Category Archives: smartphones

Pockets!

Women’s clothes should all have pockets. 

(A bit later in this post, I’ll explain why.)

I admit it.  I’m a pocket-freak.

When I shop for new pants, I don’t bother buying new pants, no matter how appealing, if they don’t have pockets.  Why?

Because when I formerly bought pants that didn’t have pockets, I discovered over time that I never wore them. They languished forever in a shameful pile of unworn clothes.

It became clear that I liked the benefits of wearing pants with pockets.  Why then would I buy new pants without pockets when those I already had were languishing unworn?

Result:  I simply don’t buy no-pocket pants anymore

Most jeans have pockets, often multiple pockets, and I like wearing them for that reason, among others.  (Please see “They’re My Blue Jeans, and I’ll Wear Them If I Want To,” published in this blog in May 2017.)

Most jackets, but not all, have pockets.  Why not?  They all need pockets.  How useful is a jacket if it doesn’t have even one pocket to stash your stuff?

Dresses and skirts should also have pockets.  Maybe an occasional event, like a fancy gala, seems to require a form-fitting dress that doesn’t have pockets.  But how many women actually go to galas like that?  Looking back over my lifetime of clothes-wearing, I can think of very few occasions when I had to wear a no-pocket dress.  As for skirts, I lump them in the same category as pants.  Unless you feel compelled for some bizarre reason to wear a skin-tight pencil skirt, what good is a skirt without pockets?

Cardigan sweaters, like jackets, should also have pockets.  So should robes.  Pajamas. Even nightgowns.  I wear nightgowns, and I relish being able to stick something like a facial tissue into the pocket of my nightgown!   You never know when you’re going to sneeze, right?

Did you ever watch a TV program called “Project Runway?”  It features largely unknown fashion designers competing for approval from judges, primarily high-profile insiders in the fashion industry.  Here’s what I’ve noticed when I’ve watched an occasional episode:  Whenever a competing designer puts pockets in her or his designs, the judges enthusiastically applaud that design.  They clearly recognize the value of pockets and the desire by women to wear clothes that include them.

(By the way, fake pockets are an abomination.  Why do designers think it’s a good idea to put a fake pocket on their designs?  Sewing what looks like a pocket but isn’t a real pocket adds insult to injury.  Either put a real pocket there, or forget the whole thing.  Fake pockets?  Boo!)

Despite the longing for pockets by women like me, it can be challenging to find women’s clothes with pockets.  Why?

Several women writers have speculated about this challenge, generally railing against sexist attitudes that have led to no-pocket clothing for women.

Those who’ve traced the evolution of pockets throughout history discovered that neither men nor women wore clothing with pockets until the 17th century.  Pockets in menswear began appearing in the late 1600s.  But women?  To carry anything, they were forced to wrap a sack with a string worn around their waists and tuck the sack under their petticoats.

These sacks eventually evolved into small purses called reticules that women would carry in their hands.  But reticules were so small that they limited what women could carry.  As the twentieth century loomed, women rebelled.  According to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, dress patterns started to include instructions for sewing pockets into skirts.  And when women began wearing pants, they would finally have pockets.

But things soon switched back to no-pocket pants.  The fashion industry wasn’t a big fan of pockets, insisting on featuring “slimming” designs for women, while men’s clothes still had scads of pockets.  The result has been the rise of bigger and bigger handbags (interestingly, handbags are often called “pocketbooks” on the East Coast).

Enormous handbags create a tremendous burden for women.  Their size and weight can literally weigh a woman down, impeding her ability to move through her busy life the way men can.  (I’ve eschewed bulky handbags, often wearing a backpack instead.  Unfortunately, backpacks are not always appropriate in a particular setting.)

Today, many women are demanding pockets.  Some have advocated pockets with the specific goal of enabling women to carry their iPhones or other cell phones that way.  I’m a pocket-freak, but according to recent scientific research, cell phones emit dangerous radiation, and this kind of radiation exposure is a major risk to your health.  Some experts in the field have therefore advised against keeping a cell phone adjacent to your body.  In December 2017, the California Department of Public Health specifically warned against keeping a cell phone in your pocket.  So, in my view, advocating pockets for that reason is not a good idea.

We need pockets in our clothes for a much more important and fundamental reasonFreedom.

Pockets give women the kind of freedom men have:  The freedom to carry possessions close to their bodies, allowing them to reach for essentials like keys without fumbling through a clumsy handbag.

I propose a boycott on no-pocket clothes.  If enough women boycott no-pocket pants, for example, designers and manufacturers will have to pay attention.  Their new clothing lines will undoubtedly include more pockets.

I hereby pledge not to purchase any clothes without pockets.

Will you join me?

 

 

Be(a)ware of Vampires!

Vampires are roaming our landscape. Movies, TV, books, the Internet…it’s been hard to avoid the sight of those pasty-faced creatures baring their hideous fangs. But oh, how I’ve tried. The national obsession with vampires has simply never sunk its teeth into me.

I’ve always lumped vampires in with other imaginary creatures, like zombies, angels, and fairies. They don’t really exist, so why waste my time thinking about them?

I’m not opposed to the idea of magic. There genuinely seem to be times in our lives when magic, or–more accurately–good luck, rains down on us, and our lives are happier as a result.

But vampires? Forget it.

Now comes word of another kind of vampire. And this kind really demands our attention, even mine. The term “vampire” is now applied to what the Environmental Defense Fund calls “energy suckers” (as opposed to bloodsuckers). New devices like cable boxes and game consoles are so power-thirsty that, whether or not you’re using them, they consume enormous amounts of energy. One estimate is that each year they consume as much energy nationally as the entire state of Maryland.

Are you surprised to learn that we’re also sucking up power when we keep our chargers, DVRs, laptops, and microwaves on standby? EDF notes a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of suburban homes in California. The study found that these devices account for as much as 10 percent of a home’s energy consumption.

Shall we plunge a stake into the hearts of these vampires? We can do it by adopting a bunch of new approaches to our electronic devices. Some may sound inconvenient at first, but so did brushing my teeth with my (battery-powered) electric toothbrush till I got used to it. So let’s try at least a few of these.

First, we can do something as simple as unplugging our smartphone chargers. Unbeknownst to many of us, leaving those chargers plugged in uses energy. A more significant step? Turn off the power strips that supply energy to powerful devices we’re not using every minute. You can start by flipping the switch on the power strip behind your TV.

Even less inconvenient: Simply look for the Energy Star logo when you buy new appliances. The products that receive this stamp of approval can cut standby use by 30 percent.

But wait, there’s more. You can return to those thrilling days of yesteryear and use old-school methods that conserve energy. Dry your clothes on a clothesline instead of a dryer. And when you do use your dryer or dishwasher, make sure you’ve put in a full load. Try opening curtains, shades, and blinds during the day so natural light can brighten your home.

Two more things to consider: investing in a programmable thermostat like Google’s Nest, which won’t waste energy when you’re not home, and switching to an on-demand water heater (or insulating your old one).

Finally, look into apps that can reduce your energy bill. New smartphone apps allow you to turn on or off any device that’s plugged into an outlet, even when you’re away from home.

The ultimate goal, of course, is renewable energy. We’re moving slowly but inevitably toward the adoption of more and more ways to switch to renewable energy. In the meantime, you needn’t be a disciple of Al Gore to acknowledge this inconvenient truth: We don’t have to let modern-day vampires suck energy the way Dracula sucked the blood of his victims. Be(a)ware of these vampires, and save energy when you can.