This Is Why Jeans Have Those Tiny Pockets

It’s been called everything from a coin pocket to a ticket pocket, but here's the true story.

Those little, tiny pockets on your jeans might be just one of the things you’ve always wondered about. (Like, what on earth do those YKK letters on your zippers stand for?) By now, you might have given up on trying to use that tiny pocket since it’s too darn small to fit anything you actually need. But why is it there in the first place? Well, today, it doesn’t really serve a purpose, but it used to in the late 1800s.

Why do jeans have tiny pockets?

The small pocket is actually called a watch pocket because it was originally intended as a safe place for men to store their pocket watches. It dates back to Levi’s first-ever pair of jeans, which hit the market in 1879.

According to the Levi Strauss blog, originally there were only four pockets on a pair of blue jeans, the watch pocket included.

So next time you find yourself standing nonchalantly with your thumb hooked in that small pocket, know that it was originally used to store a pocket watch. Now that we’ve demystified the tiny jean pocket, find out more interesting and fun facts you never knew about.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for rd.com, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.