Renee says “Don’t Diss My Pockets!”

by Erin on May 11, 2007


Costume Institute Pockets Renee Zellwegger

Anna sends me a link to this site where the OBVIOUSLY RHETORICAL question of "pockets: hot or not?" is being asked.

The blogger (who, I think, is also named Erin, in some bizzarro-world faceoff of Pockets!Erin vs. No-Pockets!Erin) says:

But they [pockets] defy the very purpose of dresses, that is, to make you feel pretty and girly. Jamming your hands deep in the pockets of a dress does nothing for your shape (think hunched shoulders, stumpy arms and two big wads of fabric adding unnecessary bulk to your hips).

Needless to say, I disagree. I think what defies the very purpose of dresses (which is to make you feel happy & most like yourself) is having to haul along a giant shoulder bag: think lopsided leaning, aching arms, and a huge goiter of a bag adding unnecessary bulk to your everywhere.

I also don't think women should have to decide between having a place to put a lipbalm, some ID, and their keys and looking as slim as possible. Jeez, there are worse things in life than bulk on the hips, especially when it's apparent to anyone with the sense God gave a junebug that it's Something In Your Pocket, and not that you were Happy to See a Twinkie. (And, might I add, so what if you were, at one point, happy to see a Twinkie? I am getting so very tired of machinations of the Diet-Industrial Complex …)

I'd say "go leave a comment" but the site is all whirligiggy with popup boxes and too many flashing things and whatnot, so don't bother. You can comment here, I don't mind.

[Thanks to Dara for sending the picture!]

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Bea Miller May 11, 2007 at 7:06 am

I am all for pockets, even in ball gowns. Erin, I think you could write a book called The Hundred Pockets, based on this quotation:When one has much to put into them, a day has a hundred pockets.Friedrich Nietzsche

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rka May 11, 2007 at 7:21 am

I am pro the pockets on dresses, though I dont think I would for example put a bunch of keys into one on such a lovely dress :-) But why bother with a handbag when you for example go shopping and need two empty hands for actually doing something?

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twollin May 11, 2007 at 7:33 am

isn’t it better and certainly more independent to have pockets in one’s dresses (and skirts too – let’s vote for pockets in skirts) rather than have to drag around a bag or even worse, have your escort drag around your bag or plunk your lipstick, cell phone, keys and teeny wallet into THEIR tuxedo pockets? My dear mama always told me to make sure I had “car fare” (hey, she was born in 1919…they called it “car fare” in those days)in case my escort got “fresh”. Where would I have had the room to put said car fare and the lipstick et al. if I had not had pockets (or an evening bag that was bigger than an elongated hamburger which is the size I see these sweet young things carrying about these days)? In the case of this lovely dress worn by Miss Zellweger, I have to say that if she’d put anything larger than a quarter in there, I’m sure we would have been able to see it like an x-ray since the dress has been rather closely fitted for her, but also, I doubt that she was all that concerned that a couple of internal flaps of silk were going to put any viewer in the mistaken thought that she had gained a bunch of weight (please note the rather prominent clavicles and shoulder bone structure which, as we all know now, is the advertisement that the super-thin actresses and models use to let the rest of us know that their body fat percentage is a whole heck of a lot smaller than ours is).

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dawn May 11, 2007 at 7:35 am

I can’t stand not having pockets. I need a tissue available at all times! it’s also nice to have a couple bucks in case the ice cream man goes by.

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Julia May 11, 2007 at 7:54 am

I don’t like pockets because they flop and jingle when I move. Doesn’t that bother you?

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Henriette May 11, 2007 at 8:00 am

Isn’t it great that we can just decide if we like to use our pockets or not – that’s a decision which certainly shouldn’t bother anyone at all?

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Shauna May 11, 2007 at 8:14 am

I like having the choice of whether or not I want pockets. Some days I just don’t feel pockety, other days I do. There is nothing un-lovely about pockets (in fact, pockets are VERY lovely!), and I am thrilled that I can choose pockets or no-pockets whenever I want to!

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Miz Shoes May 11, 2007 at 8:14 am

Frankly, I think someone should force-feed Miss Zellwegger a Twinkie or two. Or a cheeseburger. What is wrong with a little body fat? That dress would look smoking on a body with some T&A. As for pockets? I’m with this Erin. There should be more pockets. Patch pockets, welted pockets, pockets on a seam.

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Latter-Day Flapper May 11, 2007 at 8:50 am

I’m a die-hard pocket convert. In addition to being useful, pockets are a terrific opportunity for decoration (all those 1950′s aprons with novelty patch pockets!).

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The Frankenerd May 11, 2007 at 9:03 am

I find it interesting that they say that pockets belong on pants or shorts only. Pockets on pants or shorts can really ruin a clean line, and many style guides insist that people sew their pants pockets closed to maintain that line. There is room in most skirts or dresses to put a pocketfull of stuff without making a nasty bulge, whereas on pants a pocketfull of stuff can make one look as though one has a tumour.

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Anonymous May 11, 2007 at 9:08 am

Yes, pockets!! I have all my lovely grandmother’s dresses/suits/aprons and they all have pockets which tells me they must be cool because she only wore fabulous things all the time!!Wearing a dress makes one feel like something special could happen and having pockets makes the “mommy I need a tissue” response so much more elegant than looking for a restaurant napkin or what have you!

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Jen May 11, 2007 at 9:53 am

Good heavens, what silliness! Pockets are a fine thing in a skirt or dress, and far more so than in pants, as Nuala points out.Furthermore, while I’m usually not happy to see a Twinkie, I’m nearly always happy to see ice cream. Or fudge. Or cupcakes.

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Anonymous May 11, 2007 at 10:04 am

Pockets are a YES.

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canadian sadie May 11, 2007 at 10:18 am

I love pockets, and I actually love this dress. I hate not having a place for my lipstick and my keys. I HATE a purse more than i hate eating liver, so Pockets? Heck yeah!

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Charles May 11, 2007 at 10:27 am

What I don’t get, is the idea that just because one has pockets on your garment, that it is an Imperative of Nature that one must shove your hands into them and then spend the rest of the day in that posture. Pockets are for stuff. Gloves are for covering your hands.Don’t use pockets as gloves.”hunched shoulders, stumpy arms and two big wads of fabric” problem solved. :-)

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Archivarian (An Archival Library Mistress) May 11, 2007 at 10:36 am

I’m a fan of pockets in skirts ever since I discovered they were big in Banana Republic’s fall ’06 skirt line. I have a charcoal bubble skirt as well as a gold and a black satin a-line skirt (yes I did buy both of them), all with pockets. Perfect for keys, lip balm and I still can carry my cell and other necessities in a tiny clutch (if needed) when I’m out on the town. Since the skirts are are the fuller side, you don’t notice any bulk.

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Theresa May 11, 2007 at 10:36 am

Personally I love seeing that some designers are putting pockets in evening dresses. I properly constructed (and fitted!) dress, skirt, or pants with pockets will not bulge or flop or do anything to ad bulk. I see no bulk on Ms. Zellwegger. I used to buy men’s blazers instead of womens becuse they have more pockets. I hate fake pockets – so useless!

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Anonymous May 11, 2007 at 10:43 am

Because pockets in pants are so icky in the clean line way and because I have bodacious ta-tas, I have always subscribed to the theory that the best pockets are in the “treasure chest.”While the diet-industrial complex does tell us we should be as slim as possible, bootylicousness and gravity defying ta-tas are also de rigour. I propose to solve this problem with judiciously placed pockets. An exterior chest pocket augmenting the front of a bodice could be well stuffed with id, cash, plastic card and electronic thing-a-magiggies, and then padded out the front with a supply of kleenex or “sanitary supplies,” thus saving us huge amounts of cash in surgeons fees and doctors fees from the later degradation of our intra-chest jewelry.Similarly, a booty pocket could be made to serve the same purpose, (though sitting down would be much more hazardous) but so many more of us already have the bootyliciousness going on, it might only really be in demand for those who have starved themselves so much that they could use a greasy cheeseburger.

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LL May 11, 2007 at 10:59 am

Hear, Hear! Pockets on everything! A well-executed pocket will not ruin the line of any garment and it is up to the person wearing the dress not to stuff it full of crap and/or not to stand around all schlub-like, elbow-deep in their evening gown.Goodness gracious, people. Women carry ID and money and perhaps don’t want to have to hold a damn evening bag all the time. Is it really *that* novel of a concept??

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Christina May 11, 2007 at 11:22 am

I must say I prefer pockets for chapstick and cell phone, but unless said pockets zip or snap, I’ll put my valuables in a purse because I’m paranoid of stuff falling out of my pockets or being stolen.

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Lori Jean May 11, 2007 at 11:23 am

Yeah pockets, but in the case of this dress, I don’t think it was necessary to embellish so heavily to draw attention to the pocket seams. Subtle decor or decor elsewhere to draw attention *away* from the pockets would have been a better way to build it… in my humble opinion. :)

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Lisa May 11, 2007 at 11:55 am

Totally off topic but why can’t they ever seem to make decent pockets on pants? If the pants fit then the pockets aren’t really useable but if the pockets are functional the pants fall off you! I’m pro-pocket. Especially those cute little patch pockets on dresses and skirts. They look so nice and work so well without getting twisted or looking bulky. :)

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Moonwishes May 11, 2007 at 12:11 pm

I love pockets also, but pockets in the particular are that they appear in Renee’s dress and a few patterns I have seen presents an image of a woman scratching her ‘private parts’. These pockets are way too far in front. I also think a grown-up doesn’t need to have her hands in her pockets at all times either.But I do love pockets on the sides or patch pockets in the front. I guess the way hers are constructed remind me too much of major league baseball players when they forget the camera may be on them.

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Anonymous May 11, 2007 at 12:57 pm

I heart pockets, and was really cheered to see many ads in Vogue this past winter featuring dresses or skirts with pockets. Real ones, you know, that you could actually put things in. Not that I’ll be buying the Vogue dresses, but I hope to see this trickle through the fashion industry.As someone who usually carries a purse, I am always asked by my boyfriend and various friends if they could just stick their wallet/keys/inhaler/gloves in my bag, so they don’t have to carry them around. I do it, but it drives me nuts. goldilocks

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Laura May 11, 2007 at 2:06 pm

I discovered the wonderfulness of pockets two weeks ago while visiting my best friend. I borrowed a dress for a night out, an adorable little soft cotton black swingy thing with pockets sewn on the front. I held one of the pockets shut with a cute pin and it was just the right size for my id, cash, and lip gloss. It was so great not to worry about lugging around a purse while dancing and I had the best time! Hooray for pockets!

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phoenix May 11, 2007 at 5:00 pm

I’m on the side of pockets on dresses too. I bought one last spring in London and love love love it, though I didn’t use the pockets for practical reasons because I’m a bag whore. :)This dress in particular on Ms. Z is perfectly tailored so that the pockets lay flat – I somehow doubt that she’s got a lipstick and cabfare tucked away in there though…

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mamafrog May 11, 2007 at 5:07 pm

I can remember being a little girl about 40+ years ago and having a fit because my grandma hadn’t put pockets in the dress she was making for me! Now that I’m a “woman of a certain age” I have pockets in absolutely everything. I love men’s shirts since they seem to hang better on my roundish figure, and there is always a pocket for my glasses so they don’t get crushed in my purse. I do carry a purse, with everybody else’s stuff too, but pockets are for the things I have to have right now and don’t want to look for!

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Charissa May 11, 2007 at 5:29 pm

Yay for pockets! I always need a place to put my ID, debit card, and the occasional hot wheels car.I hated not having pockets in my maternity pants.

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Binkle May 11, 2007 at 6:12 pm

I, for one, am waiting for the return of Pocket Panniers…. No, I’m not mocking the pocket lovers, I just can’t get over the idea of these contraptions that: A) store more things than a purse without needing to carry one, B) widen and hide one’s hips so that nobody is worried about how theirs look, and C) when paired with a bodice that comes to a V in the front, makes those who are not actresses or supermodels look like they have a much narrower waist. Who can go wrong??? I’m off to find reproduction patterns now….

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Anonymous May 11, 2007 at 6:37 pm

I understand not wanting to carry a purse… I mean, I hate dealing with a purse, finding a place for a purse, dragging the purse around, hitching the purse straps back up onto my shoulder. My only question is this: If you don’t carry a purse, where do you put your BOOK? Because I can stick my keys in my pockets, but not the latest work from Diana Gabaldon or George R.R. Martin.

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La BellaDonna May 11, 2007 at 7:28 pm

Laura, I recommend http://jpryan.com/ladiespatterns.htmlfor your pocket panniers. Ryan’s pattern for panniers is the same pattern shown in Norah Waugh’s Corsets and Crinolines, and they’re quite comfy! I do recommend wearing a pair of pockets inside the panniers, which tend to collapse occasionally. Which is good, actually, for getting through doorways, but can be a trifle disconcerting. I’d like to point out that, of course, there is no real need to place pockets where the contents thereof are going to make you look your lumpiest. If you’re wearing a long evening gown, put the darned pockets in seams lower down than your hips! And velcro or button or tie them shut! There is no law of which I am aware that says Thou shalt place bulgy pockets over thy hips. Since I am late to adding pockets (because of the bulges, and my tendency to bag up and carry enough detritus with which to emigrate), I’ve been known to tuck items into my bra – or the tops of my boots.

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daisyfairbanks May 11, 2007 at 7:47 pm

Yes, pockets. And too-thin starlets should fill them with sandwiches.

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Anonymous May 11, 2007 at 7:51 pm

Well, I don’t know about an evening gown, but as my company gets more security conscious, I find myself having to carry my electronic fob key around my neck – an ugly lump of grey plastic. If I ever get time to sew those shirt dresses I keep meaning to make, you better believe they’ll have pockets.What I don’t get is, why is it the more expensive store-bought clothes that are pocket-less, while less pricy stuff is practical and pocketed? If I’m paying more money, shouldn’t I get even more pockets? Just wondering…

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Anonymous May 11, 2007 at 10:33 pm

Pockets on a dress are fine. “Wearing” them as Renee demonstrates here, not so fine.

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Mad Fashionista May 12, 2007 at 7:40 am

Dahling, that photo is positive terrifying! I personally adore pockets on a dress, simply because it can give you something to do with your hands when you don’t want to shake hands with the great unwashed.But what has happened to Ms. Zellwegger? Has she been living on a can of Ensure every other day? And the clavicles! For my recent blog on clavicles being “the next gaunt thing” in the New York Times (not that I would ever stoop to such a shameless plug, Erin dear), you can click the link.

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Emily May 12, 2007 at 8:46 am

Totally off topic but why can’t they ever seem to make decent pockets on pants? If the pants fit then the pockets aren’t really useable but if the pockets are functional the pants fall off you!Pants should have a waistband with 0-2 inches of ease on a standard fitting pant. Most people will find 2″ of ease on the high side. The hips should have around 4″ of ease on a flat front pant, more for pleat front. The pocket should be sized to take your entire hand to about 2″ above your wristbone.Most manufacturers make their pants for women with a rectangular frame (minimal difference between waist and hip circumference). I’ve measured women’s pants that had as little as a 6″ difference between waist and hips. So if you have real hips with a 10″ or more difference from your waist, you’ll end up with serious fit problems. If the manufacturer compounds their error by using a poorly designed crotch curve, you end up with pants that will fall off if the hips fit, not let your hips in if the waist fits, *and* if by some miracle there’s an in betweenish size, they’ll reveal your underwear to the world if you sit down. Even if they’re traditional rise.

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Meghan May 12, 2007 at 9:35 am

I love pockets, and think they certainly work well on many (if not most) garments. However, the placement of the pocket on Renee’s dress is a little unfortunate. I could see the use of that pocket looking a little un-ladylike from the wrong angle.

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kathi s May 12, 2007 at 11:08 am

Love pockets, but I tend to cram them. That’s my bad, not the pocket’s!

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Anonymous May 12, 2007 at 12:15 pm

I went and read the article, and I love how the author assumes that since most dresses you buy today at the store don’t have pockets, obviously pockets have always been a “pants only” thing.I think most of the reason that women don’t wear dresses more now is that dresses have lost most of thier utilitarian aspects. They’re just for “dressing up” and aren’t practical for wearing in everyday life (for example, no pockets, and too short, cut too narrowly and tight). A good practical skirt falls somewhat below knee-length, to avoid the possibility of inadvertently flashing passers-by, a slightly full to circular cut (to allow freedom of movement-sit down, stand up, step over obstacles in your path), and pockets of any sort, for the obvious reasons.

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Maddy May 12, 2007 at 3:46 pm

It is a well known fact that I LOVE pockets on dresses, especially wide trapezey ones. I can understand why she wouldn’t see the appeal in a slim-fitting dress, but even on those, I still think pockets are a-ok.

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AmeliaB May 12, 2007 at 5:01 pm

I love pockets! Love the picture too. :-)~Amelia

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enc May 13, 2007 at 9:14 am

Miz Shoes said…”Patch pockets, welted pockets, pockets on a seam.”May I expand on that idea?:Patch pockets, welted pockets, pockets on a seam.Dresses without pockets–They make me want toSCREAM!

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Elrond Hubbard May 13, 2007 at 11:43 am

I would agree with those who say that pockets in dresses are yet another step toward women’s equality with men, for they allow women not to depend on their escort to carry things for them. But I also agree that one of the most important things to carry in a pocket, keys, can not be carried very well in a dress pocket. So really, this issue is far from resolution. This brings us to another ongoing frustration with dresses, which is where to hide the wireless microphone transmitter for movie production. It weighs a few pounds, so even if it could be stored in a pocket, it would make the dress hang oddly. Another solution is to tie an ace bandage under the dress around the narrowest part of the woman’s waist and clip the transmitter to the bandage in the small of her back. But the bandage needs to be tied tightly if the transmitter is not to sag, and this can be uncomfortable. And with really tight dresses, the transmitter can still make an ugly lump in the back. Then there’s the option of tying the bandage around the upper thigh and clipping the transmitter inside the thigh, but this brings in a whole new set of frustrations. So I say to the dress making community, what can be done to help audio guys with microphone transmitter placement? As with alternative fuel possibilities, if we all get our heads together on this, maybe we can make something happen.

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Kimberley May 13, 2007 at 1:24 pm

I once added pockets to a bridal gown for a very cool, practical girl!Almost everything I make for myself has pockets, even it’s just a hidden one in the waistband big enough for a folded bill, a lipstick and my bus pass. Definitel Pro-Pockets, here.

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bani May 13, 2007 at 3:24 pm

I’m just taken with the whole parallell universe Erin thing. The mind boggles.Gudrun Sjden, a Swedish designer, often makes little ickle bags that are like portable pockets. Possibly a compromise…?

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Kate May 13, 2007 at 4:23 pm

I just discovered that my new Isaac Mizrahi dress from Target (chintz dress in aqua) has side-seam pockets. I’m so excited!

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standgale May 13, 2007 at 11:52 pm

I just want a cheeseburger, with so many people talking about them in the comments. Anyway, the dress. The pockets. I wouldn’t put keys in them, that would be ugly in these pockets and look silly. A tissue and an eftpos card and a $20 bill would probably work well though, although I’m not sure if these pockets are completely horizontal and thus stuff would fall out. in fact, that looks like a generally weird place to put pockets – on the front between the stomach and the crotch…

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Myrte de Zeeuw May 14, 2007 at 3:40 am

Such a coincedence. I saw the picture on thirsday and kept it to send it to you today!No more need for that.I think it looks’new’. You know, breaking with the usual tradition to not put pockets in a evening dress. It looks lovely and new, that’s the point, and not the discussion itself- pockets or not.At least that’s my opinion.Take care-Myrte

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Allison May 14, 2007 at 8:05 am

My grandmother’s evening gowns ALL had pockets. A well-designed dress (or skirt) can have pockets that won’t ruin the line.

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Anonymous May 14, 2007 at 11:40 pm

I don’t think pockets work that well in such a fitted dress. I put pockets in my wide skirts, and don’t buy jackets without them, but on the dress in the picture I think they look ridiculous. Unfortunate placement, and they don’t look practical at all./Monika

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Myrte de Zeeuw May 16, 2007 at 3:44 am

Let’s just let the thought go that things have to be practical. It’s so limiting. Especially when you consider fashion as a form or art which you are confronted with every day. No rules. Lovely!

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paperlily May 17, 2007 at 11:37 pm

Pockets on a dress is so unexpected… and it can work. I wore a dress with pockets to a wedding last year, and I LOVED it! It’s probably one of my all-time favorite dresses. And, if anything, it made the dress even more feminine. There’s just something playful about it– and all the while chic… I’m all for pockets. Every girl should wear a dress with pockets at some point.

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STL Mom May 21, 2007 at 8:48 pm

Pockets in a dress, yes. Pockets in an evening gown – not if they can be seen.The whole point of a gown is that you should look like you have “people” to carry your keys and such for you.

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Anonymous May 22, 2007 at 10:19 pm

Personally I think that the “whole point of a gown” is to make you look like you NEED someone to carry your stuff for you.

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angldst July 8, 2007 at 7:15 pm

rather rather late to this posting, but I am SO pro-pockets, that I’ve drafted them into most of the things that I make for myself, skirts AND dresses, if they don’t already have them. Even pencil skirts. My pencil skirt pattern has back welt trouser-style pockets, the better to hold a chain wallet. (you can dress the girl up but there’s till a tomboy element….) If you put a lining in the skirt and slip the pockets between the lining and the outer fabric (and don’t cram them too full of stuff) they’ll hang just fine and look just fine on a slim skirt or dress. -d

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Carol G. August 30, 2007 at 6:52 am

Women need pockets! We are always hearing about purse snatchings. Well, duh.Pockets don’t need to diminish the style factor. I’m so glad when I find a skirt or dress with pockets, because I carry my wallet with money and credit cards in my pocket.My purse holds hair items, a compact, and necessities that won’t ruin your life, if stolen. I say hurrah for pockets for women’s clothing! Go Pockets!

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Anonymous November 6, 2008 at 8:49 pm

I Love Pockets. I put everything in them and I put my hands in my pockets all the time.

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Marci January 14, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I love, love, LOVE pockets on dresses pans skirts! I don’t care if it is a casual dress or a red carpet dress. I do like them better on a full skirt but they can look very chic on a fitted dress. And who cares if it might add some bulk to the hips? I’ve never met a man who would complain about curves on a woman!

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Renne June 7, 2013 at 2:11 am

For this particular style of dress, pockets are actually meant to add some extra bulk to the hips. This was one of the classic 40′s-50′s tricks for making more of what you don’t have – they were not utilitarian. They were a design feature intended to create the illusion of wider hips, making the waist look even smaller by comparison. I am all for them, since I like an actual hourglass shape, not the top-heavy version that seems to be so popular today. I don’t think the general thrust of the article and the comments, though, is spot-on because these pockets were never intended to have anything put in them.

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