The Demand for Functional Pockets in Modern Fashion

point pleasant women's clothing boutique modern fashion pockets

Pockets have become an essential feature in modern clothing, providing both function and fashion to the individual. However, the demand for functional pockets is more prominent among women’s clothing as compared to men’s. This has raised questions regarding the history of pockets in women’s fashion and why they are often smaller or even fake.

Let’s talk about the history of pockets in women’s clothing and explore the reasons behind their smaller size or why sometimes, they are missing entirely. Societal norms and gender roles have ad an impact on pocket design and functional pockets are now being demanded more than ever before.

History Of Pockets In Women’s Clothing

The use of pockets dates back to ancient times, with both men and women carrying small pouches attached to their belts or waistbands. However, as fashion evolved in European countries during the 16th century, pockets became a feature exclusively for men’s clothing. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, European women’s clothing often featured separate pockets worn under skirts, which were accessed through slits in the outer garment.

By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fashion shifted towards more form-fitting clothing, and these separate pockets became impractical. Women’s pockets became smaller and were often eliminated in favor of decorative handbags.

Why are women’s pockets smaller?

Some say that societal expectations and gender roles are a significant reason for the smaller size of pockets in women’s clothing. Women were not expected to work or engage in tasks that required carrying larger items, so their need for pockets was seen as less important. This mindset influenced the industry to create smaller and more decorative pockets for women.

Contemporary women’s clothing often has smaller, less functional pockets or faux pockets because of the continued influence of form-fitting fashion, which prioritizes silhouette over functionality.

The fashion industry has historically assumed that women will carry handbags, reducing the perceived need for functional pockets. With a consistent focus on creating trends and changing styles, practicality took a back seat. Appealing designs trumped functional ones, leading to smaller pockets or even fake ones.

Check out the deep pockets in our Judy Blue High Waist Drawstring & Cuffed Joggers >

The Demand for Functional Pockets in Modern Fashion

Many women’s priorities have changed when it comes to fashion. They want it all – to look great and enjoy the freedom and versatility of wearing clothes with multiple, deep and functional pockets. The demand is growing. With an increasing number of working women, juggling moms and ladies engaging in activities that require carrying items such as phones, wallets, and keys, the need for larger pockets has become apparent.

How many clothing review videos have we seen on social media, even in bridal attire, where the key selling point of a dress highlighted by the content creator comes down to the inclusion of pockets?

The rise of gender-neutral fashion and breaking away from traditional gender roles, the expectation for women to have smaller or nonexistent pockets is being challenged. Many fashion brands have started incorporating larger and practical pockets in their designs, catering to the demand of modern women.

Functional pockets provide convenience and represent a shift towards inclusivity and breaking away from societal norms. As more women demand functional pockets in their clothing, we can hope to see a change in the pocket design for women’s fashion. Here’s to continuing to embrace both function and fashion in our clothing choices!

Why would some clothing be designed with fake pockets?

Fake pockets may be used as a design element to add aesthetic value to clothing, especially for women’s fashion. These decorative pockets serve no practical purpose but can enhance the overall look of an outfit by creating a more tailored look that provides an expected structure and architecture style for the garment.

Fake pockets are often used in high-end or luxury fashion as a way to differentiate their designs from more practical and everyday clothing. They are used to add an element of exclusivity and luxury.

With the rise of fast fashion and changing trends, designers opt for fake pockets as a cost-effective and time saving solution for the brand. This allows them to produce a wide range of designs at a reduced cost and a faster pace.

Plus, with the rise of sustainable and ethical fashion, functional pockets also align with the idea of creating clothing that can stand the test of time and serve a practical purpose in our daily lives. Savvy shoppers and fashionable women embrace the importance of style and function and demand for more practical pocket designs in all clothing, regardless of gender. 

Fake pockets are losing their appeal. More and more shoppers are looking for practicality in their favorite clothes, making functional pockets a must-have feature in modern fashion.  We’ve seen this shift in 2024 with the return of all manner of cargo pockets in women’s fashion. Cargo styles are found in pants, jeans, joggers, capris and shorts, taking functional pockets to another level. Who needs to carry a bag when designers double down beyond the hip and back pockets, including snaps, zippers and Velcro closures for added security?

mauve pocketed clothing style

Pocket size and functionality in different cultures

Overall, the size and functionality of pockets in men’s and women’s clothing are deeply influenced by cultural practices, historical trends, and the evolving needs of society. While traditional attire often lacked pockets, modern adaptations strive to balance aesthetics with practicality, reflecting the changing roles and lifestyles of individuals within these cultures.

In some cultures, larger and more practical pockets may be seen as a symbol of wealth and status, while in others, smaller or decorative pockets may be preferred for aesthetic reasons.

The type of clothing worn also influences pocket design. For example, traditional garments such as kimonos in Japan do not have any visible pockets. Instead, small items were carried in sashes (obijime) or in small pouches (inro) suspended from the obi (belt). In India, traditional women’s clothing like saris and salwar kameez often lack pockets. Instead, women historically used small purses or pouches (batua) to carry essentials. And in West Africa, traditional garments such as the boubou (for both men and women) and agbada (for men) often lack pockets. Personal items are usually carried in bags or pouches.

kimono in Japan
sari in India
boubou in West Africa

Cultural norms and societal expectations can also play a role in the size and functionality of pockets. In some cultures, it may be more acceptable for men to carry larger items in their pockets, while women are expected to carry a smaller purse or handbag.

As fashion becomes more globalized and diverse, we can expect to see a shift towards functional pockets being incorporated into all types of clothing regardless of cultural norms. After all, practicality knows no boundaries!

Visit Mauve Shoppe for the latest trends in women’s fashion

At Mauve Shoppe, we pride ourselves on providing women with the latest and most stylish fashion options. Our online store offers a convenient way to shop from the comfort of your own home, while our location in Point Pleasant, New Jersey allows for a fun, in-person shopping experience.

But we’re more than just a clothing boutique – we collaborate with local businesses to bring unique and one-of-a-kind items to our customers. We also host workshops, events, and pop-up shops to showcase emerging trends and support small businesses.

Looking for a fun way to shop? Host a private event or shopping party at our store with the help of the owner, Sam Hernandez, our resident fashion expert and shopping consultant. She and her staff can help you in finding the perfect pieces to elevate your wardrobe.

At Mauve Shoppe, we believe in providing quality fashion that not only looks good but also makes a positive impact on the community. Come visit us and discover the latest trends in women’s fashion!