To pocket or not to pocket…

To pocket or not to pocket…

Every other year during summer, my wife and I travel to London to spend time with my son and family. Obviously, the reward is the exclusive time with the grandchildren. On these trips I end up shopping for clothes, particularly if they are offered on discount. This time, too, I have added to my collection of shirts.

The day after landing, I made my way to the iconic Oxford Street where my favourite stores are located. As is my habit I made a recce of the various shops, looking for the best deal. I noticed a strange phenomenon on this trip compared to my last visit. The shirts didn’t have pockets. I thought it was a peculiarity of one of the stores. But the results were similar in other shops, too. A little research told me that in the UK, sales of shirts with breast pockets have collapsed — from 90% of all shirts sold a decade ago to 25% today.

The clothes snobs (that’s how the chaps who don’t want pockets are referred to) have been fighting them for years, and tragically — for a breast pocket fan like me — they’ve won. Surely a pocket is acceptable in most other parts of the world... no one ever questioned it when I wore a shirt with a pocket in either India or the US, or for the matter of fact, in the UK some years ago. Some styles even sport two breast pockets.

Does this mean that no one in the UK wears a shirt with a pocket or feels the need for it? As if I didn’t have better things to do, I spent some of my limited time on the underground railway viewing men’s chests and how they were adorned. I wondered if people noticed me ‘checking them out’. Luckily, no one confronted me and asked why I was staring at them.

I never looked at a shirt pocket as a fashion accessory but a convenient receptacle for a pen or an airline Boarding Pass, or even visiting cards, when I was employed. I initially thought that the pocket-less problem was restricted to my favourite discount store. I imagined how many thousands of metres of cloth they would save every year by doing away with the pocket. But a further research took me to several up-market stores stocking international premium brands where, no surprises, shirts didn’t have pockets either.

I didn’t care either way. I was not going to change my wardrobe to adhere to a small section of what my pro-pocket friend terms “pocket snobs”. But then, if I had to add to my shirt collection, it was going to have to be without a pocket, because that’s what I could buy there. I did end up buying several of the new-fangled attire but back in India I have a peculiar problem. Where to keep my reading glasses?

So, we come down to the vital question — to pocket or not to pocket?

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)