In Praise of Pockets


Dua Lipa’s vintage Chanel dress at the Met Gala had pockets. And fashion’s fan-favorite designer Christopher John Rogers sent chunky knitted sets with enormous pockets down the runway just days before. Once a utilitarian symbol and now an embellishment, pockets have fast become this season’s most prominent ornamentation, popping up en masse on Miu Miu miniskirts, Dion Lee corsets, Blumarine minidresses, Isabel Marant shorts, and The Attico boots, among other things. They’re truly everywhere, hidden in plain sight. It used to be that you’d consider yourself lucky if your dress had pockets, but now, the form of portable storage has somehow transcended utilitarian status as the next It accessory.

The history of pockets in women’s fashion goes back even further, and represents something even more important. By the 17th century, women started wearing tie-on pockets. “The development of tie-on pockets during the 17th century was a defining moment for women, providing an extremely popular detachable accessory for carrying their possessions, similar to the function of handbags today,” per V&A’s exhibition “Bags: Inside Out.” According to fashion historian Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, “Very quickly, pockets assumed a gendered meaning. By the end of the 17th century, men had enjoyed a well-established tradition for sewn-in, specialized pockets in their garments, while women wore mostly tie-on external pockets in various sizes. As women’s detachable pockets began to disappear by the late 19th century, pockets started to symbolize independence, status, and mobility, and women’s rights advocates began to associate pockets with male privilege.”


I chose an article about pockets because it’s akin to storage in a smaller way than grocery bags or storage bins, to see unconventional ways to think about storage(pockets). Besides the typical purse or Fanny pack there have been unique pocket locations like shoes or gloves.



Bateman, K. (2023, May 18). In praise of pockets. ELLE.