Pocket Change

Our last night in Australia, we had dinner followed by conversation with a swimmer and his girlfriend, who looked radiant in her red, flowing jumpsuit. We agreed that we both liked the easy, one-piece pull on, but I chimed in with the opinion that most men aren't fans of the look.  Her boyfriend disagreed and said that he likes the look and can appreciate most trends. "Well," he said, "all but one," which happens to be one of my personal favorites --  pockets on dresses.

Whether you're jumping with joy or rolling your eyes, the trend is here and making it's presence known on the runway, in retail stores and splashed across the pages of magazines.  Most are fashionable and not functional, but I for one like a good pocket on a dress, more as a place to put my hands during photos or while standing than as a storage place for my change or business cards, although I wouldn't be adverse to throwing in my iPhone for fast grab photo opportunities.

January Jones, of Mad Men fame, posted on the Red Carpet at the Emmy Awards, with her hands stuffed into the pockets of her red strapless Prabal Gurung gown and Christian Dior sent pockets down the runway in his haute couture collection in July.  The look can give a fancy dress a laissez faire attitude and a sense of relaxed elegance.  In DC, where we have "gala season" it adds an unexpected twist and fun to an otherwise buttoned-up formal affair.

On the flip side, pockets can add volume to the hips and create bulk on an otherwise sleek dress line.  If you find a dress or skirt with pockets, and you're not a fan, you have two options.  One, you can always have the pockets removed and the openings sewn shut or two, keep the pockets free of "stuff" and allow them to act as decoration only, preventing the added bulk that comes from phones, lipstick and business cards.

Originally, pockets were intended to act as a small purse to hold smelling salts and a handkerchief in the 1700's, but when clingier, body hugging materials like cotton made it's debut, the fabrics couldn't hold up to the weight of the pocketed items and were removed from garments.  When skirts got wider and fabric more durable, in the 1800's, pockets made a resurgence, only to go in and out of style over the decades that followed.  

For me, I like pockets on the fuller skirts and dresses, but do find that they add volume to my hips and legs on sleeker silhouettes such as pencil skirts and fitted trousers.  What's your take on the trend?

[photo via here and here]