While jeans are undoubtedly a beloved and comfortable choice of attire for many, the curiosity about the tiny, seemingly insignificant pockets often arises. It's worth noting that these pockets, though often regarded as 'useless,' have a historical background that stretches back to the 1980s. The origin of these pockets can be traced back to the inception of jeans themselves. The first pair of jeans was invented by Jacob W. Davis in 1871 and patented by Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873. These early jeans introduced the concept of the small pocket, which was initially designed to hold pocket watches, which were a common accessory at the time, and this small pocket provided a convenient and secure place to carry them.
As time passed, fashion trends evolved, and pocket watches became less common. However, the small pocket in jeans persisted. Levi's Tracey Panek explained that the watch pocket was an integral part of the original design of blue jeans, along with features like rivets on the pockets, a button fly, arched back pocket stitching, and a leather patch. This commitment to preserving the integrity of the original design is why Levi Strauss & Co. continued to include the watch pocket in their jeans.
Interestingly, despite its historical significance, the small pocket was not the fifth addition to the design. It was only in 1901 that the fifth pocket, which eventually became the back pocket, was added to jeans.
In the modern era, the pocket watch has largely faded from fashion, but the small pocket's presence in jeans has endured. Today, these pockets have found new and practical uses. People often utilize them to carry items such as Airpods, emergency pins, hair bands, and even lighters. This adaptability and continued relevance of the small pocket highlight its ability to evolve with changing times while remaining an integral part of jeans' timeless design.