Monday, March 31, 2008

Be Squared

For me, the final stylish touch for a well-dressed men is the pocket square. It has become a signature of mine.

About four hundred years ago in my favorite city, Venice, a local lady made the first pocket square when she cut a piece of flax and decorated it with lace.

The trend spread throughout the courts of Europe, and the use of silk and linen in the breast of a suit jacket became a sign of wealth and royalty.

When you are searching for pocket squares, there is one cardinal rule: always look for a hand rolled edge. Whether the handkerchief is made out of linen, cotton, silk or damask, the hand-rolled edge is a sign of good craftsmanship. And remember that the seasonal rules of fashion apply to the fabric of pocket squares as well as clothing. Don’t wear linen before Memorial Day or after Labor day.

There are many ways to fold a pocket square. Here are three of my favorites:

The Puffed Fold: Pick up the handkerchief in the center. Using the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, gather the four points of the handkercheif and place in the pocket with puff coming out.

The Dunaway Fold: Pick up the handkerchief in the middle. With one hand hold the middle, and with the other hand gently gather the handkerchief closed. Using the hand that was holding the middle of the handkerchief, roll the top down. Carefully lift the points up and place the handkerchief in the pocket with the puff in front and the four points behind it.

The Four Points Fold: Pick up the handkerchief in the middle. Using your other hand, gather the handkerchief closed then fold the gathered corner down. Flip the pocket square over and place it in the pocket with four points sticking out. (This fold works best with a cotton or linen pocket square.)

Two stores where I love to buy pocket squares are:

Peter Elliot
1070 Madison Avenue
New York City

Jay Kos
475 Park Avenue
New York City