The One Item for Prom You Didn’t Know Your Son Needed

I’m waiting for the pocket square holder to be delivered. Two days ago, I had no idea what a pocket square holder was, and now Amazon is telling me that the package containing it will be delayed.

Junior prom is this Friday and there’s no time for delays so I ordered another one, with the promise it will be delivered tomorrow. Just in time for the big event. Having a son, a 16-year-old teenage son at that, is something to be reckoned with. Still a boy growing into a man. Still needs me but pushes me away. Still loves me but doesn’t often show it. 

He did let me help him with his tuxedo. Probably because he wanted me to pay for it, which I did, because it would be my pleasure to rent a tuxedo for my son. He got measured, he selected his style, choosing a slightly elevated shawl collar, a vest, a bowtie, patent leather shoes, and tuxedo pants at just the right length, a bit on the short side if you asked me. But he was happy.

The author placing the pocket square and holder into her son’s tuxedo pocket. (Photo credit: Hannah Gross)

My son put me on FaceTime to see his date’s dress

He actually put me on FaceTime with his date to see her dress – more specifically the color of her dress – so we could try to match the bowtie color to it – was it coral, burnt orange, a pink? Hard to tell the true color of the shimmery wavy fabric that adorned the younger excited girl smiling on the screen. 

Finally she got it hemmed and gave him a section of fabric so we could try to match a part of his outfit to the mystery color. We settled on a black bowtie and pondered the idea of matching his boutonniere with a Calla Lilly in a close-enough-to-the-color coral.

Then the idea of a pocket square popped into my head. His grandmother, a seamstress extraordinaire, could create a pocket square with the leftover fabric and that hint of color would tie the couple’s outfits together, with white flowers for each.

My son seems to still be cherishing his pocket square, as it’s sitting in a place of honor on his bedside table a few weeks later. (Photo credit: Jill Gross)

But the glimmery orangey fabric wasn’t stiff like a traditional pocket square so Grandma recommended a pocket square holder, a flat piece of divided plastic, to keep the bit of color securely in place in my son’s tux jacket pocket. 

Hopefully it will be delivered in time, and hopefully Grandma will complete the square in time, too. (We rented a boring plain white one just in case.) Then the orange pink coral flame will pop on his outfit, matching with her tight-on-the-top flowy-on-the-bottom dress, and their color-coordinated union will be cemented in photographic history.

Post script: The second pocket square holder arrived two days before prom. We picked up from Grandma the completed, matching pocket square, and then I practiced my folding skills ad nauseam to try and fold the square so that it fit perfectly into the pocket square holder. Not too much color showing and with an even edge along the top of the pocket.

I became the pocket square holder holder

My son and his friends met in advance of picking up dates at one of their houses to get ready – yes, turns out boys do this, too. A few of the boys were solo because their parents couldn’t make it.

Parents were invited to take photos. As the boys were putting on their finishing touches like bowties and cufflinks, I noticed that a few of them also had homemade pocket squares, but that none had a pocket square holder.

My son identified me to his friends as the resident pocket square folder and I had the honor of helping several of the boys with their squares, homemade or traditional. I loved being involved and I loved that the pocket square was connecting me to my son and his friends.

The delayed pocket square arrived the day after the prom. It’s too much trouble to return it, so at next year’s senior prom, we’ll gift it to a friend, passing on our new knowledge about the importance of a pocket square holder.

More Great Reading:

This Is for All the Teens Who Don’t Go to Prom

About Jill Gross

Jill Oestreicher Gross is a native New Yorker, freelance writer and mother of two teenagers who moved to coastal New England almost 20 years ago. She earned a master’s degree from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and has written for publications including Reuters, Newburyport Magazine and Boston Parents Paper, among others. 

Read more posts by Jill

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.