The Secret Reason For That Small Jeans Pocket

No, it's not for condoms.

If you're like most people, jeans are probably part of your everyday dress code. In fact, in the United States alone, shoppers buy 450 million pairs of jeans each year. And while it may be obvious why your jeans have certain features, like zippers and belt loops, there's one perplexing part of pants that even the most die-hard denim-lovers don't know the purpose of: that tiny pocket on the front of your pants.

When you're a kid, that little pocket is the perfect place to store Legos, candy, and quarters for video games. When you're an adult, it's the perfect place to stash a condom. But neither of those uses are its intended purpose. So, what is it actually for?

Long before the advent of smartphones and digital watches, a pocket watch was the preferred method of telling time. While pocket watches pre-date the 1873 patent of blue jeans by more than 400 years, they were still wildly popular when Levi Strauss & Co. first applied for its pants patent in the late 19th century. In fact, the continued popularity of pocket watches meant that pants needed a pocket just to house them, a feature your jeans have likely retained to this day.

And while we often associate pocket watches with fancier attire, those pockets likely served a purpose for many of Levi's' working-class customers. With a chain to affix them to a belt loop and a special pocket on their pants just to keep them safe, pocket watches were also a popular accessory for farmers and miners, who could keep track of time on the go without the risk of breaking their timepiece if it fell.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more