No Pockets For Females?

Why dont female uniforms (excluding greens) have pockets?

I am the proud mother of a very active and determined cadet who plans to join RAF one day.

But we don’t understand why females don’t have pockets in their shirts or skirts.

Males have pockets in both their shirts and their trousers.

She does not wish to wear trousers, she likes the skirt. But she is obliged to keep her 3822 down the waistband of the skirt, or up her sleeve, or under her hat. Why?

Why, in 2020, are her only options to wear trousers or have nowhere to store her things? Why?

Blame the RAF, not us!

I don’t know the answer to be honest (although I’m sure someone else will), but if it makes you feel any better I totally agree with you. There was a purse belt available for private purchase, but I’ve not seen one for a few years now!

Antiquated styles based on the RAF (we wear their uniform) and regulars get handbags.

It’s ridiculous, yes, but our hands are tied.

Thank you for your responses, I don’t wish to blame anyone. But the shirts are given to cadets new. The boy shirt has a pocket. The girl shirt does not. Why? If new shirts are continually supplied why not get them all with pockets?

Females can wear the male shirt if that helps. In my neck of the woods stores would not issue female shirts to cadets, only the male variant with pockets.

Back in the day, it was quite common for female cadets to stitch in a pocket to the skirt to hold the 3822 and canteen money etc.

I dont think this is an RAF issue in general and more of a cultural one. My partner has loads of pairs of jeans/trousers with fake pockets in them, it infuriates her!

Because the RAF doesn’t issue a female shirt with pockets so they don’t exist for us to order.

On a side note I don’t think a 3822 fits in a Male shirt pocket either.

Is it allowable to alter the skirt to include a pocket? Because I would happily do this.

My daughter was told she is not allowed to wear the Male shirt anyway

Dress regs state “Issue Long Sleeve Wedgwood Shirt”

Does not mention pockets.

Its not like a pocket at the side with access like a pair of trouser pockets.

The best way to describe what they did was sew in some material at the rear of the skirt next to the zip for access from the top of the skirt, it was normally the size of a 3822, it wasn’t visible other than the bulge of what was in the pocket. It was quite ingenious really.

There are female cadets all over the UK wearing male shirts as thats all some can get hold of. Not an argument i can help with really as if they are in wedgewood shirts it will be for something like a parade and shouldnt have anything in pockets, so no real reason to not wear a female shirt that your daughters squadron has in stock. Catch 22 in this situation.

Are you on Twitter? Ask our boss directly.

(Don’t tell her you came from here)

Thank you, I will do that :slight_smile:

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Another option could be to see a “Poachers Pouch” on to the rear of the brassard??

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Some of our cadets carry RAF ‘style’ handbags for general use. The CO has no worries about it. Not for parades though, but that is just twice a year. Our CO is a grown up though.


It’s perfectly acceptable to carry a handbag when not on parade - it’s an authorised “optional item”. The only catch is that our regulations state “service issue” but they’re difficult to get hold of. Any small black or very dark blue handbag would be fine in reality.

I wouldn’t compare the shirts since even males will rarely store anything in the breast pockets. Sometimes in the past female light blue shirts have come with pockets but they don’t currently. My logical assumption is that it’s a cost saving measure since barely any women would put anything in the breast pockets either. Not to put too fine a point on it, a plastic covered 3822 does often not sit well in pocket on the front of a woman’s chest.
Pockets vs no pockets is really just a matter of the style.

I’m not an expert in women’s clothing but I can’t say that I’ve ever really noticed civilian skirts being fitted with pockets.
I have toyed in the past with the possibility of adding pockets at the side seams but I’m not sure how well they’d fit over hips.

Why are service issue handbags not issued with the uniform, and hard to get hold of, if female uniforms have no pockets?

Why is this an issue that boys do not have to think about and girls must solve for themselves?

Civilian skirts are for fashion (and the world of womens’ fashion is also sadly lacking in pockets). A uniform should be fit for purpose.

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You do realise that we get this for free from the RAF right? You’re more than welcome to go and purchase your own uniform items (providing they meet our dress regulations).

Cadets are not “scaled” for handbags last time I checked. Scaled for, in MOD terms, means entitled to be issued.


Thank you for your reply. Can you kindly advise me where I can purchase a regulation skirt with pockets?

Because money, simply.
We already wear more of the uniform than the RAF itself does, they’re not about to make more of it just to give to us for nothing.

You can’t.
Your daughter will have to do what every female cadet for the last 40 years has had to do; improvise, or ask a male cadet to hold it for her.

Unfortunately, there’s precisely nothing anyone here can do about it, we’re beholden to the same regulations and same uniform limitations, we get no say in how the RAF tells us to wear it.

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She could wear trousers, like boys do, and not have the issue.

Thank you for this, I think you are right, though i hope it will change someday.