Jayla Lee
November 30, 2014 7:20 am

Ladies. Let’s be real with each other for a minute. I know we love our jeggings, skinny jeans, and boot cuts. But have any of you ever had that humorous yet slightly annoyed conversation with friends about how your pockets are simply a joke? Mine can barely fit half of my iPhone, to be exact. I did some research to find that our pocket situation may not be a coincidence. In fact, the research suggests that some industries are making passive implications with these micro-pockets. Perhaps that we couldn’t possibly hold all of our necessities in a pocket so why bother? Or that women simply require more than men to be sufficient–encouraging us to carry purses in situations when we would rather not. I witnessed this issue just yesterday at work. My manager laughed and exclaimed: “What’s up with my pockets though? They’re sewn shut. What’s the point?” I thought to myself…that’s exactly the thing. There is no point. Fake pockets are the reason I have trust issues. (Are you there or are you not?!)

Earlier this year, fashion firm director Camilla Olson spoke up regarding this issue. The Atlantic quoted her thoughts about the lack of progress in the fashion industry in respect of women. She stated, “I find it discouraging… fashion looks selectively at who they let in and keeps women at a certain place. It’s not helping women move forward in the workplace.” She pointed out that a male can quickly grab his keys and phone on a way to a meeting. A woman, however, has to take extra time to pack it into a bag. What if I were in a life-threatening emergency that required a quick getaway? At this point, I’d probably have nothing with me unless I grabbed my purse. And that’s a little unsettling.

I’m not saying we should all wear men’s jeans so we can carry extra stuff. What I’m saying is that I long for the day where our clothes can be expressive, fun, and practical. Maybe even hold something useful. This simple difference is just one more barrier from an even playing field with men. In ways such as this, fashion continues to underestimate us. And while I love a great skinny jean, I believe it’s so important to recognize that we can achieve just as much with minimal belongings and a go-getter spirit. No bag required.

The good news is that people are talking about it. We’re recognizing that clothes have the ability to communicate something positive, as well. Just this month, artists in London released a project that represents the empowering side of fashion.  The “Women Fashion Power” display in London’s Design Museum consists of women’s clothing from the past 150 years. Each of these pieces represents a historical movement in which a woman used fashion resourcefully. Talk about girl power. Co-curator Donna Loveday proposed that fashion is “not something that restricts women or enslaves them. It is something that women are actively engaging with and…using it to express a sense of style and empowerment and authority.

The truth is, fashion is more than just clothes in our closet. It’s more than combining colors, textures, and creating artistic statements (although that’s fun too). Clothes represent something about us, and my hope is that there will be more opportunities to use them in a way that commands empowerment and dignity for ourselves. No more of this silly “pockets” business.

(Images via, via, via. )

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