Jesse Thorn from menswear blog Put This On stopped by Wingtip last week for a Boxing Day trunk show with a batch of fresh pocket squares. We sent a few questions to Jesse via email to follow-up the event:
Wingtip: What interests you about the pocket square above other men’s accessories?
Jesse Thorn: I love pocket squares for two reasons. The first is practical – they’re the difference between being dressed well and not. They demonstrate thought, and they don’t add formality. The second is that they’re sort of mysterious. Only a bit of them shows, so they can be elaborate or even pictorial while remaining an abstract burst of color in the pocket. It’s like wearing secret jewelry.
WT: What materials do you use / Where do you source your materials from?
JT: We use all sorts of materials, though only natural ones. We’ve made squares from 80-year-old Japanese silk and 70-year-old handwoven linen, but we’ve also made them from stuff printed by and for the most famous fabric companies in the world. We get some of the fabric at plain old retail fabric shops (though only a few are good enough to carry anything we’d be interested in), at estate sales, flea markets, on the internet and everywhere in between.
WT: What’s your favorite pocket square fold?
JT: I’m an advocate of a simple puff. Just grab it loosely by the middle and fold in two to get the right length. Tips up or tips down. My colleague Derek Guy just introduced me to an addition to that – if you grab it by the middle, then sort of poke that middle down (like the top of a volcano), you get a little more interest. The sort of origami folds I’m not nuts about. I think it should look forgotten.
WT: What advice do you have for selecting a pocket square’s pattern and color to match/contrast/clash with your outfit?
JT: I’d say first that white linen always looks great. Beyond that – it should be a complimentary element. It doesn’t need to match, but it should go with the rest of your clothes. I usually wear a simple tie with a patterned square and vice versa.
WT: How do people who aren’t lucky enough to attend one of your trunk shows purchase your pocket squares?
JT: We usually sell our squares through a subscription service. You can sign up for the Put This On Gentlemen’s Association and get a new square every other month by mail. Because we manufacture them (by hand here in Los Angeles), we’re able to sell them this way for about half the price of the equivalent at retail. And you get a cool little surprise in your mailbox every sixty days.