Until last weekend, I didn’t even know I needed a new pocket square. It was my wife who informed me of this fact. Here’s the situation. In coming days we will attend my brother’s summer wedding. The wedding’s main decor colour is blue. This being the case, my wife said the acquisition of a blue pocket square is a must.
I’m not a big pocket-square guy. Very little of my time has been devoted to even thinking about pocket squares, let alone wearing them. For example, I’ve probably given more thought to suspenders than pocket squares. And I never wear suspenders.
There are four pocket squares in my sock drawer. They’ve all been purchased and placed there by my wife over a period of years. They sit in my drawer like a silent rebuke. It’s possible that on some occasion — New Year’s Eve? — I wore one of these pocket squares. The jury’s out on that one.
At my wife’s request, we inspected these pocket squares, arranging them on the bed.
I held one up.
“This one has blue bits,” I said.
“No,” said my wife.
Within minutes, we were driving to a suit store reputed to be an absolute gold mine when it comes to pocket squares. Sure enough, when we asked the clerk about the pocket-square supply, he assured us it was plentiful. In fact, he became visibly excited at the prospect, grinning and nodding his head as though he’d just been offered Fat Tug IPA or a free trip to Hawaii.
Soon we had chosen two. Pocket squares, that is. One was pale blue. The other had a tropical, even exotic hue. The colour could best be described as an eye-popping turquoise.
“These are excellent choices,” my wife said.
“Yes, they are,” said the clerk.
Trying to get in the spirit of the occasion, I said: “The turquoise is the sort of pocket square one might wear in both casual and formal situations. You might call it an ‘all-rounder.’ ”
No one seemed to hear me. The clerk was now showing us how to fold the pocket squares. He was a vivacious fellow who, judging by the unbridled enthusiasm of the demonstration, takes pleasure in his work.
“This,” he said after a minute, “is the ‘crazy mess.’ ”
The clerk wore the expression of someone who has produced an unusually successful soufflé or mastered a difficult magic trick. Essentially, the “crazy mess” consists of stuffing a turquoise pocket square into one’s jacket pocket with little regard for the folding process.
“That’s great,” I said. “Casual, yet elegant.”
“Yes. Casually elegant,” agreed the clerk.
“Wearing this, one would radiate a certain insouciance, even a carefree joie de vivre,” I said.
My wife was now silently regarding me. Recognizing the look, I decided to reserve further comment about the “crazy mess.”
“Now this,” said the clerk, “is ‘the rainbow.’ ”
He took both pocket squares and folded them neatly in a sort of intertwined way. When placed in one’s jacket pocket, the folds alternated from pale blue to turquoise to pale blue, etc.
“It’s for formal occasions requiring a more dressy look,” the clerk said.
I wondered what kind of formal occasions would be appropriate for “the rainbow.” One possibility popped to mind immediately. But I dared not give voice to it, as both my wife and the clerk seemed to take pocket-square folding as a serious, non-joking-around affair.
We not only purchased both pocket squares, we bought turquoise socks as well. The clerk said the socks were on sale — two for the price of one. So, as a second choice, I selected a bold multi-coloured pair.
The clerk regarded these multi-coloured socks unhappily. He wore the expression of the pet owner whose cat has deposited a dead mouse at his feet. Ignoring my choice, he returned with tan-coloured socks decorated with maple-leaf designs. The clerk said these would match the tan linen suit I’m wearing to the wedding.
“What about the multi-coloured pair?” I said.
“No,” said the clerk and my wife at the same time.
Between you and me, I’m thinking of rebelling by wearing an entirely different wedding outfit. Last week, the Globe and Mail published an article noting the return of the jumpsuit as a bold fashion statement.
The Italians call this garment the TuTa. No doubt, one could wear the TuTa with either the pale blue or the bold turquoise pocket square.
Dressed thusly, one would radiate a certain insouciance, even a carefree joie de vivre.