Job Requirements: Must Be Responsible, Can’t Have Pockets


Pocketless uniforms are “a really nice area of growth” in an otherwise static industry, says David Crace, vice president of marketing at VF Imagewear Inc., a Nashville, Tenn., uniform manufacturer with $600 million in annual sales.

When placing pockets, “we start with the demands of the job,” Mr. Crace says. Mechanics who spend a good chunk of their workday on their backs under machinery still get front pockets. Workers on sensitive, computerized assembly lines mostly get none. Anyone who has ever secreted cash in an underwear waistband, threaded a house key onto running-shoe laces, or stowed a credit card in a brassiere knows the problems posed by pocketlessness.

Via our pal Jon Custer, comes this interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about “pocketless uniforms” which are less about functionality and more about preventing theft by employees in industries like marijuana farms, casinos, and nuclear facilities (because people were apparently stealing highly enriched uranium or separated plutonium!).

You don’t really think about pockets until you’re wearing something that doesn’t have them—including if you’re an actor on a popular TV show:

“I hated my uniform…it was skintight, it made you sweat and…why were there no pockets? How do you work with no pockets in the 24th century?” Jonathan Frakes, the actor who played Commander William T. Riker on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” groused on NPR this month.

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28 Comments / Post A Comment

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

This article get’s all the points for quoting Will Riker. Seriously though, people were putting plutonium in their pockets???

@EvanDeSimone I think someone at the DOE saw the opening credits of The Simpsons for the first time and freaked out.

@EvanDeSimone And dudes worry about their cell phones> giving them ball cancer…

Eric18 (#4,486)

@EvanDeSimone Well, it may have to do with the fact the Manhattan Project had more leaks than the Iraqi Navy. Nuclear safety is something I’m ok with our government being paranoid about.

aetataureate (#1,310)

But how do they smuggle pads into the bathroom?

@aetataureate In your sleeve. Just me? Okay then.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@This is my new user name Not just you.

My old office had a running joke about a time when one of the middle-aged (bachelor) managers couldn’t figure out why one of his female subordinates always brought her purse with her to the bathroom. “It’s not like she’s buying anything in there!” *facepalm*

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Caitlin with a C Ha ha, at this point I can hardly bring myself to care if someone knows I’m on my period. I’ll put it in my pocket if I have one but if not, slide it down my sleeve or just not care at all. Just me? Okay.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@andnowlights Yeah, it was just a rhetorical question, because: In my bra.

amglory89 (#3,588)

@andnowlights Nope, not just you. Good talk.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@aetataureate HA! I take everything literally. It is by FAR my worst habit!

aetataureate (#1,310)

@andnowlights Hey, I’m no size-ist, not everybody has room to hide a pad in there. You do you.

bgprincipessa (#699)

@aetataureate I certainly do not have the room to do that. Sleeve it is! It worked in 7th grade, why not now.

sherlock (#3,599)

@bgprincipessa One of the unexpected perks to boot-weather: perfect place to stick a tampon.

Also, beardless Riker??? Come on, Mike!

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@stuffisthings It’s like moustacheless Trebek.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@EvanDeSimone Oh god, is that real? Nope, don’t answer that.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@aetataureate I will answer and say that it is totally real. mustache Alex Trebek should be considered cannon classic while the mustacheless Trebek today is merely a pale shade of what used to be.

guenna77 (#856)

bane of my existence as a woman – most of my clothing does not have pockets, particularly my work clothing. of the portion that does, half of the pockets are either ‘for show’ or can’t be used for more than a credit card or a key. none of my suit jackets or blazers have that oh-so-helpful inside pocket that menswear does.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@guenna77 “Why don’t you keep your cell phone [or wallet] on you?!!!?!?!” is my favorite question ever. (“…where?”)

Sidenote: I found a Banana Republic blazer that a) has the inside pocket and b) has long enough sleeves for my gorilla arms and a long torso for my… long torso… but c) is lady-shaped. I’m thinking that they made it by accident and then clearanced it in hopes of getting rid of the evidence quickly.

sherlock (#3,599)

@guenna77 Yup. Ever since we got company-issued phones, I’ve started just carrying it around with me awkwardly. It annoys me to no end, for some reason, that I have to leave mine sitting out on the table at meetings while all the men keep them in their pockets.

Fear Biter (#981)

Check your pocket privilege, Mike Dang: “You don’t really think about pockets until you’re wearing something that doesn’t have them”
If you are a woman with an office job, this is an almost everyday occurence.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@guenna77 I’m kind of to the point where I won’t buy clothes without pockets. I walk to work and it’s way easier for me to pull my phone out of my pocket than repeatedly fish it out of my purse while I’m texting with friends in the AM.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@Fear Biter “Check your pocket privilege.” Ahaha yes. This. (…but seriously, ladies have to think about pockets all the time. Sorry, manfriends.)

jquick (#3,730)

@guenna77 I used to carry my cell in my sock, when wearing pants. Stayed there snugly and put it on vibrate when it rang. Worked perfectly. This was pre-”bigger” smart phones.

thegirlieshow (#5,285)

I, too, demand the inside pocket!

mgreczyn (#6,067)

The life event that made me think the most about pockets was losing my access to pocket utopia when I separated from active duty Air Force service. Flight suits have loads of pockets, by my count at least 7, and that rocks. The one pocket that I miss the most? A small pocket on my left shoulder that made an extremely handy spot for ID cards and drivers licenses. It also had slots for three pens just below it. Even after 6 years of civilian professional life, the utter impracticality of the clothes professionals wear amazes me to no end.

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