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Your Daily Read: The Gender Politics of Pockets

Three cheers for designer sarees

The tyranny of fashion, and where do you tuck in your I Phone with your designer saree?


There’s nothing I dislike more than lugging my large hand bag wherever I go. The pretty little clutches that they make for women are invariably too small, so more often than not I am stuck with a  phone in one hand, an access card in another, and an uncomfortably wedged key in that tiny pocket which is surely just for show on anyone with the slightest girth on her hips.

That (and because I really want the over-sized IPhone 6) is why this article on The Gender Politics of Pockets is your daily read today. The writer shines a light at the inherent sexism in the fashion industry , where the mostly male designers focus more on how clothes look on a woman’s body than on how practical they are. That is possibly why our pockets and are clothes haven’t evolved at quite the pace that technology has!

A man can simply swipe up his keys and iPhone on the way to a rendezvous with co-workers and slip them into his pocket. A woman on the way to that same meeting has to either carry those items in her hand, or bring a whole purse with her—a definitive, silent sign that she is a woman.


Camilla Olson, creative director at her high tech fashion firm contends that just because a few designers believe pockets are ‘ugly’ they are holding back women’s fashion on the whole.

Olson believes the industry is overly focused on the visual appeal of clothing rather than how it can help women—and men, for that matter—live simpler, easier lives. She thinks it’s this preoccupation that’s kept the fashion industry from becoming relevant in today’s technocentric society.


And we can’t help extend this analogy to other aspects of some of the things in our wardrobe.  Isn’t this emphasis on form over function also a reason high heels are a desirable fashion statement?

And what about the saree? Wouldn’t it be great if instead of focusing on lowering the waist and miniaturising the blouses,  Manish Malhotra contrived a way to carry a designer phone with a designer saree?

The article also suggests a solution which appeals which marries functionality to our notions of beauty and appeals to my pear-shaped body .

Women’s pockets are often located near the hip area, where many women would prefer not to attract attention. For that problem, Olson thinks a holster-type of product would work best—a compromise between having a purse and placing an unsightly bulge around what is culturally perceived in the West as a “problem area.”

It’s got to be an accessories solution,” she theorized. “Chanel just came out with a holster type of thing that is really, really pretty. Or a fanny pack that was stylish. Or a shape to wear about [the body]. But not belts. Something that’s comfortable, that’s important.”

The key as experts say is to remember that fashion serves a purpose more than just ‘beauty’, and to build in functionality into it. What do you think girls? Where do you slip in your smart phones when wearing your smartest clothes?

Read more here.

My Big Red Bag brings original content inspired by life’s joys and passions. Find food for thought every Sun-Thur in Your Daily Read, and stay tuned to our latest content by following us on Twitter and FB!

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