Pockets can often be the bane of fashion life. For women’s clothing especially, the addition of ‘fake’ pockets to trousers, coats, shirts can often be infuriating. Jean pockets come as pretty standard across the genders – two back pockets, two front pockets and that odd little rectangular pocket in one of the front pockets.

But what is it used for? It’s certainly too small for coins and was around before the age of smart phones.

User Renata Janoskova cited Levi Strauss, iconic American jeans brand, as having the answer to the mystery pocket. According to a blog post on their website, the pocket is a “watch pocket”, small enough to keep a pocket watch.



Ms Janoskova expaned on this, explaining that Levis introduced the pockets to cater for cowboys pocket watches. “Back in the 1800s, cowboys used to wear their watches on chains and kept them in their waistcosts. To keep them from getting broken, Levis introduced this small pocket where they could keep their watch.”

It’s a watch pocket, originally for men who wore pocket watches and needed a protective place to store them. Though, as Levi’s points out, the pocket has also served many other purposes over time, from condom storage to coin hoarding.

The burning question arose this week after curious minds re-discovered a Quora thread in which users have discussed this mysterious fifth pocket for years.

The Levi Strauss blog confirms their conclusion: “The first blue jeans had four pockets—only one in back and, in the front, two plus the small, watch pocket. This extra pouch has served many functions… condom pocket, coin pocket, match pocket and ticket pocket, to name a few.”

The pocket appears on the oldest pair of jeans in the Levi’s archives, which date to about 1879, Levi’s historian Tracey Panek told.

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