Last week, marketing manager Esther Kezia Thorpe shared a photo of a stunning dress recently worn by her friend at her nuptials. While the dress itself, which was designed by Suzanne Neville, is gorgeous, the tweet went viral for a very particular reason: it had pockets.
STOP EVERYTHING so one of my friends got married yesterday and she had POCKETS ON HER WEDDING DRESS which is just the best thing I have ever seen. pic.twitter.com/3A0PF3102V
— Esther Kezia Thorpe (@EstherKeziaT) September 2, 2018
Pockets on wedding dresses are uncommon, which is a shame, because they’re incredible useful. Responding to the tweet, journalist Natalia DiBlasio was equally enthusiastic about this extremely convenient feature of her wedding gown, writing, “Look at the moment my husband first saw me in my wedding dress and the first thing I said was ‘It has pockets!'”
Her groom was very excited.
But also, look at the moment my husband first saw me in my wedding dress and the first thing I said was “It has pockets!” (Look at his face 😭) pic.twitter.com/hwb8JxkeIm
— Natalie DiBlasio (@ndiblasio) September 4, 2018
Shortly after the tweet went viral, other women took to social media to celebrate the wonder of walking down the aisle with your iPhone and chapstick in your pockets.
Walked down the aisle with my phone & chapstick 🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/ZmOfU2zRE0
— Naptural (@MrsGrindley) September 4, 2018
When other women started sharing photos of non-bridal evening-wear with these secret patches, it all begged the question: if women are so excited about them, why don’t more dresses come with pockets?
It’s a conversation that I’ve had with women many times over. The first time I bought a dress (by Michael Kors) that came with four small pockets, it changed my life. I had gotten into the habit of always carrying around enormous bags filled with the entire beauty aisle of a pharmacy, along with comfortable shoes to change into, and, more often than not, a hardcover Tolstoy novel. Sure, I joked that the reason my bag was so heavy was that it doubled as a weapon in case of a mugging, but the reality is that I had been raised to believe that a woman must always be immaculately presented, and that requires a lot of touching up throughout the day.
Once I grew older and got a little less intense, I found that I could get by very well with just an iPhone, a bit of concealer, and some lip balm, all of which fit perfectly into the pockets of my new dress. I walked out in the sunlit street feeling free and light as a feather, realizing for the first time what a joy it must be to be a man strolling through the streets, hands tucked into your pockets to convey a sense of graceful ease. Every step in my suede heels felt like a skip. It was like being in a musical.
I also realized that my years of slinging the equivalent of a heavy duffel around my shoulder had not done my spine any favors. The symmetry that being bag-less brings is simply delicious. Your posture changes. Your body doesn’t ache at the end of the day. You feel confident and powerful and carefree and stunning.
Now, you might be wondering: if you like pockets so much, why don’t you just wear pants? First off, as has also been well-documented in my conversations with women, the pockets on female pants are cartoonishly tiny in comparison to those of men. You can barely fit a penny in there, much less a smartphone. Secondly, while I am a feminist, I also enjoy being traditionally feminine. I love poofy skirts, A-line hems, and long gowns that flutter in the breeze. I just want them with pockets.
Yes, there are times when pockets on a dress would hinder the perfect hourglass silhouette that you’re going for. But there are also a lot of dresses, especially the ones that women wear in the office, where pockets would not detract from the aesthetic appeal. And as we crusade for our society to realize that a woman’s body does not exist solely for its beauty—and that sometimes women want to wear something that’s functional rather than sexy—the need for pockets is greater than ever. Especially since many of us believe that there are sexist reasons that so much women’s fashion still fails to have pockets. After all, purses serve as a helpful reminder to everyone in a meeting that the person they are talking to is, regardless of stature, a woman.
“I honestly believe the fashion industry is not helping women advance,” fashion designer Camilla Olson told The Atlantic. “[Women] know clearly we need pockets to carry technology and I think it’s expected we are going to carry a purse. When we’re working we don’t carry purses around. A pocket is a reasonable thing.”
exec: So what do we think women want in fashion?
exec: Cold shoulder tops in pastels. Got it.
exec: Clothes with pre-made holes in delicate fabrics.
exec: Cut-outs in flabby areas. Good.
exec: Shapes that require new bras!
— Delilah S. Dawson (@DelilahSDawson) June 20, 2018
Olson also added that many designers have decided pockets make women’s clothing “ugly,” and therefore avoid them. But as the dresses above prove, that’s clearly not the case. Also, even if pockets do take away the aesthetic appeal of a dress, so what? Whether we want to look sexy or simply presentable and unencumbered for a busy day is our choice to make.
And for more on the crossroads of fashion and feminism, check out 23 Clothing Items That Changed Our Culture.
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