A pocket is a bag or an envelope-like holder either attached to or inserted in an article of attire to hold small items. Pockets are also connected to backpacks, luggage, and similar items. In older usage, a pocket was a different exterior small bag or a small pouch.
Origins and History
Ancient tribes used cloth or leather pouches to hold valuables. Ötzi (also known as the “Iceman”), who existed around 3,300 BCE, had a band with a pouch sewn to it that carried a cache of valuable items: a drill, scraper, bone awl, flint flake, and a tinder dried fungus.
Ancient Indians had a traditional Dhoti, with a small opening similar to the modern-day pocket.
In European clothes, fitchets, resembling modern-day pockets, emerged in the 13th century CE. Medieval designers cut vertical slits in the super tunic, which did not have any visible openings, to allow access to keys slung or purse from the tunic girdle. According to historians and modern-day archeologists, in the late 15th century CE, pockets became more noticeable and visible in middle-class society. During the 16th century CE, pockets increased in prevalence and popularity.
In somewhat later European clothing, pockets started by being hung like purses from a belt, concealed beneath a jerkin or coat to check pickpocketing and moved through a slit in the garment.
In the 17th century CE, pockets started to be sewn into men’s pants, but not women’s, where the valuable items were tied on and hidden under the large skirts popular during those days.
The word emerges in Middle English as pocket and is possibly taken from a Norman diminutive of Ancient French pouque, poke, modern poche, cf. pouch. The form “poke” is presently only used in such proverbial sayings as “a pig in a poke” or in rare dialect.
Historically, the word “pocket” applied to a pouch worn around the waist by ladies in the 17th to 19th centuries CEs, discussed in the rhyme Lucy Locket. In these early-modern pockets, ladies would carry items needed in their daily lives, such as pins, scissors, needles, and home keys.
A fob pocket or watch pocket is a tiny pocket intended to hold a pocket watch, sometimes found in waistcoats, men’s trousers, and classic blue jeans. However, due to the decline in pocket watches’ popularity, these pockets are seldom used for their originally designed purpose.
A slit pocket or besom pocket is a pocket cut into a dress instead of being sewn on. These pods often have bolstered piping along the pocket slit, appearing possibly as an extra piece of stitching or fabric. Besom pockets are seen on trousers or a tuxedo jacket and maybe accented with a button or flap closure.
A beer pocket is a tiny pocket within a jacket or vest explicitly sized for carrying a beer bottle. It exclusively came into fashion in the 1910s CE in select areas of the American midwest, before Prohibition. It faded away after the band into relative obscurity before experiencing minor revivals in the 1980s CE and early 2000s CE.
Cargo pockets or Camp pockets are pockets that have been sewn to the edge of the garment. They are customarily squared off and are marked by seaming.