets that make my phone slide out when I'm seated. I now have several small, decorative bags, the size of a proper pocket, that I wear cross-body, for my phone. Not because I care about missing a humorous text, but because most jobs require access to email, and because I constantly need to look things up.
posted by theora55 at 3:49 PM on August 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


If it were trivial, that’s what people would do. But in order to fit a pocket, or enlarge a pocket, you have to enlarge the entire garment. That would require matching the thread and fabric of the garment in question, which means finding the correct dye lot for those things. That would be a significant alteration and not trivial in either effort or cost.
posted by Autumnheart at 3:50 PM on August 16, 2018 [18 favorites]


The false idea that replacing a pocket would be trivial comes from repeated devaluing of skills usually held by women.
posted by Mizu at 3:53 PM on August 16, 2018 [102 favorites]


It's cool, I honestly don't know how to change a pocket.
posted by adept256 at 3:56 PM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


Even if it’s not about women’s skills, it’s not like a pocket is just “cut a hole in a pair of pants and sew a cloth bag to the edges”. The opening of the pocket has to match the exterior of the garment, and the pelvic region and leg has to be large enough to accommodate your body and the pocket. It has to actually LOOK NICE. Men’s pants manage to do this without deforming the garment or making it look weird when a person is wearing it, so we know it can be done.
posted by Autumnheart at 3:59 PM on August 16, 2018 [27 favorites]


It's not just jeans. The singular pair of pants that can fit my whole cell phone are scrubs that I have left over from my massage therapist days.

I was just grumbling to myself about this problem this evening, coincidentally, because I would like to be able to take the effing trash and recycling out to the street (requires both hands), while bringing my phone along (it's a bit of a hike and I'm paranoid that if I don't take it I will like twist an ankle or something and be unable to call for help), and while not wearing a coat or jacket in 90 degree weather. The pants I am wearing fit like 2/3 of my phone, height-wise.

It really bothers me to see the "just buy ones with good pockets" posts. I'll do that just as soon as there ARE plus size pants TO buy, that fit and that I otherwise like, that have decent pockets. Talk about blaming the victim.
posted by nirblegee at 3:59 PM on August 16, 2018 [38 favorites]


I want the fanny pack to be cool.

This is how everyone ended up looking like Rob Liefeld characters.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:07 PM on August 16, 2018 [7 favorites]


No shit. “Gee whiz, why don’t you just buy the clothes that have pockets and not the ones that don’t?” As if there are racks of the things just gathering dust in the store. It could practically be a #challenge to make a list of 5 classic pieces of women’s clothing in a given size, and see how many stores you have to hit before you get one item on the list, and how many it takes to find all of them. I live within easy driving distance of the Mall of America and I guarantee you I’ve left there empty-handed.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:07 PM on August 16, 2018 [38 favorites]


(This is slightly tangential, but the other thing I check is whether there's a button or flap that comes from the opposite of the side I'm used to and will drive me crazy. Of all the ways clothing is gendered, that has to be one of the most odd and artificial.)

I think this is the classic example of "we do it this way because we have always done it this way." The general explanation (possibly true but unverified) is that it has to do with unbuttoning one's shirt while preparing for a duel.

The last legal duel in my country (Canada) was fought.... well, apparently never. The list on Wikipedia is all of ones that preceded the existence of the country, save for one in Newfoundland; that one preceded Newfoundland joining Canada.

Yet the buttons persist.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:11 PM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I want to bring back belt pouches and chatelaines. Like, containers smaller than a handbag that you can pin or clip to a belt or a garment. How has the fanny pack become the only available modern option?

As it is, I take a small handbag with me everywhere, which is annoying. It's a thing which is loosely coupled to me and might accidentally get left somewhere.

I have exactly one pair of cargo pants which renders the handbag unnecessary. I love those pants and will never get rid of them.

Edit: now that I think about it, those are unisex cargo pants, because of course they are. I have a second pair of cargo pants, which have many pockets -- and they're all tiny, thus defeating the entire point of cargo pants.
posted by confluency at 4:14 PM on August 16, 2018 [9 favorites]


This is how everyone ended up looking like Rob Liefeld characters.

Those are pouches, which are slightly different. And to get fully Liefeldian, one would have to wear about thirty fanny packs. One will get you a bit of sotto voce criticism of your fashion choices; thirty will get you at the very least your own seat on the bus.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:15 PM on August 16, 2018 [21 favorites]


Oh my inner data geek rejoices in this article - thanks for posting!
posted by hilaryjade at 4:28 PM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


This isn't a real solution, but the fashion tumblr I follow mentioned (I think) "Pocksies" (here on Amazon). It may not have been that brand...it was a few weeks ago and so on Tumblr that means you will never, ever find it again.

(I can sympathize. My motorcycle jacket, which I've had for 20 years and like just fine, has both zippered pockets on the outside destroyed, the linings ripped out by our increasingly large phones and yrs trly's insistence that one of those pockets was where that item belongs. The pockets are comically small, and are probably still larger than pockets on most women's clothing.)

"Ruin the line" ie, some dude may want to admire your ass. I don't mean that unkindly to the mom who originally said it, but that's what it is, isn't it? Women in public are ornaments, not people with practical needs.
posted by maxwelton at 4:34 PM on August 16, 2018 [14 favorites]


One will get you a bit of sotto voce criticism of your fashion choices; thirty will get you at the very least your own seat on the bus.

It’s a slippery slope shoulder pad.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:34 PM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


Ruining the line can also mean “puts stress on the seam and eventually you rip a hole in the pants” but it certainly also refers to how one looks in the garment.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:43 PM on August 16, 2018 [16 favorites]


For those wishing that fanny packs were cool, I have discovered the genre of "festival bags" and I really hope they are cooler than fanny packs because mine is incredibly convenient when I go dancing. (Yes, there are shitty fanny packs in those results, but also a lot of cool things.)

For those wishing more dresses could compete with cargo pants for pocket volume. I love the hell out of my Prairie Underground dresses.
posted by gusandrews at 4:44 PM on August 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


It just seems like one of those things where people keep saying they want something, and then don't put their money where their mouth is. If women preferentially bought clothes with pockets, and poorly rated or returned clothes for lack of pockets, designers and retailers would shift to meet demand.

And until we reach the critical-mass number of women who have returned clothing for insufficient pockets for the designers to finally take things seriously, then women will be forced to either walking around naked from the waist down or staying inside because there are no clothes with sufficient pockets so we would have to return everything, that is the whole point of the article
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:44 PM on August 16, 2018 [41 favorites]


Shit, we already return everything because it doesn’t fit. We try on everything, often literally every available item in a size, and still wind up returning it or not buying it because of issues with the fit. There’s already a whole trope about how long it takes women to shop for anything, and how they try on everything in the store and still don’t buy anything. We don’t do it just because we have nothing better to do and can’t make up our minds, although that’s certainly how it’s portrayed.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:48 PM on August 16, 2018 [55 favorites]


To be fair, there was one brand in the study that had pockets approaching a useful size in both pants styles! But the brand is fucking Abercrombie. I did not feel cool/rich enough to shop in that store when I was in high school, I'm not about to start shopping there as a 32 year old woman I don't care how marginally better their pockets are.
posted by gueneverey at 5:07 PM on August 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


> ricochet biscuit:
"This is how everyone ended up looking like Rob Liefeld characters.

Those are pouches, which are slightly different. And to get fully Liefeldian, one would have to wear about thirty fanny packs. One will get you a bit of sotto voce criticism of your fashion choices; thirty will get you at the very least your own seat on the bus."


And you WILL need that seat as you now have no feet.
posted by Samizdata at 5:09 PM on August 16, 2018 [25 favorites]


This is a great article! I'm forever jamming items, like tissues, up my sleeve or shoving my lip balm in my bra because of the infuriating lack of pockets in women's garments. It's teeth-gnashingly absurd. The description of Bessie Glass's fabulous kimono in Salinger's Franny and Zooey is wonderful, and I am determined to get a similar catch-all garment in the very near future. Note, however, that pockets had to be added, even to this. Sigh.

To whit:

She was wearing her usual at-home vesture-what her son Buddy...called her pre-notification-of-death uniform. It consisted mostly of a hoary midnight-blue Japanese kimono. She almost invariably wore it throughout the apartment during the day.....It also served as the repository for the paraphernalia of a very heavy cigarette smoker and an amateur handyman; two oversized pockets had been added at the hips, and they usually contained two or three packs of cigarettes, several match folders, a screwdriver, a claw-end hammer, a Boy Scout knife that had once belonged to one of her sons, and an enamel faucet handle or two, plus an assortment of screws, nails, hinges, and ball-bearing casters-all of which tended to make Mrs. Glass chink faintly as she moved about in her large apartment.
posted by but no cigar at 5:10 PM on August 16, 2018 [12 favorites]


I *do* buy clothes with pockets, whenever I find the damn things, which is vanishingly rare. Dresses occasionally have successful pockets. Pants are more or less hopeless.

Hell yes, I'd buy (work) pants with fucking pockets if I could. As the article says, I essentially cannot (these hips don't fit in men's cut pants).
posted by nat at 5:11 PM on August 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


If you want secret pockets, something like a Flipbelt might work for some of you. I am a man, and I wear one for running. It holds my house key, my phone, some money, whatever other random stuff I want to take with me. It wouldn't work if you were wearing a dress, or if you wanted to wear your shirt tucked in, but you could hide it under a t-shirt or similar, if you didn't mind looking a little lumpy in the lower tummy area.
posted by chrchr at 5:16 PM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


No one wants to look a little lumpy in the lower tummy area. We want to put our things in pockets in the same location that dudes get to put things.
posted by lauranesson at 5:36 PM on August 16, 2018 [59 favorites]


Next I hope they study SEE THROUGH SHIRTS. I would gladly never have a pocket again if I could guarantee that opaque shirts were available for purchase. I wouldn’t go so far as to say opaque shirts in a variety of colors because that’s just not realistic.
posted by bleep at 5:39 PM on August 16, 2018 [34 favorites]


*opaque shirts with sleeves
posted by bleep at 5:39 PM on August 16, 2018 [9 favorites]


Sorry. This whole pocket thing makes me genuinely and repetitively angry. After years of only allowing myself a phone that would fit in my womens' pockets (about 3g open memory and no dice whatsoever on location/map stuff), I finally got a phone that actually works. It does not fit in my clothing, and I don't carry a purse. I spent ninety minutes of my little old life stitching a bit of fabric to extend my left jeans pocket, the one place I want to carry my phone. I stitched it pretty and it works well. I now have one item of clothing in which I can conduct my life how I actually wanna. A working phone has improved my life in really a zillion ways, but only if I'm willing to adjust every dumb item of clothing I buy for my lower body.

I bet next time it'll only take me an hour, but come tf on.
posted by lauranesson at 5:43 PM on August 16, 2018 [16 favorites]


Also, the pocket extension did not ruin my lines.
posted by lauranesson at 5:44 PM on August 16, 2018 [9 favorites]


I want the fanny pack to be cool.

You're in luck - they're just called belt bags now.
posted by airmail at 5:44 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hey I'm dealing with this right now. I bought two pairs of jeans last month. The front pockets aren't even finger deep so I cut the bottoms off and add another 3" or so. I had to do it last year as well. Short pockets, trend or cost cutting? hmmmm.

Also as a buyer, I've purchased fanny packs the past two years, brightly colored ones in turquoise, lime, hot pink. I will singlehandedly drag them back in style if I have to. They look good slung over your shoulder, too.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:59 PM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I definitely rock fanny packs, both around the waist and as a shoulder/cross-body (I started wearing them when I was doing fieldwork that involved needing to stand in streams but also occasionally take notes, etc while in said streams). I also realized when I started wearing high waisted jeans that gave me some extra pocket room as well, which I appreciate.

Also I know that not everyone believes that leggings are pants, but on casual days I basically live in these. They're super comfy and have pockets I can stuff my wallet, phone, and keys in, with room to spare. I also run in them and use the pockets to carry my phone for music/strava. Don't get me wrong, I realize they're basically cargo pants disguised as leggings, but I tend to prefer form fitting stuff because I'm 5ft tall and easily get swallowed by looser cuts.
posted by primalux at 6:07 PM on August 16, 2018 [8 favorites]


Came for the data driven attack on the pocket patriarchy, stayed for the side swiping at tiny feet pouchmaster Liefeld.
posted by signal at 6:45 PM on August 16, 2018 [17 favorites]


I am at the stage of pregnancy where I am acquiring maternity jeans and argh they have the fake sewn up pockets. Especially since I might want to wear these postpartum when, you know, being able to put things in pockets will likely be extremely helpful.

(And it's not like the stretchy panel precludes the pockets, because I'm currently wearing another pair of cargo-y maternity pants that have actual functional pockets that can fit a Galaxy S7.)
posted by damayanti at 6:49 PM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


Stitchfix sent me some nice pants with the correct length and width and zipper pockets front zippers that open to a flat piece of fabric. Putting in a zipper is not a trivial part of garment construction, so why go through all that and NOT add a pocket? Returned with a note about the lack of pockets.
posted by soelo at 7:09 PM on August 16, 2018 [17 favorites]


Are Utilikilts too butch? Or too expensive? Cos they're some pocket-laden mofos in my experience.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 7:09 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


up until 16 years ago women's cords, jeans and chinos still had decent pockets
posted by brujita at 7:13 PM on August 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


The Amanda line by Gloria Vanderbilt (Kohl's) is a large part of my wardrobe and has decent sized pockets on the plus-sized versions. I do have a pair of capris where the embroidery makes one pocket smaller, but that is not the norm.
posted by soelo at 7:16 PM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


By shortening the pocket length, they probably save a shitload of dough on material.

Probably the same concept driving the see-through shirt trend.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:17 PM on August 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


Pocket material on jeans is some of the cheapest, thinnest material, though. I have deconstructed fifty plus pairs of jeans and that is the stuff I set aside for foundations or scrap.
posted by soelo at 7:21 PM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


Still adds up if you’re making twice as many pockets with the same amount of cloth. Not that women’s clothing is exactly known for its robust material in the first place. :/
posted by Autumnheart at 7:29 PM on August 16, 2018


If women preferentially bought clothes with pockets,

I don't want to blow your mind, but we do and always have. we buy them where they can be found, which has long been, for those of us who can fit into them or don't mind that we don't, the mens' and boys' departments. same place we get our wool and cashmere sweaters if we want them in attractive colors.

but how you expect retailers to track and respond to this I can't imagine. if you want sales clerks to make secret notes every time an apparent woman buys a "man's" article of clothing, make a guess on whether she's buying it for herself or for a man, tally up the numbers, and send the data to Central Clothing Command, you have a long and frankly ill-advised fight ahead of you. maybe save the energy for demanding clothiers demonstrate basic respect for women, rather than demanding women prove we want and deserve it enough.

and also, the whole point of having to open pockets with a seam-ripper is that if you want to leave them alone and mantain the line, you can. and if you want to have functional pockets, you can. with the same garment. you can leave a human-sized pocket sewn shut just as easily as a doll-sized one. a doubtful theory of style is not an excuse for subtracting quality and dignity from a garment, or not an excuse that works on anyone who cares for and knows about clothes.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:31 PM on August 16, 2018 [53 favorites]


I am cautiously optimistic that we're about to see improvement in the pocket situation. I am definitely hearing more about the Pocket Problem than I used to, and I see some retailers advertising that their dresses have pockets. I think that the thing that is standing between us and trousers with pockets is the continuing ascendance of skinny pants. As soon as pants get roomier, and that has to happen sometime, I think we'll probably get decent pockets. At least, I hold out hope.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:41 PM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I’ve noticed a trend in men’s pants having a slimmer fit than in previous years. People who buy men’s skinny jeans and pants, please report on any changes in pockets that you detect. If men’s pants can be slim fit and still have decent pockets, then it should be that way for women, too.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:47 PM on August 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


Utilikilts, last time I looked, were made for men. They are not cut to fit well on more-shapely-hipped women, though fairly straight-hipped women would probably be OK.

There is a twelve inch difference between my hips (42") and my waist (30") and I am by no means a freak of nature. For my build, a Utilikilt is not going to be ideal any more than men's pants are ideal. When I buy men's pants, and I have, the amount of loose fabric at the waist is a sight to behold if I get them big enough to fit my hips.

On WOMEN'S pants, I can generally stuff two closed fists down the back of the pants without any difficulty. I refuse to wear elastic-waist "mom jeans" and instead use a belt to kind of pleat the waistband into submission. *sigh* It's sort of effective.

Also my job involves things like replacing sink faucets, pulling and resetting toilets, and generally doing landlord/super type things. I do not want to do my job in a skirt-like piece of apparel because I do not want to display any parts of my body accidentally. I have enough trouble with sexist bs in my job already.

Finally, my job requires that I carry a cellphone (for which I have an ungainly Phone Holster that goes on my belt) and a whole fistful of keys that I generally shove in my insufficient pockets. The keys don't quite fit because they have a 3/8" box wrench on the ring for bleeding oil burners. My dad has a similar set of keys with a box wrench but his fit in his pockets.
posted by which_chick at 7:48 PM on August 16, 2018 [18 favorites]


Utilikilts also don’t look like anything else but utilikilts. They are not garments that can be worn in a variety of settings and dressed up or down. It would be like suggesting we just wear motorcycle jackets or fishing vests with our outfit. Plus it makes no sense to suggest that a woman wear a man’s kilt when there are a billion skirts and dresses on the market. That would be like telling a man, “Oh, you want more fashion choices for your work wardrobe, especially ones that are cooler in the summer? Just wear a dress.”
posted by Autumnheart at 7:55 PM on August 16, 2018 [20 favorites]


> signal:
"Came for the data driven attack on the pocket patriarchy, stayed for the side swiping at tiny feet pouchmaster Liefeld."

I'm doing my part! [StarshipTroopers.GIF]
posted by Samizdata at 8:03 PM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I guess I'll go ahead and be the one to say that cargo shorts look stupid on almost everyone, they are just plain bad, I don't care how utilitarian they might be. Fucking carry a bag.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:06 PM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


It might not look great to have stuff in slim cut pants pockets, but women are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves if they want bulging pockets or not. We just... don't put anything in our pockets.

Adding pockets can be an involved job, depending on the pocket style, the garment, and how nice you want the pocket to look. Like, patch and side pockets are super easy, welt pockets not so much. Existing pocket bags can easily be lengthened. You just chop off the bottom and stitch on a longer piece.
posted by Stonkle at 8:08 PM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I bought men's pants last fall at Costco, not really expecting them to fit my female body but I liked the fabric. I wound up being surprised by how well they fit through the waist and hip (which led to a whole other set of wondering about what shape of men these pants had been cut for), but the true revelation was being able to fit my entire hand in the front pockets. I went back and bought more.
posted by danielleh at 8:26 PM on August 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


I've asked my mum about this, who's had fashion training and was going to be a fashion designer until she discovered exactly what you have to sacrifice to be successful. What I was told is that pockets on the side of the pants apparently make a weird bulge on women and not men. On men, that part of the leg is straight up and down, so anything you put in the pocket is pushed down by gravity. On women, that part of the leg has a little curve to it, so anything you put in the pocket is pushed out.

I'm not entirely sure this squares with the stories I've heard of women buying men's pants and finding they fit fine, but that's apparently the collective wisdom of the fashion world.
posted by Merus at 8:42 PM on August 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


I've just been drafting a couple of utility vest with many pockets so I can stop using a handbag and/or backpack. The vest for walking will have pockets for phone, mp3 player, camera, meds, glasses, keys, wallet and deep elasticised pockets at the back for water. There will be detachable sleeves (sun protection) and a hoodie with a peak. The work vest will be a sensible black, and have less pockets and no sleeves.
posted by b33j at 8:55 PM on August 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


It’s an epidemic. I have an obsession with moto jackets. But I’ve restricted myself to just 4 (+a vest). One of them doesn’t have pockets. Guess which one I rarely wear? Guess how many moto jackets I didn’t even entrain the thought of buying when I saw it lacked pockets. The ones I own are all thin, fitted, stylish (and CHEAP) moto jackets that have plenty of room for pockets so why do they differ so much in the choice to include a pocket - even from the same store?!
posted by Crystalinne at 9:07 PM on August 16, 2018


> b33j:
"I've just been drafting a couple of utility vest with many pockets so I can stop using a handbag and/or backpack. The vest for walking will have pockets for phone, mp3 player, camera, meds, glasses, keys, wallet and deep elasticised pockets at the back for water. There will be detachable sleeves (sun protection) and a hoodie with a peak. The work vest will be a sensible black, and have less pockets and no sleeves."

Is this the point when I mention how much and for how long I have wanted a Scott eVest?
posted by Samizdata at 9:11 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I can say from design school that I got told to make the pockets I wanted to put into my jacket small, because otherwise they won't fit on a woman. And I do hate the new pants with pockets so tiny I can't put a cell phone in. Though to be fair, phones are bigger these days and even I can't fit mine into the few dress pockets I have.

I am unabashedly wearing strap on pockets, fanny packs, festival belts, whatever the hell we are calling them, all the time.

I do also have two Utilikilts, both of them being models they no longer sell any more, but they did make me a custom one for my first (the second one my mother bought pre-made in a new style and gave to me) and it was fine. I am a narrow hipped person though so yeah, not an issue for me there.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:30 PM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yes, as a non-woman person I've understood this for like 4 decades. Why does everything have to be a revelation just because someone expresses it?
posted by humboldt32 at 10:09 PM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


The false idea that replacing a pocket would be trivial comes from repeated devaluing of skills usually held by women

I frequently feel devalued when I read clothing-themed post commentary on MeFi. I sew, cut, drape, alter, tailor etc. I worked really hard and for a long time to gain the skill and expertise that I have. But people with my skills aren't respected, and clothing isn't valued at all. People don't want to pay for alterations. They want $40 pants that fit perfectly off the rack and think that's a reasonable expectation. It might be needed, due to income levels and societal expectations of one's appearance, but it's not reasonable. I'm really tired and not very articulate right now, but minuscule pockets are just a tiny part of a larger problem.
posted by Stonkle at 10:14 PM on August 16, 2018 [41 favorites]


80% of Uniqlo's women's dresses, skirts and pants come with decent pockets. It's a major major reason for me switching almost entirely over to buying their clothes as my basic default.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:17 PM on August 16, 2018 [7 favorites]


Also, yes, carrying several heavy items in pockets in a light summer dress makes the dress lines lumpy. My phone, my wallet, a chapstick, an apple, headphones, maybe a couple of pens and a notebook - I have filled up my pockets. But I get to walk around without remembering an extra bag, and if I don't look like a sketched drawing in a light summer gown because I'm using my pockets, I'm happy with my stuffed pockets.

Oooh, apron pockets you could tie on like an medieval alewife and fill with various things. That'd be so cool and useful.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:22 PM on August 16, 2018 [8 favorites]


What I was told is that pockets on the side of the pants apparently make a weird bulge on women and not men. On men, that part of the leg is straight up and down, so anything you put in the pocket is pushed down by gravity. On women, that part of the leg has a little curve to it, so anything you put in the pocket is pushed out.

It's really a shame that we've criminalized thick thighs and hips! Gosh, if only I could wear a functional garment that didn't require the approval of the board of people who decide what body shapes are acceptable.

I don't say this to snark at you, Merus, but at the entire premise of the argument that pockets wouldn't be flattering in feminine clothing. If we were allowed to have thicker or lumpier bottom halves (as we do), I suspect none of this would be an issue at all.
posted by witchen at 10:23 PM on August 16, 2018 [8 favorites]


I just went through Ravelry looking for all the patterns with pockets.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:38 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Regarding stuff being pushed out of my pocket by my curvy thighs... I’m pretty sure I’ve had work trousers with pockets sewn in exactly sideways, and that’s why stuff falls out. They’re lying to us. When my pants do have pockets I can slip my hands into, they’re useless.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:53 PM on August 16, 2018


I'm lucky in that the only brand of jeans that I can consistently fit into has nice decent deep pockets. (Australia, plus sized, tiny waist, large hips and thighs - Rockman's Beme for the win) I also wish this for others. I currently have a jacket that I almost bought two of, except that the pockets randomly dispense my phone onto the floor when I sit down.

If we could also do something about increasing the ratios of women's toilets to men's toilets in new builds, or shifting to single cubicle unisex loos, I'd appreciate it. The ladies loo line is not, in fact, a universal requirement for public spaces.
posted by kjs4 at 11:41 PM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


To be fair, there was one brand in the study that had pockets approaching a useful size in both pants styles! But the brand is fucking Abercrombie

Didn't the article also indicate that H&M had pretty similar pockets for men and women? Of course maybe that just means that their men's pants have too-small pockets also.
posted by msalt at 11:54 PM on August 16, 2018


Weird thing I noticed when my friend had a baby - a surprising number of baby clothes have real pockets, sometimes substantial ones. Why?! Like all these babies need to carry their keys around with them or something? And adult women with wallets and phones are stuck with the ornamental-zip-fake-pocket situation.
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 12:01 AM on August 17, 2018 [27 favorites]


I've been using a fanny pack instead of a purse for decades (two kids, two hands, etc.) because it has so many uses.

I don't put it in a shopping cart. I don't have to return to the classroom to get it (delaying the field trip bus). I don't wash my electronic car keys in the laundry.
I have allergy meds, safety pins, a headlamp, all kinds of things inside it that I might need that I wouldn't stuff in my pockets. I've reduced the times when I've needed help finding my glasses, since they live in the main compartment when not on my nose.
All my stuff stays in the same place. It may weigh a ton, but I haven't locked myself out of the house in quite a while.
Oh, and there is room in the fanny pack for my cell phone and the charger.

I finally found jeans that fit and don't need hemming at the Black Friday sale last month (Macy's Style & Co.) and they do have pockets, but the front ones are not the roomy whole-hands ones of my youth. And Wal-Mart has discontinued their White Stag stretch pants which do have deep pockets. The "new" brand is... not good. Bummer.
If it bothers me, I can get some handkerchief cotton and extend the front pockets, but I can slip my monster-size key chain in them, so for now I'll take it if I don't have to hem the legs.
posted by TrishaU at 12:20 AM on August 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


As I have noted before on these pages, I do not buy slacks/pants that do not have pockets. Nothing gets a manufacturer's attention like lost sales.
posted by Cranberry at 12:35 AM on August 17, 2018


This is something that particularly infuriates me (and I'm a man who very rarely wears womens clothes).

We were going to a party earlier this year and she had 1 pocket which could accommodate about a third of her phone. (Also, several more pockets which are just patches! Why. That's so annoying!)

Meanwhile, I had (casually, I'd not dressed for pockets) 15 pockets.
She was alarmed for a moment that I'd forgotten to bring the bottles of wine until I revealed that they were in my inside coat pockets.

I have a small female child and all her clothes have pockets, my wife's clothes, barely any.
It's monstrous!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:15 AM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


How do women feel about tactical pants? These were the first result on Amazon for "tactical pants women" and under Features they list:
  • Extra-deep front pockets
  • 2 knife/accessory pockets
  • Expandable back pockets with hook & loop closure
  • 2 cargo pockets with hook & loop closure and bellowed side gussets that contain 2 internal magazine compartments
  • cell phone/magazine compartment on outside of cargo pockets
Something like this is basically what I wear to work every day, except I actually look for ones that don't have bellowed pockets because I think they look more presentable for a job that goes back and forth between the office and the jobsite a lot. That's right, I look for work pants with smaller pockets. Of course, I'm filling my pockets with screwdrivers and notebooks and stuff rather than guns, bullets, knives (well I do carry one knife), and more bullets. But they're supremely functional and while some are pretty ugly, others are designed to look pretty much normal. The one above is literally just the first one that came up.

I also thought about hiking pants—but then I went and looked up the women's version of my beloved do-everything Stretch Zions which I adore because they look sleek and trim and presentable and yet have lovely big pockets including a nice low-profile cargo pocket on one side… and lo and behold women are complaining in the reviews about how the pockets are too small to hold a cell phone. So, damn.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:59 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Those tactical pants also have a sliding waistband that allows you to adjust the waist size without bunchy elastic. And I guarantee that they're durable. Styling will definitely be on the utilitarian side, but at least they'll be designed to be comfortable, permit good freedom of movement, and hold more gear than most people are going to need. I'm genuinely curious what women think of this genre of pant.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:10 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm genuinely curious what women think of this genre of pant.

For one we're not a monolith.

For two, if we're going to assume monoliths for the sake of comparison, it's similar to asking what men think of utilikilts. Which is to say, uh-huh, yes, on a rational level, that is utilitarian. On a can-you-wear-it-to-a-wedding-or-the-office-etc. level, it's not. Humanity is not solely rational, we are also relational, and one of the ways we delimit those spheres and our identities is via visual signalling aka fashion/style. There have been attempts to rationalize fashion and they generally have not been kind to humanity.

For three there are already quite a few people in this thread who wear/want to wear women's clothing who have already said that they would like existing styles of clothes to have pockets.

Every decade I near the grave, hoping I won't end up going to it with people-who-identify-as-cis-male putting their hands over their eyes after putting in earplugs while going "BUT IF YOU WOULD JUST SAY WHAT YOU WANT, OR WHY DON'T YOU JUST DO WHAT YOU WANT, ALSO WHY DON'T YOU TRY WHAT I THINK YOU MIGHT WANT" at people they identify as "women" who are sitting there giving realistic suggestions and, y'know, saying what it is that they want.

As a tall and muscular woman I would love to boycott clothes without pockets but omglol I would be nude all the time. Given how some of society react to humans with milk-producing boobs and babies utilizing those boobs quite rationally and productively as well as happily, going entirely nude is not a realistic expectation.

What IS a realistic expectation is for producers of clothing to put fucking pockets into clothes.
posted by fraula at 4:45 AM on August 17, 2018 [24 favorites]


For one we're not a monolith.

I didn't think you were. I'm sorry if the use of the word "women" seemed to imply that any given woman would be expected to speak for anyone but herself. I'm not sure how else I would have expressed it though.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:50 AM on August 17, 2018


I appreciate their analysis, but am I the only one who has a problem with saying 'ok the phone fits' if it fits the measurement of the pocket width?

Pockets are positioned around the hip. You can't make a 5 or 6 inch long phone 'wrap' around a hip if it's sitting horizontally.

For me, a phone has to be positioned vertically in a front pocket (and even then causes an awkward flat rectangular protruding bit, but whatever), and thus most of these pants wouldn't pass the 'fits xyz phone' because it would be popping out form the pocket by 2 inches or more.
posted by rachaelfaith at 6:16 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I love tactical pants and cargo pants. But I am a professor and I can't wear cargo pants to work. They don't even make women's cargo pants really anymore. And my tactical pants look like ski pants a bit, which is fine - but also, again, not professional. I should not have to dress like I work outdoors in order to have a pocket that accommodates a few things. None of my suit blazers have large pockets, even, which is ridiculous.

It is remarkable to me how many people think that women are all just collectively making a choice to not buy things with good pockets and then complain.
posted by sockermom at 6:32 AM on August 17, 2018 [22 favorites]


I have a waist/hip ratio that's about 1:1, so a lot of women's clothes aren't cut well for me, and I'm overweight, so I've ended upgetting a lot of my pants from the men's big/tall stores. I HAVE SO MANY POCKETS. I love the pockets. CARGO POCKETS! POCKETS ON MY CARGO POCKETS, FRONT-SIDE POCKETS, BACK POCKETS. More pockets than I use in a typical day! One pair even has a slash front pocket that leads to two pockets! IT'S LIKE A ROB LIEFIELD FESTIVAL OF POUCHES EXCEPT WITH POCKETS. and also, I have visible feet
posted by rmd1023 at 6:36 AM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


The other thing about tactical pants is that they are a specialty pant designed for hiking and outdoor activity, a clothing genre that is usually fairly pricey, is most easily bought at a specialty store, and is cut for a certain body type. They don't even remotely begin to work for everyone. And I know I called them unprofessional above -- I've known a lot of guys who wear these all the time at work and would never get any even as much as a side eye, but women are judged on their appearance in ways that men cannot even begin to imagine. My career trajectory would absolutely suffer if I dressed like the men in my same position, some of whom do in fact wear tactical pants at work.
posted by sockermom at 6:40 AM on August 17, 2018 [16 favorites]


As I have noted before on these pages, I do not buy slacks/pants that do not have pockets. Nothing gets a manufacturer's attention like lost sales.

As I, AND MANY OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE NOT ME, have noted SO MANY TIMES BEFORE on these pages, we would LOVE to forgo buying slacks/pants that do not have pockets. The problem is that we don't even GET the choice in the first place. Do you see the difference? In order to eschew pocket-free pants, we would have to NOT BUY BASICALLY ANY PANTS AT ALL.

Hey, men who literally have no idea what you're talking about: go to the women's department in any store. Look for pants. Now, do the pants have pockets? Really? Are you sure? Turn them inside-out to see if that little pocket (which you probably can't even get your hand in; neither can I) is faux or real. It's probably faux. There probably isn't an actual pocket there. Are you surprised? We're not. And say you DO find pants that have an actual, useful, useable pocket. Will those pants fit me? But they're your size, you'll say. And I'll say, oh-ho, like THAT means ANYTHING AT ALL! I have six pairs of pants in my closet right now and FOUR DIFFERENT SIZES are represented. That's not because my weight fluctuates dramatically during the week. It's because there's basically no standard size anymore because of vanity sizing, differences in manufacturing, and probably some sort of witchcraft for all I know.

And that's not even getting into the fact that most women's sizes don't even take into account how tall a woman is. You know, those pesky legs? Men get a waist size and a length. Women get a number that's supposed to be average, AS IF. I am 5'4". My best friend is 5'6". We both wear size 10. Guess who has to get all of her pants tailored for length? BOTH OF US.

And AND, what if I like wearing dresses and skirts? Have you ever seen a woman compliment another woman on a dress and the dress wearer is like, "AND IT HAS POCKETS!" and they both grin like idiots? Because we don't often get to wear dresses and skirts that have pockets. BECAUSE THE LABELS DON'T MAKE THEM.

But please, DO go on about how we should let our money do the talking.
posted by cooker girl at 6:52 AM on August 17, 2018 [70 favorites]


I nth everyone else saying that "send a message to manufacturers with your wallet" doesn't work here. Unless some lone clothing item sold a million times because it had pockets, I don't think that will work too well.

Maybe we should do the modern day thing and simply harass manufacturers on Twitter, like everyone else. I guess that's the only thing that works any more.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:56 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Cargo pants and shorts are the hill that I will die on, because at least I'll die with a paperback and a sandwich.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:02 AM on August 17, 2018 [10 favorites]


Next I hope they study SEE THROUGH SHIRTS

I have a personal moratorium on buying any top that requires me to wear a cami underneath. Cami's suck. They're never long enough. They're always untucking and climbing up. UGH.

I would love to moratorium buying sleeveless tops, but then there wouldn't be much for me to buy. It seems like all tops, especially summer tops are now sleeveless.

I realized, however, that this is unlikely to be an accident. Look, you buy a transluscent sleeveless top because that's all there is, right? And then what happens? You have to wear it to the office, so you buy a cami to wear under it and a little sweater/shrug or a blazer to cover your shoulders. You came in to buy a top and now you had no choice but to buy three articles of clothing. I'm convinced the transluscent/sleeveless trend is because stores have figured this out.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:13 AM on August 17, 2018 [12 favorites]


And AND, what if I like wearing dresses and skirts? Have you ever seen a woman compliment another woman on a dress and the dress wearer is like, "AND IT HAS POCKETS!" and they both grin like idiots? Because we don't often get to wear dresses and skirts that have pockets. BECAUSE THE LABELS DON'T MAKE THEM.

A few weeks ago, I was wearing a super cute dress that has pockets. I was doing the "AND IT HAS POCKETS!" thing that you do and another FEMALE friend of mine said, "I don't like dresses with pockets. Or really anything besides jeans. It ruins the line."

So... I've found her. The one person that all these pants and dresses and jeans are made for.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 7:15 AM on August 17, 2018 [18 favorites]


I did mention this to a friend yesterday and she was all, "actually I'm one of the few people who isn't into pockets...."
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:21 AM on August 17, 2018


It seems like all tops, especially summer tops are now sleeveless.

What the heck is up with the "cold shoulder" shirt type? Is this an attempt to create spectacularly weird sunburn patterns on women or something?

(obpockets: Women's blazers, at least, sometimes have good side pockets, so I've gotten a lot of mileage out of those. But I still envy men with their jackets full of inside and outside and chest pockets.)
posted by rmd1023 at 7:21 AM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


And AND, what if I like wearing dresses and skirts? Have you ever seen a woman compliment another woman on a dress and the dress wearer is like, "AND IT HAS POCKETS!" and they both grin like idiots? Because we don't often get to wear dresses and skirts that have pockets. BECAUSE THE LABELS DON'T MAKE THEM.

This is how I wind up in a noisy bar yelling "LOOK I CAN FIT MY ENTIRE FIST IN HERE."
posted by Hypatia at 7:22 AM on August 17, 2018 [23 favorites]


I have considered tactical pants myself (as a size 14, 50 year-old woman) but:

1) I don't wear polyester or nylon or other artificial fibers so most outdoorsy gear and all their "performance" fabrics aren't for me,

2) most importantly, you need to consider your outfit as a whole and tactical pants are going to look ridiculous with my entire wardrobe of feminine-coded bohemian, colorful, natural fiber, lady blouses. (Unless the pants were really tight and sleek and not all poly-shiny, which would probably remove most of the pockets.) I'd have to start wearing entirely different shirts as well to really have an outfit, and tucked-in polos aren't my thing. ALSO, the cut of the leg on tac pants! Can be a problem with many diff. shoes, and is not too current.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:25 AM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


(Psssst... hey everybody, these stupidly named Levi's have back pockets that fit an iPhone and front pockets you can fit your whole hand in. I know because I'm wearing them now and I just did it. They're really comfy, too.)
posted by functionequalsform at 7:33 AM on August 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


They don't even make women's cargo pants really anymore. And my tactical pants look like ski pants a bit, which is fine - but also, again, not professional.

Fucking hell, I know, right? I've been looking for cargo pants because I had a set and loved them as a teenager for a few years now and--nothing. I think I have something like 14" difference between waist and hip right now, and men's pants do not fit me--and honestly, most of the time tac pants mysteriously aren't cut to fit me either. Nor are other forms of professional clothing like lab coats or field gear. It is enraging.
posted by sciatrix at 7:34 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


> This is how I wind up in a noisy bar yelling "LOOK I CAN FIT MY ENTIRE FIST IN HERE."

Yep. At a party last weekend I showed off my pockets and immediately had two different women wrist-deep in my pants.
posted by desuetude at 7:38 AM on August 17, 2018 [20 favorites]


Pockets in women's clothing is both a literal thing most of us want and a symbolic representation of a larger frustration around finding women's clothing that works for the women wearing it.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 7:42 AM on August 17, 2018 [10 favorites]


Women's clothing truly is the worst. I was with my wife and small children shopping at The Gap - supposed to be generica clothing - but everything for women, even the t-shirts, has a deep v to show off the breasts and everything is made of ridiculous weird thin fabric. It's gross to touch, like holding dry slime instead of clothes. Pockets? Ha! That's a long way down the line. And that stuff is migrating down for small children.

Even there with the crazy styles, the men's clothing is made to fit hugely different body styles, the fabric is normal, and not everything is 'sexy'.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:45 AM on August 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


My mother does a sort of Midwestern accidental butch thing, and I had to go through decades of searching for her keys in part because she doesn't carry a purse and women's pants are built with mostly ornamental/symbolic pockets. I don't understand how people who make clothing for women don't understand that sometimes you want to have a carefree and unfettered look - a feeling, even (there are women who haven't gone without handbags since childhood), and one of the ways you can do/convey that is to go without a bag. Lucky for me, I found eShakti. The dresses and skirts have real pockets, and while contents can weigh a fuller skirt down, sometimes it helps in the wind, and it doesn't appear to wreck the line.
posted by Selena777 at 7:46 AM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'd be interested to hear from a designer why this is so. My guess is that it's driven by the assumption that most women carry a bag and therefore don't really use their front pockets, which then became vestigial details like the bottom buttons on men's jackets. Because of the much higher variability in women's waist-to-hip ratio, it also seems like makers resort to stretch fabrics and snug fits fairly frequently. Frogmouth pockets on low-waisted, snug fit pants just aren't going to be very useful. That said, they aren't any more useful on men's skinny jeans and yet they still make them larger. How much money could they be saving in that thin cotton pocket material by making women's pockets smaller?

It does suck to have sartorial wants that aren't served by the market. I have a body shape that doesn't lend itself to RTW clothing, and I also have short, very wide feet (7.5 EEEEE). My solution has been to avail myself of good tailors to modify off-the-rack buys, to commission a fair amount of MTM and bespoke clothing, and to just sigh and live with the extremely limited footwear selection available from the one place that sells shoes in my size. Question: Is there any reason a woman wanting better/larger pockets couldn't take her pants to an alterations tailor to have them made better/larger? Or is this impracticable? I get that it would cost money. If someone's done this, I'd be interested to hear how it worked and whether it led to increased pocket use.
posted by slkinsey at 8:07 AM on August 17, 2018


I'm in the process of switching the bulk of wardrobe to eShakti dresses because 1. Pockets, 2. It's easier to grab a dress from the closet than find coordinating separates and 3. I'm a tall woman with a long inseam and women's pants don't really come in the waist/inseam combo choices that men's pants do. I'm also making the effort to really learn how to sew my own clothes.
posted by Ruki at 8:14 AM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


There's a 4-in one dress from Betabrand (reversible inside/out and front/back) that's really great AND has pockets. It's basically two full dresses sown together, so the skirt is double-layered. But I did have to train myself to not fret over the fact that two sets of side seam pockets, one for each layer, made my hips look bigger because of all the extra fabric. And in fact, some of the reviews/comments about the dress on their website complained about the pockets for the same reason. So part of the problem is not just the lack of/tiny pockets, but the origin of it which is heaven forbid a woman's body look anything other than as thin as possible. Even though intellectually I know that's garbage, I'm a bit pear-shaped to begin with and DO have to fight this internal desire for my lower half to look thinner.

It's very possible to have very sleek clothing with functional pockets. My Uniqlo winter leggings pants are skin tight and have SUPER deep front pockets that surprise me every time I can slip my phone fully inside them. On the other hand, the summer cropped version of their leggings pants have fake front (but thankfully real back) pockets which is super annoying.
posted by misskaz at 8:16 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I wish eshakti made empire-waist a-line type dresses. Everything they make has a natural-waist placed waste and that doesn't suit me.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:21 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


Question: Is there any reason a woman wanting better/larger pockets couldn't take her pants to an alterations tailor to have them made better/larger?

Costs somewhere between $7-25 per pair of pants. There's a fair amount of time/hassle involved and outside of urban areas, you may not be able to get this done at all. Women's pants are already overpriced relative to their quality. More to the point, I'm super resentful of the fact that I can actually have a bell-curve-normal body type and still have to get special alterations for things that should be industry standard in clothes.

I get what you are saying, and I think it's extra tough for people who have non-standard body types, but the larger point is that the industry treats being a woman at all as a non-standard body type (see what cookergirl said above, we can't choose our pant leg length for anything other than work pants) and that has to change, not just be dealt with on a case by case basis.
posted by jessamyn at 8:26 AM on August 17, 2018 [25 favorites]


Yep. At a party last weekend I showed off my pockets and immediately had two different women wrist-deep in my pants.

Are... we... talking US pants or UK pants?
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:31 AM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


we can't choose our pant leg length for anything other than work pants

I am nearly 48 years old and I did not know until JUST NOW that there are some pants I can choose a length for (other than the totally useless lengths at places like Gap and Old Navy - ankle length MY ASS). WHERE?
posted by cooker girl at 8:33 AM on August 17, 2018


I'd be interested to hear from a designer why this is so.

It's not like they're going to just straight-up admit "We're misogynists who think the only use for women is to display our products, even those of us who are women, and we just don't give a shit if our products don't really work for our customers."
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:35 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I have NEVER carried a purse. I HATE carrying anything, even my messenger bag, which i grudgingly carry occasionally for business meetings or travel. And that I wear cross body, because if I only wear it on one shoulder it is a constant battle to keep from slipping off. I have enough trouble keeping bra straps on my shoulders, I do not need another slipping thing, thank you.

I'm lucky that I'm not super curvy: I have always worn men's jeans & loved loved loved the pockets, leaving my arms free and unburdened. It literally is a lighter feeling to not have to carry anything. Hell, when I still had periods, I'd just cram an extra tampon on my sock - anything to avoid a fucking purse.

Dresses & skirts never came into play in my wardrobe because I'm a tomboy and I don't like them. I feel like I'm missing something in them.

I'd like to nth the sentiment that many of us have a 29" inseam and are not all svelte giraffes as seen on models. Can we PLEASE have shorter pants legs?????

Thanks for the tips upthread on the men's pants at Costco. I am totally looking for those this weekend.

Also, I flagged cooker girl's and fraula's comments as fantastic. That is all.
posted by yoga at 8:44 AM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


I was just joking with my wife the other day about how women's running tights were becoming cargo pants because it's 2018 and you need a place to put your damn phone and fashion be dammed if the best spot isn't your outer thigh.
posted by srboisvert at 8:44 AM on August 17, 2018


I've known a lot of guys who wear these all the time at work and would never get any even as much as a side eye, but women are judged on their appearance in ways that men cannot even begin to imagine.

When I was still in academia, the female instructors got a "special talk" about "dressing professionally" to teach, the subtext being: "your students don't think of women as authority figures, and literally anything you wear on your body will be used as an excuse for them to treat you like a nanny they resent instead of an intellectual or a professor".

The guys didn't get that talk. In my experience, they could show up with bedhead and wear ripped cargo shorts with band t-shirts, and their students deferred to them like they were chairs of the department.

Male college instructor who dresses for comfort and utility, to the point of being slob=charming eccentric, students recommend him to their friends because he's so cool and down to earth

Female college instructor who dresses for comfort and utility, even when neat= increase in number of students trying to overrule her classroom authority, writing really cruel comments about her appearance on student evals and ratemyprofessor.com

btw, If your solution to a societal problem begins with "WHY DON'T YOU JUST--" then your "solution" is garbage and you should refrain from saying it.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:46 AM on August 17, 2018 [42 favorites]


Lands' End will let you choose an inseam length for at least some of their women's pants styles. (On the down side, they went through a really good "most of our dresses have pockets!" stage a few years ago that they seem to have walked back. It was a good time while it lasted.

I keep my wardrobe very simple these days - basically the same J. Jill pants and tops and dresses, with Decent Exposures skirts, in a variety of colors I mix and match. A big part of that is because of the POCKETS. (Mind you, I have to pay extra to have the pockets put in on the DE skirts. I do it because they're good pockets and those skirts last forever, so it's a worthwhile investment, but I'm a little cranky about it every time.)

I don't take my clothes to be altered because of money and time and transport, and also because I'm the possessor of a fat, disabled body. Also, for that matter, a queer body that sometimes likes to dress in ways that read as queer. That body gets enough goddamn scrutiny on the street and the bus and at the office and restaurants and the movie theater. I do not, as general rule, do things that actively invite people to examine, touch, and talk to me about my body or to pass judgment on my queerness as expressed in personal style. I'm sure there are a lot of tailors who are great and would never make me feel badly about my body or my orientation but I refuse to go through the work of ferreting them out because life is too short, I deal with enough goddamn crap about who I am, I will live with the limited array of clothing options I have found that are just barely good enough. I am too worn down for anything else.
posted by Stacey at 8:46 AM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


From this thread it sounds like there's almost a whisper network about which women's pants have functional pockets. Why are clothing companies so bashful? They should come out with a line called "WE GOT YOUR FECKIN POCKETS RIGHT HERE" or "POCKETS AND POCKET ACCESSORIES" or "YES, THAT IT A BUNCH OF CRAP THAT FITS IN MY NICELY POCKET AND NOT A COMMENT ON SEEING YOU."
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 8:48 AM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


I would also pay super extra (and on top of usual $80 - a- pair prices) for riding breeches that offered a front-of-thigh or side-of-thigh phone pocket on one or both legs. I realize this is totally a #firstworldproblem but it is a problem just the same and I would pay SUPER EXTRA $$$ to have the thing.
posted by which_chick at 8:52 AM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Costs somewhere between $7-25 per pair of pants. There's a fair amount of time/hassle involved and outside of urban areas, you may not be able to get this done at all. Women's pants are already overpriced relative to their quality. More to the point, I'm super resentful of the fact that I can actually have a bell-curve-normal body type and still have to get special alterations for things that should be industry standard in clothes.

I think the assumption for most men's pants is that they're designed to be altered for fit by a tailor, so I wouldn't think much of spending that amount as an add-on. Plenty of men don't have their pants altered, of course, which is why it's so common to see men in schlubby-looking pants with sagging crotches, loose waists, gigantic breaks, dragging hems and so on. But really they should. Even jeans should usually at least be hemmed unless you're one of the lucky few that actually fits their predetermined waist-to-inseam ratio choices (Levi's even offered me free hemming on some schmancy raw denim selvedge jeans I bought a while back). Most men's office slacks don't even come "finished," and part of buying them is getting them marked up for alterations (at an additional charge) right in the store.

I get what you're saying about the value of women's clothing. One of the things that has always been interesting/perplexing to me about menswear compared to womenswear is that men's clothing tends to be more expensive ($100 or more for a decent pair of office-appropriate slacks is not unusual) but the quality and thus value seems to be a lot higher. This may be partly because men just don't buy as much clothing or change styles as frequently. A man can buy clothing in a classic style and continue wearing it for decades, whereas I think women's fashions change a lot more. So, for example, I have from time to time dropped a few thousand dollars on a bespoke suit or jacket, but I have pieces from 25 years ago that I still wear and so the value has been good. There isn't as much of a tradition of tailoring and alterations in women's clothing, it seems. I'd be fine spending $7-25 to alter a pair of $150 pants I was going to wear regularly for 5+ years. But I think I probably wouldn't want to spend that on a pair of $40 pants I would only be able to wear for a season or two due to quality or likely changes in fashion.
posted by slkinsey at 8:57 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Mobile phones are an established necessity at this point, and pants, dresses, and skirts should just have a standard phone pocket large/ deep enough for my ridiculously large phone.
posted by theora55 at 8:59 AM on August 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


Also, low-rise pants, which I think are still popular, leave a lot less room for any pocket at all.
posted by theora55 at 9:01 AM on August 17, 2018


Using all my favorites in defense of pockets :)
posted by triage_lazarus at 9:08 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


My sense, having just done a big pants shopping, is that low-rise is less trendy, and there are a lot more mid-to-high-rise options. Also, I did see more "boyfriend jeans," which are a little more relaxed than the standard skinnies. I'm wearing a pair of those today, and they do have pockets, but they're not big enough to hold my phone. I can't see any reason that they couldn't make the pockets a little bigger, to be honest.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:09 AM on August 17, 2018


Stacey: That's kind of a bummer to hear about tailoring. I don't at all question or dispute your misgivings. It sucks that they're reasonable misgivings based on lived experience. The whole point of a tailor and having clothing altered is precisely because we all have unique bodies with inherent sartorial challenges, and we all possess unique senses of style and sartorial goals. A tailor should certainly discuss your challenges and wants, and propose solutions, but this is what they do for a living and even a halfway decent one should not only do it without the slightest hint of any judgment but should endeavor to put you at ease and alleviate any discomfort you might have engaging in the process. Good tailors love nothing more than to help any shape of person (e.g.) look and feel their best.
posted by slkinsey at 9:15 AM on August 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I wonder if places such as eShakti will start to take enough of a bite out of department store womenswear that it will drive some changes in the market. I know that internet-connected made-to-measure outfits like Indochino, Suit Supply and Luxire are cutting into the likes of Brooks Brothers and Jos. A. Bank.
posted by slkinsey at 9:29 AM on August 17, 2018


A few weeks ago, I was wearing a super cute dress that has pockets. I was doing the "AND IT HAS POCKETS!" thing that you do and another FEMALE friend of mine said, "I don't like dresses with pockets. Or really anything besides jeans. It ruins the line."

This woman is my sister. That's precisely what I always say: it ruins the line of the dress. Because it does, at least for the big-hipped among us. I'm very happy with my giant-ass collection of purses, totes, packs, bags, etc.
posted by holborne at 9:30 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I refer to my woman pants as "patriarchy pants" as on some of them I can't even carry car keys and thus need a purse while will weigh me down while navigating the world thus taking more energy and draining me. On bad days when I've dropped my phone or keys for the 100x time I can really rant on it to conspiracy like levels. It drives me nuts.
posted by kanata at 9:32 AM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


I kind of get the concern about ruining lines of clothing, but the thing I always run into when following that line of thought is that pockets can go unfilled. One can leave a pocket empty, even sew up the opening (or fusible hem tape) so fabric doesn't gap in an unwanted fashion. But one cannot create a pocket from nothing. It's a lot easier to remove something than to add something in. Clothes should be made with lots of pockets with the openings stitched up that we can then choose to open when desired. Oh wait, that's menswear.
posted by Mizu at 9:40 AM on August 17, 2018 [10 favorites]


I wonder if places such as eShakti will start to take enough of a bite out of department store womenswear that it will drive some changes in the market. I know that internet-connected made-to-measure outfits like Indochino, Suit Supply and Luxire are cutting into the likes of Brooks Brothers and Jos. A. Bank.

I don't think so, at least not until there are a lot more of them. I have been buying a bunch of eShakti dresses (and tried pants but those all sort of failed and they mostly don't make them now) and there are a few major issues:

-- They take a while to make and ship, and even the "made to your measurements" stuff doesn't actually always fit. I don't know how you get an actual critical mass of shoppers to wait 8-10 weeks for clothes they still may have to return.
--The quality of eShakti anyway is not awesome. I've had to make repairs on items after only a few wearings. I'm not sure how durable some of these fabrics are and how long they will last.
--Certainly for eShakti, but also for some of the other places I have looked at, the available styles are pretty limited. A lot of the variation is just the same cut in a different fabric, or the same fabric in different styles. It's not at all like walking into a major department store.

And I still can't find a place that can make me pants that fit *and* have pockets.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 9:45 AM on August 17, 2018


The pocket situation has been the single most jarring thing about my transition.

It's not like I didn't know it was coming. I've been hearing women complain about it for ages, but I still wasn't prepared for how different it would be to go around with no or useless pockets.

Besides the annoyance factor, the lack of pockets was almost a disaster for me. One evening in my first week of being full time, I needed to take some trash down to the dumpster from my apartment. Of course, I took my keys. But since my dress had no pockets, I was just carrying them in my hand. You know, the hand that was carrying a couple bags of garbage.

I was on the steps back up to my apartment when. I realized I didn't have my keys anymore. Since I'd put stuff in both recycling and landfill garbage, I wasn't even sure where they'd ended up. I started digging through the bins, but I was having to lean over and it was windy, and my dress was a light sundress. Ugh.

Luckily, I had forgotten to actually lock my apartment door, so I was able to change into some jeans and come down and dig through the dumpster with marginally more dignity and eventually found my keys.

A couple days later I was at Lowes and saw a keychain attached to essentially a bracelet. I bought that and that's now how I carry my keys around the majority of the time.

I generally don't mind carrying a purse, but that may be because I'm still in the "hey, I get to carry a purse!" phase. We'll see if that sticks.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 9:47 AM on August 17, 2018 [13 favorites]


I'd be interested to hear from a designer why this is so. My guess is that it's driven by the assumption that most women carry a bag and therefore don't really use their front pockets, which then became vestigial details like the bottom buttons on men's jackets. Because of the much higher variability in women's waist-to-hip ratio, it also seems like makers resort to stretch fabrics and snug fits fairly frequently. Frogmouth pockets on low-waisted, snug fit pants just aren't going to be very useful. That said, they aren't any more useful on men's skinny jeans and yet they still make them larger. How much money could they be saving in that thin cotton pocket material by making women's pockets smaller?

Modern women's clothing hasn't ever been great for pockets except for jeans and other sportswear. I don't think I've ever worked on a pair of pre-1980s women's trousers that had pockets. Part of it's ruining the lines* (you'll rarely see pockets in a pencil skirt, for example), and part of it is the usual sexist assumption that women are superficial decorations and don't want or need utilitarian things.

*Yes, pocket bags can look lumpy even with nothing in them. Depends in the fabric and style of the garment. I've removed a lot of pockets in my time.

It's not just hip to waist ratio that varies widely in women. Bust to waist, crotch depth, waist placement, leg and arm length, shoulder width, there are so many factors to take into account. Women's bodies are incredibly diverse, even women who look 'average' to the eye will have very different proportions. And sizing is out of whack in the industry. Mostly because of the pressure to produce cheap clothes quickly, and also because many companies don't adhere to standardized sizing guidelines and prefer to use their own.

You're right that stretch fabrics eliminate some fit problems. You don't even have to hem somewhat long skinny jeans, you just just scrunch them up your legs a bit. You may also have noticed that styles of clothing tend to be simple - that is being pushed by industry. It makes production cheaper and fitting easier.

Manufacturers do save massive amounts of money by shrinking or eliminating pockets. They skimp anywhere they can. Seam allowances are non-existent. Buttons are sewn on with two passes of thread. Linings are rare. Dye leeches all over the place.

Women's pants are already overpriced relative to their quality. More to the point, I'm super resentful of the fact that I can actually have a bell-curve-normal body type and still have to get special alterations for things that should be industry standard in clothes.

I get what you are saying, and I think it's extra tough for people who have non-standard body types, but the larger point is that the industry treats being a woman at all as a non-standard body type (see what cookergirl said above, we can't choose our pant leg length for anything other than work pants) and that has to change, not just be dealt with on a case by case basis.


Women's pants are are horrifically underpriced. Most clothing is. I can't stress this enough.

I understand how frustrating sizing disparity is, but I can't get on board with being upset about having to make minor alterations to clothing, especially hemming pants (I agree that having to add normal, working pockets to a pair of generic trousers is not acceptable). Tall/petite/average height options for clothing are useful (the rise changes as well), but unless you have a perfect 32" inseam w/shoes on you're still going to have to hem your average length pants. Men have to hem as well, even with their waist x leg length choices.

Men's bodies don't, on average, have the disparity in fat placement that women's do. It's much, much easier to fit men than women because of this, and because of how clothing sits on men and women's bodies. When I fit an average looking man's clothes I'm done in five minutes. Average looking women take much longer. Altering off the rack clothing used to be an accepted fact of life. You either did it yourself or took it to a seamstress. Department stores would do it for you for free. And you know, a lot of men still get their clothes altered. It hasn't fallen out of favour with men as much as it has with women.

What I'm trying to say is that fit is complicated when it comes to women's clothes and it's just not reasonable to expect RTW items to fit you perfectly off the rack. It is reasonable to expect clothing sizes to correlate to standardized sizing charts, and to expect decent friggin pockets in your pants, and an actual fly instead of stretchy waistbands (my current pet peeve), but not at rock bottom prices. And our ravenous appetite for cheap clothes is just going to keep pushing quality down. And I will add that men's clothing quality is suffering, too. Sizes are way off and fabric quality is terrible. A supposed 36" waist can be as big as 40" and mock pockets are popping up everywhere there, too.
posted by Stonkle at 10:06 AM on August 17, 2018 [11 favorites]


I have thrifted a couple of pairs of women's pants that are light and stretchy and good for hot weather biking and not long ago I lost a twenty because I foolishly stuck the bill in the sub-optimal pocket. I realized it later and was like "Oh, yeah, pockets, Goddammit."
posted by octobersurprise at 10:06 AM on August 17, 2018


I am at least busty enough to have the option of the "boob carry" when I have no pockets. I can tuck an iPhone into the side of my bra and it's really only visible if you know what to look for. I have to be discreet about stowage and retrival, but it's... better than nothing?
posted by Karmakaze at 10:10 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


mock pockets

Mockets.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:10 AM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


Dress pockets: frockets
posted by cooker girl at 10:11 AM on August 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


not at rock bottom prices

What do you consider to be a rock bottom price?

Because when I spend six+ hours at the mall trying to find a pair of pants that fit me, it's not because I'm trying to find a pair priced at $40. I'll try on anything under $200.

I'm a graduate student; I don't have a lot of money to live on and my housing costs are insane. I would certainly prefer to pay $40. I usually end up paying more like $100 because by the time I've spent six+ hours in the mall, I'm pretty much at the point where I'm considering stuffing envelopes full of poo and sending them off to the head offices of every single fucking brand. I'm not looking for bargains.

(Tangent: Haven't noticed much of a difference between $100 and $200 pants in terms of fit.)

I'm not even thinking about pockets. That's like ... a distant dream. I'm just trying to find something that kind of fits my ass and my waist at the same time.

I literally screamed in frustration when one of my pairs of jeans gave out a couple of months ago because I knew it meant having to replace them. I still haven't replaced them. I wanted a pair of jean shorts this summer - I just fucking gave up.

I know I could get them altered. That is in fact usually my plan. But it's a huge hassle because alterations aren't really part of fashion culture anymore, so RTW items aren't always easy to alter and affordable tailors aren't as easy to come by.

Like, I feel like there's a lot scolding of women in this thread. Just buy clothing with pockets, they'll get the message! Just buy more expensive clothing! WHAT. GODDAMN. FUCKING. CLOTHING.

flames flames
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:27 AM on August 17, 2018 [23 favorites]


Even women's cargo pants are a joke. My husband is a dedicated cargo pants/shorts wearer every day of his life. The amount of stuff he can carry around in his pockets is enviable.

So, last year I wanted to buy some useful cargo pants for myself in advance of a vacation, so I wouldn't have to lug a purse everywhere. It was hard just to find a store that sold women's cargo pants, but then the ones they had were tight-fitting and the pockets were basically useless. And I am too petite for men's pants.

I ended up spending over $60 on one pair of women's cargo pants from REI. That was literally the only thing I found that had decent pockets. My husband gets his cargo pants from JCPenney, which are usually on sale for $20 and are rugged quality.
posted by bananana at 10:31 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I wish I could make a diagram. It could have:
  • Patriarchy - women must look "pleasing" to others, externally exhibit femininity, can't be independent
  • Idolatry of youth - no lumps and bumps, "healthy" and girlish (thin), health must be "natural"
  • Idolatry of wealth - have a variety of clothes for every occasion, plenty of time and resources for self-care, being poor is ugly
  • Wealth disparity - can only have a variety of clothes if they are cheap, few self-care resources, cheap thin fabric can't hide pockets and can't suport weight of pocket contents
= no lady pockets
posted by zennie at 10:34 AM on August 17, 2018 [17 favorites]


What do you consider to be a rock bottom price?

The prices that drive the industry. You're not noticing much of a difference between $100 and $200 pants because mass produced clothing price points are usually arbitrary and attached to brand image. If they manufacturer clothes in bulk overseas, companies that sell $200 pants are operating similarly to companies that sell $20 pants. Consumers looking for quality are boned because of the overall demand for a constant supply for new, cheap clothes. Making clothing is a lot of work, even with the crazy machines manufacturers use. Workers have to be exploited and corners have to be cut in order for prices to match demand.

If I made a simple pair of dress pants I'd have to charge over $300 if I wanted to make a living wage. And unless I was making bespoke pieces, many of my customers would still have to have their pants hemmed and the waist taken in to get a perfect fit.

Because when I spend six+ hours at the mall trying to find a pair of pants that fit me, it's not because I'm trying to find a pair priced at $40. I'll try on anything under $200.

I hear you, I hate pants shopping, too. I'm plus-sized, so I have even fewer options.

This may help a bit: look for pants that fit your hips. If the waist is too big, hold it up to where it would sit if it fit you (don't stretch the fabric), and check the crotch. Pass on them if the crotch is too baggy or too tight or if the belly looks weird. Check the zipper - is it warped at all? Pass. What's the construction like overall? Does the fabric feel sturdy? Nubbly or thin fabric wears faster.

Now, take the pants to a seamstress or tailor and have the waist taken in. This can be done at the center back seam or at the side seams. Besides hemming, it's the most common alteration done to women's clothing.

Generally the rule is to fit pants to your hips and shirts to your bust.

Like, I feel like there's a lot scolding of women in this thread. Just buy clothing with pockets, they'll get the message! Just buy more expensive clothing! WHAT. GODDAMN. FUCKING. CLOTHING.

I'm attempting to explain why things are the way they are - it's literally impossible for RTW clothes to fit everyone perfectly and that has always been the case. Buying more expensive clothing isn't the solution to the overall issue of poor quality. I mean, having clothing made for you or buying clothing made locally may work for some people, but it's certainly not possible for most. The only real solution is to change how we think about and value clothing and the people who produce it. And by that I mean the entire Western world has to back away from out of control consumerism.
posted by Stonkle at 11:46 AM on August 17, 2018 [13 favorites]


Look, I'm not asking for RTW clothing to fit me perfectly. All I want is a pair of pants, with decent pockets, that basically fit me in a very general way. I'm happy to wear a belt if I need to, get them tailored, whatever. But what I'm given is shitty or nonexistent pockets, literally feet of fabric at the legs because I dare to be 5'4" instead of 5'9", and I'm told I need to pay upwards of $300 for them or I'm a dupe of Western consumerism.

I'm not mad at you, Stonkle, I'm mad at the entire world because it really shouldn't be this hard to procure halfway decent clothing. Not one man in my life has this problem. I know, because my girlfriends and I complain about it ALL THE TIME and the guys are like, "What's the deal? I just bought 47 pairs of jeans yesterday from 15 different stores without trying them on and they're all perfect!" There IS a difference between men's and women's RTW and I'm sick to death of it.

And I'm solidly upper-middle-class! I can throw money at this problem, and time as well! What about all the people who literally can't? Why should they be forced to wear shitty clothes because the industry refuses to clothe real people. My daughter is a size 2 and she's tall. She is the one person I know who can take something off the rack and have it look like it was made for her. BECAUSE IT WAS. It was made for a tall, lithe, young woman. The industry cares about her because she makes their clothing look amazing. The rest of us? Can fuck off as far as Fashion is concerned.
posted by cooker girl at 11:59 AM on August 17, 2018 [21 favorites]


the only real solution is to change how we think about and value clothing and the people who produce it.

Look, I know you are trying to be helpful but it really, really reads like you are taking the women in this thread to task for having unrealistic expectations. There's a contradiction between you addressing the women in this thread, and trying to be helpful, while you are also complaining about people who want $40 pants off the rack to fit perfectly and runaway consumerism.

Wages have been stagnating since the 70s. Inequality is growing. The only reason that we have the quality of life that we do now is that we have cheap consumer goods. Which SUCKS, but the problem isn't cheap consumer goods as much as the fact that we can't afford anything else. It's really hard for me to justify a $300-400 pair of pants. Sure, they might last a long time - if nothing happens to them.

But gender is still an issue; it's not just runaway consumerism and devaluing of skilled labor like tailoring. It's not just that women are more variable in shape. It's that women's fashion is more disposable, fragile, and tight-fitting than men's. Why is that? Well, some of it is consumer choice - but what's consumer choice, really, in a society where women are held to such different standards than men.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:07 PM on August 17, 2018 [21 favorites]


I am a tall woman who bikes a lot and whose belly changed post-pregnancy. This means that no pants fit me. I joke, actually I have one pair of jeans that currently fit, and they are no longer available for me to buy another pair.

This is how I avoid public nudity and carry things around:
1) unlined women’s mountain biking shorts. They are long! They have amazing front pockets! They wick moisture! They have Velcro waist adjusters like my preschooler’s elastic/button pants waist adjusters! Why did I bike around in awful awful shorts until literally this spring?!
2) skirts with pockets. Cargo skirts are a thing, and I love them. Sometimes they are branded as “travel skirts” because I guess clothing designers acknowledge that at least some women’s activities warrant pockets. Plain wool skirts also have a surprisingly good supply of pockets. They are also very easy to buy at thrift stores.
3) dresses with pockets. Basically 80% of my wardrobe is now Boden dresses.

In the fall when I hit the depths of pants desperation I am going to try Duluth Trading Company pants - they seem to have many pocket options and the ability to choose inseam lengths.
posted by Maarika at 12:12 PM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I teach environmental science and biology, so I can get away with a lot in pursuit of pockets. Most days I wear Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans in some non-indigo color. I have a couple of pairs of khakis from other brands, but they have basically non-functional pockets. I own three pairs of cargo pants. One is Columbia women’s size, fits great, has great pockets. One is Campmor “unisex”, great pockets, to fit my hips, they balloon out everywhere else. One is White Sierra women’s size, fits great, mostly non-functional cargo pockets. The Columbia ones are about to wear out, and I don’t know what I’ll do.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:41 PM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I saw a woman this week, in midtown Manhattan (around 6th Avenue and 55th Street?), wearing a Prada waistpack. Like, it was black, and said "Prada" on it, and had sort of a gold chain for the waist strap.
posted by brainwane at 12:42 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


And don't even get me started on the shoe people! Shoes should be shaped like FEET. Why do I have to say this? SHOES SHOULD BE SHAPED LIKE FEET!
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:56 PM on August 17, 2018 [11 favorites]


Men's shoes are shaped like feet.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:56 PM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


There IS a difference between men's and women's RTW and I'm sick to death of it.

Well now we're just going in circles! I acknowledged that there is a difference in men's and women's RTW. I don't agree with you that it's entirely due to sexism, but that's a big chunk of it and certainly explains the pocket problem.

If I don't make my own clothes I have to buy them from plus-sized stores. I have 4 or 5 options to choose from in Canada. That's it. Plus-sized women are the bottom of the barrel market that no one wants to bother with. We're not decorative like thinner women, so what purpose do we serve? Better give us more Winnie the Pooh overalls. And fit problems are even more pronounced, because as woman's bodies get larger they're even more diverse.

Look, I know you are trying to be helpful but it really, really reads like you are taking the women in this thread to task for having unrealistic expectations. There's a contradiction between you addressing the women in this thread, and trying to be helpful, while you are also complaining about people who want $40 pants off the rack to fit perfectly and runaway consumerism.

I know you're frustrated, but I'm not gonna be your whipping woman on this issue. Informing someone of unrealistic expectations and explaining how the industry works ≠ "taking to task" in my view, and was certainly not my intent, but ymmv of course. I put a lot of time and care into my earlier posts and have already addressed and agreed with most of what you're asserting to me now.

Clothing is important to me, and people being happy with the fit of their clothing and understanding how to achieve that is important to me. Understanding body shapes, clothing construction, and clothing fit is something that I have put thousands and thousands of hours of research, practice, and education into. This is my area of expertise and it's what I'm passionate about. I've also spent a lot of time researching bias in the fashion industry, especially in women's plus-size clothing, so I assure you I'm definitely not in the "no sexism in fashion" camp.
posted by Stonkle at 1:41 PM on August 17, 2018 [8 favorites]


Shoes should be shaped like FEET

BUT NOT WITH THE INDIVIDUAL TOES. That's a dead trend, right? RIGHT?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 2:19 PM on August 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


I know you're frustrated, but I'm not gonna be your whipping woman on this issue.

Explaining to you why your comment went over poorly is not the same as turning you into my whipping woman.

Informing someone of unrealistic expectations

When you "inform" someone that they have unrealistic expectations and they're not going to find a perfectly-fitting pair of pants for $40, then the implication is that you think they're trying to find a perfectly-fitting pair of pants for $40.

When you come into a thread that is largely full of women who are complaining about sexist double standards in the fashion industry, and complain about how our problems are due to unrealistic expectations and out of control consumerism, then you know what? It sure seems like you're accusing us of unrealistic expectations and out of control consumerism.

There are better ways to share your expertise. The fitting advice? If I didn't already know it, it would have helped me choose pants that can be altered. That was nice. Someone will probably find it useful.

But the rest of it is condescending and it makes me mad. First because no, I don't believe I'm being unreasonable when I say I want to be able to buy a pair of decently-fitting pants for a lot more than $40. And second, because you're misrepresenting us and lecturing us about stuff we mostly already know, placing the blame on this problem on us for having unrealistic expectations instead of on the real problems, like stagnating wages, sexism in the fashion industry, and so on.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:24 PM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


[Heya, maybe let's take five on this at this point, it's feeling like it's gotten a little hotter and more personal than it needs to be and I feel like we're at Points Fairly Clearly Made already.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:52 PM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


This and the continuing hot weather got me to finally make a 1930s "one hour dress", which you draft yourself with two folds in the yardage and three measurements taken off your person. It took me more than one hour, but that's because I'm persnickety and added experimental pockets and also the 1930s home seamstress was obviously better than I am. My mother could probably do it in less than an hour.

Thing that delights me most: this design, like a lot of 1920s and 1930s dresses, puts *big bunchy lumps* exactly at the widest part of my hips. This outline is called robe de style and was explicitly for women who didn't like the narrow straight style (always annoys me when modern movies set in the 1920s/30s don't have any of these). I am going to look really weird by modern standards.
posted by clew at 3:13 PM on August 17, 2018 [8 favorites]


I’ve seen a couple of praises of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans here. I got mine at Costco for I think $15. My iPhone 7 fits fully in any of the pockets, though it looks a bit funny in the front ones sometimes. And my coworker (a female friend) calls them my “great ass jeans” because they hug my curves nicely and don’t bulge me in any of my areas of considerable fat.

More like this, please.
posted by Night_owl at 5:56 PM on August 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I don't know if anyone else has mentioned Duluth Trading Womens Pants. Their NoGa pants and line of work pants offer pockets, including a back-thigh "pointy things pocket", which fits my cell perfectly and does not interrupt my "line". They have zipper pockets, and tiny hidden pockets that honestly are worthless, but some pants will offer five pockets for your needs. They also offer dresses that will have usually a hidden side seam pocket. Their items are quality and long lasting and comfortable as heck.
posted by annieb at 6:10 PM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


The Pudding article is absolutely brilliant, and seeing the fury expressed here and elsewhere is kind of energizing.

I have lengthened many front and rear mockets, and it's striking to me just how liberating it feels to navigate the world with no purse, no backpack. Just my phone, keys and wallet halfway down my thigh as the gods intended. Yes, sometimes you can see the damn outline, but just wait until skinny jeans fall out of style. Their days are most certainly numbered. Soon the 90s will be back in full force and can wide leg/cargo be far behind?

All it took me was moderate sewing skills and 1-2 hours per pair of pants. It doesn't even need to be pretty because no one will ever see the inside of your pocket. Perhaps there will be a rise in Pocket Parties. Most of my friends don't know how to sew, and this is the perfect opportunity to learn an empowering life skill. I'd certainly consider leading one. Could it be the new Consciousness Raising?
posted by oxisos at 8:12 PM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I am not a designer, so designers, please correct me, but it seems like one of the issues with fitting larger pockets into women’s clothing is because women’s clothing is more form-fitting than men’s. If women’s clothing were looser and not expected to be skin-tight, then it wouldn’t matter if women had more curve in the front of their thighs or whatever.

And that also brings up the issue of the conformity among designers. It seems like everywhere I shop, the same styles are repeated and classic pieces are all but impossible to find until they come back in style. This is a problem. There’s room in the industry to be both trendy and classic. Women’s fashion may evolve more quickly such that a variety of looks is seen from year to year, but it is also much more narrowly focused within a season. If you need a long-length cardigan, good luck finding it in a crop top year. You look better in low-rise jeans? Tough shit for you until 2023, we’re all about the mid-rise right now.

I would also like to pop open another can of worms and talk about the black hole that exists in place of fashion for women between the ages of 35 and 60.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:13 PM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


Maybe this already exists, but if not it would be great to have a website of pocket options -- we've heard of half a dozen in this thread alone. Add detailed pocket mod instructions, and that would be a useful page.
posted by msalt at 9:38 PM on August 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


> I am not a designer, so designers, please correct me, but it seems like one of the issues with fitting larger pockets into women’s clothing is because women’s clothing is more form-fitting than men’s.

But jeans. Men are wearing super skinny jeans that are as form-fitting as any tight women's jeans, but they still have reasonably-sized pockets.
posted by desuetude at 10:09 PM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


FWIW, when I wore skinny jeans they did have pockets but I pretty much wasn't able to actually use them because the pants were too tight. I could stuff a phone in there, but it would literally make it hard to walk. I could just about manage a slim wallet and a few keys, but that's it. It was a major reason why I stopped wearing them. I assume dudes are out there making it work, but I've no idea how.

In a stretchier fabric than denim it would probably have been just fine though.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:41 AM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


I live in ... a very ... hipster ... town.

There are a lot of men in skinny jeans, is what I'm saying. They don't look as tight as women's jeans - and I'm not even saying women's skinny jeans.

I just googled "men's skinny jeans" for some pictures, and the first result was H&M. See this dude in these tight jeans? I don't have any jeans that fit like that. I wish I did, it looks comfy.

The current style for women's jeans is so tight that they're practically leggings. They use stretchy fabrics, another point of annoyance because the stretch gives out over time, making the jeans more disposable (but not any cheaper - often, they're more expensive). You can't just buy a bigger size because then you'll be able to carry a six pack of beer in the extra fabric at the waist.

You can find other styles, but they're harder to find, and most of them will be still be as tight, or tighter, than the average man's "skinny" jean. Honestly, in terms of fit, the closest thing to a man's skinny jean probably isn't a woman's skinny jean, but the "boyfriend" jean - which has a more relaxed fit. But in women's clothing, a relaxed fit is often still pretty tight.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:07 AM on August 18, 2018 [4 favorites]


I just bought a couple pairs of running shorts this week because I had a few drinks in me and an Instagram ad popped up in my feed, and once I saw the shorts had 1. inseams other than 3" or 9" and 2. POCKETS, I impulse bought them. (I mention the drinks because usually when I need a specific clothing item I tend to research it to the point of decision fatigue and just don't buy anything at all.)

WHY do so many running shorts only come in 3" inseams? I have very short legs but even on me that is so short that my inner thighs rub and chafe. The last thing I want when I'm running is chafing. It's practically the primary question I ask of any athletic clothing I purchase: will it cause chafing when I'm hot and sweaty and repeating the same movement for an hour or more?

Anyway, I found my perfect running shorts that have a 5" inseam and not only that, there are deep pockets on both sides that fit my phone. Can you see the outline of my phone or keys in the pockets? Of course. But WHY DOES THAT MATTER? Why is that the excuse for why a piece of functional clothing can't actually be functional?

All I know is that being able to walk out my door and go for a run without having to wear a running belt to carry my shit is magical.
posted by misskaz at 10:08 AM on August 18, 2018 [4 favorites]


Shoes should be shaped like FEET.
Men's shoes are shaped like feet.
Most men's clothing is designed to last a while, so it's made better. I have never met anyone male who would remotely consider wearing shoes that are painful and literally crippling, and paying a premium for them, at that. Women's clothing prioritizes fashion, and fashions now change at faster and faster cycles. They're made to be discarded, so why bother with quality or a good range of sizes?

Sexism is deeply ingrained in fashion, and a lot of women literally buy into that. I shop at thrift stores for price and because I don't want any part of the fashion industry that has accelerated planned obsolescence. I wonder if the 3rd World recipients of bales of discarded US clothes notice the lack of pockets?
posted by theora55 at 10:10 AM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


Being a tall lady with large quads, I rotate between three pairs of Eddie Bauer curvy jeans and three pairs of REI lightweight hiking pants. All have larger pockets than what I find in the fashion stores and all fit my iPhone 8 and my keys.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:22 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


Maybe this already exists, but if not it would be great to have a website of pocket options -- we've heard of half a dozen in this thread alone. Add detailed pocket mod instructions, and that would be a useful page.

Hm. This is what I got from searching "pockets women's clothing." Five pages of searches, pruned down to the most usable/actually uses the word "pockets" results. Most of the links were just to shopping websites with no actual pocket mentions.

Article:
* Why women's pockets are useless: A history
* The Gender Politics of Pockets
* The Weird, Complicated, Sexist History of Pockets
* Pockets on women's clothes matter more than you think
* The hunt for women's clothes with pockets
* We need to talk about this one massive issue in women’s clothing
* The disturbing reason women’s clothing historically never had pockets.
* The Ridiculous Reason Most Women's Clothes Don't Have Real Pockets
* The Crazy Historical Reason Most Dresses Don’t Have Pockets
* Why do we have pockets? The surprisingly deep history
* The hunt for women's clothes with pockets
* What do women want? Pockets!
* Why do women tolerate clothing without usable pockets? (Quora question)

Actual clothing recommendations:
* Amazon seems to have a dedicated link search to this topic.
* Scottevest Women's Travel Pants
* "Purse-less pants are finally here! Pockets of all sizes make it easy to transfer anything you need for a day out, neatly at your convenience."
* Stylish Theft-Proof Travel Clothing for Women
* Foiling Pick-Pockets: The New Women's Line From Clothing Arts
* Hidden Pocket Clothing
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:21 PM on August 18, 2018 [9 favorites]


The Pockets Project
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:28 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


Ureshii will put pockets in almost any of their dresses and skirts. Pants, too, and the hoodies. Ureshii is a fine company and I wear the hell out of everything I have by them. I can't wear a lot of it to work on days when I have meetings, but most days, it's just me alone in my office.
posted by crush at 8:20 AM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Most of the links were just to shopping websites with no actual pocket mentions.

There's another reason one or more of us should make that page. (I think a good name would be "Here are some women's clothes with big pockets." Or "I got yer lady pockets RIGHT HERE.") You could probably make some money off of referral fees, however that works.
posted by msalt at 4:03 PM on August 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


I was on TV the other day and the sound woman was mic-ing me up. She ran the cable up my dress and clipped the mic under my collar, and then apologetically handed me the battery pack and was like "Sorry, don't know what you want to do with that."

I was wearing a dress from eShakti, where I get almost all my clothes now because giant functional pockets, and so I grinned and said, "pockets" and disappeared the entire battery pack into it. The sound woman just froze and looked astounded, and repeated "Pockets..." in hushed tones. Then she was like, "Where did you get that dress?"

The male news anchor and camera guy were both looking at each other like, these women are crazy, what is their thing about pockets and when can we start the segment? But we knew what we important.
posted by lollusc at 4:00 AM on August 23, 2018 [11 favorites]


Pocket experiment report: those Lucy Locket-style pockets that look so flat? Puzzlingly capacious. I probably could fit a warm glossy apple.

The robe de style cut was a bad experiment, in that it was also made of a primary-colors large-scale parrot print and trimmed with shiny yellow blanket binding. People noticed. Not sure what they noticed. Will try again with less spectacular material.
posted by clew at 2:22 PM on August 23, 2018


For reasons beyond my ken, men’s running shorts mostly don’t have pockets either, so that can’t wholly be down to sexism. I did find a selection of pocketed running shorts with both men’s and women’s models.
posted by chrchr at 6:12 AM on August 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


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