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Why do men’s overcoats have only one inside pocket?

The question

Why do men's overcoats have only one inside pocket (on the left side since most of us are right-handed, I'm assuming)? Wouldn't an extra one (or two, even) on the right balance things out?

The answer

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What exactly do you need to be carrying in your pockets? I know your type: You want your electronics, all your keys (including the ones to your garden shed and snowmobile), a pocket knife, a flashlight (in case you're stranded in the elevator) and a newspaper. And you refuse to carry a bag. Why? Will it turn you into a fashion designer?

If manufacturers put pockets all over their coats, men will fill them up with bulgy stuff. It throws out the line of the garment. Same goes for suits. When I am shopping with first-time suit-buyers, I plead with them to leave in the basting stitches that seal the outer jacket pockets, so that they are never tempted to actually use them. The second you stuff a bag of chips and an iPhone into such a pocket, you look like a chemistry professor.

What you need to do is man up and carry your stuff in a bag: a leather briefcase-like bag with a shoulder strap. No one will mistake you for a fashion designer, but they may well ask you if you've lost weight.

Russell Smith's latest novel, Girl Crazy , was recently published. Have a fashion question? E-mail

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