The Pocket Square – 22 Essential Folds Review by Belinda Morris.
By Alexander Phillips
(£9.95 Thames & Hudson)
You may call yourself a dandy, or at least you would describe yourself as being on the dapper side of stylish, but it don’t mean a thing if you haven’t mastered the art of displaying a pocket handkerchief. Or, to give it its correct moniker, the pocket square.
It’s no good just stuffing the scrap of silk into the breast pocket of your jacket and hoping that it’s making the right impression – it’s got to be folded and placed correctly and this little book will show you how. And not just one way but 22, so you can choose whether you fancy being showy, severe or subtly chic.
And should you wish to know a little more about the pocket square’s origins, there a short history lesson to kick things off. I particularly like the fact that it’s down to a whim of Marie Antoinette that it was decreed that all handkerchief should have four sides of equal length.
With illustrations reminiscent of the title credits for Mad Men, the book gives really clear diagrams and descriptions of how to fold such beauties as the sharp, pointy Tulip, the 1920s Carrot and the dramatic Bouquet. Mr Phillips also advises on how and when to wear a square and on etiquette. For instance, a gentleman might match his square to his shirt, his shoes or even his hat… but never his tie! And it’s worth remembering that spraying cologne on a square will eventually lead to discolouration and will ruin the fabric. And it goes without saying that a gentleman should carry two squares – one for show and another to blow…