Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Style: The Difference Between A Pocket Square And A Handkerchief
I've been meaning to ask this question for some time now: How many pocket squares or handkerchiefs do you wear at one time? With one outfit? I have always been under impression gents wear two. One in the breast pocket of a jacket and the other inside. One for decorative and the other for hygiene purposes. But it appears that some gents roll with only one; the one in the breast pocket used for decorative purposes and then they also use it for hygiene purposes. I don't understand this. Isn't that like using your face cloth to wash your buttocks? I started thinking about this issue when I got wind of the fact that some gents use the same pocket square they use as a decoration also for hygiene purposes. To me this is totally wrong and inappropriate because a decoration should never be soiled or spoiled in any way. So, to answer my question, I always wear two, a pocket square and a handkerchief. Let me use some handkerchiefs and pocket squares I have in collection for illustrative purposes.
These are three pocket squares/ handkerchiefs I use for different purposes, and never make the mistake of using them for two functions at the same time. The one on the top left with pin dots is exclusively for decorative purposes. It is made of polyester, so you can imagine how that would feel to my nose if I were to use it for wiping. It also looks too lovely to be used as such. In my opinion, I really think that the pin dot pocket square was not intended to be a handkerchief and that if it were used as such it would be totally wrong. Let's take a silk pocket square for example, would you use it to blow your nose, wipe sweat or clean dirty, soiled little hands? It wouldn't even feel right to the touch. The one on the right is a cotton handkerchief, less decorative and I use it solely for hygiene. And it has been used in a multitude of ways, blowing my nose, wiping sweat, cleaning hands of food or gravy, placing it on dirty surfaces as a buffer, wiping my hands after using a public restroom, etc; I have used it for a myriad things and I continue to do so. I have never attempted to use it as a pocket square in my breast pocket simply because it is not pleasing to the eye and its bulk also negates this. The bottom one is a new acquisition which is a handkerchief meant for hygiene first, however, I have decided to use it for decorative purposes because it is aesthetically pleasing and the bold fuchsia check just begs to be showed off in a breast pocket as opposed to being banished to the inside pocket of a jacket. It is made of fine cotton and this would make it user friendly for hygiene, however, I have decided against that. I find that it serves a better function as a breast pocket decoration than something to wipe off things. So my definition of a pocket square is a piece of cloth intended for decorative purposes placed in the breast pocket of a jacket. A handkerchief is a piece of cloth used for hygiene or personal purposes and is usually placed in the inside pocket of a jacket or away from full view.
Can a handkerchief be used for decorative and hygiene purposes? Of course yes! The decision is up to you. Ultimately, what I'm saying is, don't use either one for two functions at the same time, it's just not a good look.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.