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Many times has the internet voiced its ire on the subject of pockets — or lack thereof — in women’s clothing. The criticism is valid; the historical context of pocketlessness is sexist and terrible. Menswear gets to be both jaunty and functional — if you buy the pants with the crotch room, you get to stash away your hip flask, wallet, beef jerky, and map to Islands of Adventure in luxurious, elbow-deep cotton cul-de-sacs. They’re so roomy! They give you so much storage! You could almost lose your personal items in these generous pockets!
And what is left to be distributed among the rest of us, the ones who wear feminine clothes? We get wee little novelty pockets that pockets themselves would have if they had pockets. And this, I agree, is outlandishly unfair. Let me go on the record and say that women’s pants — indeed, any pants intended for any human — should have spacious pockets and not ridiculous joke pockets that wouldn’t hide a multivitamin. But hear me out: Pockets ruin dresses.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate storage options. It’s actually quite the opposite: My Etsy wishlist is full of belt packs right now (and that might make you question my taste, which, okay). But I’ve been burned by pockets. So many times, I thought I’ve found a good dress — shapely but not body-con, stretchy but not slouchy, of an appropriate length for the office but also dress-uppable for the fetes that I attend in my small, small dreams — and then I put it on and zip it up and turn toward the mirror only to discover some weird hip slouch or bagginess or protrusion. And it’s... pockets. Pockets, the thing we’ve all been wishing for, are messing up the line of a dress that would be otherwise lovely. Pockets are bunching up the material in what’s already the most substantial region of my body. Why would I ever store anything in that area while wearing a dress, a garment that signals that I'm trying slightly harder than normal? And if the pockets aren’t at the hips, they’re somewhere worse — in the front, like an apron. Unless you're wearing a sturdy dress material (corduroy??), putting anything in a front pocket drags it down.
“But Niina,” you, a pocket lover, might say. “Pockets on your dress give you the freedom to go out with just a key and a credit card!” While I admire your aspirations to Konmari your personal belongings and appear carefree, I am not carefree. I will need to also bring a lipstick and some Band-Aids and a pillbox and at least one rollerball of perfume with me at all times, and all of these oblong things would then stick out like little alien appendages from my body. Also, I love huge phones. Inside any pocket, my enormous phone is approximately the size of two packs of peanut butter crackers. When I’m wearing a dress, and especially when it’s slightly fancy, it doesn’t make for the greatest accessory.
I tried to be on board with the support for pockets in dresses; I tried to listen to my friends who clamored for them. I tried and erred and tried again in the fitting room, but I just can’t seem to get it right. So for the dress pocket lovers out there — I respect you, but don't understand you, so enlighten me. What things are you carrying around in your dress pockets? What kinds of dresses are you wearing that have pockets that don’t make you feel like you’re about to do chores? Are the pockets just for your hands or what? And where are you keeping your phone? I’m genuinely curious to hear, because every time I’ve attempted to ditch my tote and get free, my own stuffed pockets have weighed me down.
Where do you stand on the great pockets-in-dresses debate? Let us know in the comments!