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Bulging Men's Pockets

Modern times have given us many new things that make life more interesting and convenient.  Things that most of us have grown dependent upon and need to navigate our daily lives, like cell phones.  But, along with these conveniences come the challenge of carrying them with us, especially for us guys.

Women definitely have it easier than men when it comes to toting possessions around.  They have handbags and will rarely be seen without one.  And although it's acceptable for men to carry a murse (man purse), most guys don't.  Instead, we typically cram our pockets with everything from wallets to... well, just about anything that will fit.  So, what's a guy to do if he doesn't want to look like a squirrel stashing acorns for the winter?  The truth is there aren't a whole lot of options, but read on, my stylish brother, and see if any of the suggestions work for you.

You may be wondering what's wrong with taking advantage of pockets the way men have for centuries.  After all, isn't that what pockets are for – to carry our stuff?  Yes, they are, but within reason.  It's absolutely fine to carry keys, wallets, credit cards, etc., in trouser pockets, but it's not so good if the contents cause a bulge.  Any bulge in your pants should not be coming from your pocket, my friends!  Pockets that protrude are an eyesore, and indicate they're too full.  They detract from the symmetrical and streamline look you're should have.  This applies to suit and sport jackets, as well.  In addition, overly full pockets distort the fabric and can permanently stretch or tear it, particularly with dress slacks.  Be especially careful with back pockets on dress and suit pants, since the stress put on the pockets while sitting can easily tear them.  Keeping wallets out of back pockets is probably best with dress pants.  Stretched out suit pockets affect the overall look of a suit, and can turn a sharp looking suit into one that looks old and disheveled.

The way I see it is there are two approaches to this dilemma.  The first is you can find alternative methods to carrying your gear by stashing it in some sort of bag, or you can adjust what you carry.  Start by taking inventory.  Go through your belongings and see what you have.  If you're like me, you probably have all kinds of things that tend to accumulate overtime in both your wallet and on your key ring.  Receipts, papers, and all kinds of useless junk bulks a wallet up, causing it to be much thicker than it has to be, so take a few minutes to clean it out frequently.

Overcrowded key rings may look impressive, but chances are you can't remember what half of the keys unlock.  If you happen to actually need them all and they must go in your pocket, consider having more than one ring.  Organizing keys and separating them onto different rings, and only carrying the ones you need everyday will help eliminate the bulk.  And don't forget to factor in the size of the key ring, itself.  Choose one that isn't too large if it's going into a pocket, in order to avoid excess weight and volume.

There are many wallet styles available today. (See my article on Men's Wallets.)  Some are incredibly thin and sleek; an option for both style and function.  If wallets aren't your thing, there are some awesome money clips that are small enough to fit comfortably in most pockets.  Credit cards and other plastic can also be carried along with cash in most clips.  Of course, you can't carry many, but it's doable.  A lot of guys have switched from wallets to credit card or business card holders, which are also compact and not much larger than the cards themself.  These holders are a great option if you're looking to cart just the bare essentials like a license and credit cards.  Nowadays, carrying cash is nearly a lost art; making these holders a perfect choice.

And for those men who carry billfolds, I don't have to tell you about your challenges.  Although I've seen it done, billfolds should not be carried in pants pockets because they don't fit.  Obviously, half the wallet sticks out, which is one reason some guys use a chain.  But, since chains aren't everyone's accessory of choice, this thin and classy wallet belongs in an inside jacket pocket should you carry it on your person.  It's an ideal choice for anyone wearing a suit, especially those who wear one daily.  For times when a jacket isn't being worn, carrying it in a bag or briefcase is best.  I recommend billfold carriers also own an average size wallet, money clip, etc., for times when a jacket is not worn.

A great feature many billfolds offer is a place to hold a pen.  If you're like my grandfather and must carry a pen at all times, choose a billfold, or keep it in a bag or portfolio.  Pens are life threatening to pockets.  They pierce fabric and often leak, ruining whichever article of clothing they're in... so, ditch the pen.

I almost forgot to mention coins.  Carrying coins in a pocket is acceptable, just try not to tote the whole piggy bank.  Too many coins are heavy and bulky.

Cell phones are possibly the greatest challenge.  Fortunately, technology continues to reduce their size; however, no matter how small, they still cause a pant or shirt pocket to protrude.  Many guys wear belt holders, which is always a viable option.  But my preference is to carry it in a jacket pocket if there's one available, or toss it in a bag or briefcase.

I'm sure many of you are aware of some of the latest research regarding cell phones and health.  Because cells are constantly emitting radiation when they are in talk mode, microwaves are essentially cooking our bodies wherever they touch.  Keep this in mind and try to keep the phone somewhere other than a pant pocket or belt.  Studies now confirm cell phones kept in these locations reduce sperm quality and quantity due to their proximity to the gonads... which is bad news!  So, if you have to carry one, rotate the location; however, keeping it off yourself is best.

More and more guys are carrying some sort of bag.  Often, it's a backpack or computer bag, but I'm seeing lots of man purses hanging off men's shoulders lately.  They range from sophisticated leather bags to casual canvas ones, and whether it's carried for convenience or style, they are an excellent option – especially for the guy who has a lot to carry.  Briefcases fall into this category, and are the preferred choice for businessmen.  Briefs can be found with shoulder straps for those preferring to carry one on the shoulder.  If you haven't tried a bag, give it a shot.  They are versatile and stylish... and I've been told even sexy.

When carrying anything in your pockets, spread the wealth by evenly distributing the contents into more than one pocket.  This will not only save your pockets, but will give you a balanced look.  I realize it's not always possible to avoid a bulge, but staying aware of what you're shoveling into your pockets and eliminating any unnecessary stuff should keep you looking lean and keen!

by Aaron Marino

Pete and Pedro

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