A handkerchief, also called a handkercher or hanky, is a form of a kerchief, typically a hemmed square of thin fabric that can be carried in the pocket or purse, and which is intended for personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one's hands or face, or blowing one's nose. A handkerchief is also sometimes used as a purely decorative accessory in a suit pocket.
The material of a handkerchief can be symbolic of the social-economic class of the user, not only because some materials are more expensive, but because some materials are more absorbent and practical for those who use a handkerchief for more than style. Handkerchiefs can be made of cotton, cotton-synthetic blend, synthetic fabric, silk, or linen.
When used as an accessory to a suit, a handkerchief is known as a pocket square. There are a wide variety of ways to fold a pocket square, ranging from the austere to the flamboyant: Folding styles Men in Suits with hankerchiefsThe Presidential, perhaps the simplest, is folded at right angles to fit in the pocket. The TV Fold looks similar but is folded diagonally with the point inside the pocket. The One-point Fold is folded diagonally with the point showing. The Two-point Fold is folded off-center so the two points do not completely overlap. The Three-point Fold is first folded into a triangle, then the corners are folded up and across to make three points. The Four-point Fold is an off-center version of the Three-point Fold. The Cagney is basically a backwards version of the Four-point Fold. The Puff or the Cooper is simply shaped into a round puff. The Reverse Puff is like the Puff, except with the puff inside and the points out, like petals. The Astaire is a puff with a point on either side. The Straight Shell is pleated and then folded over to give the appearance of nested shells. The Diagonal Shell is pleated diagonally and then folded.
HOW TO WEAR A POCKET SQUARE in "Pochette-Square"
There are about a million ways to wear a pocket square. There are very less ways to be elegant wearing a pocket square. Pocket squares are worn by young hipsters, middle age actors, old school dandies, fashion’s and details’ lovers, politicians, classy executives, my grand-dad, you and me. And that makes as many possibilities on how to wear the tiny piece of fabric.
As far as tastes are involved, I would say it is down to you to choose the colour, the pattern, the fold, and clothes you’re going to wear your square with. It can depend on your mood, the occasion, your style, and many other aspects. However I can give you some recommendations on how to wear a pocket square and how NOT to wear a pocket squares.
DO’S AND DON’TS: 1. DO wear a pocket square every time you wear a jacket. 2. DO NOT wear a tie every time you wear a pocket square. 3. DO NOT MATCH YOUR POCKET SQUARE WITH YOUR TIE. Unless you wish to look like a porter or a caretaker. Not that I have anything against those occupations, only the guys who design their uniforms… If you really want to do it, use a subtle colour of your square, matching a subtle colour of your tie, as on the picture above. 4. DO have several fabrics on your collection of pocket squares, such as cotton, linen and silk. It allows you to bring different effects depending on the fabric of your jacket, your tie or bow tie. 5. DO match your pocket square with your shirt, your shoes, your socks, your belt, your hat, your gloves or your trousers, not all at once though… 6. DO wear your pocket square with confidence. Or else leave it in your wardrobe. 7. DO NOT wear too complex folds, it looks like you are trying too much. Master 2 or 3 folds, the rest is for bored people. 8. DO NOT follow these rules word for word. Be creative and always remember, simple is best.
If you are not confident with the mix of colours or fabrics, go for a cotton or linen white handkerchief, flat fold it. You cannot be wrong with that one.