There is one matter on which I would bet my life savings that all women agree on, and that is pockets. As in clothes, specifically dresses, should come with them. It’s obvious, really: pockets are useful. They store keys, money, phones – the everyday things that we constantly carry around with us. They are discreet and great for shoving one’s hand in when it’s cold/for adopting a nonchalant pose. In fact, it seems odd that many clothes designed for women do not have pockets. I mean, what’s that about?
One women seeking to rectify this madness is Eve Paterson who, when she got married last month, did so purposefully in a wedding dress with pockets and even had pockets sewn into the frocks worn by her bridesmaids.
Speaking to the Independent, Paterson said, “My bridesmaids are all beautifully different shapes, so we decided to go with a brand where they could each pick a dress that they felt amazing in, and where we could add pockets as well." The brand in question is KF Bridal, which apparently charges £5 for pockets to be added to gowns. "You'd never expect to hire suits for guys and then 'add pockets' as an extra, so the idea that women have to do it is insane," said Paterson.
Insane, it truly is. Having just got engaged myself, I have recently spent a lot of time looking at wedding and bridesmaid dresses and am yet to come across styles that possess pockets. On a day when one surely has rather a lot to tote round with them – lippy for touch-ups, tissues for tears, phones for, well, let’s be honest, a few selfies – pockets make better sense than ever.
Bridesmaid Nell Goddard tweeted a picture of the Paterson bridal party showcasing their pockets with the caption: “My friend got married last month and her dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses ALL HAD POCKETS. And yes, we did use them for storing snacks, thank you for asking.” The post has received over 13,000 likes, with responses including, “ALWAYS POCKETS. I love this. Badass wedding,” and, “I really wish I’d thought of pockets when I got married. Such a little thing yet so important.”
“The response to the tweet, from such a diverse range of people across the Twittersphere, has proved that this is a real issue, and it goes beyond weddings," said Paterson after the wedding. "Women's clothing simply doesn't empower women as much as it should.”
Paterson has a point. Last year, data collected by The Pudding revealed that, on average, the front pockets in women’s jeans are only half the depth of those in men’s jeans. The data also found that: “Only 40% of women’s front pockets can completely fit one of the three leading smartphone brands. Less than half of women’s front pockets can fit a wallet specifically designed to fit in front pockets. And you can’t even cram an average woman’s hand beyond the knuckles into the majority of women’s front pockets.” Empowering… not so much. In fact, pockets have long been used to actively disempower women; during the French Revolution they were removed from women’s clothing for fear that women were storing weapons in them. Pockets then remained either absent or impractically small (Christian Dior referred to them as decorative), so that money couldn’t be kept on a woman’s person. No money, of course, equalling no power.
"Pockets are such a tiny issue in comparison to the oppression of women globally, but I think it plays into a much deeper misconception that women should look good rather than be practically equipped – but why should we have to choose?" said Paterson. Pockets on dresses are a small issue, but then again, they’re really not. Pockets mean liberation, they mean equality and they mean power. Three things that women should always be able to feel, especially on their wedding day.