Pocket Squares: The Elegant History and Modern Versatility
Soho Scarves is dedicated to offering a diverse range of pocket squares crafted from the finest materials, ensuring that every gentleman can find the perfect piece to express his own sense of style and sophistication. With that in mind, we present a comprehensive overview of the history and function of the pocket square. By understanding the key differences between pocket squares and handkerchiefs, the diverse pattens and colours available as well as the unique merits of silk, wool, and polyester pocket squares, hopefully you can make informed decisions when selecting the perfect pocket accessory.
- The Rich History of Pocket Squares
- Pocket Square vs. Handkerchief: The Key Differences
- The Merits and Differences of Silk, Wool, and Polyester Pocket Squares
- Pocket Squares at SOHO Scarves
A selection of the bestselling pocket squares from Soho Scarves
1. The Rich History of Pocket Squares
Soho Scarves is dedicated to offering a diverse range of pocket squares crafted from the finest materials, ensuring that every gentleman can find the perfect piece to express his own sense of style and sophistication. With that in mind, we present a comprehensive overview of the history and function of the pocket square. By understanding the key differences between pocket squares and handkerchiefs, the diverse pattens and colours available as well as the unique merits of silk, wool, and polyester pocket squares, hopefully you can can make informed decisions when selecting the perfect pocket accessory.
The Middle Ages and Renaissance
The concept of the pocket square evolved in Europe during the Middle Ages. Royalty and aristocrats donned elaborately embroidered handkerchiefs, often adorned with lace and monograms. As the Renaissance period began, this trend spread to the emerging middle class, who began incorporating pocket squares into their attire as a status symbol. During the reign of King Louis XIV of France, pocket squares reached their height of popularity among the elite. The Sun King himself possessed hundreds of pocket squares, each exquisitely crafted from the finest fabrics.
The 18th and 19th Centuries
As Europe transitioned from the Baroque period to the more restrained Neoclassical era, the pocket square continued to evolve. The 18th century saw the rise of the 'steinkirk,' a cravat with its ends stylishly tucked into a buttonhole, often accompanied by a pocket square. The 19th century was marked by the Industrial Revolution, which made mass production of textiles possible, allowing the pocket square to become accessible to a wider audience. The Victorian era witnessed the popularization of the classic white pocket square, which became a staple for formal wear.
The 20th Century and Beyond
The pocket square continued to be an indispensable accessory throughout the 20th century, particularly during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Fashion icons like Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, and Humphrey Bogart regularly donned pocket squares, reinforcing their status as symbols of class and sophistication.
In recent years, the pocket square has experienced a renaissance, with modern gentlemen embracing this timeless accessory to elevate their attire. Pocket squares have become more aspirational, often made with luxurious fabrics and increasingly flamboyant prints, finished with hand rolled hems and worn solely for aesthetic purposes. Innovations in technology allowed manufacturers to experiment with patterns and colours beyond traditional designs to make it a mainstay feature in the top pocket of gentlemen's suits. Different folding techniques have also become prevalent.
2. Pocket Square vs. Handkerchief: The Key Differences
The terms 'pocket square' and 'handkerchief' are often used interchangeably, but they serve distinct purposes. A pocket square is a decorative accessory worn in the breast pocket of a suit or blazer, adding a touch of elegance and refinement to one's ensemble. The French term 'pochette' refers specifically to the pocket square, highlighting its roots in European fashion. Conversely, a handkerchief is a functional cloth primarily used for personal hygiene, such as wiping one's nose or brow. While pocket squares are made from luxurious materials and showcase intricate designs, handkerchiefs are typically plainer and crafted from more absorbent fabrics.
3. The Merits and Differences of Silk, Wool, and Polyester Pocket Squares
Pocket squares are available in various materials, each offering its own unique characteristics and advantages.
Silk pocket squares are renowned for their lustrous sheen and luxurious feel. This natural fibre is lightweight and drapes effortlessly, making it the ideal choice for creating intricate folds and elegant presentations. Silk pocket squares are often adorned with exquisite patterns, making them the perfect accessory for formal occasions and black-tie events. However, they can be more delicate and require special care when handling and cleaning.
Wool pocket squares offer a more textured and robust appearance, making them well-suited for casual events. The natural weight of wool lend themselves to simpler folds, while the fabric's matte finish provides a sophisticated, understated aesthetic. Wool pocket squares are often seen in solid colours or subtle patterns, complementing tweed or heavier fabrics typically worn during autumn and winter.
Polyester pocket squares, on the other hand, provide an affordable and versatile option. As a synthetic fabric, polyester is more durable and resistant to wrinkles, making it a lower-maintenance option. While it may not possess the same luxurious feel as silk or the natural warmth of wool, polyester pocket squares still offers a polished appearance.
4. Pocket Squares at SOHO Scarves
Broadly speaking, SOHO Scarves offer three pocket square design categories: the repeat pattern, the block colour and the art print. Repeat pattern designs represent the majority of our pocket squares and comprise mostly of polka dot, paisley, floral and fleur-de-lis styles.
A single art print design can span the pocket square canvas and is usually designed in collaboration with established or up-and-coming artists. These are manufactured in limited runs so are not always available.
We currently offer pocket squares in three fabrics: silk, wool and polyester. Our silk pocket squares are made from beautifully tactile 100% silk twill with a fabric grade of 5A. In other words, the squares are weighted perfectly for your top pocket – not too flimsy, not too bulky, and with an almost perfect colour-pattern retention. Our 100% pure wool pocket squares offer an alternative, rustic elegance yet offer a softness only surpassed by cashmere. Availability of our polyester pocket squares is limited to just a few items.