Handkerchiefs were initially designed for the simple t propose of personal hygiene, its primary purpose was to allow its carrier to mop their brow. We understand this because it comes from the Old French word couvrechief, which translates directly to cover your head. For want of a better word it was a type of bandanna, this was usually a square thin piece of fabric. A handkerchief is such a piece of fabric. These can be kept in your pocket or handbag, these were usually intended to be used for personal hygiene, it can be used for blowing your nose, wiping your hands and your face.


As well as being used for practical purposes, mens hankies in Australia have long been used for a fashion statement. To add some color to the chest pocket of men’s suit jacket. These were also known as pocket squares, these will traditionally have a rolled hem, unlike a standard handkerchief.


This trend started in the 1920’s, and remained popular until the 1960s. The silver screen increased its popularity as the likes of Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant were seen to wear them on a regular basis. The recent popularity of the TV shows like Mad Men has led to a mini resurgence in the popularity of the pocket square. Because handkerchiefs are designed to be washed and reused on a regular basis, they are usually made from cheap cotton, they are purely meant to be usable, not fashionable. Pocket squares, on the other hand, are meant to make a statement, They can be made from, cotton, wool, linen and even silk. It is not uncommon to buy matching neck-tie and pocket square to match each other. Before you turn your nose up at the box of old hankies your gran left you as just a box of disgusting germ collectors, be aware that certain collectors will pay you up to $50 for certain types of hankie


Ruby Rich