Pocket squares offer both an aesthetic appeal as well as a functional advantage. In its basic form, a pocket square is a handkerchief or a square piece of cloth that is folded into the desired shape and then slipped into the left breast pocket of a coat or jacket. With the upper part of this clothing accessory being visible above the rim of the pocket, the pocket square truly renders the wearer a dash of sophistication. While some pocket squares may be worn just for decorative reasons, others can be used as handkerchiefs. Donning a pocket square, as well as the style opted for the same, is entirely up to the discretion of the wearer. Some formal gatherings, such as black tie dinners, award presentations and political campaigns occasionally make pocket squares mandatory.
Pocket squares render the much-needed contrast to the continuous black color of the coat. Additionally, pocket squares provide a judicious contrast to the color and design of the tie and the shirt. A pocket square can also be worn as an alternative to the boutonniere, being less cumbersome to insert. Nowadays, a pocket square has become a fashion statement for most people, proclaiming to the world the wearer’s tastes and attitude.
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One of the most important considerations when purchasing a pocket square, after the color and the material, is the size of this unique clothing accessory. Most pocket square sizes range between around 12 to 16 square inches. However, variations beyond the upper or lower limit could exist depending on the material used as well as the intended use of this item. Generally, it would be advisable to go in for a larger pocket square only if it happens to be made of a thin and soft material like silk. The reason for this is the fact that when a cotton or linen pocket square is folded, the resulting ‘bundle’ could cause an unsightly bulge within the pocket.
Most people wish to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ when wearing their pocket square. They make this artistic piece of cloth perform the mundane tasks of a handkerchief. Though not being a bad decision in the strictest sense, this intended usage would require a larger piece. Another factor governing the size of the pocket square would be the size of the breast pocket and the thickness of the tie being used. The way the pocket square is folded would also influence the size of the square. Some folding techniques require a larger sized pocket square while others which incorporate minimal folds would not need an exceptionally large square. Quite naturally, a person would choose the size of his pocket square depending on the amount of material to be seen above the pocket.
A Hand-rolled pocket square implies that the edges of the pocket square are tightly rolled by hand forming a judicious border for the same. Besides serving a decorative purpose, hand-rolling the pocket squares also helps to increase the life of these innovative fashion accessories. Hand-rolling the edges, which are then tightly stitched into place, prevents the cloth from being torn from the edges and also minimizes the chance of stray threads from the square separating from the main body of the square.
Most pocket square manufacturers, nowadays, offer hand-rolled pocket squares for added strength and style. Generally, around half to three-quarters of an inch along the periphery of the pocket square is kept spare during the manufacturing process to compensate for the portion that is hand folded. Most often, hand rolling requires a minimum of around at least 4 to 6 stitches per inch. In the case of hand-folded pocket squares, the chances of any threads along the edges getting displaced are minimized. While some edges are machine-hemmed, hand rolled edges render the pocket square a more authentically traditional look. When a pocket square is hand-rolled, the process signifies the dedication and love that has gone into the making of this article of clothing whose lineage can be traced back to centuries.
The pocket square is usually worn in the left breast pocket of a coat, blazer, or jacket. How much of this material is visible above the edge of the pocket depends on the folding technique incorporated as well as on individual taste. A safe bet is to have your pocket square sticking up over the pocket by at least one and a half inches. However, care should be taken that any monogram or manufacturer’s label is not visible. All the same, if the owner has customized his pocket square with his initials, or family crest, then there is no harm if this embellishment is visible. While some people prefer double or triple peaks above the pocket rim, others opt for a fluffier look. A general trend with peaked pocket squares is to have the peak sloping outwards, pointing away from the heart.
The material used also sometimes governs the positioning of the pocket square in the pocket. The fluffy look is more suited to silk pocket squares as these have sheen to them and the cloth is also thin and easily manipulated into the desired shape. Linen and cotton pocket squares look better when neatly pressed.
One of the unsightly things that can mar the looks of even the most sophisticated gentleman is a wrongly folded or erroneously positioned pocket square that could cause a bulge within the pocket. Besides being aesthetically unappealing, this thickness could cause undue pressure on the pocket lining and also result in unnecessary creasing. In order to prevent any bulges, it would be advisable going in for a pocket square made of a thin material. Alternatively, a smaller-sized pocket square could be opted for. Quite a few pocket square aficionados vouch for the 12 inch pocket square as being the size most suited to prevent a bulge.
Some pocket squares are starched and stiff. Therefore some people prefer washing them a few times in order to make the squares more limp, thus being more easily folded and occupying lesser space. Another good practice to avoid a bulge is to iron out the square into a flat surface. Are you stuck with a large sized pocket square that causes a bulge in your coat pocket no matter what and you do not wish to invest in another smaller pocket square? No need to fret. In such a situation, we would suggest that you position the square in such as way that there is more material out of the pocket than within it. This will of course lessen, if not totally eliminate, that annoying bulge. Since there is no hard and fast rule as to how much material is to be shown above the pocket, rest assured that this is a sensible game plan to get the best out of your pocket square.