Pockets: An Intimate History of How We Keep Things Close

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If you’ve ever worn women’s clothing (particularly pants) at any point in your life, you’ll understand why “It’s got pockets!” is such a universally recognized exclamation of joyous surprise when one can fit their entire hand into the depths of their trousers. Any reader who’s wondered at the ludicrous size discrepancy between the pockets of gendered clothing styles, or perhaps marveled at the seemingly nonsensical yet widely accepted practice of sewing women’s pockets shut (or nearly so) during production, will adore this sociological romp through the history of the humble pocket.

Beginning with the pocket’s origins in the medieval era, Carlson takes us through the widespread adoption of the pocket and the subsequent abandonment of the purse (at least for men), the emergent social attitudes regarding both hiding things upon your person that used to be visible and the appropriateness of their content, and the tired but predictable narrative thread of sexism woven into so much of fashion history, but especially prevalent in the evolution of the pocket.

Filled with fashion illustrations, prints, and paintings, Pockets is a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in fashion history.

Reviewed By:

Author Beatrice Toothman
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Algonquin Books
Publish Date 12-Sep-2023
ISBN 9781643751542
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Issue October 2023
Category Fashion & Beauty