Why Do Women’s Pants Not Have Pockets?

By Laura Moffat
Why Do Women’s Pants Not Have Pockets?

In the age of larger and larger phones, it is mind boggling that the majority of women’s pants still have minuscule or fake pockets. There are countless rants and articles online about the frustrations of the lack of pockets and utility in women’s clothing. In fact, Pudding went so far as to confirm the complaints by measuring both men’s and women’s jean pockets and found that on average, the pockets in women’s jeans are 48% shorter and 6.5% narrower than men’s pockets. How is it that in the era of artificial intelligence and smart homes, we still can’t get a decent pocket in women’s clothing!?

Pockets = Gender Equality

It turns out pockets equate to freedom and historically women haven’t had that much freedom. Before the 17th century, everyone carried their smaller belongings in bags - even men! Then, in the 17th century, men got pockets but no such luck for women. Women were forced to wear a small tied on pocket under their garments, which was basically useless because it was completely inaccessible!

This spurred a movement for more utilitarian clothing for women including the formation of The Rationalist Dress Society in 1891. Its mission was to lobby against corsets and other restrictive clothing and push for more comfortable and utilitarian options for women. But it wasn’t until WWII that women got pockets and that was only because they were working jobs previously done by men. 

Women Got Pockets During WWII

Once the war ended, women went back to being doting wives and mothers and you guessed it, so went the pockets.

Pockets Ruin The Female Silhouette

Iconic designer, Christian Dior cemented the sexism of pockets in 1954 by stating, “Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration.” Fast forward 70 years and we are still having the same argument. Why have pockets still remained the great clothing gender divider? One theory is that the male dominated fashion industry continues to drive this preference for aesthetics over function. Men are designing the garments and so their focus is “driven not by form and function, but by design and how fabric best drapes the body.”

Pockets Ruin The Female Silhouette

As such we continue to reinforce stereotypes about women being objects of desire, worrying more about what they look like versus their needs as equal members of society. Can’t we find a way to create pockets and still have beautiful garments? It turns out the fashion industry has a glaring reason for keeping women’s keys and wallets out of their pockets and in their bags.

If You Have Pockets, You Won’t Buy Handbags

When it comes down to it, fashion is about making money, and accessories are a huge revenue generator for fashion with high margins and high resale value. Valued at 8 billion dollars, the purse industry isn’t about to give women pockets and lose their highly profitable handbag business!

So where does that leave us? At Kirrin Finch, we don’t follow trends or worry about industry rules. Instead we focus on making functional and stylish clothing that people want. Our Windsor Chinos feature deep pockets in the front and back. So you can leave your home, bag free with your wallet, keys and phone safely tucked away in your pockets. #pocketequality



  • OMG YES! Makers of women’s pants and shorts, please make sure there are front and back pockets. I cannot stress this enough!

    Tracy on
  • I swear, I’m not even female, but the fact that women’s pants have small/no pockets infuriates me. It’s so unbelievably idiotic, I have no idea how anybody gets by without pockets, bag or no bag.

    David on
  • What do we want? Pockets! When do we want them? Now!

    This needs to be a rallying cry.

    Sarah on
  • How can we let manufacturers know women WANT pockets!!

    Cherie Kropp on
  • Interesting! Yes the decorative pockets are annoying

    Soohie on
  • Along with usable pockets, I am still waiting for a zipper crouch long enough for a woman to pee without dropping her draws. Great for hiking and other outdoor activities.

    Nadine Troll on
  • Actually, the 17th century tied on pockets were accessible through a slit in the skirt. (The skirt generally had a front and back waistline that was buttoned at the sides, so there was a slit on either side which you could reach through to your pocket or set of pockets.) Still, we need more pockets in women’s clothing!

    Nancy on

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