It's a Thing

Found Pocket Square

When is a dinner napkin also an ad hoc accessory? Our style editor explains.

A pocket square is one of those things–so often in this little industry of ours–that originated out of an actual, practical function. That function? Well, the not-so-glamorous handkerchief, a workhorse accessory there to dry a brow or muffle a sneeze. These days a pocket square isn’t any help during a winter cold; They now serve to fine tune a suit or jacket—adding just a touch of class, pomp, and circumstance to an ensemble. And what we’ve noticed around town (and admittedly on ourselves) are pocket squares that quite frankly aren’t pocket squares. I must humbly admit that a few years ago I was quick to snatch up a cocktail napkin and that during one event grabbed a promotional pamphlet from The Economist with Vladimir Putin and Kofi Annan’s mugs squarely poking out of my chest pocket. Granted, this probably took things too far. But since then I’ve noticed Mordechai Rubinstein rock a Continental Airlines ticket and you’ll often see my colleague Josh Peskowitz with a business class dinner napkin from the aforementioned carrier in his jacket. Today, thanks to a fruitful trip to Brimfield, I’ve got just as many napkins as pocket squares, and occasionally throw a miniature Old Glory in there for good measure.

Before you go out and start looting Crate & Barrel for menswear accessories here’s some tips:

*Err to the simple, understated side. You don’t want it to be the first thing people notice. But when they do and ask, “Where’d you get that pocket square?” You’ll have a clever little yarn to spin.

*Stay with the flat fold. Remember this isn’t designed to fit in your pocket so clean fold is the best way to fit the round peg into the square hole.

*Stick to the real thing for black tie. But you already knew that.

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