If You Can Lift a Napkin, You Can Fold a Pocket Square
Nicholas P. Monterotti, a self-taught clothier in the Loop, shows us three simple ways to fold a pocket square—including one that involves precisely zero folds.
Nicholas P. Monterotti ducks into his office to retrieve a tie, and not just any tie. The 6’7” founder of Peter Field (330 S. Wells St., Ste. 1112), a custom tie and pocket-square maker in the Loop, is after a one-of-a-kind specimen. In the meantime, his 11th floor workspace—part office, part store, part factory—buzzes; one of his employees, Sage, is whirring away on a jacket alteration. When Monterotti ducks back into the main room, he's holding an extra-long red, white, and blue tie made from pillowcase fabric. It's the first one he ever made.
Monterotti, a self-described “sales guy” who once spent his days working at the Board of Trade and his off time trying to find clothes that fit, decided to produce the crude tie in 2009 after he couldn’t find a tailor to make one that fit his tall frame. “I bought a sewing machine at Jo-Ann Fabric,” he says. “The ladies were looking at me like I was crazy.”
But if the $17,500 he raised on Kickstarter in 2013 is any indication, his idea—that a self-taught clothier can meet the demand for nonstandard versions of common items—isn’t so out there after all. His most sensible creation just might be his line of Multi Squares: double-sided pocket squares that can be folded to create eye-popping color and pattern combinations. I met with Monterotti to ask him how he folds his squares. Here are three folds he taught me:
Choose this one if you like the minimalistic fold peeking out of Don Draper’s pocket.
1. Arrange the fabric into a square.
2. Fold the right and left sides in, roughly into thirds, so that the square’s width matches your pocket’s.
3. Take the top and fold it halfway down.
4. Place the square fold-side up in your pocket.
The Double Peak
Choose this one if you think one peak is too basic and three or more peaks is too origami.
1. Arrange the fabric into a diamond. The side you want to be most visible should be facing down.
2. Take the bottom point and fold it up. It should land just to the right of the top point, leaving a sliver of the other side visible.
3. Fold the right and left sides in again.
4. Place the square peak-side up in your pocket.
Choose this one if you want your pocket square to look slightly different each time you fold it.
1. Arrange the fabric however you want, as long as it’s flat.
2. Pinch the fabric at its center and lift up.
3. Gather the sides together with your free hand.
4. Nicholas likes to place the poof-side of the square in first and then pull it up and out.
Parting Tip All of Peter Field’s pocket squares are 8.5”x8.5”, which is a manageable size to work with. If you have a larger pocket square or handkerchief, fold it down to a more manageable size. For instance, I have a 20”x20” handkerchief that’s a nightmare to fold. I folded it into quarters and used Nicholas’s tips and they worked beautifully.
Photo: TIm Burkhart, Groupon