Monday, April 12, 2010

Pocket square vs Handkerchief vs Kerchief

For the whole of last week I was pondering upon this post, especially, to ensure that I deliver the corerct information. On the surface it sounds and looks easy, a pocket square, handkerchief and kerchief. I will admit that I have always made the mistake of using my handkerchiefs as pocket squares. It's a rule that can be broken. However the right thing is to distinguish between the three items, their origins, uses and purpose. I ,for one, am glad that I now know what their names are, so as to avoid a situation where I embarass myself thinking I know something when clearly I don't. We will start with my favourite item.

                                                                Pocket square

This clothing accessory has the power to transform the overall image of men in any formal setting. The pocket square has been in usage for generations with their prevalence only increasing with time. The pocket square originated with the idea of combining the functionality of the handkerchief with a style appeal.  Till the present day, the pocket square is a handkerchief folded in a particular way and inserted into the left breast pocket of a coat. Therefore the pocket square is for decorative purposes only.

These accessories are rendered with a wide variety of colors and designs. Even the materials from which these accessories are made differ. While silk pocket squares are the most popular due to their sheen, pocket squares are made of other fabrics too like linen, polyester, or cotton. Two main considerations govern the choice of materials; looks and durability. While most materials are soft, this requirement is especially true in the case of hand-folded pocket squares where the edge-rolling process needs a soft material.

One of the key concerns when donning a pocket square is the folding technique. The way the pocket square is folded is important as this decides as to how the portion of the square that is visible above the coat pocket looks. The folding technique incorporated depends on the material of the pocket square, its size, and the depth of the pocket.


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 is intended for personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one's hands or face, or blowing one's nose. The material of a handkerchief can be important to 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.


A kerchief (from the French couvre-chef, "cover the head") is a triangular or square piece of cloth tied around the head or around the neck for protective or decorative purposes.

Interesting facts:

In Victorian times, as a means of flirtation. A woman could intentionally drop a dainty square of lacy or embroidered fabric to give a favored man a chance to pick it up as an excuse to speak to her while returning it.

Handkerchiefs were sometimes scented to be used as a way of protecting those who could afford them from the obnoxious scents in the street.

From now on I will wear a pocket square and carry a handkerchief for all its practical purposes. No more using toilet paper in public restrooms for wiping my hands.

                                        PG: Man to man, generation to generation.


Mr. Goodwill Hunting said...

I always have a pocketsquare on hand.

Never leave home without it.

Great blog. Following now

Mr. Goodwill Hunting

MN SL&E said...

I just love their simplicity and indispensable practicality. All of them have a purpose and from now I will be putting my handkerchiefs to more use.

Thanks reading anf following.

You have a nice blog going on yourself.


Stanley Lewis said...

Nice comparison between the three.
Find out exclusive collection of pocket squares.

Anonymous said...

wow, this was really important for me to read

Anonymous said...

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ceser john said...

I always have a pocketsquare handkerchief on hand.

Never leave home without it.

fazzoletto da taschino

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