History | Did You Know

The Real Reason Why Your Jeans Have That Tiny Pocket In The Front


I'm going to go ahead and assume that most people have owned at least one pair of jeans in their lifetime.

The wardrobe staple, which dates all the way back to the late 1800s, was first worn by male manual laborers and were originally referred to as "waist overalls."

In 1873, tailor Jacob Davis and businessman Levi Strauss patented their idea of adding metal rivets to jeans so the pants wouldn't stretch or tear so easily. That was the moment the first pair of jeans, as we know them today, were born.


While the fit and style of the fashion mainstay has evolved since then, there are a few design elements that have remained unchanged.

In addition to the rivets on the pockets and bottom of the fly, you may have noticed that most jeans have a tiny pocket that sits inside one of the front pockets.

We usually don't pay much attention to this little extra piece of denim, but on the rare occasion that it gets in the way of us trying to put something in the bigger pocket, we can't help but wonder why they're there in the first place.

Turns out, this isn't a design flaw, and there's a very interesting history behind it.

While the small pouch has been given many names throughout the years, including coin pocket, match pocket, frontier pocket and ticket pocket, it was originally created to serve a very different purpose.

According to the Levi Strauss blog, the tiny pouch was "originally included as protection for pocket watches."

"Not only is the pocket extremely useful for holding tiny trinkets, it is also is loved by denimheads for the faded and worn nature it takes on over time."

Tracey Panek, a historian for Levi Strauss & Co confirms that the fifth pocket "appears on the oldest pair of waist overalls "” the original name for jeans "” in the Levi Strauss & Co. archives that date back to 1879."

Nowadays, many brands continue to incorporate the teeny pocket in their designs, but they're more for style than function as people wear wristwatches and carry cell phones.

Do you use the small pocket in your jeans to store things? Let us know in the comments!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.