MtM MONDAY: THE POCKET SQUARE
It is made-to-measure Monday. It is time to shed some light on one of the most necessary accessory to a man’s investable wardrobe: the pocket square.
Accessories appear to be easy and yet many men hesitate. As many men ditch the tie, the pocket square is a must have accessory that can really lighten, brighten or embolden any sport coat.
I was introduced to the pocket square by an ex of mine, many years ago. Oh, how he loved the bespoke! His wardrobe was an investment, not only in his career and leisure life but also his personality. Though he didn’t live in NYC, he introduced me to a store he often shopped at for pocket squares, Seigo on the UES. This tiny store, on Madison between 89th & 90th ironically has the most beautifully handmade ties, bowties and pocket squares all made in Japan. The store is half the size of a NYC studio apartment, but don’t let the size fool you. How often have I been wrong about size? lol
NOW, A FASHIONABLE HISTORY OF THE POCKET SQUARE.
The handkerchief doesn’t quite have the fashionable ring that the pocket square does. In fact, many theories exists about the exact origin: the Egyptian nobility dyeing small linen cloths with red powder to symbolize status. The Greeks carrying around a scented cloth, because they loved perfume. King Richard II in the late 1300’s, recognized as the first person to wear the cloth as a fashion accessory. It is told that Marie Antoinette, insisted to her husband, King Louis XVI that the “handerkerchief” looked sloppy in all different sized and should be a uniform 16″ x 16″ size, Modern day pocket squares were made popular to every man in the early 19th century thanks to the rise of the 2-piece suit. The handerkerchief was no longer just a sign of wealth and status. In fact, this 16″ x 16″ piece of fabric in the pocket was more utilitarian and putting the handkerchief in the blazer, kept it from getting dirty. It was now a fashion accessory for a man’s suit.
WHY IS THE POCKET SQUARE A MUST HAVE ACCESSORY?
The simplicity in adding flair to an outfit that even the most awkwardly dressed man could easily put together. Pocket square designs seem limitless from colors to patterns. I love Rampley and Co. Unlike accessories like cufflinks, which only seem to come out for austere circumstance, the pocket square fits in even as men move to a more “casual” beat. A seasonless, timeless accessory.
When in doubt, stick with white. However, I would like to think that a little imagination and confidence goes a long way in the area of a small accessory that packs a big pocket.