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Frank Gray

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Frank Gray hopes the pocketless-shirt trend dies quickly.

Buying shirts just got complicated

I was sitting at my desk the other day when I noticed my cuff was about to fall off.

That happens after you’ve washed a shirt about a hundred times. The cloth gets threadbare and the shirt falls apart.

So on Saturday, I went to Penney’s and bought a new one. It’s a soothing ritual I go through about once every six months.

The next day, though, I found myself back at the mall. My wife had gotten a coupon good for a bunch of free stuff at Carson’s, and she made me buy another shirt, a peach-colored one that she said would make it look as though I had a personality.

Monday morning I unwrapped the new peach shirt, put it on, and as I was getting ready to leave, I grabbed my cigarettes and went to put them in my pockets and – there was no pocket.

Someone forgot to sew the pocket on, I thought. These things happen. Once I bought a new shirt and later discovered that one sleeve was 35 inches and the other was 32 inches. Someone had grabbed a sleeve out of the wrong stack.

The next day I unwrapped the shirt from Penney’s, a blue one, put it on, went to put my cigarettes in the pocket and – there was no pocket.

What’s going on?

It turns out this is the new trend, no pockets in shirts.

I went back to the mall and walked through a few stores. Everywhere I looked, I found shirts with no pockets.

I mentioned it to one salesperson who asked if he could help me. Well, he said, they’re just trying to add seven seconds to your life by giving you nowhere to carry your cigarettes, some reference to each cigarette taking seven seconds off your life.

But where do I put my pen, I asked?

No one uses pens any more, he said. Everyone’s connected. You can record everything on your smartphone.

Well, what about my glasses? Where do I put those?

It was only then that the salesperson realized that, yes, there are more and more shirts that don’t have pockets, aren’t there?

I guess this is where technology has brought us.

Before long, you won’t need a key to start your car. The ignition will read your thumbprint, or voice recognition software will recognize you when you say “start.”

We won’t need pockets in our pants for money or keys because they won’t exist. We’ll carry our cellphones in a holster, and we’ll pay for everything with the phone. We’ll use a cellphone to produce a photo of our licenses and insurance cards. We’ll take notes with the cellphone, eliminating the need for paper, pens and, if it’s raining, pencils.

Maybe so, but I don’t like it. All this has done is make buying shirts even more involved. Now, not only do I have to find a shirt that’s the right size, but now I have to remember to look to see if there’s a pocket.

I hope this trend dies, and quickly.

In the meantime, I’m stuck with these shirts with no pockets.

Well, I guess I can wear them when I paint.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.