A History of Pocket Squares


It’s impossible to look at the history of pocket squares without considering the lineage of it’s more practical cousin, the handkerchief.

Though handkerchiefs have been used throughout history, they really gained a foothold in Europe in the 1400s. Despite their utilitarian beginnings, once the upper classes started showing an interest in them, handkerchiefs underwent something of a renaissance. They began to be made out of luxury fabrics such as silk and often featured ornate decoration such as embroidery and lace edging. 

When the two piece suit became the norm in the 19th century, gentlemen began putting their handkerchiefs in their jacket breast pocket to keep them separate from the rest of the contents of their pockets. 

By the start of the 20th century, this practice was so well established that different styles of folding these handkerchiefs started to come in and out of fashion, and thus the pocket square was born!

By the 1920s, a pocket square was a must-have accessory for any discerning gentleman, and things stayed that way until the 1960s when Hollywood icons such as Fred Astaire and Cary Grant would rarely have been seen without one.

In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the pocket square fell rather out of favour. Luckily, the 21st century brought with it a vintage revival and the pocket square has very definitely been brought out of retirement.

If you’re looking to improve your pocket square game, we’ve got some excellent suggestions for you. Why not try the Three Stairs Fold, the Scallop Fold or the Winged Puff?

To really raise the bar on your pocket square, make sure you choose a high quality silk square with a traditional hand rolled hem, like this Amherst Violet Pocket Square (pictured above).