Ko Duchess of CambridgeHer 40th birthday portraits came out, we knew we were going to love her hair, her make-up, her overall Kate-ness.
But what we did not anticipate, and the unexpected joy that thrilled the women, was the fact that he represented her portrait. . . pockets.
Yes, pockets! Big, deep, big, hand-hidden, buried in a spectacular purple one-shoulder dress. It was the right moment.
‘For my generation,’ solemnly wrote one millennial fashionista Twitter, ‘pocket is equivalent to birth control pills.’ Another added, ‘First we get pockets, then we get power, then we get freedom!’
The men were a little confused by the power of the feeling, which could only be aroused by the pockets in the suit.
When the portraits of the Duchess of Cambridge for her 40th birthday came out, we knew we would love her hair, her make-up, her overall Kate-ness.
But they never had to contend with a lack of pockets or – even more insultingly – fake pockets. Women know what I mean; those jacket flaps, full of promises that actually have nothing underneath. Or pants pockets that you can’t even hold a 2 p coin in, let alone an iPhone.
For decades, we have been clumsily juggling our possessions between our hands and purses. No one understands the pain of holding a champagne flute, canapes, and a clutch bag at a party, when someone leans in to shake hands or kiss.
But now, I dare dream, the purse is dead. Long live the pocket! Because they are unobtrusive, cheap, democratic, balanced little lifeguards.
Just look at Kate, who is both royal and able to be casual in her red Alexander McQueen dress. What to do with her hands? Sorted. Can’t do without her phone? No problem.
The woman with her hand in her pocket, as seen in all these pictures, relaxes in an instant. With the pockets in your dress or skirt, stand taller; you are no longer cunning, your shoulders hurt. You feel free.
I imagine that when Kate’s photo landed, blood flowed from the faces of luxury handbag brand directors around the world. Much like the moment Clark Gable took off his shirt on screen to reveal he wasn’t wearing a vest.
The pocket trend of the last few years is growing, both on the red carpet and in budget versions.
As these pictures show, High Street is flooded with dresses with hidden depths – from sexy dresses with a shirt by the prestigious Ted Baker to floral midi by Boden.
But then wedding dresses also have pockets now. Designer Stella McCartney has long included pockets in her formal dresses. As a woman, she knows what their presence means. Because the pocket is not just a fashion statement, it is also political.
Historically, women did not need pockets, as men controlled their wallets.
The pocket lost its favor at the end of the 18th century, it was considered a lousy and low rent held by sympathetic servants in aprons and rural types prone to theft.
The first modern purse, introduced in the 1790s, was called the reticule, from the Latin reticulum, meaning mesh pouch. It soon became known as a mockery – an appropriate nickname for what modern women now spend on them.
As a result, the pockets were forced underground (or was it supposed to be under the skirt?), With upper-class women hiding them in their down jackets. They have become an aid in empowering feminists. At first, the most commonly hidden object was a love letter; later Suffragette leaflets.
The peak of pockets in women’s clothing was during World Wars, when women were given more utilitarian services and probably more independence.
In Hollywood, a woman with a pocket marked that she was free of nonsense. Take Bette Davis, who created a remarkable effect in the 1950s “All About Eve”.
There is even a wonderful book on the subject: The Pocket: A Hidden History Of Women’s Lives, 1660-1900.
They don’t work with everything: pencil skirts and bodycon dresses are too tight. And don’t make too many statements – your pocket needs to be discreet. Too big and you risk looking like a kangaroo.
But, oh, I’m glad to see them. If for nothing but the presence of a woman’s pockets finally liberates the tyranny of this traditional photographic pose, designed to look taller and thinner: one elbow on the side, the other stretched – like a teapot.
Instead, we can simply bury our missing hands with our pockets, making us immediately look more confident.
That’s one little gesture from Kate. One giant jump for a woman.
Now they decorate the red carpet …
In bloom: actress Sharon Stone at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival in Dolce & Gabbana, which costs more than 12,000 pounds
Knives out, handover: Ana de Armas at the 2020 Golden Globes, dressed in Ralph & Russo, £ 8,000
Gingham girl: Jenna Coleman at Wimbledon last year at Ralph Lauren, £ 249
… and where to find them on the High St.
Short and sweet: Lily-Rose Depp at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, dressed in Chanel, around £ 4,000
Versatile: floral multi-colored short-sleeved dress, £ 110, Boden
Effortless: maxi with floral print, £ 295, Me + Em
Top trend: Dark pink diamond with ruffled neckline, £ 145, Kitri
Statement print: Pink and black T-shirt, £ 60, Boden
Multi-stage: organic cotton design, £ 116, Baukjen
Subtle: green shirt dress, £ 97, Ted Baker