I attended a charity group’s Christmas party last year where most of us were strangers. Even though we were all Southern women, and therefore had never met a stranger, conversation was still unexplainably stiff and formal, and there was an awkward silence in the room. But within a few minutes, I uttered the magic words that brought out the chatterbox in us all.
After someone kindly complimented my skirt, I replied, “Thank you . . . and it has pockets.”
From the immediate gasp and uproar, you’d think I’d said, “thank you . . . and Jesus made it himself.”
Eyes suddenly sparkled, Ladies jumped from their chairs, hand motions were rapid, and the room exploded with animated conversation. Eggnog sloshed into tiny glass punch cups and someone hummed Christmas carols. It turned into the best Christmas party of the season.
There’s always great excitement and commentary when we reveal our skirts or dresses have real pockets that can actually hold a phone, hankie, Tic-Tacs or our Talbot’s card.
Lucy Van Pelt told Charlie Brown he was insecure because he always drew pictures of people with their hands in their pockets. “No,” he explained, “I just can’t draw hands.” Shoving our hands down in our skirt pockets to keep them warm doesn’t make us feel insecure, but actually gives us a feeling of power. With pockets, we are organized, focused and ready for action. We aren’t weighed down with excess, because our keys, compact, and a little snack are all we need to conquer the world.
Those who graduated from top-tiered Southern charm-schools, as well as those who took the online course from Miss Felicity Faith’s School of Makeup Motors and Manners, all know the #1 rule of fashion etiquette, which states that if someone compliments your outfit and it has pockets, you are required to reveal them. It isn’t considered bragging, but more of a public service announcement.
“My cousin had pockets sewn into her wedding dress!” said one lady with a sparkly Christmas tree brooch (correctly pinned to her left shoulder). “I’ve had a dress for 14 years that I refuse to get rid of because it has such great pockets” said an older woman. A cute young mother said her little girl called pockets “cookie holes” and we all agreed she was raising a brilliant child.
There’s always one nay-sayer who points out that adding pockets to clothing makes us look chubby and lumpy. It’s the great trade-off of the modern world. Smoothness vs. convenience. Do we want to look svelte and aerodynamic, or do we want a place to put our keys, therefore enabling us to stroll around pocketbook-free? Not having a purse tugging on our arm is liberating. We suddenly feel like Maria Von Trapp and are prone to twirl around and sing, with or without a mountaintop.
In addition to our modern gadgets like phones, our pockets can also stash the basics of a hankie or lipstick — wouldn’t it be nice to have our mother’s little Avon sample lipsticks from years ago? The perfect pocket accessory!
Holiday Hostesses need not fret over games like Dirty-Santa, Sneaky-Santa, Pin-the-Babe-in-the-Manger, Elf Charades or other reindeer games. All they need for a successful, lively party is a skirt with cookie-holes.
This story first appeared on AL.com and in the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.