No matter how many new pairs of jeans we purchase, the tiny pocket on the front always seems to be waiting. I don’t know anyone who truly uses this pocket.
Those pockets have a purpose?
It appears to be just the correct size to contain a few pennies, but when needed, it’s difficult to get at them because of the tight fit. Keys will never fit inside, and you may also forget about your phone and wallet.
What does the tiny pocket on jeans serve in reality, then? It turns out that it isn’t decorative, and regardless of what you may have heard when you first inquired about it all those years ago, it isn’t for currency either.
The tiny pocket has really been around since the 1800s, when customers were not concerned about phones trying to fit into their garments that were the size of their hands.
Levi Strauss, yes, that Levi Strauss, and J.W. Improvement in Fastening Pocket Openings was a Davis patent. The tiny pockets were sewed into Levi’s “waist overall” jeans a few years later, in 1890, and they served the same function of carrying pocket watches.
The history of the pocket was revealed to Insider by Tracey Panek, a historian with Levi Strauss & Co.
“Our 19th-century overalls had a single back pocket on the right side of pants beneath the leather patch. The oldest pair of waist overalls in the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives (from 1879) includes the watch pocket.”
Because pocket watches would have been kept inside a jacket on such formal occasions, suit pants were designed without pockets.
Even though we normally fasten watches to our wrists so they don’t take up any room in our clothing while we’re not wearing them, pocket watches are nevertheless worn today owing to nostalgia for World War II.
Panek clarified: “The two corner rivets on the watch pocket were removed during World War II in order to save metal for the war effort.
“After the war, the rivets were put back in the watch pocket. It had our recognizable arch pattern, known as the Arcuate, embroidered using a single-needle sewing machine, and was riveted in the upper two corners.
As with the rivets on the pockets, the button fly, the arched back pocket stitching, and the leather patch, the watch pocket was an original component of our blue jeans. To maintain the integrity of the original design, Levi Strauss & Co. preserves the watch pocket.
Many online users stated that after learning about the pocket’s original use, they came up with their own uses for it, like holding lighters, AirPods, guitar picks, and hairpins.
Currently, it’s difficult to envision a pair of jeans without the tiny pocket, but perhaps in the future, we’ll create a tiny new gadget to give it a legitimate new use.