Saturday, April 7, 2012

Parasol Pockets

So, I've noticed this thing about 1870s dresses. Sometimes they have a hilarious little triangular pocket. A parasol pocket? You tell me. I haven't found any contemporary mentions of such a thing, nor any paintings of a woman with an actual parasol in such a pocket. On the other hand, they appear to be a recurring theme in original garments. Is this absolutely inspired, or kind of dumb? You decide!


  1. How fascinating. I've not noticed these before (although I'm more Regency than Victorian). I did some digging and found a couple of illustrations in the October 1876 issue of The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine which show parasol (or, given the October weather, umbrella?!) pockets like these. Sadly the pockets aren't shown with the parasols inside, although one illustration does at least show the model with a parasol up. In the written description I found of one of these outfits, it mentioned the pocket only in passing as if it wasn't worth comment: "Rose ribbon on the sleeve, pocket, and collar."

  2. I did some more research and my feeling is that they are just absurdly-shaped pockets, and not designed to hold parasols. How the triangle shape evolved, I don't really know since it seems pretty impractical for storing small items that would get stuck at the bottom, but the illustrations show women with these big pockets (of various shapes) seemingly in lieu of a reticule/handbag/purse.

    I'll email you a bunch of illustrations from 1876/66.