Might I Suggest: The Low-Key Style Hack for Carrying Less Stuff

As a team, we’re often fielding fashion-centric quandaries via Twitter, text and Instagram DM, so we figured, why not make it dot-com official? Welcome to Might I Suggest, the style advice column that solves your most elusive market searches and enduring style challenges. This week, Elizabeth Tamkin answers this question from Instagram by community member, Saira:

How should I dress when I don’t want to wear a purse? Can you suggest things with pockets?

I’m so happy to be answering this—I have a personal vendetta against purses and have spent a lot of time constructing outfits that help me avoid needing to carry them. (I just prefer not to lug a bunch of stuff around.) This is especially true during summer, when life is generally hotter and sweatier, and all I want is to be as light and hands-free as possible. Crowded subways, busy streets, outdoor festivals—give me room to breathe!

Thankfully, pockets present a million different—and even really fun—ways to not have to carry a bag. As the market strategist at Man Repeller, I spend half my life shopping online, so I’ve got everything from one-of-a-kind steals under 50 bucks to pricier staples you’ll wear again and again and again.

Let’s begin with the easiest, breeziest and most discreet of no-bag options—dresses with hidden pockets. I own this dress by Viva Aviva (see above) and wore it just yesterday with my iPhone 8+ in one pocket and wallet and keys in the other while I ran around the city pulling samples for an upcoming shoot. Then there’s this tweed pocket dress, which I could see myself wearing both on the weekend and into any office (P.S. it’s on sale). And would you take a look at this long gingham dress on Etsy, which is offered in sizes ranging from extra-small to 5x (and makes me want to demand a picnic immediately)?

Maybe you love pockets! Maybe you don’t want to hide them at all! Well, then you should get your clicking finger ready for this utility dress or this mossy green, airy shirtdress from COS. Check out more pocket-forward options below.

To get really specific here, I believe the pinafore—typically a sleeveless, apron-like number—is the best pocket dress on the market. They quite literally were designed for these utilitarian purposes.

But for the days when a dress simply doesn’t suit, lightweight jackets and vests can do the trick. From denim to cargo-style to lady-like tweed, you can find options with multiple pockets that will store things in discreet ways. I adore this vintage number from Etsy, I’d wear it with an old band tee, A-line shorts and metallic slide sandals.

I know what you’re thinking: It’s almost summer! I don’t need a jacket! But these options come in lightweight, breathable fabrics that you’ll be happy to have when the sun goes down.

Now, let’s travel to the bottom half of our bodies. The most obvious option is the cargo pant, famous for having multiple pockets that your dad loves to store who-knows-what in. If you’re lucky, you’ll leave a dollar in one of them and find it months later. Leandra wore these cargo pants in this story about the best winter pants. They’re men’s, so purchase accordingly, but they look great oversized (which also helps with letting in the breeze).

A shorter option is literally… shorts. (And skirts.) Haley recently styled a bunch of utility shorts, all of which are perfect for your pocketed needs. But I also stumbled upon this Levi’s denim “mom short” option for 70 bucks and this white skirt with utility pockets on the side.

Now I’m going to throw you some curveballs for the days when you have extra cargo. These will allow you to be hands-free enough that you’ll forget you’re still technically carrying a bag.

Let’s start with a crossbody. This is appropriate if you have an event or something formal to go to but don’t want to be responsible for a clutch. You can find really small options that just carry the necessities. Take advantage of the golden age of mini bags! I’m especially fond of this By Far one.

Another option is to carry your stuff around your waist. You can do that in the form of a belt bag or… an apron?! Hear me out. I stumbled upon the idea of the denim apron as clothing when I was at Five Leaves in Greenpoint one day. I noticed that all of the waitresses wearing denim aprons that looked incredible on them. I asked where they were from and then literally ran across the street to get myself a custom version. I actually wore it the day we moved to our second office at Man Repeller three years ago. It was the perfect home for my measuring tape and scissors.

But okay, fine, if a denim apron isn’t for you, a belt bag may be. This trend has saturated the market, so I’ve handpicked a few options that I can really get behind.

One last thing: If you decide to commit to this bagless lifestyle and you find yourself caught in the rain (a.k.a. with a pineapple or some other unwieldy fruit that just won’t fit in your pocket), I highly recommend stocking your person with a slim and trim reusable Baggu bag. Takes up no space and always does the trick!

Might I Suggest identity by Edith Young.

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