The pocket square has ancient origins that can be traced from ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. A white linen pocket square was used only by the wealthiest. During Middle Ages the pocket square was mainly made of silk and fragranced in order to block the bad smells on the streets. The inventor of the first real pocket square is considered to be King Richard II, who used the pocket square as a fashion accessory, therefore he wanted to use only large patterns. At the court of Louis XVI, in France, the pocket square is also a regular feature usually made from silk and featuring beautiful embroidery. Beyond its utilitarian trait, the handkerchief is already a fashion accessory that keeps evolving.
During the 19th Century with the rise of the two piece suit, men started wearing their pocket square in the breast pocket of their suit. Men would carry two handkerchiefs, one in their pocket that had the role of a tissue and another one in their jacket as a fashion garment.
The 20th Century sees the rise of the pocket square as a sign of elegance. The advancement of industrial production allows the creation of an array of colours and patterns. Famous Hollywood actors start wearing the pocket square such as Cary Grant, Gary Cooper and Frank Sinatra, this cements the pocket square as a fashion accessory.
A simple rule to wear a pocket square is that it should complement your shirt and tie, not match them while adding some flair to your look.
Colour combinations are essential to have the perfect outfit.
The main point of dressing well is to highlight your facial features, and the pocket square can be an elegant way to do so.
The pocket square’s role is to enhance and complement, not overpower.
Your pocket square should be a secondary colour from your shirt or tie. According to the rules of classic elegance a pocket square should not match your tie or bow tie. However, a growing number of gentlemen like to match their tie and pocket square.
On formal occasions wear your pocket square flat or two point folds. For casual occasions you can fold your pocket square in a more flamboyant way.
There are three classic options when it comes to the design of a pocket square, a block colour, a tie repeat design and a print.
Whatever pocket square you choose it will be the final piece to finish your look and complement your tie.