What Is A Pocket Square?

A pocket square (handkerchief) is a thin, square, cloth used for wiping the eyes and nose. It can be made of any cloth, but is typically made of linen, cotton or silk.

The first handkerchiefs were small pieces of silk tissue used by priests and clergy at the altar. At first, handkerchiefs were carried in the hand, not the pocket. They were carried both for utilitarian purposes and for dress. They quickly became an essential accessory.

Through the ages, the handkerchief saw many uses and styles. At some point around the 18th century, the square shape was defined as being the standard, based on a version that Marie-Antoinette made. Louis XVI even published a decree stating that the length and width of a handkerchief must be equal

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the pocket square, or pocket handkerchief, became popular. Handkerchiefs were folded and placed in the breast pocket of suits, and this quickly became the sign of style and stature. For decades, men would not be considered properly dressed without a pocket square in the breast pocket.

Fine pocket squares can be made from linen, silk or cotton. Irish linen (made from European flax) is preferred due to its resiliance. Pocket squares made from Irish linen retain their shape and stiffness throughout the day.

A simple white pocket square is all that is needed to complete a business man’s ensemble. The handkerchief gives a man an opportunity to stand out a little, and to give a classic and refined look. A pocket square placed in the breast pocket of a suit or sport coat offers a touch of elegance and is sign of a confident and knowledgeable dresser.

Today, pocket squares are worn by well-dressed men all over the world. Pocket squares are a must have accessory for a blazer or suit and fit perfectly (and were designed for) the breast pocket. Typically sold unfolded, pocket squares used to take a long time to carefully fold, starch and iron to the perfect position. With pre-folded pocket squares made from the finest Irish linen, you will never have to worry about your handkerchief coming unfolded or not having time to prepare it beforehand. More information about our pocket squares.