Ode to Pockets

If you’re a man, pockets are such an innocuous commodity that it may surprise you to learn just how strongly women feel about them.

I’ve heard designers malign them as the great ruiner of the lines of women’s garments, and when I dropped into the tailor’s before a recent trip overseas and asked her to create an internal pocket in a coat I had just purchased (a luxury that comes standard on men’s coats but seems conspicuously missing from women’s coats), she looked at me a bit askance. Indeed, sewn-in pockets seem to have long been the sole proprietorship of men, with women resorting to exterior bags tied to their petticoats, which eventually morphed into the modern day handbag, according to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

So when my friend Jessica recently took to Facebook with an appreciative post about pockets, I was barely surprised at the flurry of comments that ensued. Complaints about  faux pockets (“fockets,” as one friend dubbed them) and musings on their mysterious purpose mingled with invectives against the desperate among us who have resorted to storing life’s ephemera in our bosoms, along with teary exclamations of the joy experienced upon discovering that a garment had the type of hidden pockets men take for granted in their clothing. It was finally determined that women are so pocket-starved that we’ll buy any garment with pockets regardless of how well it fits (a sentiment echoed in multiple friends’ messages over the next several days), and I can’t say I disagree.

Years ago, I read about an exceptionally elegant woman who had a series of pockets sewn into all her coat linings so that she could forego carrying a bag (brilliant!). That started me on a quest, snatching up garments with what I had been terming “bonus” pockets (a naming practice which shall cease immediately; equal pay for equal work and equal pocketing practices, I say). When the pockets I wanted didn’t come standard in a garment (almost always), I whisked them away to the tailor’s to be retrofitted (often much to their chagrin–see above lament about ruining of garment lines).

With the tenuous hope that useful pockets continue to resurface in women’s clothing, here are a few current examples of my love affair with pockets.

Elie Tahari blazer pocket

Barely discernible in tweed, I love having pockets on a blazer when I meet new people. My business cards go in the left pocket, so that I can discreetly slip theirs into my right pocket.

blue trench with hand lotion

Outer pockets on a trench allow me to go for a walk in cooler weather while still keeping my phone and lotion handy.

trench with passport

Often overlooked in women’s outerwear, an inner pocket is perfect for preventing wallets and other valuables from being easily stolen. I was so excited when I found them in this and the blue trench above–I usually have to take my jackets and coats to the tailor to have them added.

catepillar in pants pocket

All pants have pockets, right? Nope. I need more pants pockets for important things like dancing caterpillars.

camel leather pockets

To me, it’s not a real moto jacket unless it has pockets. The more, the better. and bonus if they’re zippered.

 

black moto pockets

Exhibit B: Even the more polished version I wear to the office has zippered pockets (REAL pockets, not “fockets”). Of all the clothing items I wish had pockets, moto jackets are the ones I’m most particular about.

 

black skirt pockets

Seriously–I get texts from the dressing room all the time about skirts and dresses  exclaiming, “It has pockets!” Designers, please take note.

chambray pockets

I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I love pockets for no other reason besides looks. I rarely keep anything in shirt pockets, but I still want them to be functional, just in case (I know, I’m so demanding!). I love the look, and am always searching for great camp shirts and tees with pockets.

 

Unpacked (in order of appearance):

Tweed blazer, Elie Tahari, similar style here.

Trench Coat, Samuel Dong via Ooh! Ooh! Shoes!

Trench Coat, Gallery, purchased at a shop in the Nashville airport.

Wide-leg cropped pants, Banana Republic, similar style in white here.

Camel moto jacket, Michael Kors.

Black moto jacket, Ann Taylor.

Bubble skirt, Bitte Kai Rand.

Chambray camp shirt, Girl Krazy via TJ Maxx.

 

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Wear THIS to An Art Exhibit in a Funeral Home

Some might say, “An art gallery in a funeral home? That’s a terrible idea.” To which I channel Under the Tuscan Sun and retort, “Hmm…terrible idea—don’t you just love those?”

Indeed, I am a complete sucker for wonderful terrible ideas, which is why I am so looking forward to the exhibit of Sarah Brewington’s Photography, Abby Jarvis’s poetry, and Michael McArthur’s music at the 2125 Gallery in the Lakeland Funeral Home tomorrow evening.

Adding to my intrigue is the exposure I’ve had so far to the artists’ works, which are anything but macabre.

So what does one wear to an art exhibit in a funeral home? Is black classic or too cliché? Is it bad form to rock bright color where others have travailed the murky waters of losing a loved one?

In another facility, I might shy away from anything too audacious, but when a website immediately assaults you with huge block letters reading, “Celebrate life,” you tend to think that these people are more about living fully and dying well, and isn’t that what artistic and sartorial expression is all about?

In that vein, I offer up to you the following recommendations for what to wear to a funeral home art gallery:

AT Jumpsuit Front

Yes, this is black, but you definitely won’t be mistaken for someone in mourning in a sharp tuxedo jumpsuit from Ann Taylor. I like this particular suit because it comes in petite and tall sizes (can I get an amen from all my girls who aren’t 5’5”?!). Add a bold cuff and earrings, a bright clutch, and you’re good to go.

Etro Saffron Dress

Conversely, (and given the natural elements in Brewington’s and Jarvis’s work), I might also go in a more bohemian direction. While my personal style could not be further away from boho, I saw this Etro dress in the November issue of Vogue and immediately thought if anything could tempt me in that direction, THIS would be it. This dress would be completely at home in an exhibit of this character. The wide belt and suede boots nod to the outfit’s natural inspiration but are polished, while the rich saffron pattern of the dress is solidly encamped in “free spirit luxe” rather than “I found this at the bottom of a clearance bin at Goodwill.” Bonus: the dress does the heavy lifting in the impact department, so you can just add a delicate gold earring and let the dress shine.

I hope to see you tomorrow night rocking your best YOU!