Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pandora's Box: The Handkerchief

Today I want to pry the lid of Pandora's box open just to discuss the wonders of a forgotten art; the accessory. In these times people are more focussed on the main articles of clothing, paying little or no attention to the smaller pieces that bring the whole look together. I'm going to discuss one accessory in particular today: the handkerchief.
The handkerchief is an article of clothing that has been around for some years but has evolved over time to adjust to the changes in society. A handkerchief is a thin sheet of fabric hemmed into a square. The material can range from cotton to silk and anywhere in between. Originally cotton handkerchief's were dominant because the original use was to wipe sweat from the face or to blow/ wipe the snot from one's nose. The cotton material proved to be resilient and absorbent. These cotton handkerchiefs were usually kept in the back pocket of the pants/ denim.
However over the years the purpose of the handkerchief shifted from that of use to that decoration or distinction. It began to pop up in the pockets of blazers and around necks as opposed to just being kept in the back pocket of pants. Also the material changed from predominantly cotton to more extravagant materials such as silk and silk blends. The better the material the higher the price of the handkerchief therefor they have become distinctions of wealthy people. Funny how a hemmed square cloth can go from a snot rag to a mark of distinction and style.
When worn in the pocket of a blazer it is referred to as a pocket scarf or a pocket square; not hard to see why. When worn correctly the pocket scarf can really bring a suit together and set the wearer apart from his pairs. There are many different ways you can wear a pocket scarf in a blazer. The most common way is to fold the scarf into a smaller square and just have an inch of the scarf protrude fitting the width of the actual pocket. However for someone with a more outspoken style you might care to try what I do. Grab the pocket scarf with no regard for form and stuff it in the pocket, then adjust until you are satisfied; works every time.
When work around the neck the pocket scarf can either be a great aide to your outfit (as seen above) or it can be a great distraction. Therefor you have to know what you are doing because the around the neck scarf is risky business. My best advice on that is to try different knots and see which one works best for you, keep adjusting until you feel comfortable with the look. Also consider your entire outfit and how the scarf changes the look. If after all of that you still feel comfortable then you should wear it.

1 comment:

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