The History of Pocket Squares September 15 2013

The use of pocket squares has gone from  hygiene (called a handkerchief) to making an outfit complete and elegant (the pocket square).

From 2000 BCE Egyptians used white bleached linen pouches, while in Ancient Greece the nobles splashed perfume on their pocket squares and used them as handkerchiefs.  During the 9th century, Catholic clergymen wore handkerchiefs on their left arms as part of thei liturgical equipment.

During the 19th Century, the French nobles used their perfumed pocket squares (or pochettes) to protect themselves against the awful smells that were everywhere.  Some contend that it was King Richard II of England who invented the handkerchief in 1390 – although not proven, he was certainly a proponent of its use.

Originally, the handkerchief was tucked away in the pant pocket – where a used handkerchief belonged.This strict hygienic use changed during the 19th century with the increasing number of two-piece suits worn by men.  These well-dressed men began to put their pocket squares in the breast pocket of their jackets – to avoid getting them dirty from coins in their pant pockets.

This habit became commonplace and, around the 1920s, the pocket square became a must-have fashion piece.  Since then, the pocket square has remained a staple of fine fashion and holds a special place in the breast pockets of well-dressed men.  The 60s revival of fashion as seen in shows like Mad Men has proven that pocket squares are, by all indications, the Missing Piece.