Book cover for Pockets

Pockets: An Intimate History of How We Keep Things Close

Hannah Carlson

Thursday, March 14, 2024, at 7:00 pm ET

Approximately 60 minutes. This hybrid program will be held in person at Antiquarian Hall and livestreamed to a virtual audience on YouTube. Advance registration is required for both. Doors open at 6:30pm.

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It’s a question that stirs up plenty of passion: Why do men’s clothes have so many pockets and women’s so few? Based on her new book, Pockets: An Intimate History of How We Keep Things Close (Algonquin Books, 2023), fashion historian Hannah Carlson, shows us how we tuck gender politics, security, sexuality, and privilege inside our pockets. She delves into the pocket’s 500-year history from when medieval tailors stitched the first pockets into men’s trousers, igniting controversy and introducing a range of social issues—from concealed weapons to gender inequality―that we continue to wrestle with today.


Hannah CarlsonHannah Carlson is a senior lecturer in apparel design at the Rhode Island School of Design. She trained as a conservator of costume and textiles at the Fashion Institute of Technology and in 2009 earned a Ph.D. in Material Culture from Boston University. Hannah Carlson conducted research for her recent book, Pockets: An Intimate History of How We Keep Things Close during her Stephen Botein Fellowship at AAS in 2006-07. She also led the American Studies Seminar, "Dressing Democracy: Clothing and Culture in America," at AAS in 2011.

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