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Pocket Squares vs Handkerchiefs

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Jerome, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. TheDarkKnight

    TheDarkKnight Senior member

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    one is for show, one is for blowing.

    If I'm not mistaken, the origins beyond an actual functional hankie was that the rich would spray their PS's with fragrance so it either slightly masked the foul smell in the streets, or they could even pull it out quickly and cover their mouth and nose with it to filter out the diseased air of the sick.
    Lastly, much like a tie, I had always thought it was a sort of "f-u" to everyone, as silk was expensive so a sign of wealth that one could simply have a long strip of it to hang around the neck or have decoratively sticking out the pocket (clearly not even for blowing one's nose, ie no purpose at all!)


    Yes I thought this also, particularly a white PS, as keeping clothes clean was an expensive business, so a white PS carried great kudos.
     
  2. Will

    Will Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    There is another distinction between squares and handkerchiefs.

    Some makers use the term square to describe undersized 12" square things that are useless for blowing and nearly useless for showing.

    Handkerchiefs on the other hand tend to 16-17" on a side and useable for either purpose.

    Stick with handkerchiefs.
     
  3. landshark

    landshark Senior member

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    I keep a white handkerchief in one of my inner chest pockets, and a pocket square in the breast pocket. I have used the handkerchief a few times practically, one instance in particular being to stop the blood from getting on my clothes from my nose after a fist fight. [​IMG]
     
  4. HandsomeBoyModelling

    HandsomeBoyModelling Member

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    Hanky = sophisticated. Pocket square = sissyfied. Just one man's opinion.
     
  5. epa

    epa Senior member

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    Isn't a pocket square a handkerchief stuck into the breast pocket of your jacket?
     
  6. Sam Hober

    Sam Hober Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Pocket Squares have had a fascinating history with many uses some practical and some just interesting...

    Here is a short article on their history that may be of interest.

    http://www.samhober.com/pocketsquare...arehistory.htm

    Now as a modern day practical matter we make pocket squares every day and we listen to opinions from many of the gentlemen who order from us.

    One thing that I have noticed is that are many views on the subject, ranging from those who love folding their pocket squares and need 15 plus inches to those who favor a 10 inch pocket square which just extends slightly above their jacket pockets.

    As many have observed handkerchiefs tend to be slightly larger and will be made of fabrics such as linen and cotton for practical reasons.

    Many gentlemen like the look of pocket squares with hand rolled edges which range from the elegant tightly rolled edge that is often seen in France to the more rustic edges which are less expensive to make and more common.

    The only problem with rolled edges is that they tend to not hold up to normal washing very well.

    So in summary a handkerchief tends to:

    1) Be larger than a pocket square

    2) Not have a rolled edge

    3) Use fabrics like cotton and linen and not silk


    Pocket squares will often use silk as it takes dyes very well and has a great look

    The diplomatic solution to this discussion is a White linen pocket square with a nicely done flat edge; (as opposed to a rolled edge) that is say 15 inches, and which can also be used as a handkerchief as it is easy to wash.

    We use Belgian linen for handkerchiefs but linen from the west of France is also of a very quality.

    Note, Italy and Ireland while famous for beautiful fabrics are not much involved in luxury linen yarn production these days, that is the domain of Western France and Belgium.
     
  7. francisl

    francisl Active Member

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    I've never been one to carry disposable tissues on me, even when I had colds I would always forget,. Plus up until recently I've been a student and so there's no room in your pocket for a pack of tissues, and if its in your bag by the time you've got it out either snot will be everywhere, or you'll have sneezed already.

    A hankerchief however, will easily fit in my pocket. I have a handkerchief in almost every pair of jeans and trousers I own, or enough for each (they aren't assigned pockets). most of the time they are for a just in case, in the summer they can be for wiping sweat from my brow, but if I have a cold at the time of course I will use it to blow my nose. Throw it in the wash when I get home, switch to another for the next day (and remember not to offer it to a woman during these times).

    You're just keeping your own germs on you, and on the Underground or anything, sneezing is going to get around the carriage no matter how you cover your face.
     
  8. MS007

    MS007 Senior member

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    I think they should be reserved for women crying or cleaning glasses. What if you run into a crying woman? What will you do then? Hand her a snot rag?

    This is gold [​IMG] . Do you mind if I put this in my sig?
     
  9. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    What about the man who offers his handkerchief to a crying woman;
    only he was the one that made her cry in the first place.
    Does this fall under Helsinki Handkerchief Syndrome?
     
  10. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    The only one i wear anymore is white linen folded in a TV fold. Pocket squares are just a bit too 'fancy' for me these days.

    I also use the flat edge so that it can be dispensed as a hanky if needed; To wipe the blood of an enemy after dueling.
     
  11. Cant kill da Rooster

    Cant kill da Rooster Senior member

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    This is gold [​IMG] . Do you mind if I put this in my sig?
    be my guest.

    Yes, he probably 1940's slapped her.
     
  12. Station

    Station Senior member

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    Stick with handkerchiefs.
    You have to stop doing that.

    Fact is, nice pocket squares are more readily available than nice handkerchiefs. Ergo, I use pocket squares more often.
     
  13. ajv

    ajv Senior member

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    I use pocket squares for their purpose, but i always have a white or blue handkerchief to offer to the ladies, if needed.
    When I have a cold, a handkerchief is neither practical, as it does not last long enough, nor hygienical; in that case I'll carry some paper tissues in my briefcase.

    Adrian
     
  14. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    I have heard it said, maybe in a book by Hardy Amies, that the idea of PSs is wrong and that only handkerchiefs ought to be put in ones breast pocket, meaning that one also should use them.
    Just remember ... Mr. Amies is the same man who predicted that by now we'd all be wearing five button (suit) coats.
     
  15. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    Just remember ... Mr. Amies is the same man who predicted that by now we'd all be wearing five button (suit) coats.

    Have you looked at Men's Warehouse's offerings lately?

    never understood the practice of taking out a handkerchief, blowing your snot into it, folding it back up, and putting it back into your pocket.

    One does it so you're not blowing it onto the back of your hand and wiping it on the nearest bit of upholstery.

    If you do it right, you never touch the snot again and it never touches anything but the inside of the handkerchief. And all of the germs you blow out are ones you already have kicking around in you, so the 'unsanitary' charge is a no go.
     
  16. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    Have you looked at Men's Warehouse's offerings lately?
    No, I haven't.
     
  17. Macallan9

    Macallan9 Senior member

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    Have you looked at Men's Warehouse's offerings lately?



    One does it so you're not blowing it onto the back of your hand and wiping it on the nearest bit of upholstery.

    If you do it right, you never touch the snot again and it never touches anything but the inside of the handkerchief. And all of the germs you blow out are ones you already have kicking around in you, so the 'unsanitary' charge is a no go.


    Are people really so far away from a bathroom that they need to resort to this? I cannot think of the last time I was wearing a suit and more than 3 minutes from a bathroom.
     

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