Handkerchief vs Pocket Square: Difference and Comparison

There are objects which have different uses as if they are used as an accessory or in everyday life. Many things appear and sound similar, yet their usage and purpose are different.

Handkerchiefs and pocket squares are two examples of comparable items. Both appear to be the same, yet they are not.

Key Takeaways

  1. Handkerchiefs are functional pieces of cloth used for personal hygiene, while pocket squares are decorative accessories for men’s suits.
  2. Handkerchiefs are made of cotton or linen, while pocket squares can be made from silk, linen, or synthetic fabrics.
  3. Handkerchiefs are larger and more absorbent, while pocket squares are smaller and intended for aesthetic purposes only.

Handkerchief vs Pocket Square

A handkerchief is a small square of fabric. It is used for personal hygiene or wiping away sweat. Handkerchiefs are made of cotton or linen and are kept in a pocket or purse. A pocket square is a term used to describe a decorative accessory worn in the breast pocket of a suit jacket.

Handkerchief Vs Pocket Square

A handkerchief is a small piece of cotton material used to cover your face. Other varieties of handkerchiefs, including such flannel, are also available.

A hanky is a small piece of fabric that is used to replace paper tissues and is designed for everyday use. It’s comprised of a single layer of fabric, but it can come in extra-large sizes and even be doubled for added absorbency.

A pocket square looks a lot like a handkerchief, but it’s rather thin to keep it flexible and easy to fold into wonderful, eye-catching pocket square creases.

It comes in a variety of textiles, including cotton, linen, and silk, which is the most popular. The pocket square is tucked into the suit pocket and is always visible.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHandkerchiefPocket Square
UseThe handkerchief is supposed to be utilized and should be kept in the pocket.The pocket square is merely decorative.
MaterialCotton is used to make the bulk of handkerchiefs. Linen and cotton handkerchiefs absorb more liquid.Because pocket squares are rarely used, they can be constructed of more delicate fabrics, such as silk.
SizeBecause handkerchiefs are meant to be utilized, they are much larger.The bulk of pocket squares is small, making them easy to slip into the garment’s breast pocket.
ThicknessHandkerchiefs are relatively thick since they are used for a variety of purposes and must absorb moisture.Pocket squares are thin to fit into a jacket pocket without appearing clumsy.
PlacementA handkerchief isn’t for the jacket’s breast pocket since it creases after being pulled out and put back in.Pocket squares are produced for the jacket’s breast pocket only and are meant to look fancy.

What Is Handkerchief?

A handkerchief is a folded piece of thin cloth that can be kept in one’s pocket or purse for personal grooming needs washing one’s hands or face, or blowing one’s nose, for example.

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A handkerchief is frequently referred to as a pocket square when seen as a basic decorative addition in a suit pocket.

Handkerchiefs are indeed utilised in a number of folk performances around the globe, including the Balkans and the Mideast; one such traditional dance is Kalamatianos.

Not just because some fabrics seem to be more pricey, but because other fabrics are, the material of a handkerchief can indeed be reflective of the person’s socio-economic class, as it is significantly more porous and useful for people that use it for over style.

Linen, cotton-synthetic mixtures, synthetic material, silk, and cotton can all be used to make handkerchiefs.

When a bag or basket is not available, handkerchiefs can also be utilized to transport little objects on the go. These can also be used rather than a cloth to treat a minor injury.

For many individuals, placing a handkerchief with tied edges on one’s brow just at beach has become a seaside picture cliche. Handkerchiefs are indeed a common sight in certain types of English traditional dances, like the Morris dance.


What Is Pocket Square?

Men’s jackets’ shirt pockets have historically held handkerchiefs in addition to being carried for practical purposes. They are known as a pocket piece of cloth or pocket square when worn in this manner.

Unlike hankies, the hem of a conventional pocket square is rolled.

Pocket squares became popular as a fashion statement in the 1920s and remained popular up to the 1960’s Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, and Gary Cooper are some of the most well-known actors in Hollywood donned it all the time during that period.

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The pocket square fell out of favor till the late 2000s, when it was reintroduced due to popular television dramas like Mad Men.

Materials including silk, cotton, linen, and wool are commonly used to make pocket squares. There is a multitude of ways to arrange a pocket square as a visible fashion piece, spanning from the austere to the colorful.

Many design authorities don’t suggest sporting a pocket square that matches (but isn’t identical) and tie for marriages, proms, or other formal occasions, as it looks artificial, pulls focus away from the user’s face, and exhibits aesthetic inexperience.

Instead, a match to make the two objects harmony without clashing, use a secondary colour in the necktie’s design and a subsidiary colour in the pocket square’s design.

pocket square

Main Differences Between Handkerchief and Pocket Square

  1. The handkerchief should be used and maintained in the pocket, whereas the pocket square is purely cosmetic.
  2. Handkerchiefs are much larger than pocket squares since they are meant to be used, whereas pocket squares have a modest bulk, making them easier to slide into the garment’s breast pocket.
  3. Cotton is the most common material used to produce handkerchiefs. Handkerchiefs made of linen and cotton absorb more liquid, but pocket squares made of more delicate fabrics like silk absorb less.
  4. Handkerchiefs are thick since they have multiple functions and must absorb water, whereas pocket squares are narrow to fit into a jacket pocket without looking awkward.
  5. A handkerchief isn’t appropriate for a jacket’s breast pocket since it wrinkles after being pulled out and reinserted, but pocket squares are designed specifically for the jacket’s breast pocket and are meant to look fancy.
Difference Between Handkerchief and Pocket Square
  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44371627
  2. https://search.proquest.com/openview/4476b62ee64c66fb/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2599

Last Updated : 15 July, 2023

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