I noted earlier that I spent part of today looking for a good deal on a quality white linen pocket square. I thought I’d describe my process and progress.
The search started with eBay. There are a few difficulties searching for pocket squares on eBay. It’s hard to actually judge the quality of many of the squares. Of course, you can go by the brand names, but those identified by name are well outside my price range. There are also a large number of squares of questionable quality. Part of the magic of eBay is finding a great deal. When it comes to pocket squares, that can be difficult, as it’s hard to locate the signs that a square may be high quality for a low price. In particular, I often couldn’t tell if a square had hand-rolled edges. My specific search for white linen came up completely empty. The only squares were universally crap. There were a surprising number of permanently folded squares.
My next stop was Etsy. I found quite a few interesting squares, although, again, I found no white linen with clearly hand-rolled edges. However, I was intrigued by these squares described as ‘palermo finished.’ I don’t know what that means, although it appears to involve a tight stitch around the edge. I think it looks pretty good, including a handmade feel with a few mis-spaced and loose stitches. That said, although it’s described as 100% linen, under ‘materials’ on the page, it’s also described as ‘cotton.’ I may give one of these a shot.
After Etsy, I decided to hit Style Forum. The sales forum always includes some high quality stuff for a great price. However, I was stonewalled on white linen for a third time. This is to be somewhat expected. It’s not the sort of item that one would tend to turn over. Although one might decide to go with a larger or smaller square, or to upgrade to a higher quality linen, most people would likely still hold onto the original square. While suits and shoes take up a fair amount of space, a pocket square takes up almost no space, so there’s little reason to sell. There have been quality white linen squares sold on Style Forum, so if you give it time, some will turn up.
I finally went to Sam Hober. The company produces its ties and squares in Thailand and has a great reputation on Style Forum. Their Belgian linen squares are $30 (US). They are 15 inches square, which I understand to be the optimal size. They have hand-rolled edges. They even describe their rolling technique. I don’t know anything about ‘Belgian linen’ and how it stacks up to other linens. But, I finally decided I would get one.
Then, Tommy from Suits + Boots suggested Kent Wang. Their white linen square is pictured above. At $20 (US) it’s cheaper than the Sam Hober option. However, at 12 inches, it’s also quite a bit smaller. Their squares are made in the US, while the Hober squares are made in Thailand. That said, I’ve read that Sam Hober’s labour practices are very good, while the company, and their customers, still benefit from the cheaper labour costs.
In the end, I think I’ll get one of each. Fifty dollars (plus shipping) is not bad for two handmade squares. White linen is the base for any collection of pocket squares, so it’s time I got mine in order.