Why do men’s clothes have so many pockets, and women’s clothes so few? The Minneapolis Sunday Tribune steps into the breeches:

ABOUT POCKETS

 
An over-curious Benedict wants to know why it is that he has twenty-one pockets in his suit of clothes and his wife not one. The plain citizen and business man should know better than to question the edicts of the fashionable tailor and dressmaker.
 
Clothes are made for all sorts and manner of men, and the pockets are put in to meet the average demand for use. The man is so abundantly provided with receptacles that he can carry around a lot of truck and it is his own fault if he isn’t abundantly provided with the little conveniences which make life a joy.
 
But for the lady there is a different standard. Her figure, either by nature or art, is more rounded, and her garments must fit more snugly. Pockets stuffed with miscellaneous articles would produce ridges and irregularities that would be unsightly; if not to the unobservant male, at any rate to the feminine sartorial critic. Hence the feminine portion of the community is driven to the use of the handbag.
 
To the man the necessity of carrying around such an article would be an insufferable bore, and in his absentmindedness he would be sure to lay it down frequently and forget it. But to the other sex the handbag is not an unmitigated evil. It may be made ornamental and for the display of much grace and style. The habit of carrying it and depending on it for supplies of change and other personal conveniences has evidently had the effect of cultivating the memory for details in which women are so superior to men.
 
There is no doubt that the man could dispense with some of his pockets. It would be advisable to cut out the hip-pockets and thus reduce the many temptations of the pistol-carrying habit. Vanity dictate[s] the retention of some of the others, with their flaps and bindings. Perhaps the present trend towards severe simplicity in dress may work a desired reform in this respect.

 

You can read all you like about what goes on inside the heads of the opposite sex, but cross-dressing is certain to give you deeper insight. Here, Regina Soreson and a few of her friends got a feel for the convenience of many, many pockets in about 1910. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)

 

Not to be outdone, men of the early 20th century also donned costumes of the opposite sex. This photo, taken in 1908 or thereabouts, shows a few fetching members of the Elks Club dressed up as pocketless "Flora Dora Girls." (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)

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1910: Young women urged to stay away from big cities

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