There are a lot of definitions when it comes to the subject of the pocket square, yet Wikipedia’s take on the classic menswear staple sums it all up the best in my opinion ; A handkerchief (also called handkercher or hanky) is a form of a kerchief, typically a hemmed square of thin fabric that can be carried in the pocket or purse, and which is intended for personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one’s hands or face used as a purely decorative accessory in a suit pocket.
The material of a handkerchief can be symbolic of the social-economic class of the user, not only because some materials are more expensive, but because some materials are more absorbent and practical for those who use a handkerchief for more than style. Handkerchiefs can be made of cotton, cotton-synthetic blend, synthetic fabric, silk, or linen. When used as an accessory to a suit, a handkerchief is known as a pocket square.
Whether you are wearing a bow tie or a silk necktie, pocket squares add elegance and sophistication that harmonizes exceptionally well with almost any formal attire. Nevertheless, only few men choose to wear a pocket square, not because they don’t want to, but they simply don’t know how to sport one or they are utterly dense to the power of the pocket square . I never had much appreciation for pocket squares till me and my passport started spending time together…none of the father figures around me ever incorporated in their wardrobe hence my ignorance , sad i know. Its somehow a bit depressing that u barely find the young gentleman of today sticking to the simple essentials such as the pocket square that have held their ground in the gentleman’s wardrobe for decades.
Initially pocket squares came from the linen handkerchiefs used for personal hygiene. Handkerchiefs have been used for over 600 years. It is said that the handkerchief was invented by Richard II of England (1367-1400) “as a little piece of cloth for the lord king to wide and clean his nose”. Initially only the upper class adopted the use of a linen handkerchief, but by the 17th century the handkerchief was as quite common among all classes throughout Western Europe.
handkerchiefs were placed in the trousers’ pockets since it was seen as un-clean to show a “used” handkerchief in the visible breast pocket of a man’s jacket. As 2 piece suits came into fashion in the 19th century, many men started to place their clean pocket square into the breast pocket of their jacket to protect it from dirt and other objects, such as coins, in their trousers’ pockets. After use the pocket square would move from the breast pocket to the trousers’ pockets.
The look of the pocket square in the breast pocket became more popular, especially after specific folding techinques came into use. By the 1920s the pocket square had become more of a fashion accessory than having any other purpose. Often times men had a pocket square in their breast pocket, and another handerchief in their trousers meant for wiping their hands or cleaning their nose.
Later on, during the 40s and 50s the linen handkerchiefs were viewed us unhygienic. The Kleenex Company, founded in 1924, was the first company to make disposable handkerchiefs. As a result, the linen handkerchief was replaced, and only used as a fashion accessory in form of a pocket square. Pocket squares are still today a very fashionable piece of accessory for any formal or even business attire.
Nowadays pocket squares are a common fashion accessory throughout the world.It has become the mark of the GENTLEMAN. Initially popular in western Europe and the US, the pocket square is now a piece of formal fashion accessory in almost any part of the world. Whether you are invited to a black tie event or a business meeting which both require a suit , the pocket square adds a definite punch of elegance to your look.
The pocket square is without an argument a great way to add some pinache to an attire regardless of the terrain , yet some men shy away from it because they assume it involves too much thought . Owning the pocket square is a journey , it surely wont take you a day to perfect the art of working pattern and fabric into an ensemble without blinking . For beginners class i advice you stick to the popular flat fold , its easy and personally my favorite . The flat fold in my opinion compliments the lines in a suit better than any of the folds . The flat fold is conservative and sharp , hence it being the go to fold in the corporate world . There are no written rules in the book of pocket squares but it will do you well to avoid the mistake of matching your neck tie with your pocket square like a green horn would . When it comes to color and pattern its best to keep the urge to match them with your necktie on a leash . Thank you for reading…