As a grand re-entry into the blogosphere I would like to express my support of the much overlooked detail of the gentleman’s wardrobe: the pocket handkerchief. The pocket handkerchief displayed in the breast pocket of the suit jacket or sport coat elevates the wardrobe. It can make a casual outfit a little elegant and it can elevate the well turned out suit to stellar levels.
There are a variety of handkerchief folds ideal for display. Historically, I have held the opinion that a gentleman should disdain the silk pocket squares and should only carry good quality linen handkerchiefs, but I have changed that stance. There are a few rules, however, that should be heeded:
Matching Ties and Handkerchiefs—This combination is more than the title of a Monty Python album from the 80s. It is a fashion atrocity that must be avoided at all costs. Whilst it may seem like a good idea at first blush, it is not. It can make an otherwise elegant combination look cheesy. Opt instead for a coordinating tie and handkerchief.
Silk Pocket Squares—I am still against plain silk pocket squares, though that is admittedly a personal preference. I prefer non-silk because silk does not fold crisply, but a flash of poufy color can be added using these. Make sure that they are of suitable size, quality, and color.
Patterned Silk Pocket Squares—These, especially vintage examples, are the foundation of my change of position on silk. Be sure to select your patterns carefully so as not to clash with your neckwear. These are best with more casual suits such as linen or poplin, and with blazers or sport coats worn casually.
Hand Painted Silk Pocket Squares—Though quite trendy now, I have yet to see a really good example of this art form. If you choose to go this route, bear in mind that it is akin to the patterned pocket square and is best reserved for more casual wear.
Linen Handkerchiefs—These are the absolute classics, appropriate with the most formal of dinner or business dress or with casual sport coats and blazers. A linen handkerchief will fold crisply and may be pressed into shape, giving it an even cleaner look. Though a good cotton handkerchief may be substituted, the texture of linen is distinctive and it looks the best.
Vintage handkerchiefs of any variety are a great touch of detail, but be sure when selecting vintage examples that there is no evidence of yellowing or, worse yet, mold.