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23 Feb

Getting the Pocket Square and Tie Combination Right

Most men spend a fortune buying the right suit and still many of them look a lot alike with variations in colour. Having put in that much thought into it, wouldn’t you want it to be unique? Well, yes! Though a good suit is in itself a great statement, make it take on your personality by adding accents that match your personality, your taste and establish its style as yours. This is where ties and pocket squares become indispensable. They add style to your suit, when done right.

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There are no big rules that govern what constitutes a good combination of tie and pocket square. But one golden rule which a surprising number of men do not seem to know is that it is simply unacceptable to match the tie and pocket square down to the last detail of colour, fabric and pattern. Then why does it seem to pop up on so many suits? One thing that seems to promote this is the stores selling packaged combinations. Given the ease of just picking up a box with both the things together takes the work out of selection, but it also takes the style out of the combination. In case you do already have them or like a pattern in a boxed set, go ahead and mix them up. Pair ties with pocket squares from a different box, making for a number of new combinations.

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While the tie is easy to ace and few people go wrong with it, an equal number of people squirm with unease when picking a pocket square, especially when they are told these are not supposed to match. In fact, a pocket square is not rocket science rather the simplest and most fun part of any suit. This is the one accessory that you can choose to indulge your whims. Solid colours – bright, pale, neon or neutral; stripes – pin, bold, multicoloured or varying; check, prints or self patterned; pocket squares come in a wide range. There is no need for it to be coordinated with either the shirt, the tie or the suit but then, it may as well be.

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You can choose a pocket square in a colour that matches nothing else in the suit or it may be in a colour that repeats itself in the stripes of the shirt or a pattern on the tie. Not only will it boost your style quotient, but will refresh your wardrobe without spending on a new suit.

Express yourself in a subtle way by doing your own thing with the pocket square. Another point worth noting is that for a pocket square to work, it needs to stand out against the suit. For a dark suit, choose a pale colour or a print that is visible in contrast to the suit. For a light suit, go for deeper, brighter tones.

There is no stopping you from experimenting with pocket squares that you can team up with from everything from your dinner jacket and formal coat to the casual blazer. Don’t be afraid of pairing a printed one with a chequered or striped coat. Mixing patterns is one of the most fun parts of contemplating new combinations.

Here are a few tips which you could use-

  • With a neutral background (shirt or tie in white, beige or grey etc.) and a dark suit, you can coordinate the colour of the shirt or tie with the colour of the pocket square. Say, with a black suit you are wearing a white shirt and a black tie, go in for a white square or with a black suit, pink shirt and grey tie, you can pick a square that has shades of pink in the pattern.
  • With a vivid colour shirt or tie, keep the pocket square in a contrast or complementary shade, and you can still play up the pattern. For example, a purple tie can be paired with a lavender pocket square. You can go in for a print that features a bit of purple in a different tone.
  • Play with textures to create a unique effect. Try stepping away from silk and exploring other options for a change. You could opt for linen, raw silk, cotton, wool or even self-patterned squares.

Feel confident about your first tryst with pocket squares and with these tips, you can’t go wrong!

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