A sign of the times, or something else entirely?
I haven’t worn a pocket square in quite some time now.
It wasn’t a conscious decision at first, it just happened over time.
One day, when wearing a jacket, I omitted it.
The next day, the same.
I grew to like it.
So I kept leaving the square in the drawer.
It appears I’m not the only one thinking along these lines at the moment. Across my friends around the world on Instagram I’ve noticed that some of them are wearing squares less. Simon Crompton recently wrote an article about lessening the wearing of squares too.
While he attributes the recession of square-wearing to a number of factors including the swinging pendulum of trends and the casualisation of clothing, I realised that my own decision stemmed from something else.
Though, my own personal style being more on the casual side, a casual approach to tailoring certainly played a minor role in my decision to ditch the pocket square.
I thought about it for a while, as I continued to leave the breast pockets of my jackets unadorned.
I like the simplicity, but that’s not it.
There are a few factors in my own view.
Firstly, I’ve been wearing ties more often as of late.
I associate numerous patterns and loudness in an outfit with my beginnings in classic menswear – a period where I knew nothing about fit, and consequently my outfits were often both gaudy and ill-fitting.
I toned it down a lot as I learned more about fit. I got to a point where one or two patterns was plenty for me.
Given this, I’m happy to let a tie do the talking with patterns.
Less is more, as they say.
However, it isn’t purely the pattern thing, though it plays a part.
The facet I appreciate the most is the preservation of a clean line in the lapel.
I have what is described as a prominent chest in tailor talk.
In other words, if I look at a barbell, my pectoral muscles grow.
It’s great for filling out a T-shirt, but it can easily cause issues with fit where tailored clothes are concerned.
My prominent chest also exaggerates one of the minor consequences of wearing a pocket square; a slight distortion of the lapel, caused by the breast pocket being full.
Now, this bothers me when I see it on others, let alone when I see the exaggerated version on myself.
And I’ve grown to enjoy tailoring for proportions, clean lines and silhouette above anything else.
Which means the lapel distortion bothers me an awful lot.
And the pocket square is quickly tugged out of the pocket, thrown back into the wardrobe to languish in the shadows.
I’ll still don a square on occasion, if I fancy it, or if formality dictates a plain white square’s presence.
However, for the most part, you’ll remain unlikely to see me sporting the square most days.