Ask the Rakish Man: An Abject Lesson

Hello everyone, and welcome to The Rakish Man. My name is Léon Philippe and I am here with all the right responses to your sartorial queries. I’ve poured my first glass of Grand Marnier, so let’s get started.

Dear Leon,

I’m new the style game and trying to pick up new tricks. I’ve really gotten into pocket squares in particular. The only problem is that they keep falling down into my pocket throughout the day, so that much of the time no one can even see what an awesome pocket square I’m wearing. What am I doing wrong?

Newbie in Newport

Dear Newbie,

Thank you for your query. First of all, style is not a “game.” Politics is a game. Style is a physical manifestation of self-conception. This is a common error among neophytes such as yourself, but  I hope that with time you will come to a greater and more correct understanding of what a life of style entails.

But back to your query. What we have here is an abject lesson in the meaning of style. Your covert pocket square saddens you because your desire is for it to attract the attention of others. Maybe they will ask, “what’s that fancy little tidbit in your pocket?” or gush, “I love guys with style!” If your pocket square is hiding, you fear, these would-be admirers will pass by you silently, and you will go through your day unloved.

The true gentleman of style wears a pocket square not to lure the wandering eye, but because he has no choice. The pocket square is as much a part of him as his ear, or his thumbnail, or his family crest ring. 

The falling pocket square is of no concern whatsoever. First of all, because the gentleman of style has selected a pocket square of sufficient size to fill the pocket, or of a rough enough texture to stay in place by strength of friction, or because he has stuffed the bottom of his breast pocket with something else such as toilet paper to prevent the pocket square from falling too low, or because he has pinned the pocket square in place (from the inside of the jacket, affixing the jacket-touching area of the pocket square, so that the pin is nowhere seen from the outside).

But second of all, and most importantly, because the gentleman of style has achieved such poise and self-assuredness that the pocket square is incapable of arousing his anxiety. He is accepting but unsolicitous of the love of others, having satisfied himself with self love. He is the calm in the I of the storm.

Heed these words, Newbie, and absorb the lesson they contain. Without this understanding, you will be unprepared for the dangers that await you on your sartorial journey.

By the by, I may be stopping through Newport next summer. If you are well situated, I would be very much obliged if you could spare a little room - I don’t require much. But if you are really particularly well situated, I hope you won’t mind if I invite a friend over for tea. We needn’t belabor our connection; perhaps we could just say that we are cousins and this is our family’s ancestral vacation home. Anyway, however you want to explain it is fine I’m sure, I’m just making a suggestion. Hope to hear from you soon.


Ed. note: If you have a query for The Rakish Man, please send an email to david at nomanwalksalone  dot com and I will make sure he sees it.  

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