There’s nothing more American than a pair of blue jeans. They’re such a style staple that you’ve likely taken for granted a lot of their standard design features. Like, for example, the little pocket on the inside of your front right pocket. No matter the brand, jeans almost invariably sport that little pocket-inside-a-pocket. This mini-pocket has been standard on jeans going all the way back to 1879.
If you have ever noticed this feature, you may have wondered: “What’s this tiny pocket for?”
Many people assume that the mini-pocket is for carrying change. But if you actually tried using this pocket for change, you’d quickly realize that retrieving coinage from it is a big pain in the rear. It was not created for this purpose. Other folks have called the mini-pocket a “ticket pocket,” due to the fact that tickets to a concert or a movie fit perfectly inside its dimensions. But alas, that’s not the true measure of the mini-pocket‘s creation either.
In fact, the mini-pocket was originally called a “watch pocket” and was designed to hold a cowboy’s or workman’s pocket watch.
And I’ll be darned: When l recently learned this factoid and experimented with my newfound knowledge by sliding my grandfather’s old pocket watch into that little pocket-within-a-pocket, it fit perfectly. Not too loose; not too tight. The watch remains secure and easy to access. If I were a cowboy back in the 1880s, I can see why having this small compartment would come in handy.
There you go: an answer to the burning question of what the little pocket-within-a-pocket on your jeans is for. For most of us moderns, it’s now purely decorative, but should you be that unique breed of man still carrying a pocket watch around, you now know a good spot to keep it.