For the past four decades, if American men regarded the breast pocket on their suit at all, it was as an extra place to store sunglasses or business cards. Some men don’t even undo the stitching in the pocket that comes with a new suit.
However, men are once again rediscovering the art of sporting a pocket square. Peyton Manning rocks a pocket square with his suit, as well as George Clooney and Diddy. Hell, even Saddam Hussein rocked a pocket square when he was on trial – a man should never defend his war crimes without one.
The pocket square is a small accessory that when added to an outfit, allows men to express themselves and vary their look without having to buy a whole bunch of different suits. It can add a bit of interest to your appearance without it looking like you’re trying to hard.
The History of the Pocket Square
The origin of the pocket square goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Wealthy Greeks carried around perfumed hankies as early as 500 B.C. English and French noblemen carried perfumed and embroidered hankies in order to cover their noses from the stench of the streets and other people.
In the early 1900?s, a dapper gentleman would never leave the house without a pocket square tucked neatly into his suit’s breast pocket. Yet by the latter half of that century, the pocket square began to go the way of the hat. It’s high time we bring both back.
Pocket Square Guidelines
Don’t leave your suit naked. Trent Bridges, a friend of mine at law school, refers to suits without pocket squares as “naked suits.” He argues that a suit just doesn’t look complete without one. I agree. The addition of a pocket square adds some finishing panache to a good suit. So, the first guideline of pocket square usage is to always wear one when you wear a suit or sport coat. It just looks better.
Color co-ordinating. A pocket square can be patterned or solid. The general guideline is that your pocket square color should compliment some color on your tie. So, if your tie has a bit of red, rock a solid red pocket square or a patterned pocket square with some red in it. However, avoid matching the colors exactly. It looks like you’re trying too hard (so never ever buy a tie/pocket square set at your local department store). A white pocket square can be worn with any color tie, making this color handkerchief an essential part of every man’s collection.
How to fold a pocket square
You have several options on how to fold your pocket square. Some are super simple and others are complex. It all comes down to personal taste. In this post, we’ll discuss three simple folds that every man should master. I’m proud to present the Art of Manliness’ very first video which features my ugly mug demonstrating how to fold them. Below, you’ll find written directions.