The Gentleman: Suiting Up

“Discovering the Pocket Square”

Part II: Colored Silk Pocket Squares

Last week, The Gentleman discussed how a white linen pocket square can complete a jacket by adding a dash of contrasting white in the breast pocket. A white linen square is always a great choice and many gentlemen find no need to wear any other kind of square. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, however, when a gentleman is ready to add a bit more color and variety to his breast pocket, he may want to turn to a silk pocket square.

A silk square can be folded into a straight fold, just like a linen square, however, most gentlemen fold them into puffs.

Here is a picture of me wearing a light blue silk pocket square folded into a puff:

To say that the silk puff is folded is a bit of an exaggeration. In fact, all a gentleman needs to do with a silk square is pinch one end and stuff the rest of it into the pocket. There really isn’t much folding involved. It’s much easier than mastering the straight fold I detailed last week. For those of you looking for a tutorial, however, Sam Hober offers a guide on how to create a good silk puff.

An excellent silk puff will extend only slightly out of the jacket’s breast pocket. It should look like a gently cresting wave and not some kind of bizarre plant growing out of your jacket.

When dabbling in silk pocket squares, a gentleman may be tempted to match his silk square to his tie. He should avoid all such temptations. A silk pocket square should never match a gentleman’s tie; it should only complement it. While a gentleman may think that the silk of his tie is exactly the same color as the silk of his square, it most likely is not. The subtle variation between the tie and the square will prove distracting for observers. Even if he does pull off an exact match, a pocket square that matches perfectly with a tie will make it look like he purchased them as a set: a major style faux pas.

Instead, look for a square that calls out a subtle detail or pattern in the tie, but doesn’t match it exactly. I chose the light blue square because my striped summer tie, in the above picture, has an occasional light blue stripe. Other gentlemen prefer that their pocket square choice be completely detached from their ties. This kind of whimsy can work, but may also be difficult to pull off for the novice pocket square wearer. I would instead recommend the technique I used above: complementing a detail of the tie with the pocket square.

Finally, no article that this Gentleman writes would be complete without a couple of links to where to buy pocket squares. As usual for classic men’s clothing, J.Press offers several excellent silk pocket squares at fairly reasonable prices.

Here is the light blue square that I am wearing in the picture above:

Photo Credit: J.Press

With fall approaching, I’m really liking this deep red pocket square. I can see it peeking from the pocket of my brown corduroy sport coat.

Photo Credit: J.Press

If you’re looking for something with a bit more pattern, Sam Hober, a custom internet dealer in ties and squares, makes several excellent pocket squares. They are a bit more expensive and definitely more daring, but because he is doing some of the best pocket square work available, I wanted to give him a mention.

Have fun adding a new colorful dimension to your jackets with silk pocket squares!

Next week, the Gentleman closes out the summer with a look at the styles from his housewarming party…

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2 Comments

Filed under The Gentleman

2 responses to “The Gentleman: Suiting Up

  1. B

    While I can’t implement any of your advice myself (being a lady), I do appreciate all your knowledge of style! Every update is a “who-knew?” And as much as I love ooh-ing and ahh-ing at all the pretty girl clothes, I wish they had a little more substance.

    Thanks Gentleman!

  2. The Gentleman

    Thanks, B! I’m glad that I can inform. Stay tuned for the Autumn…its my favorite style season…

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