Marie Claire (South Africa) - - FILTER -

I RARELY WEAR body-con cloth­ing,but I do like my clothes tai­lored and fit­ted.A high-waisted pair of skinny jeans and leather leg­gings aside, noth­ing fits so tightly around my waist that it wouldn’t be able to ac­com­mo­date a pocket or two.

Re­cently,Tanya Basu wrote a piece for The At­lantic lament­ing the fact that women’s fash­ion hadn’t kept up with ad­vanc­ing tech­nol­ogy, par­tic­u­larly as more cell­phones be­come the size of phablets. She points to the lack of func­tional pock­ets in dresses, blaz­ers and pants for women as a ma­jor set­back for fem­i­nism. That’s what hand­bags are for, some might ar­gue.We spend small for­tunes on our totes. But what hap­pens when they be­come cum­ber­some or im­prac­ti­cal? Wouldn’t it be lovely not to have to worry about wear­ing the strap of your hand­bag like a seat­belt while out danc­ing at a club?

I’m not say­ing that hand­bags should be­come re­dun­dant, but they do limit free­dom of ac­tion. Men can use back­packs to carry large items, but they have the op­tion of putting their pock­ets to good use when it comes to smaller every­day ne­ces­si­ties. I looked through my wardrobe to count the num­ber of items that should have pock­ets but don’t. It made me re­alise just how ut­terly use­less our pock­ets are when we have them at all. My worst: the fake pocket, which ap­pears to of­fer a re­as­sur­ingly stan­dard open­ing,only to re­ject your fin­gers a mo­ment later.Many de­sign­ers still pri­ori­tise the sil­hou­ette of a woman’s clothes and ig­nore the use­ful­ness of a pocket. Paul John­son re­ports in The

Spec­ta­tor that even though women were al­lowed to wear pants by the 20th cen­tury, a gen­der-bi­ased clothes in­dus­try still cut them off at the pock­ets. He quotes Christian Dior as say­ing,‘Men have pock­ets to keep things in, women for dec­o­ra­tion.’

In the 21st cen­tury we’re still har­nessed to our hand­bags. Imag­ine be­ing able to move around quickly and with as­sur­ance. I’m not ask­ing for that many sar­to­rial cav­i­ties, but I would love a pocket or two big enough to hold my cell­phone, keys and lip­stick. So I can fo­cus on run­ning in my heels.

‘It made me re­alise how USE­LESS our pock­ets are – when we have them at all’

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