Pockets Of Identity: Nineteenth-Century Women’s Pockets In Lady Audley’s Secret And A Fashion Plate From The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, Deirdre A. Duffy
Copious nineteenth-century novels feature women’s fashion as more than passing references or descriptive details for the sake of imagery. In fact, a female character’s development is often linked to the style and manner to in which she wears her clothing. One such example of a minor fashion element is the pocket, specifically, the pocket(s) in women’s dresses. This essay analyzes the subtle, yet notable presence that pockets occupy for the women characters in Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s 1862 Sensation novel, Lady Audley’s Secret, while also examining the placement and function of pockets in a nineteenth-century dresses from a fashion plate featured in an 1864 edition of the Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. Juxtaposed as fact versus fiction, these two nineteenth-century artefacts share intriguing properties that invite analysis of the novel’s female characters by what they sustain or lose from their pockets.