Q & Answer: If You Can Only Pick Three…
I received this question from Tumblr user “enjoynicethings” about where to start with pocket squares:
Slowly coming around to the idea of pocket squares, but want to keep it simple. If you were only going to have three pockets squares in your selection, what three would you choose?
I suspect my answers will vary quite differently from both Jesse and Derek, but I can only look at what squares I’ve worn most often in my rather modest collection.
A safe first bet for the start of any collection is a solid white linen square. It’s conservative and goes well with any occasion in which you would wear a suit and all the way up to black tie. I also wear it quite often with a navy blazer. It’s my default in a rush, but also a bit boring perhaps too conservative when you’re wearing a sport jacket.
I would suggest finding two squares — likely silk, but potentially blended with another material like wool or cotton — with two types of prints. One print ought to have some sort of medium to small scale repeating pattern on it. Look for dots, geometric shapes or something like the paisleys I have above. Ideally, the colors in the square should compliment a good number of your sport coats or more casual suits you plan to wear it with. Because it’s a pattern, the eye will be drawn toward its recognizable repetition. If you want to play it safe, consider navy dots on a white ground.
Finally, the other print should be a large-scale design with a lot of colors. When folded up, you won’t see what’s on it, but it’ll blend the colors nicely as it peeks out from the breast pocket. Huge paisleys, giant florals or intriguing prints that one might find otherwise on a Hermes-style silk scarf work quite well. Try to find something unique that you feel a connection to and think you could stuff into your pocket in various way to express the multitude of colors. These tend to go well with solid sport coats, especially when you’re not wearing a tie, to bring some color variety.
This is where I’d start, but I think as you build a wardrobe of various textures and colors in your ties and jackets, you’ll likely want to start exploring more options. Derek wrote a great primer on how to wear a pocket square that’s worth reviewing if you’ve never worn one before.
(Of course, at the Put This On Etsy store, Jesse has a solid white linen square and prints large and small worth checking out.)
Make Your Own Rain Boots
With spring showers only a month away, it’s worth thinking about what kind of footwear one might need when the weather gets wet. My rainy day shoes of choice are shell cordovan boots. Shell cordovan, which is a leather taken from a horse’s rump, is so dense that it can effectively perform like rubber. I’ve trudged for miles on wet days without any snow or rain seeping in, and with a quick brushing once I get home, my shell boots look even better than the day they came. The only problem is that shell cordovan boots are quite expensive. Even on sale or on eBay, you’re looking at a neighborhood starting price of $ 500.
The alternative is to pick up a pair of SWIMS galoshes or LL Bean Boots. The upside to SWIMs is that they can be slipped over your normal dress shoes. The downside is that, frankly, sometimes you don’t want to bother with the hassle. LL Bean Boots are less fussy, but they can’t be worn with dressier garments such as suits and sport coats.
A happy medium is learn how to weatherproof the shoes you already own. For suede shoes, I recommend a waterproofing spray, such as this one from Allen Edmonds. Allen Edmonds’ version doesn’t contain any silicone, which is said by some to potentially damage to shoes. Each canister costs about seven bucks and can weatherproof something like five to seven pairs of shoes. I usually give my suede boots two coats before taking them out into the rain 24 hours later. Just be sure to only use this spray on suede shoes, as you can clog up the pores on calf, which would be bad.
For rugged boots, such as hiking boots or workboots, I recommend Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP or Montana Pitch Blend. I wrote a post last year about how to apply Obenauf’s, which readers might find useful. This thick, greasy cream both nourishes leather and helps keep moisture out. Don’t use it on anything besides rugged boots though. On a pair of dressy calf or shell cordovan shoes, this stuff can ruin your ability to ever get a proper shine.
For regular calf or shell, Steven Taffel at Leffot recommends Alden’s Leather Defender. It performs better than the minimal protection one might be able to give with a wax polish, and it won’t ruin your ability to give your shoes a proper shine. From a quick perusal of the online forums, some even say that it helps prevent the dreaded spotting shell cordovan can develop once it gets wet. That spotting goes away with a quick brushing, but it admittedly can be a bit of a hassle. I’m thinking of picking up some Leather Defender next month and trying it out on my shell boots. You can purchase it by calling Leffot and having them ship a bottle to you, or by going through J Crew’s online shop.
For $ 7 to $ 15, these all seem like great options, especially when compared to spending $ 500+ for shell boots, or even ~$ 100 for some SWIMs or LL Beans. Just have realistic expectations. Your shoes will be water resistant, but they won’t be waterproof. You can’t jump in any puddles or anything, but with some good preventive care, you can happily take your regular shoes out into the rain.
* Big thanks to Steven for help with this article. His store Leffot, by the way, is my favorite shoe shop in the US. Everyone ought to check out their store in NYC, if not at least their webshop.
kings of new york lyrics – “The Only Living Boy in New York” Simon & Garfunkel
“The Only Living Boy in New York” written by Paul Simon was recorded on November 15, 1969 as part of the fifth and final studio album by Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Released on January 26, 1970, it reached No. 1 on Billboard Music Charts pop albums list and won a Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Engineered Recording. The album is included in the CD box set, Simon & Garfunkel, The Columbia Studio Recordings 1964-1970.
Train-spotting.. Only the best for #DateNight w MsX
Hamish Bowles dresses as only a New Yorker who works in the women’s fashion industry could, but he does it consistently, exceptionally well. I’ve never seen a photograph of the man looking anything less than fantastic. His use of color and pattern is particularly impressive.
Would I wear a rose pink topcoat? No. But Bowles looks great with it, doesn’t he?
Our pal Greg Behrendt is the only standup comedian we know with sartorially-themed tattoos. His great instrumental rock band The Reigning Monarchs plays music that sounds like the soundtrack to an awesome movie that doesn’t exist yet, and they’re raising money on IndieGoGo to make a new record and head out on tour in 2013. To celebrate the holiday, they posted this lovely holiday tune… “God Rest Ye Merry Sweatermen.” Seriously, these guys LOVE cardigans.
Rapha pink Saturday.. Really missing not riding & it’s only been 3 days .. Tomorrow will be GURD
Saturday sports day w my “LittleMan”.. The only reason why I wouldn’t ride (CallOfUncleDuty)
“The only difference” between The Sartorialist and August Sander