Your motto for 2011 should be “custom when I can.” In the coming weeks and months, I’ll write the little I know about bespoke suits, shirts, and even shoes. Let’s start small, however. Really small.
Custom pocketsquares are fairly easy to be had. Now, I don’t mean wantonly cutting up fabric and stuffing it into your breast pocket. That would be uncivilized. You need pocket squares with hand rolled edges, so that when the edges show, perhaps via a TV fold, they have an elegant and gentle finish.
The first step is to find some fabric that you’d like. There are two ways to go about this. The first is to choose a material based on your jacket. For tweeds, use only silk or wools. For worsted wools, use anything (silk, wools, cotton, or linen). The second approach is to choose a material based on your tie. For silk ties, use linen; for wool ties, use cotton or silk; and for linen ties, use cotton. The purpose of each approach is to carry variation, but still complement. You can choose whichever approach you think is right for you.
For patterns and colors, you should keep the same spirit - carry variation but still complement. Never pick a pattern or color that too closely matches your jacket or tie. I personally try to choose squares with some light blue, as my ties often have light blue as a secondary color, but keep the patterns varied. Thus, my pocketsquares are either solid or very heavily patterned, but never in things such as stripes or pindots since those are my ties’ patterns. What you choose will depend on your own wardrobe.
Your best bet for fabrics is to just go to a fabric store. There you can really get a sense of the weight of the fabric and whether you like the pattern and colors. However, if you don’t have a good fabric store near you, try looking on eBay. I did some quick searches on the following terms and pulled these up:
“Floral fabric” or “Leaf fabric”
“Blue print fabric”
If none of these appeal to you, remember the options when it comes to fabrics reach near infinity. Maybe you can try searching for gingham, jacquard, and vintage fabrics. Just find something that works for you.
As for how to handroll the edges, I don’t recommend doing it yourself. It takes a while to learn and unless you’re going into the business of making pocketsquares, it doesn’t seem worth the time investment. Instead, I suggest just hiring a professional to do it for you. Luckily for you, I’ve secured an exclusive on this. Son Nguyen has been making very handsome pocketsquares for a while now and has agreed to make them for Die, Workwear readers for $20. All you have to do is send him at least 15 x 15 inches of fabric. The turnaround time is typically 3-4 weeks. He’s a full time optometry student, however, so you’ll have to be flexible during exam months. The turnaround time can seem long, but I’ve been very impressed with his work. The pictures below show some of the white linen squares he’s been selling. You’ll notice how tightly rolled and varied the edges are. Thus, although you’ll have to wait a few weeks to get your square, you’ll know that they’ll come back looking perfect. To contact Son, email him at email@example.com and tell him Die, Workwear sent you.
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