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Pocket squares

JFK

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I've had a job for the last several years where the dress code (at least for my office) was extremely casual, but now I'm looking to take the next step in my career and am looking for a position at a level that will probably require me to wear a suit (or at least jacket and tie) daily.

My question (for which I'm hoping especially to get responses from members whose positions require business formal attire at the office): do you wear a pocket square as an every-day accessory, or do you see it as more of an occasional piece? If the latter, on what occasions do you consider it to be appropriate to wear one?

(Other observations about pocket squares in general, and from members who don't necessarily wear business formal attire daily, are also welcome.)
 

imageWIS

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I think there is an age limit to pocket squares, it only works if you are above a certain age. The peers of my generation (18-25) should avoid pocket squares altogether; they will look too out of place and embody a forgone style that is reserved with those of age. Plus, it is decidedly not a very "˜young' look.

Jon.
 

DandySF

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I like to tuck a colorful silk pocket square into my jacket as a finishing touch. By placing the square into the pocket with the points down I'm able to create a small puff of color and pattern. I've seen more grand and elaborate placement techniques, but they're a bit too showy for my taste.

Hermes has the most extraordinary patterns and colors. I just picked up one of their patterns called the spice wheel. It was a gorgeous, and unconscionably expensive, indulgence to mark a personal milestone. Ralph Lauren, Paul Stuart, and Robert Talbott also have some snazzy colors and patterns.
 

marc237

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I think there is an age limit to pocket squares, it only works if you are above a certain age.  The peers of my generation (18-25) should avoid pocket squares altogether; they will look too out of place and embody a forgone style that is reserved with those of age. Plus, it is decidedly not a very "˜young' look.

Jon.
Respectfully disagree. In NYC, I see a fair number of young men wearing pocket squares and they look great and stylish. The trick is to go with the right color and shaping.

When I wear a suit or sportscoat, I do it approximately 80-85% of the time. I think it finishes the look. No longer being a young man, I sometimes forget to do it and wish I hadn't.
 

imageWIS

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(imageWIS @ 12 July 2004, 1:18) I think there is an age limit to pocket squares, it only works if you are above a certain age. The peers of my generation (18-25) should avoid pocket squares altogether; they will look too out of place and embody a forgone style that is reserved with those of age. Plus, it is decidedly not a very "˜young' look. Jon.
Respectfully disagree. In NYC, I see a fair number of young men wearing pocket squares and they look great and stylish. The trick is to go with the right color and shaping. When I wear a suit or sportscoat, I do it approximately 80-85% of the time. I think it finishes the look. No longer being a young man, I sometimes forget to do it and wish I hadn't.
Then we agree to disagree. I have seen quite a few of my peers as well wearing pocket squares, but they look beyond their years. Now, I don't want to help perpetuate the push towards eternal beauty that has swept our society; but whilst one is young, one should dress the part and enjoy wearing "˜younger' clothes, for two specific reasons. The first being when you are older, wearing more "˜youthful' clothes will draw not only, negative attention towards oneself (as someone who is trying to hold onto his / her youth) but also, you will be seen in a less than serious role and will not be treated with the respect that comes with ones age. Second, when one is "grown-up' (for lack of a better term), one will have plenty of time to dress the part, whether one is dressed for work or casual event. Jon.
 

TCN

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I don't wear pocket squares much, and frankly that's out of sheer absent-mindedness and/or laziness.

I think they lend a nice finished look to any jacketed ensemble. If you think a silk poof or multi-point fold is too much for you, try just a basic TV fold with a plain white linen square.

Speaking of plain white linen squares, for about $20-$30, you can go to Neiman's and get a beautiful example of such, with hand-rolled edges . . . a small price to pay for such a dashing and top-notch accessory.
 

marc237

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(marc237 @ 12 July 2004, 1:59)
Originally Posted by imageWIS,12 July 2004, 1:18
I think there is an age limit to pocket squares, it only works if you are above a certain age. Â The peers of my generation (18-25) should avoid pocket squares altogether; they will look too out of place and embody a forgone style that is reserved with those of age. Plus, it is decidedly not a very "˜young' look. Jon.
Respectfully disagree. Â In NYC, I see a fair number of young men wearing pocket squares and they look great and stylish. Â The trick is to go with the right color and shaping. When I wear a suit or sportscoat, I do it approximately 80-85% of the time. Â I think it finishes the look. Â No longer being a young man, I sometimes forget to do it and wish I hadn't.
Then we agree to disagree. I have seen quite a few of my peers as well wearing pocket squares, but they look beyond their years. Now, I don't want to help perpetuate the push towards eternal beauty that has swept our society; but whilst one is young, one should dress the part and enjoy wearing "˜younger' clothes, for two specific reasons. The first being when you are older, wearing more "˜youthful' clothes will draw not only, negative attention towards oneself (as someone who is trying to hold onto his / her youth) but also, you will be seen in a less than serious role and will not be treated with the respect that comes with ones age. Second, when one is "grown-up' (for lack of a better term), one will have plenty of time to dress the part, whether one is dressed for work or casual event. Jon.
Fascinating. I wonder of professions and locations are a factor. (I am a lawyer in NYC.) It seems that a fair number of interns and young lawyers wear them wear without looking inappropriate.
 

Will

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Wearing one is the difference between being dressed and not, but be careful with the style.

Silk is perfect with tweeds and dinner clothes but looks flashy with a suit and silk tie.

White or blue linen solids are better with a business suit, and you will find some linen and cashmere patterns from time to time that also work.

Will
 

JFK

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Jon, that's an interesting observation about the age-appropriateness of this accessory. And thanks for the implied compliment, but I'm actually better than twice as old as the lower (though not nearly twice as old as the upper) end of the demographic you mention.

DandySF, Thanks for the tips, and I know just what you mean about the indulgence factor; I recently bought myself a Brioni tie that (at only 20% off list) is by far the most expensive tie I've bought to date. But it's also by far the most beautiful tie in my (admittedly small) collection.

marc237, Could you elaborate a bit on the color and shaping you mentioned (i.e., what works, and what doesn't, in your opinion)? Also, I wonder if your professions/locations observation might be true, as discostu appears to wear them, and, if I remember correctly, he's rather a young man as well.

TCN, Thanks for the tip on Neiman's.

Will, Thanks for the fabric tips.
 

Phil

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I dont think wearing a pocket square makes a younger man look any older than he is. If he is already in a jacket and tie, he looks like the adult he aspires to, so why not finish it off with a pocket square. Maybe everyone under 25 should just wear a baseball cap with their sportcoat if they are so worried about looking old. Its a silly argument. If you are going to put on a suit and tie, you shine your shoes, make sure everything you have on is clean and looks put together, and that often means a pocket square. To not wear one because you feel old is just plain old insecurity or silliness, im not sure which.
 

clarinetplayer

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A pocket square adds that final dash of energy to a suit or sport coat. Always appropriate--for men of all ages. There are different ways of folding the square. One can be quite conservative or outlandish. Personally, I prefer just a hint of the pocket square--revealing its presence only upon a closer look. I am also amused by your signature. Sir Thomas Beecham once told the trombones of his orchestra that they sounded "like roast beef gravy going through a rusty sewer pipe."
 

T4phage

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Originally posted by marc237:
...Respectfully disagree.  In NYC, I see a fair number of young men wearing pocket squares and they look great and stylish.  The trick is to go with the right color and shaping.....
I too see a number of young men wearing pocket squares, (also in NY), the problem is not only the right colour and shaping, but the carriage/bearing of the person.  Most of the younger people I saw looked rather silly, too affected, too studied, thus losing the casual elegance they are trying to foster.

btw: I use pocket squares 80% of the time.
 

JFK

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I am also amused by your signature. Â Sir Thomas Beecham once told the trombones of his orchestra that they sounded "like roast beef gravy going through a rusty sewer pipe."
Having been a professional trombonist, I've always loved that Strauss quote (almost as much as I loved playing Strauss; he wrote some of the best trombone licks ever), but I'd never heard the Beecham quote until now; I love it.
 

The Dandy

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I regularly wear pocket squares, and I'm usually rather upset when I don't have one that will go well with a particular shirt and tie combination. The key is to have the right pocket square.

imageWIS, I mean no disrespect by this, but your argument is complete rubbish. If one is young, one is expected to dress like one's peers? I think if one is to have any sense of style whatsoever, one should certainly not take sartorial cues from the most pathetic stereotypes.

Younger men shouldn't feel confined to trucker hats, camoflage, and designer denim. I know that I, for one, would look more ridiculous in that sort of "outfit" than if I were to wear morning dress or white tie to all functions.
 

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