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Your Pocket Square

17 Nov 2012

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After the last week’s write up i did about the act of wearing bow ties, the next thing you’ll agree with me is to write something on the other dress code that compliments a tie which is of course the pocket square. The pocket square is the handkerchief commonly seen in the left breast pocket of suit jackets and men’s blazers in particular. It is becoming very popular nowadays with many people from the entertainment to the corporate world taking to the elegant dress item. People even wear them on traditional outfits too! Of course I will talk about what people hardly do right when they wear a pocket square as well as answer most of the frequently asked questions on this subject.

IS IT COMPULSORY TO WEAR A POCKET SQUARE?
First of all, I must state that the pocket square, though elegant and/or flamboyant option, is not a compulsory dress item. Take the US President Barak Obama for example, he hardly wears a pocket square not simply because it is unnecessary, but for the reason i stated earlier that it is a flamboyant option. Once you want to keep your looks simple and formal, you are to stay off the pocket square. You simply do not need it.

WHEN SHOULD I WEAR A POCKET SQUARE?
There are times where the pocket square is a good option. During ceremonial occasions, the pocket square becomes a good option. When Obama gives a State of the Union address, he does not wear a pocket square.  However, when he goes for ceremonial occasions which are formal as well as a state banquet, he spots on a pocket square.  A banker wearing a pocket square to work for example is one too many.

IS IT ALRIGHT TO WEAR A POCKET SQUARE AND NECK TIE OR BOW TIE OF THE SAME MATERIAL AND FABRIC?
The first anomaly noticeable when men wear pocket squares is the pocket square being exactly identical to the tie. It is not right to wear pocket squares that are exactly the same as the ties. The reason is this, the pocket square is meant to be a dress item that distinguishes a man’s tie as well as the rest of the fabric and wearing an identical pair renders a man’s look too predictable and immature – far from the impression a well dressed man wants to create.

WHY ARE THEY THEN SOLD AS A PAIR IN MEN’s  DRESS STORES?
Though, pocket squares and ties are sold as a pair by some designers,  if it’s alright to use that appellation for them, I have noticed that many of those who sell them are usually low end designers who I guess do not know any better. Decent men’s dress stores I frequent do not sell them as a pair. Also the fact that an accessory is sold as a pair does not mean it is appropriate to wear them as a pair – if you do purchase them as a pair, they are simply not worn as a pair.

HOW DO I FOLD A POCKET SQUARE?
Even though the three main conventional ways of folding pocket squares were the square fold popularised by Sean Connery while playing the James Bond act, the triangular fold and the flute or puff fold; A lot more versatility has come into the folding of pocket squares in recent times that no fold(s) whatsoever occupies the position of principal fold. Once a pocket square is put into the left breast pocket of the suit jacket or blazer whichever it is, it can be styled according to the wearer’s desires.

WHATS THE IDAL SIZE OF A POCKET SQUARE?
I have noticed that what most people wear as pocket squares is a contraption that I still do not know what to call it which is less than half the size of an ideal pocket square. Ideally, the size of a pocket square is just noticeably wider than the regular handkerchief.

WHAT POCKET SQUARE MATERIAL IS THE BEST?
People wear all kinds of pocket squares but the best pocket squares are silk ones. Even though there are cotton and linen pocket squares, cotton squares especially do not carry the type of flair the pocket square is supposed to project.
One particular detail to note when choosing a silk square is hand-rolled edges; these are a sign of quality and attention to detail and should be present on a well-made square. I recommend silk pocket squares to you as your best bet though they may be more expensive.

WHERE CAN GOOD QUALITY POCKET SQUARES BE PURCHASED?
TM Lewin, Twice as Nice and Wise Men Apparel are all good men’s dress stores where good pocket squares can be purchased.

CAN A POCKET SQUARE BE USED TO WIPE ONES FACE?
Finally, I must not think it unnecessary to add that the pocket square is never used like a handkerchief for wiping the face for example. It sits into the jacket pocket just for show.

Tags: Life and Style, Life

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