Tuesday, March 27, 2012

...in which our hero defends his honor.

Loitering, as is my wont, on Twitter, I ran into a bit of a misunderstanding with the estimable Alton Brown. With tone difficult to convey with a mere 140 characters, he took to a comment I made in a possibly incorrect way and, almost certainly in the spirit of sharp banter common to all of us Men Of The World™, made a sharp countercomment about the pocket square in my profile picture looking as though it took a half hour to fold.

I replied that his point was valid and that, in the future, I would exhort my valet to fold more quickly. And there the matter would have ended, two Men of The World™ having done whatever the Twitter equivalent is of a manly handshake and hearty laugh, and left it at that.

Then, of course, a miscreant -- whom I decline to name -- had to muddy the waters. In a previous century his comment ("There is no way @JMGIII folded that himself. Looks like the ones that come prefolded with a piece of cardboard attached") would have easily qualified as a blood insult. Alton Brown suggested a pocket square is worn to best effect when it is placed as though one didn't "give a..." Feeling charitable, rather than saying to the miscreant "Sir, you are impertinent and I demand satisfaction, sir!" I explained (to Alton Brown) that the pocket square in question was, in fact, linen, and linen pocket squares are to be folded.

The miscreant, deciding to double down, then added this: "Linens have their place. But it's not in our pocket. Silk for a "don't care" poof [sic] and cotton blend for the Don Draper." (Emphasis mine.)

Cotton blend...egad.

Still feeling the milk of human kindness sloshing generously within me, I offered both the miscreant and the estimable Alton Brown this tutorial, from Alan Flusser, who is "my" tailor of choice. (Not that he, himself, cuts and sews any of my anythings, but you get the idea.) Wherein Mr. Flusser explains that cotton, linen and silk all have their place and that the casual stuff-it-with-sprezzatura which Alton Brown espouses is, in fact, correct with silk but not so much with linen, which benefits from the 4 point fold:

"The multi-pointed and the triangle effect are certainly the most elegant and are for use with handkerchiefs of linen or cotton with hand-rolled edges. Silk handkerchiefs look better with the puffed method. The square end (or TV fold), a popular style in the 1940s and `50s, seems a little staid today. Yet whatever method is chosen, the placing of the handkerchief must not appear overly studied. The material should show above the pocket no more than an inch to an inch and a half. " --Alan Flusser, Clothes and the Man (emphasis mine)

At any rate, I decided to include these photos that Alton B. may see the wisdom of folding linen pocket squares thus, and also that any passing, random Twitter miscreant may see that I do -- as if it needed to be proven! -- fold my own pocket squares.

"Cardboard" indeed.
The sheer impudence of the man.


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