“A pocket square is the wardrobe version of saying “hello.” It’s a little slice of personality that speaks before you do.”
Today the pocket square is enjoying a well-deserved renaissance and a moment in the sun. Traditionally constructed of cotton, linen, or silk the possibilities are endless. With a wide array of patterns and folding options this humble 12” x 12” square is a statement piece not to be ignored and is equally at home in a custom constructed three-piece suit as a jacket and jeans.
With our fall capsule we wanted to bring you something new that would help you move seamlessly from summer to fall and beyond. Being fans of all things dapper, a quick team conversation had us all landing on the underutilized and under appreciated pocket square.
Simple in its design this little square of fabric seems perfect for now. As we find ourselves back at the office and attending social events again, the pocket square is the ideal element for any outfit. It moves effortlessly from day to night and there really is no easier way to provide confidence when walking into a room. Turns out the pocket square has a history of doing just that since antiquity.
The earliest reference to anything resembling the modern-day pocket square was in 2,000 BCE Egypt. The class system was well defined, understood, and unapologetically flaunted. In early Egyptian scrolls we have evidence of the upper-class caste members pinning red dyed linen cloth to their shoulders. The act of carrying a small square of cloth was common – think of all that sand and dust and the need for sanitation; but there would be no real purpose in the use of dyed cloth other than to make a statement of social class and standing.
The Greeks would continue this traditional of carrying and wearing small pieces of fabric with them in public places. These “perspirators” were well documented among the aristocrats who would scent the fabric with perfumes to combat the unpleasant scent of common folks.
Not to be outdone by their Greek counterparts, the Romans, who were known to be lovers of pomp, circumstance, and dramatic endings would notably use the drop of a kerchief by the emperor to signal the start of Coliseum games while onlookers from the highest of society to servant would wave small squares of fabric in the air to signal the approval of their gladiator of choice.
The use of a kerchief to share one’s social standing or allegiance would continue throughout the Dark Ages and well into the start of the Renaissance. It wouldn’t been until 1377 AD when King Richard II would scratch the needle on the record and wear a handkerchief solely as a fashion accessory. (we knew we liked that guy)
Fast forward to the early 1900s and the pocket square would finally receive the respect it deserved. This is where the story becomes a bit more interesting because like most roads to greatness, it doesn’t happen alone. The road to greatness takes the right partner. Think Sonny and Cher, Hans and Chewbacca, Scooby and Shaggy, and The White Stripes. For our beloved pocket square that partner would be the introduction of the two-piece suit into modern day dapper society. It was kismet!
Now over 100 years later we’re still singing the praises and the power of the cloth. And while the use of the pocket square would wax and wane during the last century, in the early 2000s we’d see the pocket square elevated to a fashion staple for A list celebs, fashionistas, and hipsters alike.
As strong believers that a little peacocking never hurt anyone, we thought our Fall 2022 Pocket Capsule the perfect way to usher in ease and the pursuit of personal expression. We hope you love it as much as we do and will leave this history lesson where we started it - with a note from Kristen, our content guru, on what inspired Team C+L and this collection:
“A pocket square is the wardrobe version of saying ‘hello.’ It’s a little slice of personality that speaks before you do. This collection is about moments of anticipation and meeting, from life-defining encounters to eye contact shared with a stranger. It reminds us that connection is always one smile away and that showing up as ourselves, even in uncertainty, is an invitation for magic to happen.”