When is a gentleman’s handkerchief not a handkerchief? When it’s called a ‘pocket square’, of course. Drawing their design inspiration from the historical collections of the National Gallery, English Heritage and the Wallace Collection, among other arty institutions, Rampley & Co of London are master retailers of the pocket square and all things ‘handkerchief-y’.
I recently fell in love with one of their pocket squares. It didn’t take minutes; it was instant. Love at first sight. Flowers on a Fountain with a Peacock (yes, that IS the name of the hankie) is extravagant and indulgent with rich intense colours. It’s so stylish, it should be mounted, framed and hung on the most prestigious art gallery wall, just like the original artwork. This pocket square is strictly for decorative purposes only and not for mopping a sweaty Dubai brow or blowing desert sand from your nose.
Question: Isn’t it a bit poncey or fay for a piece of silk material to billow out of your pocket?
Answer: No … and yes, maybe just a little bit. It depends how you fold it.
Advice: Channel Daniel Craig or Oscar Wilde, depending on your preferential role model.
Question: Is it really necessary to see a cloth corner poking out of your pocket like a pointed textile tongue?
Answer: Yes, why not? The pocket’s there, so use it.
Advice: Don’t use the breast pocket to carry loose coins, it will ruin the line of your suit, not to mention slow down your exit from the car park as you scramble for a Dirham.
You see, gentlemen, carrying a pocket square in one’s breast pocket is the height of fashionable manliness and class. It’s the accessory du jour and unbelievably ‘on trend’.
Decide upon a one-, two-, three-, or more point fold; the puff fold; the winged puff fold; the scallop fold or the Dunaway fold. You’ll need to do your own research to find the correct fold for each occasion.
Unlike a tie, a pocket square provides a boost of masculine elegance to your outfit. Ties are commonplace, many of us wearing one every day to the office. Sometimes we’ll wear a special tie as a uniform; for example, solid black for a funeral or a Disney-themed Mickey Mouse tie if we’re going to a fancy dress party as a 1990s accountant who’s trying to show a ‘quirky’ side to his otherwise dull personality (yes, I did work with this man in real life).
But imagine wearing smart shoes, a beautifully tailored suit and bringing together the look with a matching tie AND pocket square; now THAT would certainly give you the edge. The wagging tongues of the amateur fashion experts around the office water cooler would go into overdrive as they watch you march along the corridor. And that blonde bombshell that you see at brunch every week is finally – FINALLY – going to notice you. Perhaps this simple fashionable detail will be your make-or- break?
There are many things that I love about Rampley & Co’s pocket squares. Of course, the silk is crafted to give a matte finish and it has a tangible ‘weight’, making it easy to employ special origami skills to bend and fold the square into sharp edges or naturally smooth shapes. But what I love even more, is the theming: death, destruction, battles, rifles, weapons, hunts … each piece a perfect replica of an actual 18th or 19th Century painting. And if you are feeling particularly nautical, there’s even a pocket square depicting naval flags of 1840.
Gentlemen, if you’re going to wear a jacket (and frankly why wouldn’t you?), be sure to accessorise with a bold, theatrical pocket square. Slip into a velvet blazer, take ownership, strut around like the featured peacock of my Rampley silk and enjoy the artful masterpiece in your pocket. It’s all the rage.
REVIEW: Nick Stephenson
Rampley & Co pocket squares start at GBP45 and are available via www.rampleyandco.com with free worldwide delivery