As a wedding photographer I’ve seen a lot of men getting dressed. Let me rephrase that: I’ve seen a lot of men finish getting dressed. And one of the finishing touches that I’m delighted to see more and more is the humble pocket square. Its popularity is clearly part of the resurgence in suit detailing attributable to Mad Men (as is the increase in whiskey consumption and chasing secretaries around the desk) and I’m happy to see more and more breast pockets being adorned with colourful tufts of cotton, linen and silk. After all, the breast pocket is the only outer pocket on a suit jacket that is actually meant to be unstitched and used.
But how should one wear a pocket square? Well rather than just one correct way, there are instead five main styles to choose from, and whilst they will all make you look tres respectable, the style you select should be the one that most closely matches your personality.
Take the “Newsreader” for example: slimline, discreet and precise, making it perfect for someone who’s organised and likes things neat and tidy. The structured creativity of the “Winged Puff” on the other hand is a good match for an outgoing chap who always has something interesting to say. To see all five styles and how to achieve them, check out this ever-so-useful guide by Mr Porter and while you’re there take note of their ten rules.
Rule 5 in particular should always be adhered to, but it’s rule 9 that is the most intriguing. To see rule 9 in action I heartily suggest investing three minutes of your time to view the dressing routine of jewellery designer and actor Mr Waris Ahluwalia:
There’s no doubt that on first viewing the most impressive thing about this clip is the fact that Mr Alhuwalia has a butler to dress him (something I doubt even my Eastern Suburbs neighbours can claim to possess). But after a few viewings something really stood out. His dress routine flows at a very calm and steady pace and everything is done with accuracy, intent and deliberation, from the way he grooms his beard to the way his butler adjusts the cuffs of his shirt sleeves. But when it comes to the pocket square it’s Mr Alhuwalia, not his butler, who inserts it and he does it so quickly and nonchalantly. He doesn’t even look at it. That, my friend, is style and the sixth way to wear a pocket square. It’s not a method, it’s an attitude.
If you’re planning pocket squares for your groomsmen remember that they don’t need to match the ties so consider using them to showcase the personalities of your chosen chaps, such as differing styles, colours and fabrics. It will make the boys look and feel more distinctive and they’ll thank you for that.
And if you haven’t worn a pocket square before, don’t leave it to the last minute to find out which style makes you feel most comfortable. Take some time to practise and to perfect the art of nonchalance, as even Mr Ahluwalia was a first timer once.
Images by Milton Gan Photography
About Milton Gan Photography: Milton Gan combines his artistic flair, eye for detail, and passions for love, style and elegance to create a finely crafted photographic experience for each and every one of his clients.
Milton writes regularly for Polka Dot Groom as well as being a ridiculously talented wedding photographer. You can read his previous posts here.
Contact Milton here.