Tis the season to be holly, jolly, and avoiding confrontation with your dwindling bank account. Feelings of generosity around the holidays are often coupled with guilt of over spending, and probably a signature of companies succeeding in getting you to shell out more than you’re willing on gifts for people you care about. I’m certainly a victim of this capitalistic manipulation and have found a fulfilling albeit insignificant way for myself to stick it to the corporate Santa man.
It all started a year ago when I was somberly shadowing my girlfriend as she meandered through a Free People store- she bought something small enough to fit in one of their take-away tote bags. Full disclosure though, you don’t even need to shop there- if you walk in they’ll probably just hand you one for free. Made of lightweight, cheesecloth-like material, I was intrigued by the unique pattern and an interesting idea- to make your own pocket square. I’m always on the prowl for unique menswear accessories and this pattern/material combination struck me more as a style accessory than a carrying bag which, after some serious use, would probably fall apart.
The concept is really simple and the results exceed expectations- I always get a ton of compliments, especially when I tell people I repurposed it myself.
Obtain raw materials. As shown above it can be anything. Plain, patterned, textured, or all three, doesn’t matter. I will admit to using fancy bathroom paper towels in place of a forgotten pocket square. People rarely notice, especially from a distance, and when they do they will admire your resourcefulness.
Cut patterns. You can use a pocket square you already own and use it to eyeball your cutouts, or you can mark out specific dimensions by hand. Sharpness is definitely a factor here, I’ve used scissors and a chef’s knife to cut my lines but I can see a sharp, rolling pizza cutter as the most effective alternative. Dullness will fray your material or cut unevenly, and could absolutely work depending on the look you’re going for. It’s completely open to personal preference.
Fold & finish! That’s literally all there is to it. I like solid creases in my pocket squares so they keep their shape, so if need be you can use an iron to sharpen your folds and press out any lumps or bumps.
Totally free and completely customizable, it’s a stylish and cost effective way to repurpose cool packaging into a useful mens accessory. You may even find it becoming one of your favorite pieces to include in your suiting ensemble, I sure did!