Pockets – Let’s Talk Pockets

I don’t mean pockets as in Hot Pockets those over-salted tomatoey lunch bites filled with acid indigestion.

I don’t mean pocketbooks empty or full, air pockets found in the sky that cause an aircraft to lose altitude suddenly, zit pockets erupting on your teenager’s face, secret air pockets in underwater caves, or Pockets the devotional magazine for kids.  Perhaps those things are infinitely more interesting but, none of those have my attention at the moment.

I am thinking about pants pockets. Back pockets. Women’s.

Last week I went shopping for summer clothes. I was in search of shorts that don’t make me look fat (-ter than I already am) and lightweight capri style pants without elastic waistbands that add unnecessary poundage.

The Lee midrise cargo shorts and cargo capris fit well enough and were a deal.  Yes, there were back pockets involved but because they were “cargo” style, pockets being a defining factor, I accepted their presence without much more thought.

In the dressing room I thought the dark blue St John’s Bay jean capris were cute (no added belly bulge) despite the unnecessary and decidedly non-flattering back pockets. I bought them, washed them, then an hour ago I pulled them on and stood in front of the mirror to make sure they hadn’t shrunk too much.

I turned at an angle to the mirror to straighten out the back pocket material in likely a fantasy effort to reduce the lumpy bulk on the bum.

What is going on? There was no button, zipper, or other closure present yet, I couldn’t get my hand in there so I took them off to look.

A row of stitches. That’s what is going on. A full pocket of thin white material present and completely blocked off to access by the hand. Like a row of prison barbed-wire fence, without the barbs, guarding I know not what.

I don’t understand what this is about. It’s bad enough that it is almost impossible to find decent looking capris and shorts (and any other type of pants) without back pockets that bunch up or have flaps that enlarge the visual of our bottoms. Sometimes there’s a fake pocket, which to my eye isn’t much better.

The pockets in question are not fake. The pocket material is indeed there; large enough to slide a cell phone into, if made accessible.

Not that I ever do that, walk around with my phone sticking out of my back pocket. I have a few observations about that, by the way, but I am not going to put that down on screen because it would probably result in an ageism type reaction on someone’s part and I’d rather be thought of as young and changing with the times. 

I pondered these pockets. I would have to find my seam ripper and strong reading glasses to make them accessible to my hands and maybe a gardening glove.

Why? Why the stitching? I don’t get it.  I laid out the offending capris on the bed, slipped on the Lee cargo shorts, and went to clean the bathroom. No strange stitching in these shorts.

The question was driving me nuts banging around in my head. I stopped wiping down the toilet and sat down to write (at my desk! Not that I am opposed to writing on the toilet, okay, never mind).  Don’t worry, I am typing on my laptop with clean hands.

Because I’ve never before thought to write about pockets, I had to do a quick search to figure out if the proper term is “pants” pocket with an s or “pant” pocket without the s.  I did not ask about pockets being sewn together however, this is what came up on the first Google page:

Why are pants pockets sewn together?

Why are they stitched closed? Whenever pockets are sewn shut, it’s so people trying on the garment don’t shove their hands into them. Pockets are for owners only. Cut the threads very carefully. Aug 5, 2008

Okay, others were wondering the same thing about pockets in 2008. As usual, I’m a little late to the party but, it’s still top of the page 11 years later. Forgetting my origin question, I asked myself a new question: why are pockets for owners only?

Seriously, we try on bras in the store against our bare breasts, bathing suits with the little paper tape supposedly providing some strange crotch protection for the next Try’r On’r, and maybe we even try on packaged underwear torn out of a plastic bag we are not supposed to open before purchase. None of them are sewn shut.

Don’t worry, I probably bought the packaged underwear.

I won’t bother to tell you what the GQ article referenced above goes on to explain. You can find it yourself and decide which topic you’d like to write about or ponder while you clean your bathroom: the reference to “finding a girl to cut those threads for you” or, whatever advertising is presented, completely unrelated to the topic of sewn pant pockets but, clearly indicating your political preference.

GQ is for men so, apparently fancy wool pants for men do come with pockets sewn shut. Oooh, maybe it’s a joke? Certainly, no one else should be shoving their hands in your pockets during church, but we are talking changing room here; you’re likely alone in that stall and you don’t own those pants, yet.

Why are pockets for owners only? I still don’t get it.  Do men’s jeans come with pockets sewn shut? Have you shopped for men’s pants lately? I have. I have two teenage man-boys. I can tell you the answer definitively. No. They are free to shove their hands in all the pockets they wish, while alone in that changing room then put the pants on the pile to be re-stacked on the store’s display shelves.

Why are these women’s pants different?

In the capris lying on my bed, there is an intentional row of stitches in each back pocket. Was this a man or woman’s idea?

I dunno what’s going on in the clothing fashion design world but I prefer no pockets, fake or real, on my butt. But, alas, those capri’s were cute, fit my barn-butt better than any others I could find that day and came with a nice summer season discount so, I had bought them despite my disappointment in the continued trend of bulky back pockets.

Now I have to find my seam ripper. First, though, I need to finish up the bathroom. There’s three of them, actually, so it might take me a while to get to those pockets. Or why bother, I can’t find my gardening gloves and I wouldn’t put anything else back there anyway.

“Pant” or “pants” pockets, I still don’t know. I like pantalones better anyway. That’s what my dad always calls pants.

What’s in your pockets?

Bonnie A. McKeegan 3.3-02.1

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5 Replies to “Pockets – Let’s Talk Pockets”

  1. OK, This article is so true and hysterical and never thought about it before. . It surely is an inconvenience. Found a great article on this and they said that part of the is about hygiene. Hygiene!!!??? really, well I wasnt in the bathroom before trying them on was I? NO! Article also said it was so the pants wouldnt lose their shape. Not buyin’ it! So what is the solution? I have NO idea. If I really really like the pants, will they lose their shape if I cut the stitching? Only if I eat too many hot pockets! Here is the article:

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  2. I think they’re sewn shut so they give a cleaner line. Opened pockets can appear bulky. So we’re given the option to cut the stitching and actually use the pockets. I cut mine open! BTW I’ve had to cut the stitching on my husband’s expensive suit jacket as well….

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