Pocket Guide to Pocket Squares
Posted: Jul 01 2017
We’re huge fans of pocket squares, as the pop of color livens up your look and displays a bit of personality. We stock a beautiful range of handmade Italian silk pocket squares, which we obviously would love for you to take a look at , but first we’ll take you on a journey to understand the origins of this accessory and give you some practical information on folds and best practice.
Handkerchiefs are the ancestors of pocket squares and they made their first reported appearance in Egypt around 2000 BCE, back then small pieces of bleached linen were used by the wealthiest noble families along the river Nile.
Handkerchiefs evolved to become an integral part of everyday life in ancient Rome and Greece, where cuts of cotton cloth were used for both formal and practical functions. Emperors used to drop a piece of fabric to mark the start of the games while the roman clergy later adopted a piece of cloth wrapped on their right arm as a sign of distinction.
The fashion quickly transitioned into the Middle Ages, when embroidered hankies were dunked in perfume and used to protect noble nostrils from body odours caused by lack of hygiene, and lowly stenches of medieval cities. But it was around 1390 that, thanks to King Richard II, the handkerchief became widespread as a fashion accessory. The trendy king was in fact the first to embellish his square of silk with heavy embroidery, launching a fashion that was perfected by Italian noblemen during the Renaissance.
Since then, Italians brought what they called fazzoletto to higher standards, using only the most precious fabrics and displaying unrestrained embroidery, thus elevating handkerchiefs to art and consecrating the accessory to the status of men’s jewellery.
The French also played a part and, in 1785, Marie Antoinette helped standardise the garment that until that moment came in different shapes, including circles and triangles. The eclectic queen deemed the unrestricted nature of handkerchiefs unfashionable and complained to her husband, Louis XVI, asking that the piece of cloth became square. The king obliged, enforcing a rule that wanted the length of the accessory equal to its width.
Handkerchiefs were finally squares, but in the early stages of their existence, pocket squares were mainly placed in trousers’ pockets, and used for the same practical functions as their ancestors, the handkerchiefs. It was only in the early 20th century that gentleman started sporting pocket squares in combination with a suit, vest, and the era’s typical fedora hat, allowing the beautiful squares to abandon their functional role of handkerchiefs and become a strong medium of personal expression.
Thus, pocket squares were no longer relegated to trousers’ pockets and found their rightful place in breast pockets, and today, with the evolution and diffusion of different folding techniques, patterns and fabrics, pocket squares allow modern gentlemen to accessorize their jackets in lavish ways.
Pocket squares are made from silk, linen or cotton and they are used to add an extra element of style to a suit jacket or blazer. Contrast is key, and getting creative with textures, colours and patterns is the most effective way of obtaining a glamorous look. Great style can also be achieved by using the right fold.
The most common folds are the Classic Fold, the One Point Fold, the Two Point Fold and the Puff Fold and in the following section we will provide you with a small practical guide to get your pocket square ready for your breast pocket.
One Point Fold
Two Point Fold
Pocket squares are a great accessory that throughout history has landed distinction and a touch of fun to gentlemen’s jackets. Using our guide you will be able to choose the perfect match amongst our pocket squares, and give flair to your Tailor On Ten bespoke creations. Read more about our Italian silk pocket squares and check out the full range here.