What I taught in the development lab today »« Bad laws for science and all growing things

You don’t have pockets?

OK, OK, OK…I’m oblivious, but I never realized this before, or thought about the consequences: a lot of women’s clothes don’t have pockets. That would be an intolerable state of affairs for me. Don’t most boys grow up like me with a bunch of pockets that they’re constantly stuffing things into? Candy bars, interesting rocks, pocket knives, frogs, earthworms…until they grow up and replace the cool stuff with boring junk like keys and loose change and wallets. Even now I like a suit jacket with a couple of outside pockets and four in the lining, and I usually come home from a trip with all six stuffed with something or other.

I actually appraise my apparel for the number of pockets it has in it. If I’m wearing a shirt that doesn’t have a breast pocket (which I consider an abomination and a crime against utility already), I pick a coat that has an extra pocket to compensate.

Ladies, doesn’t it warp your brain to have grown up without built in stashing places to nurture your natural acquisitiveness? I’m going to have to have a conversation with my wife about this. I’ve noticed that every time we leave the house together, she always ask me if I have my keys, and I always thought it weird. Of course I have my keys! I always keep my keys right there in my pocket, and the only way I’d leave the house without them is if I forgot to put my pants on.

But now it’s sinking in. She’d only have her keys if she brought her purse with her. Hmmm. Teeny-tiny light bulb flickers and begins to glow dimly in my cranium…


pocketses

For the doubters: this is a view of the inside lining of my suit coat, opened in classic flasher’s pose. The top pocket is big enough to stuff my whole hand in; it’s got a bunch of colored pens in there right now, but at meetings I’ll usually fold the program in half and put it in there, or when I’m traveling I’ll put my itinerary there. The bottom pocket is smaller, but still large enough for my cell phone and a bunch of business cards. And the right side lining has the same arrangement! Little do people realize as I stride through meetings that I’m like Batman, with all kinds of useful things tucked away in my clothing.

Comments

  1. says

    There’s always the “cleavage pocket,” but that only works for large-chested women who wear bras. And then you end up with keys and loose change stuck to the underside of your breasts if you sweat even just a bit.

    Yeah, it’s annoying.

  2. mythbri says

    A lot of women’s business clothing have fake pockets, which are really just a slap in the face. But you’re not intended to have anything in your pockets, because that ruins the design lines and makes you lumpy and bumpy.

  3. David Marjanović says

    OK, OK, OK…I’m oblivious, but I never realized this before

    ~:-| My mom and my two sisters complain about it all the time.

  4. David Marjanović says

    And then you end up with keys and loose change stuck to

    …That must be… uncomfortable.

    fake pockets

    HULK SMASH

    Sorry, where was I? Ah, yeah: HULK SMASH

  5. Robert Harvey says

    It wasn’t always this way. In “All About Eve,” Margo Channing (Bette Davis) wears an evening gown (!) with pockets.

  6. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I am always happy when I find a dress with pockets.
    And fake pockets are an abomination. Or those shallow little pretend pockets that nothing can fit in. >:|

    Women’s clothes are evil. THey can be pretty, but it’s an evil pretty. Without pockets.

  7. Eric Williams says

    And here’s another fun bit of annoyance regarding the absence of pockets in women’s clothes…at conferences, they’ve got no place to put the mobile mic thingy, so they have to: 1) forgo a mic, and just shout until they loose their voice; 2) carry the little black box thing around with them and look like a doofus; or 3) stand stock still and use the stable podium mic. Kinda a pain, you know?

  8. Parrowing says

    I’ve ended up with pants that actually had pockets, but they came stitched up. To…… make the pants a fun DIY project for me?

  9. rowanvt says

    This is the real reason why I wear my scrubs even when I’m not at work. Tons and tons of pockets. I also could never keep hold of a purse (kept losing ‘em) and so I stick to a wallet and my keys.

  10. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    This explains why my laundry tends to clog the lint catcher up much more quickly than the women in my house.

  11. julial says

    I feel so sorry for people who only have pockets.
    They carry so little.
    They wear out so fast.
    And I always lose stuff when changing clothes and moving things from pocket to pocket.

  12. mudskipper says

    OK–so men’s clothing has pockets. Then why has just about every man I’ve known asked me to carry something for him in my purse?

  13. rowanvt says

    Julial, why would I want to carry around an extra 5lbs of stuff? What could possibly be more important than wallet, keys, cellphone (if you have one. I don’t.) and kindle?

  14. Eurasian magpie says

    Welcome to the unfair world that is womens’ clothing. I compensate the unpocketitude by always carrying a backbag with many pocketses.

    Purse you say? Don’t do purse. Like, ever.

  15. julial says

    rowanvt
    The extra 5 lbs can be ANYTHING.
    You don’t find that useful?
    Don’t you every use a backpack?

  16. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Yes, well, I’m fine with having a little bag with me most of the time outside. But when I’m at work, and have to jump around the building ten times a day, I just need some place to put my mobile and an USB stick. I’m not asking for much here.

  17. says

    My daughters are lost without a pocket to put a phone in. My oldest bought a pair of jeans one time forgetting to check for pockets . I wish I had video of the ensuing hilarity when she tried to put her phone away. It was damnit, damnit, where’s the pocket? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  18. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    … and taking the USB stick out of my cleavage in someone’s office would be kind of awkward.
    A bit.
    Just a tiny little bit awkward.

  19. mythbri says

    To drop another knowledge bomb on you:

    You know how female celebrities are sometimes upskirt photographed by asshole paparazzi and shown not to be wearing any underwear?

    They don’t wear underwear because otherwise they get criticized by the fashion police for having Visible Panty Line.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  20. rowanvt says

    Julial, when I use a backpack I’m usually… caring for a foster kitten (requires bottle, extra formula, changes of blanket), hiking (water bottles, food, camera, emergency kit, etc), on a plane (sketchbook, camera, pillow) or in some other situation where a purse would be immensely inadequate.

    You know what most of my coworkers use their purse for? Tons of makeup. Fuck that noise.

  21. julial says

    rowanvt
    After slight further reflection
    ANYTHING includes:
    Kids toys.
    Lunch.
    Folders.
    New acquisitions.
    Beer.
    Tools.
    Occasionally binoculars.
    Extra clothes for cold days.
    Other stuff.

  22. says

    Wait, wait…is Julial belittling the tiny size of men’s…pockets? Now I’m feeling strangely emasculated.

    I have never asked my wife to carry anything in her purse that I can recall. It might be because I know that her purse is a swirling maelstrom of total chaos, and I wouldn’t be confident that I’d ever get back anything that entered it. If ever I wanted to hide a small object, though, it would be the perfect place.

  23. rowanvt says

    Kids toys.
    Lunch.
    Folders.
    New acquisitions.
    Beer.
    Tools.
    Occasionally binoculars.
    Extra clothes for cold days.
    Other stuff.

    I don’t have kids. I rarely pack a lunch if I’m going to be out and about the whole day unless I’m hiking. Folders??? When I buy stuff it tends to be animal supplies that wouldn’t fit in a purse. Beer is gross. I have a pocket flask should I desire whiskey. Tools??? Swiss Army Knife. Fits in pocket if you want to have one. Extra clothes? You carry sweatpants in your purse?

  24. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    julial,

    That’s lovely. There are various occasions when I like to have a bag that I could probably survive a couple of days stuck in a lift with unless the contents helped me get out of the lift in a couple of minutes John McLane way… but I would really like to have a choice. When I need a fucking bag, I’ll carry a bag, and when I just need to stuff my keys, my ID card and some money in my pocket that there exists one. Er.. two.

  25. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    mythbri,

    I hate those. Which probably means I shouldn’t complain just because I don’t like the choice I have, eh? :P

  26. says

    Having worn mens’ clothes the first 26 years of my life, and in the last 3 years changing over to womens’ clothes, I’ve discovered a few things, some good some bad:

    Good – Underwear and socks actually fit me better cause they’re not designed for someone whose arse or feet are bigger than mine.

    Bad – Pockets?

    Good – Shirts and stuff fit me cause they tend to be a little bit more tapered towards the waist, which I am.

    Bad – Shirts and stuff are flimsy and I would need to wear an undershirt under the shirt.

    Good – It’s hot. Comfy bra, comfy panties. I’m set.

    Bad – I can’t wear any of these things outdoors cause transphobes.

  27. says

    I carry a backpack, satchel or other type of man-bag with enough space to carry my cell phone, a pen, a notepad, whatever book I’m reading, business cards, about $3 in emergency change, gum, a small first aid kit, tissues and allergy meds (in season) and an umbrella (I live in Seattle. If it’s not raining, wait ten minutes.)

    And even then, I use my pants pockets for my watch, keys and wallet, and my shirt pocket for either my reading or distance glasses (whichever are not on my face at the moment.)

  28. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Katherine,

    I’m sorry about that last one. *hugs*

    The rest: Yes! I hate how, not just shirts/blouses, but T-shirts have become so transparent I have to wear another sleeveless one underneath which kinda destroys the whole point of trying to wear light clothes during summer.

  29. mythbri says

    @Beatrice

    Then might I suggest adding a fedora to your working wardrobe? A hat might be a handy place to stash small things like USB drives. ;)

  30. says

    @PZ Myers #23 – You reminded me of a joke. The English language is like a woman’s purse: full of things you don’t need, and the one thing you DO need, you can’t find.

    And yeah, my backpack gets like that, too.

  31. calliopejane says

    Men are expected to be functional and useful at all times, thus the features of their clothing are consistently functional and useful.

    Women are often expected to be merely decorative, thus the features of their clothing are often merely decorative.

  32. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    Wife’s purse looks like a ‘swirling maelstrom of chaos’. But she can reach in and, without looking, pull out anything she needs. Meanwhile, I’m checking every pocket and every slot in my wallet for the damned ‘buy five cigars, get one free’ card. Which was in Wife’s pocketbook.

    I have one pair of jeans that I hate to wear — the pockets are too small for my wallet, my lighter, my cigar cutter and my pocket knife (the keys hang on a caribiener on my belt loop).

  33. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    mythbri,
    (joking aside) Ooooh, I want a fedora, but I’m afraid I’ll look ridiculous. I don’t have a head for hats, I’m afraid.

  34. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    A hat might be a handy place to stash small things like USB drives. ;)

    just last week I told a co-worker where to stash a USB drive . . .

  35. says

    @Beatrice:

    *hug* I think I really just need someone to grab me and drag me outside in a skirt XD Someone who can scowl angrily at people who give me bad looks and threaten pain and death on anyone who says something mean.

    But yah, I find it completely amusing that for the longest time I’ve had to fight with my wardrobe, and only find that I’m actually built more like a woman than I am a man. (Well, that is to say a woman who they make clothes for.)

  36. says

    Jebus, yes. Unfortunately, I am now poorly shaped for men’s pants (alas, since I was in my late twenties), or I would go back to wearing them so I have somewhere to put the assorted crap. I’ve actually broken down and bought a purse, even though I often forget it and walk off.

    I really just need a bag of holding, damn it. Something I can clip to my belt.

  37. says

    I try to have coats and jackets with pockets for my keys. If my purse gets lost or stolen, I don’t want to be locked out of my home. It’s convenient carrying around a bag I can fit everything in, but having it all in one place is just too risky.

  38. rilian says

    When I was a kid, my clothes often did not have pockets because they were made by my grandma or aunts and I guess they just didn’t feel like putting pockets in. Anyway, I just held cool things I found in the side of my mouth or wrapped in my pinkie and ring fingers or in my shoe. But now that I buy pants from the store, god my new pants have the most awesome deep pockets ever. <3 pockets

  39. Bailey Meeker says

    As a teenager, I despised shoe shopping, but jacket shopping was too tempting. I was especially attracted to women’s jackets with lots of pockets. I found plenty, but I wouldn’t say too many of the pockets were large.

    My boyfriend and I had this discussion a few weeks ago. He was shocked that I wouldn’t put my phone in my pocket for a walk because I knew it would fall out. I had him put his hand in my jean pocket and he suddenly understood.

    I’m wearing a pair of Eddie Bauer “boyfriend” jeans right now. My favorite part is the men’s size pockets. Now I can leave the house without my purse. Hooray!

  40. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Katherine,

    Well, I look like a little girl, but I can give a mean mean look. Unfortunately, I’m also on the wrong continent.

    mouthyb

    I really just need a bag of holding, damn it. Something I can clip to my belt.

    Yes!

  41. calliopejane says

    There’s also the rationale that women don’t need pockets because they carry a purse. But I only have to carry a purse because you won’t give me any decent pockets, dammit!!!

    And the fake pockets do make me want to scream. I hate shopping malls and have no free time, so I order almost all my clothes online, and they aren’t always up-front about the pockets being fake in the online description.

    On occasion, when I have *really* liked the item and want to wear it often, I’ve actually gone to the trouble of sewing pockets into it — if there’s fake pockets then the hard part is already done (all that detailed visible stitching). I just have to fold over a square scrap of fabric and sew it onto the inside (no one sees it, can be sloppy), then cut open the fake entrance-to-pocket with an exacto knife.

    A 2-pocket item can be done in about 30 minutes while I watch TV. I resent having to go to the effort of basically finishing the garment myself, but am glad to have the pockets afterwards.

  42. says

    Yeah, I remember this topic coming to mind when I was younger, particularly fake pockets. Why go through the trouble of adding it if you’re not going to go all the way? Thinking about it with my increased awareness of gender inequity, it makes twisted sense: The designers would rather not have women putting stuff in a place that would add visible lumps that don’t fit with their curvature. Heaven forbid an attractive woman have a rectangular protrusion on top of her posterior.

    I can see plenty of advantages to purses, as well as the disadvantage of potentially losing/forgetting it. It shouldn’t be a forgone conclusion that a woman prefers purses. On the flipside, I’ve seen a little bit of the ridicule that happens if a man carries around a “messenger bag” or other container that fills the same function as a purse, and I know the “this is not my purse” method of holding a purse.

  43. says

    There is one area womens’ clothes are sorely lacking in, though: Decent, cheap undershirts.

    Thank goodness Hanes (I think?!?) came up with the slim fit white t-shirt for an undershirt. It’s thin as hell, but it’s comfortable and fits nice, and cost about $7 for a pack of six.

    The only womens’ undershirts I’ve found cost maybe $7 for one shirt. And they’re a bad fabric that shrinks too quickly, and they’ve got annoying lines.

  44. Alverant says

    Last Friday at 4:50 I had to use the mens’ room really bad. I knew by the time I was done it would be time to go so I was just going to leave from there. I looked for my office-mate since I didn’t want to lock her out of the office when I left (she still had some stuff in there). But I couldn’t find her and had to close/lock the door for safety reasons. I figured she had a key, but her key was in her purse in the office. Seriously, how hard is it to make women’s clothing so it could hold a few keys? I didn’t want to lock her out but I didn’t have any options left. (BTW she wore pants which did have pockets, she just chose not to use the pockets.)

  45. says

    I carry a big bag to work and back (it’s like a cross between a purse and a briefcase) filled with useful stuff like a folder containing paperwork, pens, Tums, a book, etc. But I don’t keep vital stuff like my keys and wallet in there. Those go in my pockets.

    It’s not an either/or issue.

  46. Becca Stareyes says

    Heavens yes. I like having a bag (either a big backpack or the small blackpack-purse) for things like my sunglasses and a paperback/my Nook, but if I just need my wallet and keys, pockets are nice. Also, I leave purses places. In college, several times a professor chased me out of the building because I had left my purse in the classroom*. I am slightly less likely to have things fall out of my pockets, especially pants pockets. (I have a few jackets that do have this problem and tend to be careful what I put in their pockets.)

    Also conference mics. Thankfully most of the ones I’ve seen can be put in a pants pocket or clipped to a waistband, but they still seem to assume a shirt or jacket with lapels.

    Designers who put in either fake pockets or sewed-shut pockets (at least I have a seam ripper at home that makes short work of those) get all the nasty looks. No, I don’t care if I have a side bulge because I have my wallet, keys and a USB stick in my pocket, since I am at a place where everyone probably has the same things on their person.

    * Why I had a purse and a backpack (to carry notebooks and stuff) is not something I remember.

  47. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Kid’s clothes don’t always have pockets either. Maybe that’s a good thing.

  48. says

    As part of my job, I have to go through security at various government buildings pretty much every day. Men’s reliance on pockets, and women’s on handbags to hold our respective stuff makes a real difference in how fast and orderly the process is. At this point, I think it wouldn’t be out of place for security officers to routinely make a speech along the following lines:

    “Ladies and gentlemen, please place your bags and coats on the security belt. Remove any jewelry containing metal, place it into one of the yellow bins provided for your convenience and hand it to the security officer, then walk through the metal detector.

    Gentlemen, before you go through the detector, kindly empty your pockets and put the stuff into one of those yellow bins too. EMPTY YOUR POCKETS. Yes, even if you are a CEO. No, sir, luxury suits aren’t exempt, sorry. Everybody, and we mean everybody, empty your pockets. Your pockets. ALL your pockets. Those pockets too. Even your inside pockets, they count. Please quickly frisk yourself to make sure you’ve covered all your pockets and didn’t overlook one. Don’t forget, your pants may have additional pockets by your knees, be sure to check there. When removing items from pockets that you don’t use very often, please wait until AFTER you’ve gone through the metal detector to inspect the items you’ve excavated and wonder how they ended up in your pants and whether they even belong to you. Please be advised that you may not set off the metal detector more than three times. After three failed attempts, we confiscate whatever you failed to remove from your pockets and sell it at auction. Thank you for your cooperation.”

  49. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Why don’t people just carry backpacks instead of purses?

    Women in some professions are expected to carry a feminine bag around, because “business wear”. Hell, women are expected to have a purse period. When I was little, I liked dragging a purse around, pretending to be a “big girl”. When I became a teenager, I just stuffed everything into my pockets, or backpack if I needed more stuff.
    At some point, my father started mocking me with “what kind of a girl you are, not even owning a purse” (and not wearing skirts or dresses, or similar feminine things- his beef was probably with more than just not having a purse). It ceased to be funny joking after the first dozen or so times.

  50. Jessie says

    I use a belt bag, which gets round the lack of pockets.

    Pockets are a minor annoyance when you consider the horror that is girls’ shoes. Those designed for boys are practical, with deep grooves on the thick soles, warm and safe in winter. The only ones available for my daughter are open-topped and thin-soled (so feet get cold and wet) with absolutely no grip on them, making walking in snow and ice dangerous. Also, her school trousers do not have pockets (which the boys do have) but she is not allowed to carry a bag, so there is nowhere to keep a hanky.

  51. unbound says

    Yeah, I can’t claim to be any quicker. The lack of pockets issue didn’t really hit home until my daughter got into her teens. My wife always had her purse, so it didn’t register; but my daughter hates purses, so I ended up making some thoughtless comment about just put it in a pocket…and light bulb!

  52. says

    I suddenly remember an episode of Star Trek: DS9. The Ferengi were having their own women’s liberation movement, which included wanting right to wear clothing and earn profit. Weird setup involved, but Quark had to convince the CEO of Sluggo Cola to support the movement. Quark pointed out that if women could wear clothing, they could have pockets. If they had pockets, they’d want to fill them with latinum (money). So then they’d want to work to earn profit. Result: Ferenginar expands both its workforce and its consumer base at the same time, leading to a economic boom for everyone.

  53. samihawkins says

    This was something I noticed when I started transitioning. The pockets on women’s pants are tiny, at least half the size of the pockets on men’s jeans. I suspect a conspiracy to force us into buying purses/handbags.

    Another fashion oddity I have no explanation for are the sleeves on women’s t-shirts, or lack thereof. I’ve yet to find a women’s t-shirt with sleeves as long as a men’s t-shirt. I’ve only found one shirt that clame close to a comfortable length on the sleeves, all the others have these tiny vestigial sleeves with only about and inch or so of fabric under the armpit. I guess they just aren’t made for someone with my bony shoulders.

  54. Pteryxx says

    Pockets are a minor annoyance when you consider the horror that is girls’ shoes. Those designed for boys are practical, with deep grooves on the thick soles, warm and safe in winter. The only ones available for my daughter are open-topped and thin-soled (so feet get cold and wet) with absolutely no grip on them, making walking in snow and ice dangerous.

    …But, but girls just naturally fall down a lot and are bad at sports! *rage*

  55. says

    This! Oh hell, this! I’ve never carried a purse, because Ladies did you know that you could be seriously injured if a thief ran off with your purse and you were still with it!!!! So I wear jeans with pockets. One year, the place that had ‘the pants that fit me’ decided that pockets on jeans were stupid. I ended up making a zipper vest with pockets so that I could carry my keys and stuff and not overheat. The pockets these days are still too shallow :P

  56. forestine says

    I read somewhere that part of rationing during the war included not putting pockets into women’s clothes so as to use the least amount of fabric possible. I guess they never stopped rationing? It makes sense if you think about women’s roles in the 50s.

  57. Yellow Thursday says

    I hate carrying a purse. If it doesn’t slip off my shoulder, it’s getting in the way of doing normal, everyday things. I have to remember where I left it. I have to dig through the stuff that seems to multiply inside it.

    I much prefer pants with lots of deep pockets. Especially cargo pants. The problem I have with that is that pants are difficult enough to find in my size, and cargo pants aren’t exactly in fashion right now. Maybe it’s time to dust off the sewing machine.

  58. James says

    …and the only way I’d leave the house without them is if I forgot to put my pants on.

    Of course, it could be that Mrs. Myers is surreptitiously checking to make sure that you have remembered to put your pants on. I’ve already reached that point in life where I stand at the bus stop, look down, and then have to rush home because I’ve still got my slippers on.

    And let’s not even get started with the time I found myself outside my front door stark naked…

  59. dianne says

    Criteria I use when deciding whether to buy a pair of pants:
    1. Does it fit me. Specifically, does the designer understand the concept of “hips”?
    2. Was it made under conditions that will make me ashamed of purchasing it?
    3. Does it have pockets that I can use without worrying about losing my cell phone and wallet?

    I’d like to add “does it look good on me”, but by the time I’m done with 1-3, the selection is so small it’s hard to bother too much about the details.

  60. numenaster says

    Men’s jackets have four pockets in the lining? *swoon*

    …OK, I’m back. Of the suit jackets in my wardrobe, about 1/3 have functional pockets anywhere, and those are always the front ones. “Functional” being broadly defined, as in “you can put vending machine change in it but good luck with your cell phone”.

    And all of them came with those pockets stitched shut, as Parrowing noted. That’s just so they lay flat & don’t catch anything during shipping & rack display though. I have a Leatherman, I can solve that.

    But all my life I’ve had a bunch of stuff I needed, or MIGHT need. My current bag-of-all-use is bigger than a canvas shopping bag, and I can do what Mrs. Ogvorbis does–reach in with one hand, while driving, and come up with the smaller bag that has the thing I actually need. It’s because the Big Bag has 8 things in it which are only containers for other things, and I can distinguish between all but 2 of them by touch. Yes, my “purse” is a hierarchical structure. Engineer!

    This solves the two problems of “How do I find my {thing}” and “Why is my {thing} getting so beaten up?” Almost everything in The Big Bag is relatively securely stowed inside something else. Even The Boyfriend can find things in it, once I tell him which smaller bag to look for. Sorting through a sub-container the size of a sandwich bag is pretty simple.

    Badge for the door at work? In the tiny mesh-top canvas bag (with the other tech stuff: Powerstick & dongles, thumb drive, badge hanger, and Spider phone stand). Lip balm? Small leather pouch, with the other essentials (LED flashlight, foam earplugs, change purse, lighter, and the aforementioned Leatherman). Makeup, hair tie or mirror? Mesh-top canvas (green). What, you don’t have a mirror? Then how do you find the screw that fell behind the chassis? My coworkers know I carry OTC remedies for allergies, diarrhea, fever & pain, in another mesh-top canvas bag (black) with the tape measure, mending kit, coffee sleeve (reuseable!), toothbrush, breath mints, cleaning wipes, batteries for the LED flashlight, and menstrual pads.

    With all that, it’s still only half full. I carried The Big Bag around at the belly dance showcase this weekend and used it for a shopping bag, and didn’t run out of room.

    The Boyfriend has realized the wisdom of being prepared, and now carries his own two-pocket canvas bag which we both call the man purse. The logo from “Wastewater Short School Training” hopefully keeps it from being too girly. And it’s barely big enough for an iPad, so it’s not overwhelmingly enormous.

  61. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I’ve got popcorn.
    So, let’s talk about women’s clothing. Which largely sucks in the department of practicality.

    It’s not just pants that lack pockets. Jackets have much less pockets than men’s jackets. Or they have half-pockets into which you can’t really put anything.

  62. Cris Waller says

    I am a jeans kind of person, and at least they have pockets.

    I used to show dogs, and you have to dress up to do that. And you *have* to have pockets when showing a dog, for treats, combs, etc. Finding an outfit for that was a nightmare!

  63. Jerry says

    In comment 45, Katherine touched upon another important point. Women’s clothing tends to be both more cheaply made and more expensive than men’s clothing. I think the rationale/excuse behind ‘cheaply made’ (poorly constructed, and made of lower quality material) seems to be that fashion changes so quickly that the clothing does not need to last for a long time. Also, thinner fabric shows off the body underneath. I have never heard of an excuse for the ‘more expensive’ part, that’s just pure greed, exploitation, predation. The buttons reversed or fasteners in inaccessible spots is just stupidity, carrying over from clothing made for nobility and upper classes with servants. Just mentioning these in case PZ did not notice these points.

    The ‘no pockets’ part has come to mind before. My wife has asked me if I’m carrying keys when we go walking or (very rarely) somewhere fancy. Some men’s clothing has the same problem, but I can avoid the fancy-over-useful junk. (I don’t work in ‘business’. I work with smart people.) Otherwise I’d be oblivious. Until reading the post & following comments it never struck home how ubiquitous is the practice of fashion over utility.

  64. Onamission5 says

    I have smaller than typical hands and my hands don’t even fit inside the pockets of most women’s jeans. Jeans, you know, what people wear when they have shit to do, aka not for dressing up occasions? The dress pants worn by my 9 year old son have bigger, more, and more functional pockets than my jeans do!

    The frustrating lack of functional pockets in women’s clothing is most obvious on those occasions when carrying a purse is simply not an option, like when I used to go dancing. I’m not bringing my purse onto the dance floor for risk of unnecessary bludgeoning, nor am I leaving it at my seat to be stolen or rifled through, for one thing, and for two, all I usually need to bring with me is ID, money, and smokes. Sure, my ID and money fits neatly in the back of a cigarette pack and the lighter can be jammed inside, but then what to do with that? Ever tried to dance with a pack of smokes in your bra? OW.

    Thankfully when I was a kid my mom made most of my clothes and was very aware of the Pocket Problem, but I don’t much sew and long gone are the days when I could ask my mommy to put some big ole pockets on it.

  65. Eristae says

    lot of women’s business clothing have fake pockets, which are really just a slap in the face. But you’re not intended to have anything in your pockets, because that ruins the design lines and makes you lumpy and bumpy.

    I am a jeans kind of person, and at least they have pockets.

    I’ve actually encountered jeans with fake pockets. Multiple times. When I’ve gone home, taken the tags off, worn them for a bit, and then tried to stick something in my pocket, only to discover that I don’t have any. Now I try to remember to check jeans for pockets before I buy them, but occasionally I forget and they slip by me.

    RAAAAAGE.

  66. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Julial, why would I want to carry around an extra 5lbs of stuff? What could possibly be more important than wallet, keys, cellphone (if you have one. I don’t.) and kindle?

    Scientific calculator, pocket knife, anti-static wristband, couple pencils and multimeter with wires.

    That’s what I use a “purse” for, when I carry one.

    I compensate the unpocketitude by always carrying a backbag with many pocketses.

    Unfortunately, I’m medically forbidden to carry backpacks ever again. So I carry a wheeled bag when I have to bring along my laptop – that is pretty much everywhere.

    Pockets are a minor annoyance when you consider the horror that is girls’ shoes. Those designed for boys are practical, with deep grooves on the thick soles, warm and safe in winter. The only ones available for my daughter are open-topped and thin-soled (so feet get cold and wet) with absolutely no grip on them, making walking in snow and ice dangerous.

    I have got flat feet and have learned pretty fast never to buy women’s shoes again.

    My feet have been very grateful ever since.

    Ladies did you know that you could be seriously injured if a thief ran off with your purse and you were still with it!!!!

    Yep.

    Rotator cuff tear.

    *shudder*

  67. ronjaaddams-moring says

    numenaster @ 65

    You clearly are a higher, more evolved lifeform. I bow to your superior organization (you have two more sub-containers than I, and apparently most of them bigger, too…). My sub-containers are spread between a fairly huge handbag (it is NOT a purse – it eats purses for breakfast) and a backpack. And I wear a hoodie, as I found this awesome one in a second-hand shop, for € 10. It has big, deep pockets so my mobile and keys don’t fall out.Quite often I also drag around some kind of shopping bag like thingy, ’cause some of the books I like to read (like Harry Potter 5) fill the backpack all too well and then something has to relocate.

    Time to get myself a new, bigger backpack, methinks… :-)

  68. Rip Steakface says

    My girlfriend sticks to utilitarian sports clothing, for the most part. Her sweater has a pocket, her jeans have pockets, her basketball shorts and sweats have pockets… all utilitarian.

    By the way, the cleavage pocket works fine even without large breasts. It doesn’t work without a bra of course, but my girlfriend has small to medium size breasts (don’t know the specifics, but a B cup size), and she can use her bra as a pocket just fine. I actually know someone else who has a bra with *zippered pockets in it.* She says it’s quite useful.

    Also, fake pockets aren’t only for women. 95% of suit jackets, tux jackets and blazers I’ve worn all have breast pockets sewn shut, and often fake side pockets as well. No inside pockets either.

    Anyway, I’ve always had a distinct scheme of wear I keep my stuff, pocketwise. Small electronics (phone, MP3 player, in-ear monitors) in left front, pencil/capped pen (usually both) and loose change in right front, wallet in right back, and junk (usually paper) in left back. My girlfriend likewise has a scheme (not identical, but the same idea) for her jeans.

  69. dreikin says

    Beatrice (looking for a happy thought):

    Women in some professions are expected to carry a feminine bag around, because “business wear”.

    That reminded me of this dress code I happened across somehow*.
     
    That whole fake pockets thing amazes me. I can at least grok, somewhat, sewing them shut and expecting you to rip them open if needed, but not having anything there at all feels like building a house only to fill it with cement. Pretty (maybe), but pointless.
     
    *I think from thedailywtf.com, appropriately enough.

  70. says

    Next time I want to spark some ragey discussion, I’m going to remember to post something about women’s fashion. I’ll be competing with Greta!

  71. says

    I need my purse. A large purse. Pockets are insufficient; I’ve just go too much stuff I need to carry around with me, at all times, because I never know when I might need it. I’m like the proverbial boy scout: always prepared.

    At any one time, my purse hold my money, phone, iPod, pen, pencil, e-reader, book, notebook, dice bag (yes dice, just in case I run into goblins while I’m out), anxiety meds, pain meds, umbrella, keys, eye drops, case for my glasses, my spare pair of glasses (also in a case), hand cream, I had a compass in there at one point, not sure where that went… You get the idea. I could never fit all that in mere pockets.

  72. eliza says

    I am really curious how dianne pulls off her criteria. I’m don’t know how she has a selection to be made at all. Sure, I want the same 3 things out of pants: they need to fit me (hips), ethically produced, and pockets that can hold cell phone, wallet, and keys.

    So far I managed to find one style pants that reliably has space for hips several years running–I got so sick of companies changing their sizing so I can’t just go in and buy a size 10 and have it stick. I’ve got pants running from size 8-16 in my closet and they’re all the same size. So until they change their size out from under me, I feel like I’m stuck with them, pockets, ethical sourcing, or no.

    I have to rip out the pockets (not quite fake, but only about 2 inches deep; keys work if I don’t bring all of them; cell phones pop right out) and sew extra fabric on the bottom to make them deep enough for use. I know I should look up whether or not they’re ethically sourced, but I don’t feel like I even have a choice so I waffle between thinking I should do some research and thinking that’s too much work and that I’m happy with my plausible deniability.

    But gosh, it sure would be nice to be able to just buy ethical pants that fit and have pockets.

  73. barbarienne says

    Contents of my purse:

    wallet
    checkbook*
    reading glasses
    sunglasses
    date book**
    moleskein**
    cell phone
    pens
    keys
    feminine napkins
    Motrin
    business cards
    swipe card for doors at work (in handy outside compartment rather than wallet)
    USB flash drives (two)
    silk scarf for emergency warmth in air conditioned buildings
    tissues
    paper napkins***
    emergency asthma inhaler
    cough drops/mints/gum (varies)
    dental floss
    pocket knife (Swiss Army for me; my friend Amy carries a Leatherman multitool)

    I also have random detritus of papers and receipts and Chinese take-out menus, but those are annoying and get cleaned out periodically.

    And my Nook, which actually caused me to buy a new purse that was large enough to hold it. There’s enough extra space in my bag that I could squeeze in a snack or water bottle if I wanted to.

    I tend to wear pants, which even for women often do have a couple of pockets, and on those days some items live in my pockets so I can walk around at work and leave my purse under my desk.

    My main complaint with carrying all that stuff is that the weight is all on one side, not distributed around, and that’s kind of bad for my back (for this same reason, I gave up leather purses, which I LOVE, but they are heavy). The Nook in particular is weighty, so I don’t always bring it with me.

    And yes, I can reach into my purse without looking and find exactly what I need. I’ve been carrying a purse for more than thirty years; I’m a pro. I don’t switch off bags–I have one, and it is the only one I carry until I get tired of it and buy a new one. This can be anywhere from one to five years. I don’t give a crap if it matches, or what the venue I’m going to is; as far as I’m concerned a purse is a practical item, not a decorative accessory (ditto for shoes).

    *Yes, a checkbook. Because that’s where I write down ATM withdrawls the instant they happen. I haven’t even come close to bouncing a check in twenty years, thank you very much.

    **Yes, paper. They’re a lot easier for me to flip through, and more reliable than electronics.

    ***for bathroom emergencies when there is no paper. This habit has saved me many times.

  74. says

    Addendum: Forgot to mention, I alway keep a condom in there, too. Just in case. Discretely hidden in my glasses case. Used to keep a single-use packet of lube in there, too (also, just in case), but I think I’m out of those.

  75. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    PZ,

    Heh. Next in the series: the ever-changing size labels, so that one might fit into anything from XS to L, depending on the brand.
    Save make-up for when the interest starts to drop.

  76. doublereed says

    Clothing in the future also doesn’t have any pockets.

    Seriously, watch the Jetsons or Star Trek or something. In the future there will be no pockets.

  77. Eurasian magpie says

    What gets me over the moon is finding a jacket with an inside pocket. Firstly, because moar pockets is moar goodness, obviously. Secondly, an inside pocket is a very safe place to keep your keys, cell phone, credit card etc. A wallet seldom fits in. But as someone whose been pickpocketed twice I can appreciate a storage space that is nearly impossible to access without me noticing.

  78. says

    Whatever happened to cargo pants? I loved those things — pockets! Not only pockets, but pockets I could actually use!

    As it is, I carry a fanny pack. Yes, I can fit my wallet, coin purse, smokes, pipe, stash, lighter, phone and iPod into it, but I hate having to dig through it for any one of those items (because, as with a purse, the thing I’m looking for is inevitably at the bottom.)

  79. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    I don’t know …

    I hate pockets. Or, I hate things in pockets. I cannot abide the feeling of something lumpy like a wallet or change or keys or a phone in my pockets. Also, things in pockets ruin the look I want in my clothes: clean lines.

    I carry a bag, like a purse or a tote or a messenger satchel unless it’s not a working day and I’m wearing a bulky jacket with pockets that are hidden or don’t look full when they’ve got things in them (which is pretty much half the year in Toronto).

    There’s way too much to take with me for pockets to contain anyhow. From lip balm to my phone I need at least a small shoulder slung tote. Also: bags are cute and can strike a statement with a particular outfit or coat choice.

    Still, I will never understand the absence or non-utility of extant pockets on women’s clothes. It’s not really as though a fake pocket on a jean or tee-shirt is necessarily any more fashionable than a pocket that works (or exists at all). Of course, I wouldn’t want to put anything in it, but then I don’t so much wear women’s clothing.

    From other users, ‘forced’ or otherwise, of bags: Would you prefer to contain the stuff you like to (or must) have with you in pockets given the choice?

  80. pixelfish says

    Yeah, the Faux Pockets are fucking annoying. The pockets thing is why I tend to wear jeans and cargo pants and carry a Tumi bag (it’s MADE of pockets). My husband and I actually have nearly matching Tumi bags after he saw mine. http://www.tumi.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4209908&prodFindSrc=paramNav (The pictures don’t do Tumi bags justice. They really have pockets for everything. I love the credit card pockets for my transit cards and whatnot.

    BTW, some folks can’t carry either backpacks or shoulder bags due to back or spine issues. (In fact, if you wear a messenger bag that hangs from one shoulder, it’s advised to switch shoulders often.)

    And my husband and I often do the Keys thing too–I’m constantly misplacing mine, his live in his pockets. And because I’m used to keeping things in my bag, and not in my pants pockets, he has to remind me to check his pockets before doing laundry. (He checks mine when he does the laundry…and finds nothing. HAHAHAHA!)

  81. Wren, a Tru Hoppist says

    If you can afford it (I know many can’t) you can buy Dickies Women.s pants. They have a nice set of carpenter pants with lots of good sized pockets. You can order them online if they aren’t available in a store near you. I find them to be well made.

    I turned to Dickies Women’s after trying men.s pants for a while, but (like someone above mentioned) men’s pants don’t account for the woman frame.

    Cheers!

  82. Callinectes says

    On the plus side, clothes without pockets means clothes without pickets with holes on them. Sometimes this means coins dropping out your trouser leg without your realising it, other times it means finding keys, cash and cards in a jacket’s lining months after the fact. And not being able to get them out.

  83. says

    In my youth, not only did I stuff my pockets full of whatever, I would walk home with books stuffed inside my coat sleeve (usually from whatever math class I was taking). Where I grew up, no one had ever heard of backpacks.
    And fifteen years later, they still hadn’t. In my early 30’s a cop stopped me walking down the street; he said my backpack made him suspicious. I suspect that cop would be a busy man in any college town.

  84. Feats of Cats says

    I never really thought about this until now, but my boyfriend and I both tend to wear rather tight pants, and he can fit his entire iPhone in his pocket, whereas mine sticks out halfway if I try to have it there. Plus it immediately falls out if I do something like sit down or bend over. Because who would ever sit down or bend over?

    I solve the problem by wearing sweatshirts or sweaters with pockets and utilizing my coat pockets. In the summer I’m out of luck, though I get VERY EXCITED if I find a dress with a pocket.

  85. says

    I have an extensive background in clothing design/textile art. I currently work at a boutique workshop making clothes. We can and will put pockets on anything anytime. Historically, lots of women’s gowns had pockets. They were often hidden into the support structures. As these disappeared and were replaced by the sleek straight styles (think 1920’s) there was little space to put pockets. Also, most women wore aprons with pockets until these went out of style. 20th century ladies clothes with pockets is called “sports wear” even if the garment has nothing to do with sports. And finally, since the invention of relatively cheap mass produced clothing, women are pressured into changing their wardrobe 4 times a year. Pockets are expensive to put in clothes, and not worth it for that summer dress you’re not supposed to wear after Labor Day. Yep, a conspiracy of bullsh*t.

  86. carovee says

    Ahh the great pockets debate. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote an awesome short story about a woman who woke up in her husband’s body. She spent quite a bit of time marveling over pockets.

    The sad thing is the pocket gender disparity seems to start practically at birth. I bought both boy and girl pants for my 8 mo old. The boy pants almost all had pockets and only one of the girl pants had them. Why anyone would bother with pockets for an 8 mos old is the biggest mystery of all!

    I love my purse when I need lots of stuff, but when I’m out dancing and I want to minimize the chances of my stuff getting stolen, pockets are key. Unfortunately the nicer the outfit the less likely there are pockets.

  87. says

    On backpacks: I can’t always use them, unfortunately, and sometimes I don’t have enough crap to justify wearing one.

    Shit whut I keep in the bags I carry:

    multi-tool
    a police baton
    antacids
    pens and pencils
    a tablet (Galaxy Note)
    aspirin
    spare pads
    caffeinated gum
    my meds
    spare bottle of water (it’s a desert around here. Stay hydrated or pass out.)
    instant coffee
    a few packets of sugar for the coffee
    anti-nausea and/or bloating pills (my stomach is not a happy camper often)
    a window popper (a tool for breaking safety glass)
    a granola bar or packet of nuts (I forget to eat often)
    lip balm
    wallet
    phone
    keys
    spare deodorant (I forget sometimes on the way out of the door)
    sunscreen
    a few safety pins
    a Kindle
    shit to grade or projects unable to be stored on the tablet

    So, you know, enough shit to merit a bag, if I can remember to keep toting it along.

  88. pHred says

    I lovvve pockets! Definitely one of my criteria for selecting pants (I hate it when I am in a hurry and buy some pants just because they fit only to find out that there are no pockets or that they are lame pockets – i.e. can’t even hold my dumb flip phone).

    However as much as it is a total PITA to find pockets for grown women – try finding clothing for a little girl with pockets !!! It is a total nightmare. My daughter LOVES pockets and wants to put all of the cool things she finds in her pockets – rocks, feathers, shells, beads, sparkles, flowers, seeds, pine cones … cleaning out the pockets on her winter coat is a real adventure. They make almost nothing I can find with pockets for a little girl!

    She wants to wear colorful (really colorful – she picked out a green shirt with a pink dinosaur and various colors of flowers over pants with blue, pink, green and black leopard spotted pants and sandals with big blue, pink and green flowers on Sunday – makes her really easy to pick out in a crowd – Oh, in her defense she is only five) so she is NOT interested in wearing “boy clothes” because “they are not pretty.”

    I really, really hate that little boys have pockets and sturdy clothing while little girls have no pockets and super cheap, hypersexualized clothes. It makes me nuts! (Thus all of the extraneous exclamation points.)

  89. David Marjanović says

    ANYTHING includes:
    Kids toys.
    Lunch.
    Folders.
    New acquisitions.
    Beer.
    Tools.
    Occasionally binoculars.
    Extra clothes for cold days.
    Other stuff.

    Sounds like a reason to carry a backpack. I commute with a full-sized backpack every day – it’s never full, of course, but any other bag would be too small (water bottle!) and/or to heavy on the shoulder.

    I think I really just need someone to grab me and drag me outside in a skirt XD Someone who can scowl angrily at people who give me bad looks and threaten pain and death on anyone who says something mean.

    onion girl? Muse? :-)

    At some point, my father started mocking me with “what kind of a girl you are, not even owning a purse” (and not wearing skirts or dresses, or similar feminine things- his beef was probably with more than just not having a purse). It ceased to be funny joking after the first dozen or so times.

    Christ, what an asshole.

    Also, fake pockets aren’t only for women. 95% of suit jackets, tux jackets and blazers I’ve worn all have breast pockets sewn shut, and often fake side pockets as well. No inside pockets either.

    Yep.

    for bathroom emergencies when there is no paper.

    what

    I thought the last time there was no toilet paper was when my dad went to Kiev in 1970; the toilets at the university did have paper, but it was the Ukrayinska Pravda. (He took a souvenir, because even his native communist Yugoslavia wasn’t that bad.) What country are you talking about, the US?!? Your mention of checks basically leaves just two choices, the US and France.

    I alway keep a condom in there, too. Just in case.

    Do they, like, become brittle if stored too long? …Or are they just never stored too long?

    Heh. Next in the series: the ever-changing size labels, so that one might fit into anything from XS to L, depending on the brand.

    Oh, same for mens’ T-shirts. I can fit into anything from M to XL – OK, XL is a minidress, but it’s still not a sack, and M can be way too tiny but can also be perfectly comfortable.

  90. marcoli says

    And another thing. What is up with button-down shirts? For men, the buttons are ALWAYS sewn in on the right side, so its easy to button for right handed people. But for woman the buttons are ALWAYS sewn in on the left side, so it must be more awkward for them. I know the reason why this is. Do you? It is interesting. A kind of palimpsest for clothing.

  91. says

    I hadn’t considered kids clothing… glad I can sew so when my baby comes he or she will have all the pockets to put stuff in!

  92. lorn says

    Is was pointed out to me, I even somewhat buy the argument, a purse is more efficient than pockets. When I change outfits I spend several minutes cross-loading pockets. Whereas when everything is in a a purse, or murse, the process is as simple as picking it up.

    The subject of purses and contents came up with a lady I know and as part of the fun she poured out the content of her large purse. In addition to the expected contents, of a couple of small books, wallet ID and makeup, she also had a 16oz claw hammer, she was intending to hammer a nail at work, and a .357 magnum revolver that was originally intended to be dropped off at the gun shop for tuning. The later, according to her, had been there over a month given she forgot to drop it off. A bit odd that, not that I would say anything, but the revolver appeared to be loaded. A lady of intelligence and discretion I trust that anything she wanted to hammer or shoot richly deserved to be hammered or shot. Purses can be veritable Bags of Holding.

    An old friend from college has a very expensive power suit that he carries nothing in or on that might interfere with its perfect tailoring but a handkerchief in the breast pocket, cuff-links and tie tack. Point of pride, for him, is that “a man of power and means” has an assistant and a very slim briefcase to schlep around crass material goods. At other times he is a perfectly reasonable and practical guy with a wallet, keys and other accouterments.

    On the other hand I like my pockets, and a belt to hang a multi-tool off of. I like having something to work with.

  93. pHred says

    Oh – as for those lanyards to hold your USB drives – They ITCH! I carry one or two around all the time with projects, class presentations, etc. all the time and I want them in my pocket. I leave the lanyard hanging on them because it makes it easier for me to remember to grab them from the computers in the classroom. But if I wear it, ugh – my neck starts to itch and it is totally distracting. Plus it bangs or gets caught on things when you are working in a lab.

    @19 Beatrice (looking for a happy thought)
    Thanks for the laugh!

    I had this sudden picture of me pulling a jump drive out of my cleavage in my freshman general education course – it would be interesting to see the looks on their faces :)

  94. David Marjanović says

    Also, things in pockets ruin the look I want in my clothes: clean lines.

    Once my sister exclaimed in surprise that I had woman’s hips. Nope – just large pockets stuffed with handkerchiefs.

    handy strap-on the rear

    …I… love your spellchecker. :->

    Why anyone would bother with pockets for an 8 mos old is the biggest mystery of all!

    Why anyone would bother with separate boy pants and girl pants for 8-month-olds is a bigger mystery still.

  95. Eurasian magpie says

    @marcoli

    IIRC, the historical reason for the difference is that (righthanded) men carried their sword on the right side whereas (righthanded) women nurse a child on the left breast, so different sexes required different flanks to be easily accessible.

  96. mephit says

    It’s not just the lack of pockets.

    I tried to buy my daughter a hoodie top that was practical and warm for winter wear and outdoorsiness – we had to buy from the ‘boys’ section, because girls’ tops are thin, fragile and utterly unsuited to being outside (*and* have no pockets). It’s an reinforcement of teenaged girls standing around watching boys do stuff. I always wondered why the girls didn’t join in, and it’s not just fear of ridicule: it’s ‘my clothes will fail me’.

  97. says

    Eurasian magpie,

    that it one of the theories. The other, more prominent one, is that while men dressed themselves, women had servants to dress them, so buttons on the left would be easier for a right-handed maid to deal with.

  98. says

    the pocket issue is why I only wear women’s pants when dressing up (or in winter, when i have plenty pockets in my sweatshirt & coat); but then, i don’t have a dresscode i need to follow.

    on another note, i have now both a backpack and a purse, about the same size and both are single-compartment; why is it that it takes so much longer to find anything in the purse than in the backpack?

    Pockets are a minor annoyance when you consider the horror that is girls’ shoes.

    I don’t understand.

    With women’s pants, there’s a reason women will wear it even when they’d rather not (“business casual” requirements, plus sometimes women really just aren’t shaped in a way that makes wearing man-pants possible); what’s the reason for forcing crappy shoes on girls? there’s neither dress-code nor foot-shape differences that would make wearing boy-shoes difficult; so what’s the deal here? Has gendering of clothing gotten THAT much worse since I was a kid that a girl in basic “boys” black sneakers or winter boots will be ostracised?

  99. triskelethecat says

    I LOVE finding women’s clothing with pockets. And even if they have just those tiny, decor pockets, I’ll cut the threads and use the damn things (I’d rather pockets than a flat line).

    @Katherine Lorraine – you look fabulous in women’s clothing. But yeah, no pockets. As for bra and panties…the ability to go completely, legally topless in hot weather beats bra and panties anyday.

    @marcoli and Eurasian magpie. Actually, button placement was set because most wealthy women had maids who did the buttoning for them, so the buttons were placed to make it easier for a maid to do the buttoning. Most men buttoned their own shirts, so the buttons were placed for easier self- buttoning. For many years, buttons = wealth or military. Poor people used pins.

  100. Onamission5 says

    @ #81 Beatrice (looking for a happy thought):

    Do not even get me started on sizing in women’s garments. I used to be a size (redacted) three years ago and now without changing my shape or fitness level at all I am now a size what? Which of course no one carries because that’s an in between specialty size. And even if I can find it, a size (redacted) at one store is distinctly different than the same size at another store!

    @ #84 WMDkitty– Survivor:

    *mourns the disappearance of cargo pants* Gawd I miss the pants of the late 90’s to mid 00’s. Mid rise waists, baggy as fashion norm, and pockets, pockets, everywhere.

  101. says

    But for woman the buttons are ALWAYS sewn in on the left side, so it must be more awkward for them.

    not gonna complain about that one, lol.

  102. Eurasian magpie says

    Dutchgirl, Triskelethecat,

    Thanks, that was completely new to me!

    Then the question arises, why did women need a dresser? Do you know?

  103. says

    Then the question arises, why did women need a dresser? Do you know?

    have you seen some of the clothing women wore back then? good luck fitting yourself into that.

  104. Eurasian magpie says

    LOL! I admit that I have no idea which century we are talking about here so I’ll shut up now.

  105. says

    @97 David Marjanović

    Yes, they can become brittle if stored for too long, which is why they have expiration dates!

    I got into the habit of keeping a condom in my purse when I was in university. My roommate mentioned she used to keep them with her when she was in high school, and pass them out at parties. I thought that sounded like a good idea, and so my friends always knew they could come to me if they needed one. They also knew exactly what drawer in my dorm room to raid.

    I’m not in university anymore (though I’m starting college in the fall), but I figure it can’t hurt to keep one around, anyway. Just in case. Because I’m a Boy Scout like that, only with female parts.

  106. Furr-a-Bruin says

    I was not aware of the pocket problem in women’s clothes until somehow it came up in conversation with a female friend of mine. I just find it bizarre; if someone wants to carry a bag (of whatever type, whatever you call it) that’s fine, but everyone should have access to pockets and thus the choice to use them or not.
     
    What I find strange is some of the things people DO with pockets. I’ve never ever understood the custom of men putting their wallet in a back pocket. Unless it’s a very slim little fold with just ID and a bit of cash, it strikes me as both exceedingly uncomfortable to sit on (and will ruin embossed cards) and a wide-open invitation to pickpockets. When I got my first wallet as a youngster, I tried it in my back pants pocket for all of 5 minutes before deciding that was ridiculous and I’ve carried it in my front right hand pocket ever since. Current wallet is attached to my belt via a chain, so I’m about as pick-pocket-proof as I can manage. Pocket change goes in the other front pocket, and keys are on a carabiner clipped to a belt loop.
     
    I also don’t understand putting a smartphone in the usual pants pockets – one of the side leg pockets in cargo pants is a different story. It seems like a recipe for Broken Phone to me – not to mention uncomfortable even if sitting on it doesn’t break or bend it. I have a little leather belt-pouch for my phone that suits me.
     
    As for the difference in how men’s and women’s clothing buttons up – I was always told that came from an era when men mostly dressed themselves, but women (if wealthy enough to have servants) were dressed by them – so the fasteners were set up to be convenient for a right-handed dresser, not the wearer, and the “tradition” continues despite the fact the situation that made it reasonable is long gone.

  107. Jessie says

    Jadehawk #108

    what’s the reason for forcing crappy shoes on girls? there’s neither dress-code nor foot-shape differences that would make wearing boy-shoes difficult; so what’s the deal here? Has gendering of clothing gotten THAT much worse since I was a kid that a girl in basic “boys” black sneakers or winter boots will be ostracised?

    Yes, I believe gendering of clothing (and toys) is worse for my daughter than it was for me. Basic black shoes with a thick sole and ridges on the underside are now seen as being only for boys, so that girls who wear those risk ridicule. Girls are expected to wear the ‘fashion shoes’, with more decoration. My daughter was bullied for wearing shoes which were in the boys’ section of the shoe shop.
    Items marketed at girls now include heels for young girls, padded bras for pre-teens, skimpy underwear and shirts with sexually explicit messages on them (e.g. ‘Future Porn Star’).

  108. Emily says

    Being a transwoman, I grew up with boys clothes and having acceptable pockets because of them. The fact that women’s clothes have reduced or non-existent pockets definitely got me. No longer able to put my keys in my pocket (Trust me, pockets large enough were still tight enough to dig the keys in to your side and stick out like a sore thumb. The pockets are there, but clearly not meant to be used), I was paranoid that I was possibly leaving my dorm room without my keys. To be fair, though, I have gotten used to using a purse, which can hold a -lot- more than the pockets on my old boy clothes could. ( It actually took care of the problem of me lazily forgetting to bring my inhaler with me. It is -always- in my purse. )

    And it’s not like -all- girl clothes don’t have pockets. My jeans have nice large pockets for women’s jeans ( I can fit my whole smartphone in them comfortably! That’s roomy for girl’s pockets. It still tends to occupy my purse, though. Just easier to have everything in one place I can look into. ), and I even have a skirt with pockets (The best kind of skirt, of course, even if I don’t use the pockets. They are there and usable! ).

  109. says

    Part of it is the thin material used for women’s clothing. I know someone mentioned this earlier, but I find men’s clothing tended to be made to last. Women’s clothing tears if you are not exceptionally careful with it, and since it is so thin, anything in the pockets jabs you in the hip or ass.

    A thicker material would allow you to use the damn pockets.

    And don’t even get me started on sizing and trying to find something that fits without spending for fucking ever in a dressing room. I already have food anxiety and social anxiety. Nothing helps quite like not being able to find fitting clothing and having zero idea where to start. Also, the ‘women’s section’?

    Fucking hideous, unflattering clothing. People wonder why I dress casual or sporty as often as possible. It’s because at least the lines are smooth, and the clothing allows me to move easily. Also, much less fitting bullshit when buying.

  110. says

    Ever since I got a shoulder bag and liberated my pockets I haven’t looked back. I can find everything now, my trousers are comfy again, they last more than 6 months due to non worn pockets and it can carry more than the usual man things. Why on earth would I want to go back to pockets?

  111. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    it can carry more than the usual man things.

    As an aside, has anyone else noticed that there are certain phrases that show up which beg, on bended knee, to be taken out of context?

    Stewart Graham:

    When I’m at a forest fire, I bring along a large Molly pack to hold books, cigars, knives, iPod, speakers, radios (I usually end up with two — on logistics radio and one tactical radio), camera, cell phone, wallet, keys (I love all the loops on the outside of it — give me a dozen ‘biners and I can hang my life there), everything I need. Never have gotten in the habit of using one at home. Not sure why.

  112. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    women’s secret ninja compartments.

    See? Another phrase just begging to be taken out of context.

  113. says

    I have a pair of exercise pants that has a small patch of material on either inner thigh, to prevent the all-too-common ripping of clothes at the inner thigh, where most women’s (and, I imagine men’s too) thighs rub against each other when they walk.

    I have had it for two years now. It occurred to me: WHY is this the only pants-type garment that has this feature???

    Oh right. Fucking capitalism.

  114. says

    That’s (one of the many reasons) why I stopped wearing women’s pants a long time ago. Stupid, little/nonexistent pockets. I’m a pocket person, I had a childhood in which I shoved every damn thing into my pockets, and went around with massive bulging pockets full of random small objects until I was about fifteen, and was informed that girls didn’t do that.

    In general, the things which always bothered me about women’s clothing back when I wore it, even when it was styles I kind of liked, is that all of the womens’ stuff I like is girlified, sexed-up versions of the styles I like. Like military jackets – yes, the mens’ ones are pretty stylized, but the women’s ones were short, tight, occasionally had ruffles, and in general were less cool (to me). It seems like female clothing is just decorative for the sake of being decorative a lot of the time.

    I really hate the clothing issue, it always reminds me that no matter how I try to ignore my problems (being trans, mostly), they WILL come and rear their ass-ugly heads.

  115. palefury says

    This is what a purse is for. It is like a giant detachable pocket.
    The great thing about them is that you don’t have to do the pocket dance at the metal detectors at the airport.

  116. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    I have had it for two years now. It occurred to me: WHY is this the only pants-type garment that has this feature???

    Yet I am wearing a pair of blue jeans that are now five years old and are more comfortable with every year, have no holes, and still look good. Why do clotting companies have one set of rules for women’s clothing and one set of rules for men’s clotting? You would think that planned obsolescence is unisex, but it ain’t!

  117. sugarfrosted says

    Not really related to the post, but I always found the chest pocket on a shirt to be where I put things, if I want them to fall on the ground. Can’t really squat to pick up things though.

  118. says

    @Oggie, 129: taking that phrase out of context would make it LESS salacious. It’s an Uncle Ghastly comic.

    Huh, clothes. I wear a lot of men’s clothes for this very reason. I’m lucky-ish that men’s trousers fit me quite well – women’s trousers that fit my arse tend to have a waistline somewhere up round my boobs.

    I do carry a large handbag, and it’s quite good to avoid the pocket-transfer issue. It can hold several books, and besides, it has tentacles.

  119. Lofty says

    I wonder if shallow pockets in mens trousers are a conspiracy by the mobile phone manufacturers, to make sure your devices are entoiletted as often as possible?
    Me personally, trying on trousers involves feeling the front pockets, how deep, how strong, and can I squat down in them without the ass seam exploding. I like wearing them loose and baggy. No rear pockets, evah. Modern jeans pockets seem to be made of the thinnest cotton so they’re out of the question.
    Good quality trousers get worn until the knees explode, a tragedy in three acts. Good trousers make a real thump when they hit the floor due to embedded pocket grot, you need to keep those dropping trows away from delicate toesies.
    You can imagine how often I find ideal trousers to wear.

  120. says

    Parrowing:

    I’ve ended up with pants that actually had pockets, but they came stitched up. To…… make the pants a fun DIY project for me?

    Grrrr…I’ve bought several pants with the back pockets stitched and do not understand *why*. Blazers too.

  121. says

    I avoid large handbags because the men in my family seem to think that a woman’s purse is a magic anti-gravity machine. I have a lumbar pack that I use when out walking, picnicking, or attending festivals. It’s big enough to hold a Kindle.

    The old-time solution for a lack of woman’s pockets was a chatelaine:

    http://www.creweljewels.com/What-s-a-Chatelaine-s/54.htm

    You can still get them at needlework supply places, but they don’t work for holding cell phones (USB drives, probably). They can be worn at the waist or around the neck.

    A friend of mine and I went to a traveling exhibit of women’s purses several years ago. Part of the display showed typical contents of purses over the years and what I found interesting was that up until around the WWII years, none of the purses shown contained keys. I’m sure there were women who carried around house keys before that, but I imagine a lot of women didn’t have to because there were always people (like servants) home to let them in or they just didn’t lock up until bedtime.

  122. says

    Gah, PZ, you had me at “faux pockets”. There are the bane of my “I hate clothes shopping” experience.

    I hate shopping for clothes (my usual tactic is go to Target, get a dark shirt from the maternity section because I am a big woman with a belly, and leave. Maybe if I’m feeling less twitchy, maybe check out the clearance section for pants). I hate trying on clothes (mostly the thought of being inside of a dirty little cubicle where hundreds of people have bared themselves in and the ever present wad of dried gum stuck somewhere where I can’t turn away and not look at it makes me twitchy as fuck). Hate shoe shopping (apparently women with big feet who can’t abide any heels don’t deserve Nice Shoes for that one time we feel like getting dressy), buy most of my shoes from the men’s section.

    This is my bag:
    http://aaronsiirila.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/my-new-bag/

    Inside is:
    A small GRID=IT that holds my iPod touch, my arm holster, and earbuds
    My Kindle (for transit reading)
    My Asus tablet (for transit writing)
    Waterproof arm cover (I need to take that out since I’m cast-less now)
    Painkillers
    Mini First Aid kit

    In the pockets:
    Wallet in the biggest pocket
    Smartphone
    Work badge
    Keys
    Leatherman
    Pens
    Lip balm
    Lotion
    Pantyliners

    I’ve knitted myself a little fuzzy “girl purse” for the rare nights on the town, just big enough to hold wallet and phone, and I have a bigger backpack for my laptop when I need to do serious writing, but this is my day to day.

  123. matthewhodson says

    @33: I think that is probably sometimes the reasoning behind it which has resulted in a tradition.

    I have encountered clothing designed for men with no pockets, or fake pockets, and it seems to be for the same reason – aesthetics trumping practicality. If that were the norm I would find it infuriating.

  124. says

    I’ve been lucky enough not to need to wear dress pants for years now, so I can go almost everywhere without a purse. I’m pretty sure this is why people constantly mistake me for a store employee when I’m out shopping.

  125. stevem says

    re 98:

    And another thing. What is up with button-down shirts? For men, the buttons are ALWAYS sewn in on the right side, so its easy to button for right handed people. But for woman the buttons are ALWAYS sewn in on the left side, so it must be more awkward for them. I know the reason why this is. Do you? It is interesting. A kind of palimpsest for clothing.

    I think it because women were never expected to button their own shirt, but have it buttoned for them by their ‘maid servant’. So then, the ‘reverse’ buttoning of the woman’s clothes (buttoned by someone else) seems just like a man’s being buttoned by himself. [mirror-image visualization kind of thing]

    But aside from that, this topic reminds me of Seinfeld episode where Jerry is given a “manbag” to hold his stuff and everyone else keeps saying he’s wearing a “purse”. His insistent reply was, “No, it’s European!” yada, yada, yada, it get’s stolen and trying to report it to the police, they ask if his purse was snatched, and exhausted he just says, “Yeah, my purse was snatched.” Sorry, no point I’m trying to make, just that all the talk of using backpacks instead of purses reminded me of that episode.

  126. says

    See? Another phrase just begging to be taken out of context.

    Actually, any attempt to take that out of context would probably make it better.

  127. Feats of Cats says

    One positive thing I can say about women’s jeans: some of them are just a tiny bit stretchy. A very nice feature if you like them to be form-fitting, which I do. Maybe there are dude jeans that have this too, but AFAIK it’s just a women’s jeans thing.

  128. Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness says

    @rilain #47

    Why don’t people just carry backpacks instead of purses?

    Because some of us find that our embonpoint is so dramatically over emphasized by the two shoulder straps that we cause minor accidents when on the street. (Actual true story, one guy stared so hard he ran his bicycle into a car ahead of him that was turning right. Good! I thought. Eliminate the graceless.)

    *sorry if this is addressed above, just wanted to share.

  129. Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness says

    I have noticed that in China, all the women’s jackets come with interior pockets. I completely love these and on return to Canada, will get pockets added as may be needed. I carry my smart phone there and the access card to my building/apartment.
    Canada fashion: Y U No pockets???

  130. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    These are the most functional, heavily pocketed pants I’ve ever owned: http://www.511tactical.com/All-Products/Pants/Womens-Pants/511-Tactical-Pant-Womens.html

    They have a huge huge pair of normal front pockets, the same size back pockets (complete with slant opening, which looks weird, but is fantastically convenient – the back pockets have a Velcro closure), a water-resistant cellphone pocket, and two huge Velcro-closure cargo pockets. Also a spiffy strap on which one might keep one’s handcuffs conveniently reachable and a ring for fastening a key lanyard – I no longer lose my keys, which is miraculous. And pockets for inserting knee pads, and a double thickness seat.

    There’s a shorts version with the same amazing pocket arrangement.

    I am incredibly grateful to have a job where these are ideal work clothes.

    That being said, I am a huge fan of carrying one or more bags. Because that’s how one carries one’s first aid kit, cpr mask, Advil, comb, protein bar, iPad, knitting, spinning, knitting and spinning gizmos, spare teeth from a woodchuck skeleton one found a couple weeks back, headlamp, Swiss Army knife, magnifying glass,rubber gloves and plastic bags for collecting odd things found in one’s daily rumblings, and spare change. (Why yes, I’m a nature and fiber craft educator who works with children. Why do you ask?)

  131. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why yes, I’m a nature and fiber craft educator who works with children. Why do you ask?

    So that you can get the appropriate strength swill *sets down dirty glass with effervescing contents*.

  132. MissEla says

    I’m a woman who detests pockets, but has to have them on my work pants. I work in shipping & receiving, so my requirements are :

    1–Must be black or blue (company policy).
    2–Must fit relatively well (not too big, window wells like to eat loose pants–guess how I know this).
    3–Front and rear right pockets (for keys and 2-way radio, respectively).
    4–Preferably a cotton/lycra blend, so I don’t have to worry about my pants ripping when I bend over and pick up a 75 lb box.
    5–Cheap. I *refuse* to spend $30+ on a pair of pants that will wear out in 3 months or less. The Goodwill is my friend.

    My major work-related gripe is this: why is it so damned hard to find steel-toed shoes for women? I think I’ve found a grand total of 2 styles in my area, and neither are waterproof (kind of a must when you do my job, esp in the Pacific NW). I’m in-between sizes in men’s shoes, and they’re all too flat-footed and uncomfortable for me anyway. It’s hard to even find work-appropriate shoes that *aren’t* steel-toed–everything is smooth-soled and not cushiony enough for my job (I’m on my feet all day. I have no chair at my desk at all). Moar steel-toes and squishy insoles for women’s shoes!!!

  133. katkinkate says

    Re. the bag of holding. All we have to do is figure out the principles of trans-dimensional physics to design a trans-dimensional pocket inside a small belt pouch or pocket. The universe is supposed to have something like 11 dimensions, isn’t it? It’s about time we figured out how to use them!

  134. jefferylanam says

    Christopher @118: Some “modern” kilts have pockets, but the traditional tartan kilts don’t. The solution there is a sporran, which is that pouch worn in front. Some of those, especially the really fancy ones worn by pipers, are just for show, but mine can hold wallet, keys, and phone. I wish I had the nerve to wear it with pants, so that I didn’t have my wallet pressing against my hip and giving me sciatica.

  135. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    why is it so damned hard to find steel-toed shoes

    Not just women. I have EEE feet, and my job doesn’t require boots as it is semi-office. OUCH.

  136. says

    katkinkate: As long as it was a very small dimension. Thanks to Dr. Who, I’d be a little worried about what I pulled out of the thing if it was larger. I see metal helmets or tentacles, and whatever it is can STAY in the bag of holding. :D

  137. chigau (違う) says

    Before I finish catching up.
    When I buy those light, cotton, lounging pj trousers, I always buy mens.
    Womens don’t have any pockets.

  138. says

    Ok, I have often contemplated the following questions and some possible solutions. This set of responses, by the way, hasn’t answered any of these! I was hoping for some answers. Oh well…

    First some partial “solutions”:
    1) tie-on pockets for under dresses (apparently these used to be common)
    2) velcro strap-on pockets (“PortaPocket”)

    And now the unanswered questions:
    3) what to do with your cell phone when at work
    4) how to learn that someone is calling your phone when it’s inside your purse.
    5) what company produces jeans with usable pockets
    6) why are cell phones are getting bigger when women have small pockets

    Finally, I’m thinking that the supposed up-and-coming “smart watch” (think “Pebble”) will probably be more useful for women than for men, since it could at least help with addressing (4) above.

  139. chigau (違う) says

    Every explanation on this thread about left-side vs right-side buttons is a just-so story.

  140. Artor says

    Wow! I seem to have fallen into a pocket dimension… I don’t know if anyone’s brought it up above, but I strongly recommend a Utilikilt for anyone who wants pockets. The workman’s model has normal jeans-type hip pockets, plus two huge cargo pockets that take my whole hand and half my forearm. Those pockets have pockets of their own, and then there’s the tool loops. They make a traveller’s model that has detachable pockets. You can roll the kilt up and stuff it in it’s own pocket for carrying! I am not a representative of the Utilikilts company, just a very, very satisfied customer.
    I know a lot of guys feel weird wearing a “skirt,” but it really doesn’t feel like anything “unmanly,” and you’ll actually feel pretty studly wearing them in public. They look awesome on women as well; a little of the Catholic-schoolgirl-who-can-stomp-your-head vibe. Maybe they don’t carry quite the professional air that pants do, but if needed, you can go with the traditional kilt & sporran, particularly if you have the Scottish heritage to pull it off. But for an academic, I’ll refer you to Ethan Siegel, an astrophysicist in Portland, who seems to wear a kilt as often as I do. I hope PZ will let me put his blog link here, along with Utilikilts.
    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/
    http://www.utilikilts.com/

  141. chigau (違う) says

    The functional pockets on mens clothing in the store are sewn closed because the garment is going to hang on the rack for a while. Unsewn pockets will gape.
    You are meant to remove the stitching after purchase.
    Womens clothing is just stupid.

  142. No One says

    OK here’s my “routines”.

    It starts with the four horsemen: keys, phone, readers, wallet. Keys have a data-stick sport USB (waterproof) attached and hang on a hook by the door, iPhone is in a waterproof casing, readers are in an aluminum tube, wallet is an aluminum “aluma-wallet” modified with an o-ring (waterproof). The last three items are on a small shelf underneath the key hook made out of an abalone shell. I generally wear a jean or khaki shirt with pockets, and buy T- shirts with pockets. Add a pair of jeans and you get seven pockets.

    When I’m doing boat-work my life jacket has the following items attached or in the pockets: waterproof mini flashlight with red lens, pen and small note pad (in plastic baggie), whistle, strobe light, rescue dye pack, signal mirror, small binoculars, 2 pairs medical gloves, 3 signal flares, small tube sun-block, GoPro camera on lanyard, and a marine radio.

    Laptops, cameras, etc… all have their dedicated waterproof Pelican cases. Peace of mind.

    The one thing that I haven’t squared away to my satisfaction is my passport. I need a waterproof solution for that.

  143. bad Jim says

    You want to know what I keep in my pockets? My hands!

    Back when I worked I carried a bag of some sort which was mostly empty; it served primarily as a vade mecum: if I wanted to take something somewhere all I had to do was put it in the bag and it would be conveyed to its destination. Now I only carry a bag when I travel. It carries a camera, spare battery, notebook, and anything I might accumulate, like a museum catalog or a couple of bottles of wine.

    Pants have zippers because otherwise it might be difficult to get into or out of them. Men’s pants have always closed in the front, for the obvious reason. Women’s pants used to zip in back or on the side; I’d guess that standardizing on the front was the result of the universal adoption of jeans in the 1960’s.

    I have noticed many young women here in Southern California carrying their phones in a hip pocket. I cringe at the sight of people carrying expensive and fragile items in their hands. It’s not at all rare to see men here carrying keys, wallets and phones in their hands; some might conceivably be wearing board shorts without pockets, but sometimes they’re wearing cargo shorts.

    chigau (違う), I’m dying to learn the real explanation for the differing handedness of men’s and women’s attire.

  144. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    If it’s any consolation, men’s non-casualwear is basically a portable oven. >.>

  145. Dhorvath, OM says

    I hate stuff in my pockets, it interferes with temperature modulation, (I am hot most anywhere I go) and moves around when I run or jump. Yuck. Gimme a bag thanks.

  146. chigau (違う) says

    bad Jim
    I wasn’t questioning trousers having zip closures, I was questioning why a fly?
    A fly is a complex thing to sew and unnecessary for people who are going to drop trou to use the toilet.
    I doubt that there is a single reason for Western clothing to have gendered handedness.
    The stories about women not dressing themselves are nonsensical.
    Japanese kimono are lapped left-over-right for everyone who is not dead.

  147. Amphiox says

    Well, obviously the REAL reason women’s garments have no pockets is so that cursed rings of ultimate power will never be “accidentally” found in them….

  148. says

    This is the example I always use when my male students whine about not being able to carry backpacks to class while I allow purses (though I really ought to crack down on the enormous Mary Poppins handbags that sometimes show up). If you’ve ever seen a young lady try to carry a 5-inch-long cell phone in a one-inch-deep pocket, you’d realize how necessary women’s fashion makes purses/handbags/etc.

  149. Furr-a-Bruin says

    MissEla @150 and Nerd of Redhead @153 – you might find some help at the West Coast Shoe Company – http://www.westcoastshoe.com/. While they’re legendary for their boots, they do make a couple models of shoe, and at least one of them can take a steel safety toe. There are a ton of customization options, too.

    I realize that these are expensive – but they will build the shoes to custom-fit your feet; if you want extra room for cushy insoles, they can build that in too. And the way they build their shoes and boots – they can be rebuilt and/or resoled.

  150. bad Jim says

    Azkyroth, the warmth of men’s dress attire isn’t *always* a problem. On many a windy evening I’ve been grateful, while enjoying a cigarette and a glass of wine outside at a concert’s intermission, for the warmth of a woolen jacket and silken neckwear.

    Otherwise it’s sheer insanity, mandating air conditioning even in mild weather. I don’t want to go on another rant about the sexism of business attire. Let me just note that neckties range from a nuisance to a hazard when one is working with one’s hands.

    One complaint I have about slacks as compared to jeans is that the front pockets’ contents are liable to spill when reclining. People with better posture than mine may not have this problem.

  151. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Here’s* the shit I carry everyday and the purse I carry it all in. Yup I’m male, and yup, it’s a purse. I hate having stuff in my pockets because I’m built like a barrel, no hips to speak of. If I put all that in my pants to keep them from falling down either I have to use suspenders, or cinch my belt so tight that I get gastric distress by the end of the day.

    *Large file warning for them’s with data plans and/or slow connections. I really have to get a Flicker account or somesuch one of these days.

  152. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    I should add that the mobile phone I used to take that pic goes in the black pouch on the strap.

  153. says

    The last time I went shopping for jeans I spent nearly an hour in the store searching for a pair that both fit me properly and had pockets deep enough for utility. Usually, I’m a really quick shopper. Mr evilisgood was all, “What’s taking so long?” And I was all, “Pocketses!!!” I showed him how shallow most of the pockets were, and how some didn’t even have pockets. He was shocked and mortified, but learned a valuable lesson in the inequitable distribution of pockets in gender-specific garments. (I really want to write a paper with this title!)

  154. beardymcviking says

    Dutchgirl already hinted on this, but historically, pockets were a female fashion long before they were for me. They started as slits in an overdress or gown, inside of which a woman would have a hanging pouch. this was late 14thC early 15thC? It’s not my favourite time period and I mostly make mens clothes anyway, so I’m not real sure on the details.

    Anyway, those slits and pouches evolved into attached pockets over time, but I don’t think men started getting them until much later (18thC?). I’m always amused by concepts of gendered clothing, since so many things we now consider womens clothing (like garters, hosiery and even corsets) were previously made for men..

    Errr, anyway, back to the point. Pockets are cool! Pockets for everyone!

  155. beardymcviking says

    As an aside, I also carry a bag. It’s a leather one that slings over the shoulder, made it myself. I object to the term ‘man-bag’ though, as if it should be odd for a guy to carry a bag. I’m a man, it’s a bag, I carry stuff, it’s good.

  156. Amphiox says

    I don’t want to go on another rant about the sexism of business attire. Let me just note that neckties range from a nuisance to a hazard when one is working with one’s hands.

    Well, I have heard it said that the necktie originated as a phallic symbol….

  157. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Azkyroth, the warmth of men’s dress attire isn’t *always* a problem.

    Skinny person privilege >.>

    (And/or non-Californian privilege).

  158. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I almost forgot another important reason for pockets on pants and jackets:
    I don’t like when my hands just flop uselessly by my sides when I walk. I have to either have something in my hands, or stuff my hands into my pockets to be comfortable.

  159. bad Jim says

    Actually, neck cloths didn’t start out as phallic symbols, as a glance at images of historical figures, of the sort commonly carried in wallets, will reveal. The current form only became common around the beginning of the twentieth century, I think — and we’re still stuck there! Reason for despair.

    Like many or perhaps most men I carry my wallet in a hip pocket. I’ve never had a pocket picked, though some kid attempted it in Paris, when I was climbing a steep stairway out of a Metro station in Montmartre. As luck had it, the pocket was buttoned. My impression is that it’s a negligible risk, but perhaps I’ve been left alone because I don’t look like I’m worth robbing.

  160. Dhorvath, OM says

    Fossil Fishy,
    You don’t carry a bike box with you. Sadly I lost track of your stuff and tried to make out the text to see if it was a brand I have experience with. Bike geek am I.

  161. Azuma Hazuki says

    Late to the party as usual, but adding another entry to the “FUCK ‘womens” clothes!” brigade. It’s not the pockets so much as how fragile so many of them are. I’ve taken to wearing whatever items of mens’ clothes I can just for the longevity, due in no small part to not having a lot of money.

    Mens’ pants are a no-go with a figure like this unfortunately, though the visual effect of “giant looming femme in seriously butch clothing” is interesting. It makes people do double-takes :) And like MissEla @150, I adore steel-toed boots. And I do indeed have flannel shirts, which feel wonderful in Madison’s early spring.

  162. randay says

    I don’t like backpacks in buses, subways, or just in crowds. People wearing them often forget they are and turn left and right banging into my arms, back, or chest. It is very annoying when they are carrying heavy things in them.
    _________________

    Some of you may know the tv series “Absolutely Fabulous” with two friends Edie and Patsy. In one episode they get in a taxi and Edie asks Patsy to hold on to her cell phone. After several minutes she asks Patsy if there have been any calls. Patsy is confused, so Edie tells her it is on vibrator. Patsy responds, so that is what that is and starts to reach up under the front of her skirt for the phone. She asks Edie if she wants to take it, but Edie replies, no, no, that’s OK. I guess cell phones are more multi-use than I thought.

  163. Marcus Hill (dripping with unearned privilege) says

    I keep my essential stuff in my front trouser pockets. My phone is always in the right pocket, the rest gets taken out when I’m at home and lives in the hallway – my car keys and packet of mints join the phone on the right, my wallet, other keys (house, office etc) and Swiss Army knife on the left. My wife has almost managed to stop asking me if I’ve got my wallet or house key when we leave the house – putting that stuff in my pockets is such a force of habit that I frequently take my car keys with me when we’re going out (as is most frequently the case when we go together) in her car. It’s often a day or two into a holiday before I remember to put the house keys somewhere safe rather than having them uselessly in my pocket all the time.

    After an incident where it took a considerable amount of time to find my ticket for the tube on my way home (possibly exacerbated by the fact that I was coming home from the pub and was thus quite tired and emotional), I now obsessively put travel tickets for whatever journey I’m making in the back left pocket of my trousers.

    I often end up with my wife’s car keys in my pocket, especially in summer when she’s not wearing a coat. Even though she tends to wear jeans with pockets, they’re so tight that putting keys in them would be downright uncomfortable. She very seldom takes her handbag or purse (“wallet” to colonials) when she’s with me, since the latter would never fit in my pockets along with the other crap, and definitely wouldn’t fit in her trouser pockets. It’s a bit less pronoinced recently, since we now need to carry a bag full of nappies and other assorted toddler essentials wherever we go anyway.

    Which brings me neatly onto also wondering why the fuck my son’s trousers have actual pockets. He’s sixteen months old, and he’s always had pockets. Why? What’s he going to use them for? I grant that his next set of trousers might possibly have the pockets used for carrying whatever takes his interest, but baby clothes with pockets seem wasteful.

  164. carlie says

    The ad at the top of the page right now is for a satchel company. Now there’s a good example of ad placement! One good example. One.

    WMDKitty – I thought “It’s a bag of holding!” and then I clicked AND IT WAS I HAVE MENTAL POWERS.

    I carried a purse in high school, then never carried one again, then carried a diaper bag and got used to carrying things in a bag. Then I bought this amazing purse for myself, then somehow I started using purses a little more often, and now I have four purses for some reason. But I still don’t use them often – mostly when I am either carrying a camera (too big for the pocket) or are going somewhere potentially treacherous with child 2 and need the epipen (also not pocket friendly).

  165. Ewgenij Belzmann says

    You might want to look at the pockets on this guy. And no, he is not some weirdo. He is a Russian/Ukrainian/Jewish journalist and political pundit. And he made that vest himself. OK, maybe he still is a weirdo.

  166. flex says

    Since I have regularly visited automotive assembly plants in my career, I have found a source of shoes/boots with steel/composite toes. They also seem to have a good selection of women’s steel/composite shoes/boots.

    http://www.michiganshoe.com/index.htm

    I’ve been satisfied with their quality, and I’ve been getting my shoes there from before there was an internet, but I fully understand that shoe selection may not be something people would like to do over the internet.

  167. rabbitbrush says

    Yes, this is true, and this is also why I (a girl-human) only wear MEN’S Carhartt jeans. The ones with eight pockets. And the pockets are deep and well-made (as are the jeans), so that when I pick up yet another pretty cobble, it usually fits in one of the front ones. Along with (in the front): three sets of keys, tube of Carmex, pocket knife, pocket watch, pieces of paper with lists or reminders, loose change and wadded up money bills from the day, pieces of hard candies to ward of hunger. On the sides: mechanical pencil, ball point pen, Sharpie®™©; cell ‘phone. In the back: snot rag, small note-booklet, big wad of keys. I can stuff a wallet in somewhere, too, and a check-book.

    Try that in any women’s jeans, many of which have NO BACK POCKETS! Fuck that shit, I say.

  168. cicely says

    Pocket-less pants are An Abomination Unto Nuggan; and the damned things are every-fuckin’-where.

    Also, taking a backpack into stores is a great way to get security following you around.

    Indeed it is!
     
    And so, to The Husband’s fury, is taking a man-bag. It’s an area where reason stops, as far as some stores are concerned—never mind that if you’re going to steal, a woman’s purse or a diaper bag is no less usable than a man-bag.

    The only ones available for my daughter are open-topped and thin-soled (so feet get cold and wet) with absolutely no grip on them, making walking in snow and ice dangerous.

    1) What was she doing outside in the first place?
    2) If she had to go outside, she should have been accompanied by a Man, and his Strong Right Arm.
    (With apologies for obvious handedness-ism.)

    Another fashion oddity I have no explanation for are the sleeves on women’s t-shirts, or lack thereof. I’ve yet to find a women’s t-shirt with sleeves as long as a men’s t-shirt.

    Which is why I shop for tee shirts in the men’s department. Those useless little cap sleeves are also An Abomination Unto Nuggan.

    If it doesn’t slip off my shoulder, it’s getting in the way of doing normal, everyday things.

    Culturally-acceptable handicapping. We should just be grateful that it’s not foot-binding.
     
    And the purse-juggling problem only becomes worse, when you add a cane into the equation. Cane in one hand means only one hand for carrying the stuff that would go into your pocketses, if only you had pocketses. And so, I now own a honkin’-big purse…because it has a long enough strap that I can sling it diagonally across my torso, thus preventing the disaster-waiting-to-happen that is badly-coordinated purse/cane usage.
    -

  169. David Marjanović says

    I’ve never ever understood the custom of men putting their wallet in a back pocket. Unless it’s a very slim little fold with just ID and a bit of cash, it strikes me as both exceedingly uncomfortable to sit on (and will ruin embossed cards) and a wide-open invitation to pickpockets.

    Seconded. I use my back pockets maybe once every 5 to 10 years (and I’m 30 years old, so do the math on how often I’ve ever used them), and I’ve never tried to squeeze a wallet or a cell phone in there.

    Without front pockets, on the other hand, I’m lost.

    My daughter was bullied for wearing shoes which were in the boys’ section of the shoe shop.

    *despairs for humanity*

    Seconded.

    Items marketed at girls now include heels for young girls, padded bras for pre-teens, skimpy underwear and shirts with sexually explicit messages on them (e.g. ‘Future Porn Star’).

    I want to wallow on the ground and, I don’t know, make undefinable noises or something.

    PZ, you seem to have forgotten about women’s secret ninja compartments.

    So totally not safe for work.

    at the inner thigh, where most women’s (and, I imagine men’s too) thighs rub against each other when they walk

    My thighs don’t rub, but my knees do. That’s one reason I stopped wearing corduroy long, long ago.

    One positive thing I can say about women’s jeans: some of them are just a tiny bit stretchy. A very nice feature if you like them to be form-fitting, which I do. Maybe there are dude jeans that have this too

    Nope. They’re armor plates.

    not being able to carry backpacks to class

    What, are you expecting bombs?

  170. David Marjanović says

    Actually, lots of men’s legs don’t touch at all when they walk. Their left knee points to the left, their right knee points to the right; they walk forward only on average and swing from side to side as they walk.

    Have you never noticed?

  171. says

    I haven’t been in a public school (as a student or teacher) that allowed backpacks in class since Columbine. Literally–I was a freshman in high school when it happened, and within the week we were no longer allowed to bring backpacks to class.

    That said, I wouldn’t actually care except my room is small and already cluttered, and not an appropriate size or setup for the kinds of science stuff we typically need to be doing. Keeping backpacks in lockers keeps them out of my aisles, off of my tables, and out of the way of the broken glass, chemicals, and mineral fragments that don’t always get completely cleaned up between classes. Purses, however, I recognize as a fashion-necessitated evil.

  172. cicely says

    Next in the series: the ever-changing size labels, so that one might fit into anything from XS to L, depending on the brand.

    Oh my FSM, this. And it isn’t even consistent within a brand!
    *begins sharpening up chainsaw*
    That right there is my breaking point. It makes buying clothes a much greater trial than it has to be: pick the “size” that looks likeliest to fit…and two sizes on either side, where possible…drag it all back to the fitting room (while the knees whine loudly), and plow through it all. Then, find that even at the best available fit, the garment just doesn’t look good on, and repeat the whole fuckin’ process…over…and over…and over….
     
    And don’t even talk about the horror of on-line clothes shopping!

    It’s not really as though a fake pocket on a jean or tee-shirt is necessarily any more fashionable than a pocket that works (or exists at all).

    But a fake pocket costs less to the manufacturer. Not much on a per-garment basis, but it apparently adds up, in some way that charging a dollar extra to cover the added fabric won’t adjust for.
     

    From other users, ‘forced’ or otherwise, of bags: Would you prefer to contain the stuff you like to (or must) have with you in pockets given the choice?

    I would like to distribute small things, that I’m likely to use early and often—lip balm, keys, cell phone–among pockets (ideally buttoned), and carry a much smaller cross-slung purse for my Nook and various oddments. Having to dig through a purse for a ringing phone is especially annoying—when the sound of the ringing isn’t muted below audibility by the surrounding stuff.

    Get your Official Mattir Recommend Gun-Toting Right-Wing Para-Military Nutcase Cargo Pants right here:

    All well and good—if you can afford to spend $75 (plus S&H, of course) on a single pair of pants.
     
    I have never owned a pair of $75 pants in my life.

    Why anyone would bother with pockets for an 8 mos old is the biggest mystery of all!

    Training pockets!

    check out the pocketage inside one of these suckers.

    “12 functional pockets organize your gear”
    *swoon*
    -

  173. jamessweet says

    I’m sure in the 199 comments before this, somebody has already mentioned it but: The flipside is that women are much more likely to carry a purse than men are to carry a briefcase, backpack, bag, etc. I’m sure this difference has all sorts of hidden consequences, though…

  174. A. Noyd says

    randay (#187)

    I don’t like backpacks in buses, subways, or just in crowds. People wearing them often forget they are and turn left and right banging into my arms, back, or chest. It is very annoying when they are carrying heavy things in them.

    Gaaah, I hate that. Or when you’re sitting in the bus and it fills up so people are standing in the aisle and can’t fucking remember that their back reaches a foot out from where the skin ends so they twist around and smack you in the face or shoulder. Repeatedly. Or press the filthy base of the bag into you and get upset when you push it away gently.

  175. barbarienne says

    David Marjanović @97:

    I got into the habit of keeping paper for bathroom use after a trip to Japan in 1998. At the time (and perhaps still?), public toilets often didn’t stock paper–people were expected to bring their own. The streetcorners of Tokyo usually had people handing out packets of Kleenex with advertising printed all over them; my Japanese friend explained I should take them because I would need them for bathroom use later.

    Similar situation in India, where the traditional bathroom habit is to use water, not paper. I should note that in both these countries, the traditional toilet is not sat upon; it is a trough in the floor. (That was a whole other level of complication, for a woman in pants.) I coped with the crouching dynamic, but I was not going to skip using paper; that was a level of cultural distinction I couldn’t get past.

    It has happened to me often enough that public bathrooms in the USA are entirely out of paper (about once a year). Movie theaters and cheap restaurants are particularly bad about keeping the paper stocked. More remote rest stops on the highways can also be understaffed (and sometimes the not-at-all-remote ones are simply overrun faster than the staff can keep up to resupply).

  176. jopari says

    It’s certainly been mentioned before. One major advantage of male habits is that you don’t lose things that easily. Whenever I leave a place (car, bus, house, store, whatever) I subconsciously check my pockets. If anything’s missing an alert goes off in the mind and the missing items get looked for. Most men whom I know, and all whom I asked, do likewise.

  177. pHred says

    I think the wallet in the back pocket working depends on the location of ones waist and the cut of the pants. I have carried my wallet in my back pocket for years – it rests … um … on the top of the cheek curve (not sure how to describe this) so that I am not sitting on it. I have also noticed that if I am wearing hip huggers (another abomination unto human kind but all I could find one day) that the pocket suddenly rests in the middle of my butt so that I sit on the wallet – ick. And I noticed that my husbands pants tend to hang lower so that his pocket is also located in the middle of his butt. So … I am speculating wildly that the relative location of men’s and women’s waists and the resultant position of the pocket has something to do with this.

    I tried front pockets but it has never worked for me – I bend there – plus the tiny faux pockets that women’s pants tend to have in the front don’t even hold my keys very well, much less a wallet.

  178. khms says

    I tried front pockets but it has never worked for me – I bend there

    … which is why reasonable pockets are on the side instead. (Glowering at current trousers.)

    In any case, fashion: I hates it. With a passion. Just a conspiracy to make customers easier to handle by getting them all to buy the same (cheaply-made (but expensive), badly designed, and just plain ugly) stuff.

    These days, I need front pockets (wallet; keys; phone; smart phone; occasionally something to wipe the nose, especially in winter), and a back pocket for the one Euro to use as shopping cart deposit, bottle deposit machine slip, and shopping list.

    Then, being a diabetic, there’s this thing probably meant as a man purse (black and squarish, lots of compartments) that holds blood sugar measuring instrument, insulin pens, diabetic’s journal, vaccination docs, aspirin, and other medical-related paper stuff; and the backpack to carry this, and (for work) the fruit box, water bottle, and glasses, plus again some odds and ends.

    And yes, though I’m male, I’ve still seen my share of one way or another non-functional pockets, and (blasphemy!) shirts without pockets.

    Oh, and unreliable sizes. HULK SMASH!

    Can we please sentence the whole of the fashion industry for crimes against humanity? And that is before considering high-rise factories in Bangladesh …

  179. Furr-a-Bruin says

    pHred @204: Obviously this sort of thing varies due to garment and person, but I normally wear Levi 501s which have fairly deep front pockets, putting my wallet in a front pocket “below the fold” when I’m seated, as it were. In a combination that would have the wallet being pushed out of the pocket, having it dig into the lower abdomen while seated or some such – that’s just not going to work.
     
    Your analysis about wallet positioning is spot on – for me, a wallet in the back pocket of a pair of 501s puts it squarely underneath me when seated, which is not acceptable.
     
    khms @205: I’m not completely insensitive to how I look, but for me comfort and utility (which includes durability) is enormously more important to me in clothing than is “style”. I’ve often thought that extremely expensive “fashionable” garments are a sort of gullibility tax.

  180. Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness says

    You folks have me wondering what the heck I carry in my bag. Some of your lists are deeply impressive. Here we go:

    in elasticised side-pockets in main compartment — phone (if not in interior jacket pocket), jeweller’s loupe (basically because it is a tiny protected magnifying glass for when something is too small for me to read)
    in velcro’d side pouch — headphones, tablet in its case, zipped waterproof change purse that I have my USBs in (up to 9), zipped former jewellery bag where I have aspirin
    in main pouch, wallet, 1TB drive (off site backup), case with sunglasses, package of tissues, 2 to 5 pens, whatever I have picked up as I go through the day which can include a 500 ml bottle of water and sunscreen bottle
    in zippered interior compartment, passport and other ID in a leather case, which has protected the documents or cards from a LOT of weather/water damage
    in zippered exterior front comparment — keys on a tether, computer screen waffle cloth for cleaning lenses, bluetooth dongle, bandaids in summer (shoes chafe), bottle opener
    in zippered exterior back compartment — magnetized access card, metal chopsticks, comb, 7-in-one card reader
    I can attach a shoulder strap, but usually don’t bother. This also reflects that currently I have no office, so I need a lot of stuff with me.
    Oh and any amount of coins scattered hither and thither, which get cleared out from time to time, but always the day before I really need them.

  181. pHred says

    @207 Furr-a-Bruin

    Ah yes exactly – I have never found pants where the front pocket was deep enough that my wallet would end up below the fold and there isn’t enough pocket above the fold to hold a wallet. I actually went from a bifold wallet to a trifold wallet so that it was short enough to fit in the pockets of my pants though it is much fatter and kinda sticks out on my butt.

    I do remember once owning glorious pants that had pockets that went a quarter of the way down the front of my leg. It was awesome. I really miss them.

    Plus I do carry a backpack and/or a bag as well… I just cleaned it out so at the moment it has only two moleskine notebooks, a instrument manual (ha – I RTFM), a book on geophysical instrumentation, an iPad, a Kindle, a water bottle, my daughters apple juice bottle (how did that get in there?), a couple of journal articles, a calculator, colored pens, graph paper, pencils, highlighters, a camera, some cables, and oh some books I am contemplating using in a class next semester, a bottle of motrin, a folder with some paperwork, another notebook, three Expo dry erase makers (we only have glossy “dry erase” painted on walls in the new classrooms and I hate them), and some napkins.

    Usually I would also have papers I am grading, more articles to read, more notebooks for different projects, books I am reading, a laptop, more USB drives and cables but I cleaned stuff out so I could run a fieldtrip on Saturday. I also had a Brunton in there but the mirror fell out and I am getting it fixed.

  182. hypocee says

    It’s probably been disproven, but I’ve long had a soft spot for the hypothesis that the concept of “clothing” originally grew out from bags rather than in from modesty or warmth.

  183. Old At Heart says

    Pockets… I have a suit with fake pockets on the front. Fully fake, not this “oh no, you’re meant to pull out seams on formal clothes” hidden real pockets. They literally just sewed that top bit across the front to give the appearance of them, there ain’t nothing underneath. Luckily there is still a functional inside pocket, but I look like a tool keeping my hands warm there. I think it is a stupid suit though. I identify with the annoyance over stupid “keep the lines” clothing design.

    Haters be hatin’, I am a backpack user. Though like all people under 90, it is over one shoulder and under my arm instead of on “properly” (which causes all kinds of nasty overheating sweat on your back if its a heavier bag)… So I wear a backpack like a purse.

    I also am 6’3″, 260 lbs. I’m taking up space anyways, might as well play up the large-and-in-charge designation. Sorry 4′ tall 80 lbs folks, but I don’t care. If you’re so selfish as to sit in a bus seat when someone whose skull impacts the roof of the bus on bumps, carrying a huge bag (or bags plural) comes in and has to stand, you deserve a backpack to the face. Most people around here move, though. We got a polite city. Heck, even I vacate if someone more needy comes along (the elderly, mostly, or families trying to sit together). (I am careful with the proper backback-purse arrangement though, since it is under an arm it doesn’t fly with gravity to hit people, though if I get disoriented from a roof-hit or sudden stop, that’s rough for the person in front of me, I try to sit.)

    I used to have a regular bag I’d carry around, but the thicker strap on the pack I think is more comfortable.
    And since we’re rhyming it off:

    Backpack-Purse daily contents!
    2 bottles of water minimum, also usually one other drink, a can of coke or a powerade.
    1 caffeinated chocolate bar (it’s been there a while, but never know)
    1 laptop
    1 game system (old fashioned gameboy and pokemon, usually)
    1 compact medical kit
    25 loose sheets of paper, most blank, 5 or so lined, in case of physical notes
    2 pens, 2 pencils.
    1 calculator
    1 universal charger
    1 map of the city I’m in for the day
    1 pocket paperback book (which, thanks to my huge size and the unfair magic of men’s clothing, actually can fit in my pockets comfortably)
    4 KFC napkin/plastic cutlery sets
    1 roll of toilet paper (Preach the spare paper!)
    1 change of socks
    $20 in loose change for emergencies and to make it annoyingly impractical to impulse-use.

    …And whatever I need for the day. So usually 2 textbooks and two notebooks along with it. The thing weighs over 50lbs when I’m done prepping it for the day, so I gotta be careful not to konk anyone on the head, because it would be functionally equivalent to being sideswiped by a water cooler. But when the zombie apocalypse happens, I’ll be the one laughing. Well, I’ll probably be dead, but the survivor who finds my pack will be the one laughing. It’s much smaller than you’d think, too, for all it carries.

  184. Marcus Hill (dripping with unearned privilege) says

    I keep meaning to purchase a coat entirely made of pockets which I can then wear whenever I travel by air. Sure, it will mean a slight increase in the time taken to get through security, but hey – free extra carry on weight!

  185. John Morales says

    Old At Heart:

    I think it is a stupid suit though.

    Hm, clearly you wear it, nonetheless.

    (Did you purchase it, too?)

  186. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Hm, clearly you wear it, nonetheless.

    (Did you purchase it, too?)

    Finding a piece of clothing that fits, looks good, one can afford it and has as many pockets as one wishes (since pockets are the topic) can be difficult. You just have to settle sometimes, and then complain about stupid clothes.

  187. pHred says

    ^ This^ absolutely. If I removed all of the clothing with some level of stupidity from my wardrobe I think I would have to move to a nudist colony.

  188. randay says

    Old at Heart: I am 6 ft tall and 190 lbs. I put a sack I am carrying on the floor in a corner. You carry too much stuff. You don’t need water if you are in a town or city, only if your going into the wilderness. The laptop and game thingy can go away too, as well as the paper. The rest can fit into a small bag or even pockets. Wear a fisherman’s or hunter’s vest underneath your jacket. Use either a banana bag or a small bag with important papers on your chest with a string around your neck.

    When I first went traveling around Europe for a few months, I had a rucksack and a duffel bag. I had a tent and sleeping bag on the outside of the rucksack. I wore hiking boots and had a pair of shoes. One week into my trip, I was at a music festival in Ireland. A neighbor there got his stuff stolen, so I gave him the duffel bag, the shoes, and clothes therein, some other stuff, and some money. I continued with what I had in and attached to my rucksack, under 30 lbs, and it was more than enough for the rest of the trip. After hiking in the Alps and the Pyrenees, I got rid of my hiking boots and bought a pair of shoes.

    ” it doesn’t fly with gravity to hit people”, I suppose you mean inertia. In the end, less is more, at least more than enough.

  189. Furr-a-Bruin says

    randay @216: Given that you don’t know why Old At Heart carries those items – it’s more than a little presumptuous to declare any of it’s unneeded. Perhaps Old At Heart is doing something where the laptop is an absolute necessity. Perhaps where this occurs has really lousy tasting tap water and/or no water fountains or convenient access.

    And if schlepping a 50# bag was a problem – I suspect the idea of reviewing the contents would already have come to mind.

  190. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    Oh, women’s pockets.

    Until the 1790s, a (European) woman wore a belt underneath her dress that had pockets attached to it. A slit in her skirt would allow her access to this, and the shape of the pockets would be concealed in the bulk of her petticoats.

    Then came Empire-waisted dresses, and the accompanying slim skirts. So the handbag appeared. When skirts got wide again in the 1830s, handbags stuck around.

  191. says

    You don’t need water if you are in a town or city

    only applies to American cities. there’s no such thing as free water in German cities. plus, buying more and more waterbottles=extremely wasteful

    The laptop and game thingy can go away too, as well as the paper.

    and I’m supposed to work on what, exactly? napkins?

  192. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    Here’s the thing about lugging around a backpack containing a laptop, charger, etc:

    If you have the money to afford a modern, small tablet, you don’t need to.

    So in this day and age, the big bulky computer laptop is a mark that you don’t have the funds to buy a sleek lightweight tablet.

  193. inquisitiveraven says

    I don’t know how many people here sew, but I recently discovered (and promptly bookmarked) a pattern site that specializes in designs for women’s clothes with pockets and lots of them, so you aren’t as likely to need a purse.

  194. nightshadequeen says

    Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula

    Here’s the thing about lugging around a backpack containing a laptop, charger, etc:

    If you have the money to afford a modern, small tablet, you don’t need to.

    So in this day and age, the big bulky computer laptop is a mark that you don’t have the funds to buy a sleek lightweight tablet.

    …I’ve never heard of this one, but then again all my friends are Linux nerds.

  195. pHred says

    @220 Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula

    Wow – that is breathtakingly arrogant and classiest.

    It is bad enough that there are comments telling other people what they actually need and what they should get rid of – now you come along and can apparently read everyone’s minds so that you know exactly what they are running on their computers and that they couldn’t possibly need anything other than a sleek lightweight tablet. Clearly only poor people use laptops – OMG how declasse of us poor people. We should keep our bulky laptops and inelegant clothing out of sight.

    Sheeh – get over yourself.

  196. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    pHred,

    Knowing Esteleth, I think she was pointing out the classism not supporting it. And I think she was responding to randay. Now randay was arrogant, telling Old at Heart that they don’t need this and that (including a laptop).

  197. David Marjanović says

    only applies to American cities. there’s no such thing as free water in German cities.

    Public water fountains seem to be almost exclusive to the USA.

    plus, buying more and more waterbottles=extremely wasteful

    Buy just one, fill it with tap water before you go*, reuse it till washing it doesn’t work anymore, then move on to the next one.

    * …Yeah, well, assuming your tap water isn’t just too gross. In places like Paris it can be.

  198. pHred says

    I hope so – if so I am sorry for the snark. I am having a bad day and one of the reasons is our campus computer services. As far as they are concerned everyone should only be running windows 8 for microsoft office, reading email or perhaps running spss if you are special. What else could you possibly need to use a computer for? HULK SMASH. It touched a raw nerve.

  199. pHred says

    Oh – I was totally on board with Jadehawk @219.

    I had pretty much been assuming that people were carrying about all this stuff because they, you know, do stuff with it. I was having trouble even wrapping my head around randay’s bizarre presumptions.

    snark/ I mean here I was all this time lugging around a laptop and paper and all this stuff cause the great sky fairy told me to do it or something. All I need was someone to point out that I “carry too much stuff” and *poof* problem solved! It’s not like I ever oh, do work with it. Duh. /snark

    randay also has clearly never traveled with children.

    Again sorry – the whole sleek tablet think sent me straight over the edge so I would have totally missed intended sarcasm.

  200. Rawnaeris, FREEZE PEACHES says

    *slightly threadrupt*

    I pissed my mother off to no end when I graduated college and started buying my own clothes. Why? I started buying men’s jeans and cargo shorts. Men’s jeans actually fit me a bit better than women’s, and POCKETS! And they come in lengths. Not just “short” “regular” “long”. Seriously, I have to get “short” length pants hemmed, or wear 3in. heels. Why bother with that when men’s comes in a 28″ inseam?
    One of these days I’ll try men’s dress shirts and coats. Interior pockets are awesome, and my shoulders are broad for my height, so if I get a women’s dress shirt to fit my shoulders, the sleeves are laughably long and the bust will be far far too big, resulting in extreme bagginess.

    I’ve adapted to carrying a purse after years of forgetting them everywhere mostly because I like to have multiple electronics on me as well as a paperback book or knitting. Backpacks are more convenient, but boy does security give ya funny looks when you go into a store.

  201. Kendra Kroll says

    the pockets that are in our clothes are lousy and often don’t work. I had an epic fail with an errant spare tampon at the gym 6 years ago that was quite the embarrassment. And a pivotal moment! It was then that I decided to design and patent my own solution to this very real problem..and yay!… PortaPocket was born. Now I’m simply on a mission to help people help themselves. See more of how it works if you like at http://www.portapocket.com xoxo
    ♥,
    @PortaPocketGal