Along with the passing of history, men’s fashion has not changed as much for example as women’s. Certain iconic elements have held their position in the more formal wear, for example, the necktie and the handkerchief. A new generation has entered the workforce and along with it, the popular game and technology industry with its start-up culture has changed the men’s workwear more permissive. Button-ups have changed into a hoodie worn along a t-shirt sporting the company logo, and slacks get to stay in the closet instead of jeans. In certain professions, a strict dress code has been held for several centuries, and while it still seems to last, in passing decades there has been an undercurrent of change. A well-fitting suit is worn to project strength, influence, success, and a high degree of professionalism.
What we wear always tells something about our values and our attitude towards life. For example, banking and legal professions still enforce a dress code. Workwear for women consists of a blazer dress and for men a dark suit. In Finland, we are very permissive and relaxed concerning clothing, for example, in some other countries it would be impossible for a realtor to wear a hoodie in a showing.
When I was younger and taking part in our school’s graduation ceremony, I remember every boy wearing a necktie with a haphazard knot. Perhaps that already was a clue why a handkerchief has risen to a more popular accessory in men’s wear. On the street, you can still see the older generation favor neckties and younger men preferring the handkerchief. There are tens, if not hundreds of, ways to fold a handkerchief, but no official one exists.
A handkerchief pocket square or handkerchief is an accessory for a suit or a blazer, which decorates the suit’s chest pocket. The handkerchief is often made from high-quality silk, cotton, linen, Kashmir, lace, or woolen tweed. Certainly, you can see handkerchiefs made from leather, feathers, and from whatever up to recycled plastic. Handkerchiefs have created a great business, as men are now more often conscious of fashion also here in Finland, and a handkerchief is replaced readily according to a suit’s style and the texture of a blazer.
Originally in the 17th century, the handkerchief hadnät found its place in the breast pocket but was held in the hand as a tissue. The original purpose of a handkerchief was to function as tissue and thus it wasn’t seen proper to exhibit it to others on your chest. The dirty handkerchief was stuffed in your pant’s pocket after you had wiped your nose with it. When the first handkerchief factory commenced its operations, did the handkerchief start to evolve to just an accessory.
As long as men’s suits have been tailored, the chest pocket had a single purpose of storing the handkerchief. Even though the original purpose of the handkerchief was something completely different from today’s, the chest pocket was seen as a necessity. Almost all men’s suit jackets and blazers, to the most elegant woolen jackets, are today made with an included breast pocket where a decorative and color bringing handkerchief can be placed. A handkerchief is an excellent accessory to bring color and contrast to an otherwise grey or dark suit. The pocket square lightens the mood, but certain color combinations bring dignity to a well-styled ensemble. In the end, a man only needs a well-fitted made-to-fit suit, a white dress shirt, and a color bringing handkerchief!
In stores, you can find tie-handkerchief packages, where both are of the same color or print. You can buy one of these, but worn together they only create a distasteful faux pas. The shade of the handkerchief can be used to bring out the ensemble’s choice of shirt, jacket tie, or shoes. A suit jacket alone is just too drab and boring.
Tie or necktie. This long fellow has many names and it hangs around a dress shirt. As with the handkerchief, the necktie has a long history in men’s wear. Neckties are made from several different materials as are handkerchiefs. Only the creativity of the fashion designer is the limit. Placing the tie around the collar so, that it looks good with the dress shirt is an artform learned by doing. Although I spent a long while in a certain department store’s fashion department, I noticed that tying a tie was still a great mystery for men. With ties, there are wider and narrower, slim patterns. I prefer to recommend the slim form for most of my clients. It makes the client look slimmer and even taller. The wide form is somehow dated and heavy.
The reason why the handkerchief has become more popular than the tie is the ease of it. Everyone can place a handkerchief in their chest pocket and it’s quick to change. A handkerchief makes it possible to open up the topmost buttons of the dress shirt and the look becomes instantly more casual. Most handkerchiefs are also more economical than ties and thus you can fill your closet with them.
A handkerchief is a fresh and modern way to bring something personal and unique to your style, so I do recommend coming to get a handkerchief from DANDY HELSINKI as we certainly carry handkerchiefs for all and any man’s style.