[LMB] RRe: clothing was Programming, was: Re: OT: Afterlife

Beatrice Otter beatrice_otter at zoho.com
Tue Nov 3 21:43:45 GMT 2020

---- On Tue, 03 Nov 2020 10:00:42 -0800 Howard Brazee <howard at brazee.net> wrote ----

One problem with pockets are when they are in flimsy clothing, like a summer dress.   Put anything heavy in the pocket and it can pull the clothing out of shape.

Blue jeans don’t do this, and the monstrosity which is a man’s business suit doesn’t do that (unless you use the useless outside lower pockets).

My wife carries a big purse because she wants to be prepared for anything.   I suppose that makes pockets less useful.   The only thing I carry that doesn’t fit in pockets is my iPad, which doesn’t fit in her purse either.    I used to carry a brief case back when I worked.

Fashions in the late 1700s had rich European men with huge pockets that they carried everything in.   Then fashions changed.  I don’t know what happened to the stuff they used to carry around.  Servants?

Having servants to carry things could contribute to losing pockets.   One had to show that they were rich enough to not need to carry stuff.

Does Penric have pockets?   I suspect he carries a purse.

Beatrice Otter:

Re: pockets in flimsy clothing pulling the clothing out of shape, there actually is a way to avoid this (providing the garment has a waistband): run a tape/cord on the inside of the garment from the top of the pocket to the waistband. As long as the tape/cord is attached only at the pocket and the waistband (and not to the garment fabric), and assuming that the tape/cord is the exact length to span the distance between the top of the pocket and the waistband when the garment is in the proper shape, then the weight of anything you put in the pocket will be carried by the tape/cord up to the waistband, instead of the seam where the pocket is inserted, and the garment will not be pulled out of shape.

Everyone in 17th-18th Century Europe had large pockets. Men's pockets were tied around their waist outside their garments (hence "cutpurse"--someone who stole purses/pockets by cutting the strings that tide them to you). Women's pockets were tied around their waist UNDER their skirt (and reachable by a slit in the skirt), a much more secure arrangement. They were ginormous. By ginormous I mean there's court documents of a woman who stole a chicken in a market by putting it into her pocket while the farmer was distracted and walking off with it.

Then came the Regency era, and everyone's clothing (men's and women's clothing alike) became far more form-fitting. You couldn't put pockets under the skirt in a regency dress, because the "waistline" is at the bust, and the whole "slit in the skirt" arrangement depends on having full skirts tied at the waist. So women used "reticules" (small cloth purses) instead of pockets. Fun fact: the Regency was the beginning of the swing in the pendulum from women having a great deal of freedom to women's lives being far more constrained. The late Victorian era was a nadir of women's rights, as things which were normal even a few decades earlier (and which would become normal again a few decades later) were forbidden. And in the Regency era as this pendulum swing was gaining momentum, one of the things men were really worried about was women having pockets. Imagine! If a woman has a pocket under large skirts, she could be hiding *anything* in it! Letters from a lover! Jewelry and money to allow her to run away! Unsuitable books or pamphlets! Shock, horror, imagine the depravity she could get up to if she has a place to keep things private! Whereas with the narrower, lighter skirts and small reticule held out in view instead of under other garments, a woman can not only *carry* far less, she can *conceal* far less.

Now, as hemlines descended in the 1830s women's garments acquired pockets again (though never to the same size as the 17th-18th Century ones had been). Women's garments lost pockets as women began buying ready-made garments in the 20th Century instead of making their own.

Beatrice Otter

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