If there is one thing I really envy men, apart, of course, from the fact that they still earn twice as much as I do without lifting a finger to merit such privilege, it is their pockets. Men's clothes are covered in them: big, strongly sewn, easily sealed; pockets big enough to take a wallet; pockets big enough to hold a mobile phone without throwing the cut out.

The pockets on women's clothes are either useless - sewn-up flaps for show, or so small and so shallow that the only things you can keep in them safely are your hands - or don't exist at all. This is why the ghastly denim jacket has such ubiquity in the apparel market: it's not that we like them; they are the only pieces of female kit that allow for the fact that one might want to carry one's keys on one's person. Will this ever change? I doubt it. It's part of yet another retail conspiracy: the conspiracy to make us buy handbags.

All women have a love-hate relationship with their bags. They are essential to our existence, and yet they make us vulnerable to thieves, hamper our freedom of movement, silt up with sweet wrappers, receipts and old bus tickets and resolutely hide the one thing you're looking for. There can't be a woman over 20 in the country who has only one of the things, because the perfect bag has never been made. The average collection of five can easily represent some hundreds of pounds.

This, again, is conspiracy, not difficulty. It would be simple to find out what women really want: something that doesn't weigh a ton, has room for a book and can expand to take a bottle, has several compartments, at least two zipped for cash and makeup, and a wide shoulder strap so you can cart it around safe-ish from muggers and not end up end up in extreme pain by the end of the day. And black so it goes with everything.

I've never yet found a bag that combined all these qualities. Well, one once - an urban rucksack bought for a tenner off a market stall with a hidden compartment between the straps for valuables - but it lacked that other essential quality, durability. The rucksack and the school satchel are the nearest manufacturers have come yet, but rucksacks leave you creased and satchels are redolent of the agonies of adolescence. Someone could clean up with a bit of thought and a good publicity budget. The denim jacket makers wouldn't like it, though.

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