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We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future

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Future space explorers from the far off 1997 mock our outdated concept of "pockets" and "purses".

"The only problem I have with the costumes is that they have no pockets. Where do they keep all their stuff?"
Jonathan Frakes, on Star Trek: The Next Generation

20 Minutes into the Future, we've gone Crystal Spires and Togas, everything is decked out in this nice futuristic Zeerust, and everybody wears spandex that has no pockets.

Why? Surely fashion hasn't changed so much that we've outmoded all methods of carrying things aside from our hands (or Victoria's Secret Compartment/Trouser Space/Hammerspace), right? Wouldn't the engineers at least want a nice, functional Utility Belt? Why not a European carry-all, especially in parody settings?

In reality, pockets are a relatively recent invention, and if Speculative Fiction is any indication, they'll only be a fad.

For the opposite trope, see Zipperiffic.


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    Comic Books 
  • This was quite common in Silver Age superhero costumes.
    • To the point where The Tick's mind was blown when he discovered he had them (he wasn't even concerned about the huge roll of cash he produced from one of them).
    • Silver Age Superman's cape contained a hidden pocket where he keeps his (compressed-by-his-super-strength-somehow) Clark Kent clothes. Considering the way his power worked at that time, he probably supercompressed them...
  • Spider-Man: During J. Michael Straczynski's run as writer of The Amazing Spider-Man, the lack of pockets in the title character's costume was directly addressed. Spider-Man spends some of his time hanging upside down, so conventional pockets wouldn't work (the contents would fall out). Zippers, and flaps secured by Velcro, make too much noise to be practical for a superhero who relies on stealth. A utility belt is the obvious answer, and Spidey has one — but the compartments are all used for web fluid refills, Spider-Tracers, and a flashlight. He still doesn't have a good way to carry a wallet and keys — or a camera (necessary during the periods when he earned a living as a freelance photographer). He kept a small camera attached to his belt as well. Early issues often featured panel showing him webbing it into place before a fight which somehow consistently produced well-framed shots (although JJJ at least once complained about poor composition). Along with every other benefit, he considered the symbiote suit a boon because it could form hammerspace pockets in its surface.

    Film Live-Action 

  • In The Night Mayor, the standard form of clothing in Susan's time is a one-piece outfit with no pockets. When she has to dress in a 1940s outfit for plot reasons, it's the first time she's ever worn clothes with pockets, and she's struck by how useful they are.
  • Lampshaded in John Varley's Steel Beach when Hildy points out that in a Free-Love Future society with no nudity taboo that lives in enclosed environments pockets are the primary reason people would even bother to wear clothes.
  • The early Star Trek novel Spock Must Die! has Scotty claim to have often cursed the designer who thought it cute to give his uniform no pockets.
  • In the book, Skunk Works, Lockheed engineer Ben Rich had the workers coveralls redesigned to remove pockets. When building a Cool Plane, sometimes workers would lose pens and tools or the items would rub against the airframe as they crawled around.
  • Magic by the Numbers series: When one of the characters is in training at the Cycloid Guild, he's perplexed that none of the robes worn by guild members — not even the masters' black ones — have pockets. Possibly justified, as the rituals of the Guild have such exacting requirements that one might be inadvertently spoiled if a participant carelessly left an object in their pocket that was incompatible with the ritual's underlying geometries.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lampshaded in Crusade, when a clothing designer comes aboard the Excalibur to make new uniforms for the senior officers. Gideon complains that these uniforms lack pockets, to which the designer replies that a captain shouldn't have to carry things around. There are subordinates for that.
  • Blake's 7 has the same problem despite the more flamboyant look of the protagonists, which caused the actors to make the Obligatory Joke about where they kept some bomb or device that hadn't been seen in their hands when they teleported down to the planet.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (with Gil Gerard) suffers from this. Men and women wear skin-tight uniforms that don't permit pockets — but look really good on Erin Gray.
  • Doctor Who has certainly been guilty of this, those less so from Season 23 to the present. Possibly mocked by the 2006 Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride"- "Guess what I've got, Donna? Pockets!'
  • The uniforms in Space: 1999 all lack pockets. Apparently the only pieces of personal equipment that need to be carried around at all times are the ray gun and communicator which are hung from the belt.
  • Star Trek: With a few minor exceptions, Starfleet uniforms are usually sleek, form-fitting one- or two-piece outfits without pockets. When crew are seen with equipment, they're either carrying them in their hands or have them clipped to a belt. Likewise, the Space Clothes of civilian make often take the form of jumpsuits or robes that also typically lack pockets. The rationale is that they don't need pockets as there's no money in the Federation, and keys are irrelevant when you have voice-activated doors. Of course this causes a problem when a character has to carry something plot-related—in "A Matter of Honor", Riker has to carry a Tracking Device, so he puts it in his boot.
  • The Boys (2019).
    Stormfront: Sorry, Ashley. Vought won't let me have pockets in this thing. You can see every crease in my ass; you can practically see up Starlight's uterus. You want to talk about Girl Power? Let's talk about getting some pockets!
    • This turns out to be a problem when Starlight has to hide a vial of Compound V she's smuggling out of Vought Industries shortly after this conversation, but she has nowhere to put it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In GURPS Transhuman Space pockets are out of fashion, because things like keys and wallets are entirely virtual. According to Toxic Memes, however, the popularity of the pocketless "eloi suit", as more and more people have virtual implants, has meant that, in the way of such things, the real fashionistas have started seeing it as out of date.

    Video Games 
  • The Vault Suits in Fallout are lacking in pockets while all prewar clothing have the normal amount. Somewhat justified in the case of the Vault Suits, as in a Vault anything needed would never be more than a few minutes away and there's only a finite amount of space to lose something.
  • In PlanetSide 2, the Vanu Sovereignty - a group of precursor worshipers - have zero pockets on pretty much all of their classes courtesy of them all wearing spandex armor. Their Engineer does have pockets in the form of what appears to wildly impractical metal suspenders. Averted by the more down-to-earth Terran Republic and New Conglomerate, both of whom feature copious amounts of pockets on their fatigues and utility belts on their support classes.

  • Schlock Mercenary: Initially played straight then averted. Lieutenant Commander "Sensei" Shodan bemoans the fact that the grunts have been issued with uniforms with pockets, as they will now want to put things in them.
  • Freefall: Subverted. Florence, an Uplifted Animal who is programmed with a variety of human safeguards, checks for clothing first when trying to determine if someone is human or not. After all, with genetic engineering, cybernetic modification, and just plain evolution, it's nearly impossible to be sure what humans will eventually turn into—but they'll probably still want pockets.

    Western Animation