Pockets and the Patriarchy, How Fashion Has Reinforced Gender Inequality

Pockets and the Patriarchy,  How Fashion Has Reinforced Gender Inequality

It's a common frustration for women - reaching for a pocket on their clothing, only to find that it doesn't exist, or worse - they are decorative, sealed shut fake pockets!

This seemingly small detail is actually a reflection of a larger issue, and a crucial aspect of feminist history. The lack of pockets in women's clothing is more than just a fashion inconvenience; it's a feminist issue that dates back centuries.


shallow pockets, phone, purse, women's clothing,

The Origins of Pockets: A Brief History

To understand the significance of pockets for women, we need to go back in time. In the past, pockets were primarily a practical feature in men's clothing. Tailors began sewing pockets into men's garments hundreds of years ago, recognizing the usefulness of having a place to store items such as coins, watches, and handkerchiefs.

Women, on the other hand, were not afforded the same luxury. The prevailing belief was that pockets would detract from a woman's appearance, making her clothing less flattering and therefore less desirable. This idea was particularly prevalent during the Victorian era, when women's clothing was expected to be ornate, delicate, and focused on appearance over practicality.

However, women still needed to carry items with them. Purses existed, but they were often cumbersome and inconvenient, particularly when performing tasks such as shopping or working. So, what did women do? They found creative ways to conceal their possessions, often resorting to using hidden pockets or tying bags to their waists.


historical pockets, tailoring, men's garments, women's garments

The Gendered Politics of Pockets

Interestingly, this idea of hidden pockets was not new. During the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries, women accused of practicing witchcraft were believed to use hidden pockets to smuggle potions and herbs. This association with the "dark arts" only added to the taboo surrounding women's pockets.

witch hunts, feminism, the feminist history of pockets

Fast forward to the French Revolution, and pockets took on a political meaning. Women were actually banned from having pockets, as they were seen as a potential way to hide "revolutionary material." The idea was that without pockets, women would be less likely to participate in political and social activism.

As the suffrage movement gained traction, pockets became a symbol of the change women were seeking. Women who had previously been forced to carry their possessions in inconvenient and impractical ways began to demand clothing with pockets. Pockets represented not only practicality, but also autonomy and freedom.

women's pockets, historical fashion, pockets


Pockets as a Symbol of Women's Rights and Independence

Today, the lack of pockets in women's clothing may seem like a small detail. However, it's important to remember that this issue is rooted in a long history of gender inequality and the idea that women should be focused on appearance rather than function.

The fight for pockets in women's clothing is just one aspect of the larger fight for gender equality, and it serves as a reminder that even the smallest details can have significant social and political implications.

In conclusion, the history of pockets in women's clothing is a powerful reminder of the long-standing struggles women have faced in their fight for equality. The lack of pockets in women's clothing is not just a practical inconvenience, but a feminist issue that reflects larger societal attitudes towards women and their role in society. It's important that we continue to challenge these attitudes and demand clothing that not only looks good, but also serves the needs of all people, regardless of gender.

pocket belt, functional pockets, stylish accessories, women's fashion, practical solutions


Pocket Belts : A Stylish Solution to a Fashion Dilemma?

So let's admit it - we are tired of struggling to fit all of our essentials into those tiny, useless pockets in women's clothing!  Well, fear not, because Forage Design has come to the rescue with their stylish and practical pocket belts!

These belts are the perfect solution for anyone who wants to carry their belongings with them while maintaining a sleek and stylish look. Plus, with our focus on transparency and cottage industry, you can feel good about supporting a company that's making a positive impact on the fashion industry. 

So, say goodbye to pocketless trousers  and hello to Forage Pocket Belts - while we wait for the fashion industry to catch up and give us some pockets, we can still have a belt that does it all!


pocket belt, functional pockets, stylish accessories, women's fashion, practical solutions


  • Christine Lawson

    What a disappointing article! And to end it with a soft-porn photo that all but screams “male gaze” is just, well, embarrassing. Your belts are impractical and cumbersome and miss the point the article was supposed to make – we want pockets, not another alternative! Sheesh!

  • Lisa J. Evans

    Where did you get the information that women’s pockets were associated with witchcraft? They were used by women at every level of society, and were often elaborately quilted or embroidered. There are literally hundreds, possibly thousands of surviving examples, which would not be the case if they were taboo or associated with witchcraft. This is almost certainly an urban legend of some sort, and I really wish you hadn’t used it.

  • Carolyn

    Add pockets — there are many kinds. I’ve added ‘patch pockets’ of different shapes, pockets in side seams, pockets on one side of a pair of pants — in a shape I liked or made up and other variations. If I can do it, so can you! I love a pocket on a dress, too. Fabrics-Store pattterns have pockets and hooray, I say.

  • Rebecca

    I read the article but your models pretty much negate your claims about feminist clothing.

  • Patricia Dorwin

    “ Gender Inequality” current buzz words to get you to read an article with nothing new in the content. I’m sitting here in a pair of jeans with five pockets, one for my cell phone. Anyone who sews can add pockets if they want them. Or, don’t purchase garments that do not have pockets.

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Leather Hip Bag | Falcon BrownBelt Extender StrapLeather Tassel Belt - BlackLeather Tassel Belt | Falcon BrownLeather Minimal Hip Bag | Falcon Brown

Shop Now

Beautiful Belt Bags

Hand made in small batches using the highest quality materials

Shop Leather Belt Bags Shop Vegan Belt Bags