When it comes to new fashion buys in the SheerLuxe office, there’s always a trump card. Yours could be a gold Dior evening dress adorned with the feathers of a Dodo, but if mine has pockets and the Dior doesn't, mine wins.
Where does our obsession with pockets stem from? On one level, it’s simply a matter of practicality. They provide relief for awkward hands during uncomfortable meetings and social interactions, or a useful place to store your phone, your tissue or your lip balm. My Oyster card goes faithfully in my pocket every morning – throughout the warmer months I’m at a total loss, scrambling in my big, messy bag for the thing because summer dresses don’t, generally, have pockets. And I’m pretty sure that’s the point; we don’t need that extra little flap of fabric inserted into our clothes, because chances are we’ll be toting around a bag anyway, so it’s a nice extra surprise to find one.
But the real reason we love them? Aside from being practical, pockets are, simply, cool. Think what they’ve done for Victoria Beckham – Posh Spice basically reinvented herself thanks to the pocket’s ability to add a slouchy, borrowed-from-the-boys edge to any outfit. Being able to plunge those awkward hands into that little gap on jackets, coats and, the holy grail, dresses, makes you stand completely differently – with your arms a little bent and your hips a bit forward, that illustrious androgyny is easy to achieve.
As fashion moves further and further from sexy, and more into practical, utility territory, it’s no surprise we see pockets as a cool girl badge of honour. Forget your bodycon dresses that barely have room for your bum, let alone some strategic pockets – from oversized cuts to mannish tailoring, women are increasingly heralding more subtle, practical styles as cool. Think of the reaction to Hedi Slimane’s first Celine show – the fashion masses lamented the brand’s return to conventionally sexy style, calling for the return of Phoebe Philo’s comfortable, wearable designs. Cool these days means a slouchy, nonchalant stance and attitude – all of which pockets can enable and empower.
Here’s proof: even wedding dresses are getting the pocket treatment these days. ManRepeller’s Jaya Saxina wrote a feature earlier this year on the rise in popularity of big white dresses with inbuilt pockets, pointing out that because they’re ‘so rare in women’s clothing, they wind up symbolizing not just function, but the kind of woman who wants function.’ If that ‘kind of women’ puts you in the Philo camp instead of Slimane, then all we want to know is where to sign up.
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