Women's fashion continues to prioritize aesthetic appeal of a woman's figure over functionality, as demonstrated by the lack of pockets in professional women's wear. The Atlantic offers a useful look into this gender divide over the availability of pockets, and how norms of women's fashion created for the runway and not real life hurt women's progress in the workforce.
While a lack of pockets may not first appear as an oppressive gender norm, it is important to recognize how these fashion rules deepen ingrained stereotypes. Imagine if men's professional wear eliminated pockets, forcing men to carry their items in an alternative bag or separately--constantly signaling that they are men--all because female fashion designers wanted men's legs to look 'more aesthetically pleasing.'
“I find it discouraging,” Olson said. “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.” Olson says that some designers have deemed pockets “too ugly” for clothing, while others simply don't think women need them. And these decisions, she says, have created a chasm in women’s fashion, and hold women back. A man can simply swipe up his keys and iPhone on the way to a rendezvous with co-workers and slip them into his pocket. A woman on the way to that same meeting has to either carry those items in her hand, or bring a whole purse with her—a definitive, silent sign that she is a woman.