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Empowering Women Through Their Pockets (and how to get an extra hip pocket!)

Updated: May 1, 2023

I'm sick of women's styles not having enough pockets.

Why don't women's clothes have enough pockets?

So many dresses are missing pockets and our pants have these tiny pockets to conveniently fit the pocket watches that we apparently carry around with us, but not our phones, keys, and wallets. And I often find purses to be very burdensome. They cut through your boobs in a weird way, distract from beautiful necklines of clothing, and make you feel oddly immobile with your arms. God forbid you start running, which becomes a weird flapping situation...

Inspired by Women's Pockets Throughout History:

This winter, I spotted a photo on Pinterest of an antique pocket—one that women would tie around their waist and wear under their petticoat. They accessed it and its contents through a slit in their outer skirt. What a concept! I rented a book about external tie-on pockets from the library that talks about how these waist pockets that were worn throughout the 17-19th centuries in Europe represented women’s ability to participate in economic trade, to have privacy, and hands-free mobility in their daily work. It’s how they held secret, important, and even stolen items. They were most often made from soft durable linen and cotton, embroidered by hand, kept for a lifetime, and mended as needed.

women's pockets history
women's pockets history

These add-on pockets aren’t bulky like fanny packs, with no chunky zippers, buckles, or plastic-y nylon fabrics. They are soft, subtle, washable, and mendable.

Over time these tie-on pockets were slowly replaced by the purse worn over the shoulder or the handbag, although this transformation to holding a bag was not of use to many women...

In an article published in 1901, suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton explains the various predicaments of pocketless women, describing a woman seen hurrying onto a boat who had 'her [dress] train in one hand, her umbrella and handkerchief in the other, and her purse held in her teeth!', all problems that would be solved if the 'part of the dress that trails on the floor was cut off to make a generous pocket.'

--The Pocket by Barbara Burman

Where can I get extra pockets?

Check out Charlie Darwin's "Extra Pocket" that is made from soft earthy linen with adjustable wooden buttons! It can be worn high on the waist or lower on the hips, and the belt is customized to your body measurements for the perfect fit!

The benefits of the Charlie Darwin Hip Pocket:

  1. I have space to keep my phone, wallet, keys, credit cards, and sunglasses. If I’m not bringing much else, I can even fit a small water bottle in there. Just the right size for essentials, without weighing me down.

  2. Like a purse, it gives me the flexibility to mix and match it with different outfits, but unlike a purse, it isn’t cutting through my shoulder or hindering my mobility.

  3. The hips are really great at bearing weight (think of how you wear backpacking bags with the weight on your hips!) and it sort of doubles as a cute belt!

Shop eco-friendly linen hip pockets from Charlie Darwin Textiles.

These unique linen pockets are available in black or natural white, embroidered or plain. All with an adjustable buttoning waist so that you can wear it high on the waist or low on the hips! Each pocket is made to your custom waist measurements.

antique linen pocket with embroidery

It’s time to rethink how we want to carry ourselves and our essential belongings out into the world!

I wish I had fewer things to carry around, but alas, here we are, with our things. The pocket at least helps me pair down to just the essentials that I need for the day.

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