Room for Pocket Squares

Why is it so difficult to find a pocket square in Metro Manila?

To being with, what is a pocket square? It’s a piece of cloth that’s an accessory for a suit. It looks like a handkerchief but functions different from a handkerchief. For one, it’s placed inside the upper front pocket but – unlike the handkerchief that remains unseen in the pocket of the pants or elsewhere – this cloth is meant to be seen. It’s like an extension of the tie but never the tissue. It peaks from its hiding place and usually stands out by being a contrasting color of the suit. Also, it’s often made from silk.

Now, is there a good answer to the first question?

I was wondering about that last weekend. It was the last piece I needed to complete the look. By having it, my suit could be finished with some panache or maybe I would end up with sprezzatura. I could go for either one. But I would have neither if I don’t find a pocket square.

Thankfully, I did find some.

Look at the photo and you would notice that they come in sets. Those in the know would never wear matching pocket squares and ties. But if that is the only way to get a pocket square, then I say find a different tie instead. Personally, though, I just don’t see myself using anything paisley.

Sets of matching neckties and pocket squares
Sets of matching neckties and pocket squares

As I was relieved of the find, I couldn’t help but notice a few things at the Men’s Accessories section. There were numerous handkerchiefs on tables. There were many stands for neckties and bow ties. Tie clips and cuff links had their special display case. But there was only one row for pocket squares. Couldn’t help but wonder why pocket squares seem to be almost unknown.

One site said that pocket squares just went the same way as the hat. And bringing it back to popular usage is a challenge. Or it could be that – because it is just too similar to a handkerchief – the need for actual pocket squares seems redundant. Why make them when there are already handkerchiefs? Some sources and sites hardly maintain the distinction between the two; it’s like they’re practically interchangeable. Or modern off-the-rack suits usually come with built-in pocket squares that it negates the need to look for actual pocket squares, which have their own ways of being folded.

Still, I like it. Of course, I would use it.

Before I forget, for the pocket square to function fully, one must undo the stitching of the pocket. That way, there’s more room the pocket square.

[Pocket Square photo from Wikimedia]


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