Thrifting for Pocket Squares
Those of you who follow this blog closely probably know that I have a decent assortment of pocket squares. Mostly silk, with some cotton and a few linen ones thrown in the mix.
Above are a few of my more interesting vintage cotton pocket squares. One is a vintage Italian-made one by Echo, with a young lady golfing and polka dots as the main motifs. The other two are no-name ones. One has blue pears and red cherries on it, and the other is a cotton hankie with the 1952 calendar year on it as well as some wonderful illustrations of rabbits in suits, snowmen, and skiers. Both have delightfully rolled edges.
Most of my pocket squares have been purchased at various thrift stores, but almost never from where one might expect to find pocket squares. I think I’ve only thrifted 3, maybe 4, actual gentleman’s pocket squares in my many trips to the thrift shops. Also, men have typically preferred staid and conservative colors and patterns on their pocket squares: foulards, paisleys, neats, dots, and solids. This is what you’re likely to find in the thrift stores if you come across any pocket squares at all.
Instead, I find my pocket squares mostly among the ladies’ scarves and handkerchiefs. If you’re looking for pocket squares, you should never pass up the opportunity to look through this section of the store. Though women’s scarves can be a tad larger than your standard men’s pocket square, rarely is this so much the case that it will look odd jammed into your jacket’s chest pocket. And if you’re ok bucking gender norms and sartorial orthodoxies, it is here where you are likely to find the bright colors and bold patterns that will fit perfectly with this S/S and upcoming F/W looks.
If you venture into the realm of women’s accessories you will come across a delightful assortment of items through which you can map trends across the decades, and even find some that are enjoying a resurgence among menswear designers and enthusiasts right now. African safari motifs from the 1980s are what immediately come to mind, and are incredibly apropos of the current direction I see menswear moving in.
I’ll be posting pictures of some of my more interesting vintage pocket squares in the upcoming weeks (I have quite a few that I’m excited to highlight here, but hope you’ll take this post as a call to go explore your local thrift shops.