Return of the Pocket Square
October 14, 2010 1 Comment
We’ve progressed considerably from the sartorial decay of the previous decade. The dotcom boom ushered in an unprecedented era of casual work attire that would have made Don Draper’s head spin. Ties were yanked off and suits tossed aside in a fit of rebellion reminiscent of bra burning in the late 60s. A tech sector bust and a banking and housing crash later, the recession has us dressing up to cheer up and perhaps to have the upper hand in this unpredictable work environment. After all, fortune favours the stylish.
Conditions are ripe and the fashion runways alive heralding in the return of an accessory once tainted by pimps and porn stars alike – the gentleman’s pocket square. Be it formal black tie, business, or casual, a pocket square is an easy and inexpensive way to round off your look and add personal style to your outfit. Don’t limit them only to suits. Pocket squares also make an impression worn on blazers with jeans without the tie, or even tucked into the pocket of a buttoned-up vest.
When shopping for pocket squares, the key is to never buy one of those tie and pocket square combos they try to sell you in some stores. The pocket square should never 100% match the tie. If you are going to go with the same colour scheme as your tie or bow tie, use a different pattern. You can also try matching the pocket square to colours in your suit or dress shirt. Take a close look at the photo above. The white Tom Ford suit uses both a black and white bow tie and pocket square, but with different patterns. Zac Efron’s white pocket square adds polish, contrast, and sophistication to his outfit. You can clearly see that his pocket square does not match his tie, but works with the white in his gingham dress shirt.
Pocket squares are made of silk, cotton, and linen and measure 10″ to 12″ square. More and more designers have started reintroducing them into their collections, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding some at your local menswear store. Your first pocket square should be a versatile white or off-white. You can experiment with different folds as described here, but I personally stick to the presidential or flat fold for formal and semi-formal occasions and the puff for more casual looks.
Prices tend to range from $10 to $50 for most and upwards of $200 for high fashion designer pocket squares. If you’re feeling adventurous and are looking to save some money, you can try making your own. A trip to a fabric store like Fabricland will uncover countless possibilities . They sell fabric by the yard, but ask them to sell you 1/3 of a yard for 1/3 of the price. Take the fabric to a dry cleaner that also does alterations. They’ll cut the fabric to size and finish off the sides for you. Knock ’em dead.