Handkerchiefs and Pocket Squares

Handkerchiefs have been around for over 600 years.  Their origin had nothing to do with fashion but merely a means for a gentleman to clean himself (hands and nose).  During the mid to late 1920s, the advent of disposable Kleenex replaced pocket squares (then linen) for utilitarian use.  It was at that point that handkerchiefs became popular in the breast pocket, different folding techniques became prevalent, and silk varieties were added- pocket squares were born.

Here are a few notes regarding handkerchiefs and pocket square:

  • Bandanas technically are handkerchiefs yet, they belong with your overalls and jeans, nowhere near dress clothes;
  • Outside of a wedding suit rental, pocket squares should NEVER be an exact match to your tie… really, NEVER;
  • When wearing a white pocket square in your blazer breast pocket, if it’s not a clean bright white, it’s better kept in your pants back pocket;
  • When pairing your square with a tie, choose complementary colors in the pocket square that highlight the tie;
  • Choose a pocket square with colors that coordinate with the shirt and compliment the jacket, when wearing a pocket square without a tie;
  • Keep a white handkerchief inside every suit or blazer pocket.  You never know when it may come in handy, whether for you or a damsel in distress.

If you’re wearing a matching pocket square and tie, STOP!  If you’ve seen your handkerchief on the Beverly Hillbillies it’s a bandana, STOP!  If your pocket square is being used for anything other than an accessory, it’s better suited for inside your blazer or your back pockets.  If you’re having a difficult time pairing pocket squares with your wardrobe or know the best way to fold it, we’re here to help!