Monday, February 7, 2011

Pocket Square, Mr. President?


Is wearing a pocket square/ handkerchief for a head of state paying a little too much attention to detail? Or is a pocket square just another indispensable accessory, not really needed for a president's dress code? The answer isn't really clear cut. Neither do I have it. What I can say is that a head of state probably doesn't worry about wearing a pocket square because, frankly, there are other, more important issues, to worry about. A suit and tie are presentable enough.

One of the foremost folds of a pocket square is known as the presidential fold, however even with such a foundation head's of state still don't wear it. Maybe there is an issue with finding a middle ground between stylish and conservative. Stylish in the sense that, well...a pocket square is generally deemed to be an extension of one's personality, therefore choosing the right one could be tricky. Imagine the president shows up in a pocket square with polka dots, "Mr.President is feeling rather dotty today." So to avoid all assumptions and inferences, it's safe that the pocket square is treated as a no-go area.


A pocket square would add a lot to a president's appearance. Opinions, views and perceptions are not going to change based on such an indispensable item though. However if the president is casually dressed one too many times then the public's view of him would somewhat change. Think about it. President Obama looks just fine in his dark suits, solid shirts and ties. However adding a pocket square would enhance his look, even if just a smidgen. It would be different, however perceptions and views about him would be based on his performance in office rather than his personal style. This however is not an indictment of head's of state who do wear a pocket square.

There is a certain uniform conformity amongst head’s of state that don’t decorate their breast pocket. And as I alluded earlier this is quite pervasive. The underlying common denominator with all these gentlemen, at least in my opinion, is partly, a lack of style or attention to sartorial detail. I guess when you have your sights set on being the leader of a country one day; personal style and a dress sense can be largely sidelined because there are bigger things to worry about.

What I have discovered is that there is a divide between the wearers and the wear-nots. The wearers seem to have a firm grasp on style and have incorporated into their dress sense. Former Ghanaian state president John Kufuor is one such example. Not only did he wear a pocket square/ handkerchief, he did this in a double breasted suit. He also definitely paid attention to proportion and fit because as a bulky man his suits fit well. Kufuor also didn’t relegate himself to dark suits, which are a sign of conservatism; he also wore suits in light shades such as light grey. Just to showcase his style, and that a head of state can be stylish and take care of matters of national importance.


Currently, Senegalese state president Abdoulaye Wade also appears to be inherently stylish and has incorporated it into his dress sense. Never without a pocket/ handkerchief, the image below illustrates just how stylish and detailed he is. This, I surmise, could never be the work of a stylist or image consultant. The only difference between the wearers and wear-nots is the reaction they get from those among
their audience who are style conscious. You definitely sit up and take note because a pocket square commands that much attention. With or without it, however, there is a job to be done and I would hope that getting the job done, effectively and efficiently, is paramount as opposed to whether a pocket handkerchief is folded correctly.


Now, if only impending Southern Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit were to decorate his breast pocket, I’d say Africa pretty much takes the stakes when it comes to head’s of state with style.


                      PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

1 comment:

spoozyliciouzz said...

Yet again another very insightful post...in my humble opinion, state leaders tend to downdress in order to make sure the people tend to believe them one of their offspring...we´ve had a german chancellor who was said to only wear Brioni, and guess what the mass media called him: "The Brioni chancellor"...