Posted by Adam York

Who Invented The Pocket Square

Who Invented The Pocket Square?

There are many items in our society which we just take for granted, never even taking time to consider where it originated. The pocket square is one such product which falls into this category. We simply pick one up from the collection, fold it to the desired shape and slip it inside the chest pocket of our blazer without giving a second thought to its backstory. I think it is time to take a look into its history and find out where this fashionable accessory came from.

Due to the passing of time and the inconsistencies in regards to how facts were recorded, many details are quite vague and sometimes a substantial amount of guesswork is involved, so unfortunately much of the following information cannot be guaranteed. However, they are still fascinating insights which can be shared or discussed around the dining table! 

Many historians credit Richard II from England with the invention of the pocket square, during his reign from 1367 - 1400. This quote explains its use perfectly "as a little piece of cloth for the Lord King to wipe and clean his nose". In the years following, many of the so called upper classes opted to use a handkerchief as a fashion accessory, but more importantly many were scented as a means to help block their noses from the smells of the streets inhabited by the general public. Throughout this time, these cloths began appearing in many different shapes and sizes and were crafted out of various unconventional materials such as silk. They were increasingly weaved with more beautiful and exotic designs, usually to distinguish the owners status and wealth.

Fast forward to the 16th Century and moving across Europe to Italy, where they were responsible for creating some of the most beautiful pieces made out of lace with some truly intricate designs and patterns. These were then imported to England where they were deemed so important, they were rarely discarded and in fact passed down from generation to generation. This trend became so popular within the top hierarchy that it continued through to the Tudor era, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were rumoured to have be given handkerchiefs as presents. This then became commonplace and Royalty was regularly receiving them as gifts.

Once we reached the 19th century, fashion had once again changed and the mens two piece suit was the next big thing. The majority of the male population would own at least one suit. This led to the observation that storing your clean handkerchief amongst your coins and other items in your trouser pockets was quite unsatisfactory. It wasn't long before the fashionistas of the day to transfer the item wot the top left breast pocket, safely out of harms way! Continuing into the 20th century where the pocket square garnered even more popularity, more so as a fashion accessory than as a a practical item. This was largely due to the prevalence of the disposable tissues, less and less people were spoiling their beautiful pocket squares by actual using them. Its popularity reached its peak during the 40's and the 50's thanks to many Hollywood movie legends opting to wear a pocket square with their suits, either on the silver screen or just during their everyday lives. Of course, over the next few decades the popularity of the classic style began to decline. Suits were usually restricted to office wear or special formal occasions, as such the pocket square was almost forgotten.

However, in recent times, there has been a massive resurgence in gentlemen fashions and especially the dapper gent style or Italian style suits, which of course has given the pocket square trend a new lease of life! Fashionable men of today will always add this accessory to their ensemble to give that extra touch of elegance to their outfit! Take a look at our stock of ties sets (which include a matching pocket square) to find one which will match your Cavani suit!

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