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In Praise of Pockets

Have you missed the pockets that used to be included in women’s blazers and suit jackets? In the past, if there was a pocket indicated on the outside of a jacket, there was a real, functional pocket in the garment. Sometimes you had to release the tacking stitches to open it because the factory tacked it closed for shipping, but it was a real pocket.

Alas, in the race to make cheaper garments today, manufacturers too-often put a faux pocket in the garment exterior, but fail to add the pocket bag on the interior to create the actual pocket. Which makes your great functional jacket, non-functioning.

What’s a “functional jacket”?

Let’s go back to the history of women’s clothes. Long before we had an inkling of a “purse” we needed a place to carry ‘private things’. From the Victoria and Albert Museum --”historically, the term "pocket" referred to a pouch worn around the waist by women in the 17th to 19th centuries. Women kept a wide variety of objects in their pockets. In the days when people often shared bedrooms and household furniture, a pocket was sometimes the only private, safe place for small personal possessions. Men didn't wear separate pockets, as theirs were sewn into the linings of their coats, waistcoats and breeches.”

Today, as professional women, we need pockets for modern reasons and our jackets need to be more functional than ever. Why? Because we’re wearing jackets at conferences and on stage where we can’t or won’t carry a purse or tote bag. Our pockets become functional places to carry business cards, tissues, throat lozenges/mints, lip color, cell phones, and the transmitter to the lavalier microphone we need to wear. We would diminish our image carrying a big purse onstage (like the Queen) so our jackets should accommodate our needs efficiently. A big conference is hard enough to navigate, having those items easily available makes it so much easier.

The first thing I do when I’m looking at a jacket on a hanger is to check for real pockets. If it doesn’t have them, I dismiss the jacket. If they want me to pay $300 or higher for a jacket, they need to put in two pockets that are functional for my life. If not, I pass on them. It takes a few extra minutes and a few cents to add a real pocket.

Now I know that some fabrics create a design that’s too bulky with added pockets, so they get left out. I generally won’t choose one of those anyway – bulky fabrics tend to add visual weight to the body, and who needs that?

So I encourage you to seek out those jackets that will support you. There ARE designers who design for our active lives, so if YOU need help finding a jacket that is functional for you, call me. I’ll seek them out and help you develop a functional wardrobe that supports you and

your busy, professional life.

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