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Car Keys and Small Change Day

What do car keys and small change have in common? They are both often kept in pockets, of course! Today we celebrate pockets and all they have done to make our lives easier throughout the years. A few holiday sites claim that the day takes place on February 28 because pockets were invented on that day in 1590, but we were unable to substantiate this claim.

Pockets are found on clothing but are also on other things such as backpacks. Their name comes from an Old French word that means pouch. Cloth and leather pouches, the forerunners to pockets, date back to ancient times. For example, around 3,300 BCE, the Iceman carried things in a pouch that was attached to his belt.

By the thirteenth century, "fitchets" were being used in Europe. They were similar to pockets and were accessed through slits in tunics. By the sixteenth century, pockets were used on waistcoats and trousers; they became more popular throughout the century. Beginning in the seventeenth century, women were using removable pocketlike pouches similar to purses. These were usually concealed, being tied between petticoats and skirts. In contrast, pockets were sewn onto men's clothing and could be seen from the outside.

By the 1800s, women's "pockets" had become smaller and more ornate, and were more for fashion than functionality. They were now worn outside of clothes, being attached to belts. As purses became the norm, they largely disappeared. Pockets remained on men's clothing throughout this time. In the 1920s, women adapted some of men's clothing styles, including wearing pants with pockets. Film stars started the trend, and more and more women wore the clothing as the 1920s progressed. Still, purses continued to gain in prominence, and many pockets for women in the mid-twentieth century were not designed to hold much. Jeans rose in popularity during the second half of the twentieth century. Their pockets were more prominent than many other pieces of clothing.

There are many types of pockets. Fob pockets hold pocket watches and have been popular on pants, jeans, and waistcoats. Pocket watches are no longer commonplace, so the pockets are no longer used for that purpose. The besom pocket or slit pocket is cut into clothing instead of being sewn on. They are commonly found on tuxedo jackets. Camp pockets or cargo pockets are sewn outside of clothing, and usually square. Beer pockets were meant for transporting a bottle of beer. They were popular in jackets and vests in some areas of the midwest in the 1910s. They lost popularity during Prohibition but came back a bit in the 1980s and the early 2000s. "Smile" slit pockets are common on Western wear. Other popular pocket styles include patch pockets, flap pockets, and welt pockets.

How to Observe

Celebrate the day by wearing clothing with pockets, and using other things that have pockets, such as backpacks. Try to store as many things as you can in your pockets today. You could also go through everything you have and see how many items you have that have pockets, and you could see how many kinds of pockets you have. You could also learn how to sew a pocket today!

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