Why do women love dresses with pockets? Marian Keyes explains

Sudden Wild Enthusiasms: Dresses with pockets

There are a few things that make women wild with happiness:

A) anything Ryan Gosling-related;

B) a dress with pockets.

We love dresses with pockets, but why are we denied them?! Well, it's no accident – pockets are a feminist issue: the less a woman can carry, the less freedom she has. In the 18th century, handbags didn't exist and all necessaries – a love letter, currency, a weapon – were secreted in pockets. To curtail female capers, women's clothing had their pockets removed. Shed a tear for the bloomer pocket!


As time went on, consensus was reached that men are doers, so of course they need pockets. But because women are merely ornamental, their clothing must be sleek. If they needed to cart about their silly fripperies, they could use a bag.

But much as I love handbags, they’re needy, right? They take my hands away from more productive work, they weigh a ton and I’ve lost at least five years of my life to ‘the rummage’. How much nicer to just grab my phone, debit card and key, slide them in my dress pocket and go, thus leaving my hands free to flick the V at any cheeky man should he decide to ‘do’ some casual sexism on me.

Even better, pockets give me confidence and swagger. Instead of sliding meekly into a room of strangers, my knuckles white around a clutch bag, I can stick both my hands into my dress pockets, arms akimbo, thus taking up more space in the world. My shoulders are back, my stance is tall and everything about me says I am not a woman to be trifled with.

It’s tricky to find pocket-y dresses, but there’s Boden, who’ve gone a long way to shake off their yummy mummy image. Likewise Seasalt and The White Stuff do excellent work-wear that won’t scare the horses, while Joy The Store and Emily & Fin both have very pretty pocket-y numbers.

Shifting gears dramatically, I offer you Gudrun Sjödén, a Swedish company, which I adore. If you consider yourself unique and artistic, you'll love this colourful, ethically made, quality clothing.

Speaking of Swedish brands, there’s every cool girl’s favourite, the deliciously utilitarian Cos.

Finally, in Dunnes – Dunnes! – there’s Irish brand Lennon Courtney who have beautiful, flattering dresses, many of them with pockets.