The gentleman’s tryst with handkerchiefs and pocket squares is as old as fashion itself. This square piece of fine fabric has had a fairly fascinating journey of its own. The oldest written record of the English term "handkerchief" is from 1530, although it may have been used in conversation hundreds of years earlier. In Old French couvrechief was derived from covrir, meaning ‘to cover’ and chief meaning ‘head’. It was sometime between 1200 and 1500 that the modern term of handkerchief, as we understand it today, came into use in England. Wealthy Egyptians started carrying the first true pocket square as early as 2000 BCE. Some of them dyed fabric with a red powder and used it as a symbol of power. The wealthy citizens of ancient Greece used perfumed cotton handkerchiefs to have a fragrant aura around them at all times. With the Catholic Church’s prejudice to white, the middle ages saw a white handkerchief tied on the left arm as a symbol of affiliation to God. King Richard the Second is said to be instrumental in popularizing handkerchiefs in England around 1390. The Tudors, however, maybe credited for embellishing the fabric and using silk as a symbol of wealth. Exquisitely hand-embroidered ones from Italy were a popular gift to the royalty. But it was not until the 19th century that handkerchief as a utility item stepped aside to make room for the aesthetic impeccability of the modern man’s pocket square. When the two-piece suit galloped into fashion, so did a need to have a decorative piece in the breast-pocket that complemented the attire, without taking away from elegance in any way. For the gentlemen of today, pocket squares have unraveled a world of colours and folds that help him in adding a personalised flair to his suits. From the basic one point pocket fold to the elegant winged puff fold, from cotton and linen to silk and satin, there are choices aplenty for every need and occasion. The pocket square, with its rich history, continues to be an article of finesse and a symbol of good taste for discerning gentlemen.

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