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Women's Pockets Are Inferior (2018) (pudding.cool)
42 points by bjourne 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 35 comments

First... duh.

I mean it is something everyone has known for a long time. That said, I think it goes a little bit deeper than just simply the fashion industry is trying to screw women over.

You can buy women’s pants with pockets, some of them have an over abundance of pockets, for example these Carhartt Overalls: https://www.carhartt.com/products/womens/Carhartt-Rugged-Fle...

In general, women don’t buy these sort of utility pants as much as they buy other types of pants. Well many women won’t. My wife has about 50% utility pants and 50% pocketless pants.

The problem is those pants are not particularly flattering and even to this day, women wearing pragmatic/ practical clothing are shamed for wearing unflattering clothing. This isn’t just men, other women do it also.

Tight pants don’t really work well with big pockets filled with stuff.

I will say... the fashion industry doesn’t help. Brands like Levis who sell few utility type pants for women and don’t advertise any of them.

The big thing is people need to stop giving women crap for being practical with regards to clothing.

Hot Take: A purse/bag is superior to pockets in most situations, stays organized and can handle the array of items needed for life much more gracefully then pockets. I don't need to completely unpack my purse at the end of the day and it's ready to go for the next. Hell if I want to change bags everything is in an organizer that can slip out and into a different one. Can't do that with pockets!

Also form fitting clothing is a pain with bulky devices. Nothing says fun like keys being jammed into your leg or trying to wiggle a phone in and out. Looser fits are almost needed.

But I agree with your final statement, let's not give people crap for choosing practical pockets. Wear what you will!

There is no doubt purses are useful on occasion and if you are carrying a purse, pockets are redundant.

But I suspect one of the big reasons women complain about pockets is because there are occasions where having to carry around a purse is a needless hassle. I totally agree that tight pants are largely cross purpose with big pockets.

All of my knowledge on the topic is second hand so I lack the foundation to disagree.

>This isn’t just men, other women do it also.

Men do not care about what women wear. If men were even 10% of people applying peer pressure on women to not wear practical clothing, I'd be amazed.

Discussed a few weeks ago:

Women's Pockets are Inferior (2018) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26579484 - March 2021 (33 comments)

and at the time:

Women's Pockets are Inferior - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17769517 - Aug 2018 (52 comments)

This page is really cool.

Although I'm not sure I am on board with the synthesis - it wants to play it both ways: that women are unfairly given smaller pockets but are also incapable of prioritizing it for themselves.

Out of curiosity I showed this page to my wife (who loves to complain about pockets). When seeing the pants with the bigger pockets, she complained about the fit or aesthetics of those brands, so I think the traits may be linked. She also admitted she doesn't much care for things in the front pockets anyway.

Still, amazing presentation and data set.

It's very frustrating to buy pants, dresses, jackets/blazers, and skirts without pockets. I've made it a priority to get pockets on all of my pocket-needing outfits, but sometimes it's just not possible.

It's fully possible to have aesthetically pleasing clothing with pockets, but very few companies are doing it. MM Lafleur is rather more than I want to pay, but I am willing to do so for their pocket-inclusive suits and dresses.

> When seeing the pants with the bigger pockets, she complained about the fit or aesthetics of those brands

This is a great insight. Women's fashion tends to run more form-fitting than men's. Even empty pockets add fabric and seams. It's not hard to imagine a generous pocket hidden in a hoop skirt somewhere, but in a pair of fashionable women's pants?

I would regard this as "common" knowledge but it's great to see empirical data backing it up in a pretty cool presentation.

> For women, it was (and still is) about equality. Pockets, unlike purses, are hidden, private spaces. By restricting the space in which women can keep things safe and retain mobility of both hands, we are also restricting their ability to “navigate public spaces, to carry seditious (or merely amorous) writing, or to travel unaccompanied.”

Although I came to the same observation and desire of change (I’m annoyed at the idea that me, godfather, has to assist my goddaughter by carrying her handkerchief because dresses have no pockets... how can we reach female independance if they have to rely on men being around to carry their stuff as early as 6 years old).

...the idea that men conspire to restrict women’s pockets is quite the biggest conspiracy theory I’ve heard. We gather at night with the council of men and decide “What should we do next”, “Let’s restrict women’s pockets”, “Let’s make them eat less meat so they are smaller”, “Why not everything” and we do everything.

She phrases it as a conspiration, but it could also be that men are so much available to help them that they overuse this service.

In any case, cargo pants are available, boys often choose function over form and marketers know it; Girls often choose form over function, and very very little function doesn’t seem to be a problem for many other types of accessories, as long as beauty is there.

It all comes down to the fact that women in general don't see small/absent pockets as much of a factor when buying pants, while men typically do. Those pockets cost money to put in and in the razor thin margin clothing industry that means the pockets are going to be missing or tiny.

Tbf though, it's quite possible at this point that there are so few women's pants with pockets that even those who do see it as a deal-breaker are unable to express their preference with their wallets. I also suspect those that don't value pockets would change their minds the moment they actually got pants with real pockets too.

I don't think this is going to change until enough women band together and start boycotting brands with tiny/absent pockets and start championing brands that do offer proper pockets. This kind of strategy does work btw, possibly a little too well. It certainly worked in make-up industry where up until recently they basically didn't offer shades for non-white people and now overnight all of them are viciously competing on who offers the most shades (in some cases hundreds). This issue may not have the same importance and power as racial equality does, but it's proof enough that if you kick up enough stink the market will respond. I wouldn't be surprised if women's pockets dwarfed mens if this ever happened.

> razor thin margin clothing industry that means the pockets are going to be missing or tiny.

Some parts of the clothing industry have razor-thin margins. Some of them sell you a $200 shirt that cost $20 to make, and they don't care that for every shirt they sell, eight will be returned to the manufacturer.

>So women, we’ve got a right to be upset. The data proves it.

This is one of the dangers of scientism. Without widespread memes about taking "data", "peer-reviewed studies", and long articles presented in a magazine-style web theme being authoritative, we would never see an attempt of this kind to transmogrify seam measurements from a small, arbitrary sample of garments into proof of a grand societal conspiracy to restrict "women's private spaces".

Meanwhile, society seems to be on a war against cargo pants.

I've heard that pockets add bulk and warping to the clothing, so this might be a stylistic thing as well. Especially since female jeans tend to be stretchier and more form-fitting.

If they made fully functional pockets for women's clothing would they be purchased? I have found several pockets sewn shut and people act like it isn't a big deal.

Not to undermine the point of the article, but this isn’t so much a “women’s vs men’s clothing” issue as much as it is a “clothing manufacturers have streamlined production to the point that nobody will pay extra to redesign clothes that very few people will buy”. This affects sizing standards the most, because there are basically none. Even the most cutting edge, eco friendly, forward thinking clothing brands get their patterns from copying the proportions off vintage or competitors clothes, usually made to fit a tall european twenty-something.

On the other hand, men deserve to be able to carry a purse. When jacket season ends mens carrying capacity drops dramatically

I love the presentation of data though

Because that's what women buy. It's not some conspiracy where clothing companies are making something women don't want, suppressing their own sales. If GAP et al could sell more clothing with bigger pockets, they would in a heartbeat. If you think an entire industry is wrong, you should start a clothing line or become a fashion designer to tap an untapped market.

I don't believe it's that simple. At least in the past. When you have no options to buy another product then all the trends will point towards that being the consumer demand.

That's like saying everyone loves Comcast because everyone in my area has them. They are the only provider, so maybe sales numbers isn't the best metric to determine consumer desire in all cases.

Within recent years this argument becomes a bit less viable as there are so many ways to purchase clothing and near infinite options, but it then becomes about brand reputation and quality. How many vendors have the capability to meet consumer demand with a high quality, available product. And how easy is it to get funding for this business when, as you say, consumers don't APPEAR to want it?

So this argument feels lazy imo. I don't think it's a conspiracy insofar there is a cabal refusing to put pockets in their clothing for some nefarious reason. But that doesn't mean that the consumers are being listened to, and brands aren't responsible for the lack of available pocket space in women's clothing.

Firstly, my wife would strongly disagree with you.

Your argument implies that women are given the option between many nearly identical pairs of pants, some with large pockets and some with small pockets. Instead they're presented with dozens of pants with only small pockets. Given the choice between pants with small pockets or no pants, they buy pants with small pockets.

So you are suggesting that there are no options, seriously? Clothing stores that serves both genders usually caters 90% of the store to women, because they are the ones who buy a lot of clothes.

Men usually get a small corner somewhere. Also, there is online shopping with literally thousands of stores to choose from and you are suggesting none of these offers pants with larger pockets?

Probably, she don't care enough about pockets to really search for it?

So apparently clothing industry lacks of diversity?

Please don't post shallow dismissals or take HN threads into flamewar.


From where I am sitting, your characterization of seriousquestion's comment as a "very shallow dismissal" is itself a very shallow dismissal. Substantially shallower than seriousquestion's comment, which at least contains an argument about consumer demand shaping the products the clothing industry creates.

Indeed, moderation comments suck. They suck even more to write than to read, if that helps at all (https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&so...).

The GP comment is actually a string of internet clichés: (1) "it's not some conspiracy", (2) "if they could sell" (3) "if you think [...] you should". That plus the confrontational edge makes it a flamewar comment. We're trying to avoid those here.

Btw, one key thing to look for is whether a comment engages anything specific in an article, or is just using it to make a generic point. The latter is always a bad sign in HN threads.

Gonna stick my neck out here to say that I think that that comment got to the heart of the matter, and your enumerated cliches are in fact apropos, in that TFA is actually positing a conspiracy, and if it were true, then there is an untapped related market opportunity, as well as a better means of confirming its truth (namely by selling pants with bigger pockets).

Well, maybe, but then it would be just as possible to post an interesting and substantive comment about it, which would be inside the site guidelines instead of breaking them.

Yet if GP comment on an article about phone sizes was "there is no conspiracy, people just like big phones", you wouldn't call it out as flamewar.

You only do that on certain topics.

I'm afraid you lost me. Are you suggesting that HN moderation is in the pocket of Big Phone?

I don't think this is taking into account the fact that men's and women's jeans are made to different shapes to conform to different male and female bodies. Perhaps the difference in design constrains the effective maximum depth of front pockets on women. As evidence that pocket size differences are not merely because clothes companies don't think women need pockets I would point to their data that shows that women's back pockets are the same size as men's. If clothes companies were giving women smaller pockets for arbitrary reasons wouldn't that also carry over to back pockets?

You’d be surprised at how arbitrary the process actually is. Clothing brands are first and foremost concerned with sourcing unique fabrics and materials, and then building collections aiming for a certain style in connection to these materials and trends. The production of clothing is almost exclusively outsourced to asia, meaning clothing designers don’t actually have any say in how the garments are put together other than giving feedback to the prototypes sent from the factories. “Take this template, make the arms a bit longer and take off the breast pocket” type of feedback. A total redesign of women’s jeans with bigger pockets would mean a redesign of the clothing brand’s production model too. They would have to spend a lot on R&D, training, production and what not, so they just don’t bother.

This reminds me of a funny story that happened to me as I was looking to buy some new clothes. I ventured into a mens clothing store in the city centre of the town I lived in. A happy salesman welcomed me and we got on our way looking at different jackets.

Just a little while later, the salesman came up to me and said something in the lines of "don't worry we know what men wants, nice fit looking clothes with lots of pockets".

It made me chuckle and I ended up later buying several items from that store. He was a good salesman but that sentence really made me realize that this is what this is about.

Men WANTS pockets and women seems to not care about it as much in general. Men REQUIRE pockets or else we don't buy the clothes and that is the key reason why womens pockets are useless.

EDIT: I am not saying that every woman don't care about pockets. I just think it's a reasonable explanation that most of women don't care enough to not buy the clothes. I think women tend to value other stuff higher than the amount of pockets or how functional they are.

Don't just downvote people for sharing a friendly, alternate explanation. This is not reddit.

You are downvoted because you are saying there are differences in man and woman preferences, in your case functionality vs. aesthetics.

This is also known as "neurosexism":

> So, this line goes, women are not really less intelligent than men, just ‘different’ in a way that happens to coincide with biblical teachings and the status quo of gender roles.


> You are downvoted because you are saying there are differences in woman and man preferences.

But men and women have different preferences in general?

> his is also known as "neurosexism"

Cool, so now I am a sexist? I really am posting in the SV timezone, aren't I?

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