Tom Howard, writer and man about town tells LUX FIX why pochettes are exerting sartorial influence from breast pockets once more.
For decades now, the transformative powers of the pochette have been falling into disuse. Once a staple of every male wardrobe – pochettes, pocket squares, or simply hankies, as you prefer, have spent the last fifty years largely relegated to the arena of rock ‘n’ roll dandyism and Sloane Ranger foppishness.
Supersized silk handkerchief by LUCY JAY
The art of this garment is generally considered to be in its’ arrangement. Cascade from the pocket lip in luxurious pleats for rakishness. Fold simply for that old school look of quiet authority. Or arrange in a tri-corn crown for something a bit more meticulous gangster. The significance of these displays are at the heart of most discussion on the topic. But they are ultimately superfluous.
The power of the pochette lies in its presence or absence. The addition of one handkerchief converts a tired blazer to dapper vintage; a stiff pinstripe to business chic. One puff of silk can breath style into even the dullest jacket and – regardless of arrangement – it is a detail attended to, that the lesser dressed would ignore.
It’s very purposelessness, imbues it with sartorial stature. And a twenty-first century resurgence is afoot.
The choice of London outlets used to be one of two – obscure Burlington Arcade boutique, or Marks and Spencer’s value pack – but a clutch of avant-garde designers have begun to bring pochettes to Ledbury Road and Shoreditch. Lucy Jay, Yang Du and Dominique Mosley have all added the pochette to their design repertoire (in bold geometric patterns, surreal wildlife designs and a modern twist on classic polka dot, respectively), to name just those sold recently on LUX FIX.
Yang Du’s exclusive design for LUX FIX
Ryan Gosling sported a pochette in his Testino shoot for GQ last year (notably entitled: How to look like a movie star). Ed Westwick’s NYC ultra-man-about-town Gossip Girl persona, Chuck Bass, wouldn’t go down to breakfast without one – a style Westwick has been known to carry off-screen as well. P Diddy’s breast pocket hasn’t been seen empty for years, and Daniel Craig is also a noted fan.
There may of course still be those who think the pochette a foppish touch – an antique and unnecessary detail that no longer has a place in the breast pockets of real men.
Well, if you’re going to call Don Draper and James Bond a pair of fops, you might want to have a pochette to hand.