A few weeks ago, I was going through my closet when I noticed I did not own a white pocket square. The horror! “My life is over. I have a red carpet event tonight!” These where the thoughts going through my mind. After racking my mind for alternatives, I was ready to go commando and use a white paper!
The pocket square is a small accessory that when added to an outfit, allows men to vary their look without having to buy a bunch of different suits. It make your appearance more interesting without it looking like you are trying too hard.
According to ‘The Art of Manliness’, the origin of the pocket square goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Wealthy Greeks carried around perfumed and embroidered hankies as early as 500 B.C. English and French noblemen eventually picked up the trend and used the hankies to cover their noses from the stench of the streets and other, less bourgeoisie, people. Fashionably functional!
In the 90’s a gentleman would never leave the house without a pocket square tucked neatly into his suit’s breast pocket. Yet today, nobody seems to wear them. That is where I come in. Mosha, reviver of abandoned trends.
Why you need one.
You might wonder why I am obsessed with these, ‘butambala’, as most Ugandans refer to them.
Well, first of all, most celebrities are incorporating them in their wardrobe: from movie stars like George Clooney, to rappers like Diddy. Hell, even Saddam Hussein rocked a pocket square when he was on trial. A man should never defend his war crimes without one.
In addition, a suit is considered ‘naked’ without one, which should explain why I thought my life was over. Like Blue Band on Ugandan bread, so is a pocket square on a suit. Dress It Up!
Finally, it adds character to a boring suit. The square helps you stand out from a crowd, making you appear as one who puts thought into what you are wearing: a man of incredible panache.
How to wear a pocket square
This is an art, not a science. There is no steadfast rule for choosing a pocket square. It should simply complement your shirt and tie, not match them. When matched, you look like you are trying too hard. If it looks right and feels right, walk out the door.
Pocket squares are either solid or patterned. Make sure you at least have a couple of white ones to hand for those really formal events, but then go crazy and have fun experimenting with what you can find.
Patterned squares are ideally casual however they are hard to pull off. If you are not a fashion nerd, I suggest you stick to the solid colours. Black, blue, red and navy are easy to incorporate into your wardrobe.
How to fold.
You have several ways to fold a pocket square. I shall concentrate on my two favourite folds; The Straight fold and the Puff fold.
The Straight Fold is the most simple of the pocket square folds. What you’ll end up with is a small rectangle peeking out of your suit pocket. Here’s one way how to fold it:
- Lay your pocket square flat.
- Bring the left side to right side
- Bring the bottom towards the top, but don’t fold it all the way.
- Fold the fabric in thirds horizontally so that it will fit your suit pocket.
The Puff Fold is probably the simplest of the folds. The desired result is to have a small puff of fabric coming out your suit pocket. Here’s how to fold it.
- Lay the pocket square flat.
- Pinch the middle of the fabric, allowing the folds to come in naturally.
- With one hand firmly holding the pocket square, use your other hand to gently gather it together.
- Now gracefully gather up the bottom of the pocket square.
- Place it in your suit. Fiddle with it until you get the desired puffiness.
So, is the pocket square a piece of high fashion or a wardrobe essential? I vote for the latter. Can you use a white paper? The answer is NO!
What do you think?
Do you own pocket squares? If yes how do you wear them?
Do you think this is something you can invest in?
Am I being dramatic or is the pocket square a necessity for every man’s wardrobe?