Yesterday was “Wear Red for Valentine’s Day” in my statistics classes; the students hit about 90% with reds, pinks, and plums. (Well…it WAS extra credit). To set a good example, I dressed up a black suit with a plum shirt, Queen of Hearts tie, and a bright red pocket square. Briggsy had raised my consciousness about the squares, and one of his commenters closed the deal with a pointer to the finer points of pocket square folding. All I can say is WOW! Yesterday was the first day the monkey suit got any comment other than “Why are you dressed up?” It was compliments all day, from faculty, staff, students, and–especially–attractive women. That does it, no more suit without a pocket square. Too bad it’s too hot for suits most days hereabouts.
Sadly, Briggs got some snarky pushback to his pocket square post, pretty much characteristic of modern men’s Slob Culture. Lest you think I’m exaggerating, I live in the heart of it. In 30 years of living in South Texas, I have yet to attend a formal occasion where there was not some mook wearing torn jeans, a guyabera, a black t-shirt*, muddy boots, birkenstocks, cargo pants, or some of those riduculous skateboarder shorts beloved of all the vatos wearing wife-beater undershirts. C’mon, really–a tank top and seven-day shitter basketball shorts to a quinceanera? Rumpled cargo shorts and flip flops at a formal wedding? A black t-shirt to a rosary or funeral? What an effective way to say that you don’t respect the occasion, the people being celebrated, or yourself.
I suspect the real reason some folks diss things like pocket squares is projection, covering up their own thoughtless and careless attire. All I can say is, there IS such a thing as a Fashion Statement. What does yours say about you?
* In San Antonio, the Black T-Shirt seems to be Everyman’s All-Purpose Formal Wear, seen in restaurants, clubs, and churches all around town.