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Words: Susan Blasdel

Fabric is an integral part of the man’s wardrobe. That is obvious, but I’m talking about more than just shirts and pants. I’m talking about what holds your pants on and keeps your shirt clean. Bois, boys and men (oh, and all feminine gender expressions can tag along too), it’s time for a trip to the fabric store. Yes, we’re going to be accessory crafting. Don’t get intimidated lads.

We aren’t making a confection dress. Let’s start with the most basic things to make.

Handkerchiefs and Pocket Squares

A man without some sort of handkerchief or bandana is woefully unprepared. It is a remarkably versatile item, so versatile in fact that I have prepared a list of actual situations when my handkerchief  has been of use to me.

1. Avoiding smoke inhalation by soaking my bandana with water and using it to cover my face when a fellow camper insisted the plant he identified as hemlock was the best fire-starter.

2. Keeping a friends finger from bleeding everywhere to the point of his needing actual medical attention, blowing/wiping my nose in emergencies and drying my hands after discovering a lack of paper towels.


3. Furiously scrubbing copious amounts of spray paint off my hands before meeting a lady friend’s parents.

Alexander McQueen Spring 2o1o

4. Attempting to signal my sexual preferences (I don’t think anyone noticed).

If I am dressed more formally, wether it be because of situation or whim, I also carry a pocket square. Whereas the handkerchief is for all sorts of messes, I have reserved the practical use of my pocket squares for only the drying of lady tears. A clean, satin pocket square is in my mind the classiest way of saying “I’m sorry I brought that up in front of all of your brothers.” Besides that, they are great for pulling together color combinations you are unsure of. If you have a shirt or tie you love but you don’t think it goes with anything, buy a matching pocket square!


Handkerchief Requirements: Fabric (see fabric store section at the end), Scissors

The most basic version of a handkerchief is just a piece of fabric. All you have to do is cut a reasonably straight foot by foot square. A handkerchief by no means has to be white, though usually %100 cotton is the way to go to avoid chafing your nose.

DIY Pocket Squares

Purchasing Options

White cotton

Single Initial Monogrammed 3 for $6

3 Initial Monogramed 12 for $32

Moustache Hanky!


Hit Item Wholesale at 14th and Rhode Island NW is my favorite place to shop (that I can afford) in DC. The have $1 Bandanas in various colors in addition to so many cheap, amazing imported knockoffs that it really deserves it’s own post.

Silk Pocket Squares

10 for $30


Think this [via bearsimjealousof]

Not this.

And for the love of god fellas, don’t do what Channing Tatum is doing to his suspenders.


Autostraddle already knocked this one out of the park.

Purchasing options

One and a half inch wide (too wide for my tastes) $3.75 – $9.95

Half inch wide $7.95

Fabric Stores

I grew up trekking out to the G Street Fabrics near the White Flint metro station. My mother had been going there since it was actually on G street. You lads want to raid the remnants bin for fabric to make handkerchiefs from. They also almost certainly carry the hardware you need to make suspenders or belts. If you get confused at any point, don’t worry because the employees are super helpful and knowledgeable. Also, it’s a great place to pick up ladies (take them to the French Riviera appropriate La Madeline across the street).