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Don't overlook this mighty accessory.
A pocket square will add that extra something-something to a suit. Admittedly, in an age when ties have become a suggestion instead of the requirement, and when dress shirts are steadily being taken out of the equation, the once-mighty accessory, a folded piece of fabric tucked into the left breast pocket of a blazer or suit jacket, has been sorely overlooked.
It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when Cary Grant, Harry Belafonte, Desi Arnaz, and other men that valued style used pocket squares as a way to show personality. They left their homes dressed to impress, and used the accessory to add a dash of flavor. For skinny gray flannel suits, for example, they would add a sliver of a solid color, usually white or a hue that matched their tie, in the form of presidential fold or one-point fold. For something more casual, maybe a white or tan two-piece with an unbuttoned shirt, they would opt for a colorful printed style in puff, petal, or fleur-de-lis fold.
The pocket square may not rank as high as it did in the past, but there are still plenty of options available. Fabrics range from silk, cotton, and linen to blends of all. The choice in colors is boundless; ditto that for the patterns. And the ways to wear them are vast. All you have to do is try one, because once you do, there’s no turning back. Depending on what you’d like to serve with your fit, a pocket square will enhance the sweetness or spice. So go ahead, take your pick from some of the best below and become a convert.
An 100 percent silk pocket squares for under $10? And there are six different colors to chose from? What's stopping you? Go ahead, stock up.
The standard white pocket is ideal for the standard white dress shirt and a black suit. But don't settle for standard when you can level up with this cotton style that features a subtle pindot pattern from the always-reliable folks at The Tie Bar.
Polka dots: a staple in prep schools, comic books, and, at one point in time, the thing to wear on a folk dance floor. It is is perhaps the most traditional of prints. And when it comes to offering up classics, especially ones made of Italian silk, few hold a candle to J.Crew.
Bandana prints have making the rounds in the fashion industry lately. Just ask John Legend. Ahead of the curve was Wallace & Barnes, a line under the J.Crew umbrella that has always offered an elevated take on rough-and-tough styles—including this pocket square made of 100 percent organic cotton.
If you're a fan of shine, Men's Wearhouse—the retailer filled with suits and accessories to match, all at bargain prices—offers about 20 glitzy options that'll go with any mood you want to express. The one that's caught our eye? Blue steel, of course.
This pocket square may appear simple, but true quality never can be. Made of 100 percent linen and constructed in Italy, it is the kind of style that warrants closer inspection: touch it, feel it, appreciate it, because it'll keep you company for many years to come.
On a wall in the Uffizi Gallery, in one of the four rooms dedicated to Botticelli, hangs the "Allegory of Spring," an epic painting covered in ornate, sinuous floral motifs that reflects the lightness and frivolity it is named after. The work simply mesmerizes. Capturing that essence in miniature form is this pocket square from Eton.
If you have the world on your shoulders, and no time to think about the details, this linen pocket square, called the Atlas, is what you need. The plaid pattern—with rows of of beige, copper, brown, and blue—will highlight any casual suit that's cast in one of these colors. It's basically a one-and-done style that you can pair with just about anything in your closet.
On the opposite ends of the spectrum are silk and cotton: the former is an ultra refined fabric, while the latter is rougher around the edges. And if you want to evoke both qualities with your fit, look no further than than pocket square from Suitsupply, a label that knows a thing or two about dressing well.
For more than five decades, Paul Smith has been presenting stripes of all kinds, ones with immeasurable amounts of charm and vibrant color. Case in point: this striking pocket square right here, made of 100 percent silk.
Charvet—the celebrated and oldest maker of dress shirts, worn by kings and diplomats of significant stature—of course offers pockets squares, often made of silk, that are refined, elegant, and will stand the test of time.
Ask any quick-change artist, and they'll tell you that the secret to a performance is all within the make of the garment. And this silk-twill pocket square from Lanvin, which features four quadrants of polka dots in different shades of blue, is a four-in-one flourish that'll let you, well, change the vibe of your fit quickly.
Madras is marked by contradictions: it's flashy but wearable, versatile but particular. It really boils down to how you style the fine-textured pattern consisting of checks and stripes. You could play it up with a bright suit (maybe with a colorblocked blazer), or use it as a flourish on something navy. And rest assured that Ralph Lauren has all these option and more.
Some are Arabesque, others are mid-century modern, but no matter the genre, there's no avoiding the allure of a tile print. The way shapes repeat, forming patterns that are eye-catching, will definitely enhance your suit. And this one from Drake’s, purveyor of classic British elegance, is the best in the market.
Rubinacci, in name alone, sounds fancy and romantic. And the brand's styles—like this museum-worthy silk-twill pocket square, inspired Admiral Lord Nelson's affair with Lady Hamilton in Naples—certainly lives up to its moniker.
Bold and graphic, but in way that isn't Brutalist, this silk pocket square from the classy peeps at Zegna—with rows of triangles in navy and gold—is the kind of geometry lesson worth studying.
If you plan on wearing a tan suit or something in an earth tone, this linen pocket square, with a a winning medallion print in soft shades of beige and pink, will easily spice up your fit.
When it comes to paisley, one of the most princely patterns around, Etro is king. The Italian label casts the design on a variety of stuff season after season, including this blue tonal pocket square made of silk jacquard that also features a vining floral pattern.