Cruising above the out breast welt of a jacket, the pocket handkerchief is the shark of the sartorial sea. Its silky fin commands respect from those accessories lower down the food chain.
Legends who have succumbed to its charm include the Rat Pack, Sean Connery and Daniel Craig as 007, John Steed in the Avengers, Michael Caine as Alfie and the gents from Goodfella’s.
Like Kelly Brook’s contribution to reality TV, its sole purpose is to look good and provide a satisfying bulge in the pocket. It is the final flourish a gentleman makes to his attire and can transform something quite ordinary into the truly exceptional.
Wearing such an accoutrement takes confidence. The only rule as such is that when worn with a tie, the patterns and colours should not match. So long as you have a tailored jacket on your back, they can be worn any time, any place, any where.
There is something I find enjoyable about wearing a battered pair of jeans and white t-shirt at the weekend and then for the sheer hell of it, have forty quid’s worth of silk hanging out of the top pocket of my jacket. Always have been a bit of a flash git.
When it comes to ‘smart’ clobber, the overall look doesn’t have to resemble Captain Peacock from “Are you Being Served?” Think more along the lines of Reservoir Dogs – a closely fitted black suit, white shirt, skinny black tie and then to cap it off, a razor sharp square of crisp white linen slotted into the jacket pocket. Awesome.
Like choosing a tie, selecting the right pocket square requires taste. All I will say is keep it simple, less is more, keep the number of colours down to a minimum and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. The many establishments on Jermyn Street will be only too happy to help.
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for – forget cotton, you need to go for linen or pure silk and size is important. Bigger is better. There is also the matter of how you arrange it. There are four basic shapes – the square, the triangle, the four point and the puff – but the skill is to make it look like you have aloofly thrust it into your pocket with little care for the finished result.
To me, the handkerchief is style personified. Nonchalant. Rakish. Genteel. I only hope you’ll take the plunge, pop one in your pocket and show the plankton of this world how it’s done.