100 Years of Pocket Squares


Early 1900’s was the years of conventionality and formality. This trend surely influenced lifestyles and fashion. At those times, men wore suits for both formal occasions and daily-life. Wearing sack suits and frack coats was quite popular. Men always tried to be a gentleman and during this tasteful decade pocket squares were used extensively. It was a must especially for parties and special occasions. Vests and Edwardian ties were main element and they were always completed with a pocket square which are mostly cotton and silk. Suits were chosen as black or dark brown. Hence pocket squares were always white and plain. Another symbolic feature of 1910’s men fashion was the location of pocket squares. It was always on the left breast pocket. What a generous and noble look!



20’s was Hollywood’s golden age. Outfits of Hollywood actors had a great influence on fashion trends. Once actors like Gary Cooper started to use pocket squares as a fashion element, they became more visible and common among people. Brighter colors such as beige and cream were dominant for suits. Also, pocket squares started to be more colorful and patterned for the first time. Pocket squares which was mostly preferred as silk, was a way to express one self’s creativity. Using pocket square same color as your suit was also popular. Another remarkable change that affects usage of pocket squares was the invention of microbiology and antibiotics. Disposable handkerchiefs were manufactured. For the same reasons, pocket squares were now being used only as a fashion element, not functional.



While Hollywood effect was still there, dominant suits colors were back to black and dark blue. Except this time, it was more in a stylish way. Men started to wear vests and shirts for casual wear while suits were preferred only for formal occasions. But once men wear suits, more colorful pocket squares were chosen. Bright and silk pocket squares were an essential element of black, brown and blue suits.  During this decade, muscular supermen body was the beauty standard for men. Therefore, big shoulder pads and large pocket squares were used. Men started to go for one-point fold, fluffy and big pocket squares. 30’s men fashion had a variety of colors depending on the seasons. Gold hats combined with gold pocket squares were a hit for 30’s summer fashion. 



Because of World War II, early 40’s were years of poverty. In order to reduce fabric utilization, government controlled the suits. Slave lengths got shortersuits got slimmer and shoulder pats was displaced. However, big pocket squares remained their popularity. Uniforms were accepted as suits. Men also wore uniform-like suits. Black and navy blue was dominant colors for suits and pocket squares. After 1945, men wanted to get rid of war influence and zoot suits became popular. They also started to use pocket squares in which two or three tips faces outside. This folding pattern was quite popular.



This is the decade of color, velvet and casual wear. Suit trend dropped since they were only for the office. For daily casual outfits, men started to wear knee-length shorts and long socks. Blazers with flat pockets were also trendy and jackets were chosen as dark red, hunter green and patterned. Patterned vests were a must in the suits. With all this pattern and unique colors, pocket squares were always chosen white. White pocket squares gave the impression of comfy but classy look. With the change in men fashion understanding, pocket squares were used even with blazer jackets.  


In 60’s skinny pants and checked pastel blazers were a hit! Also, blue pants and white shoes started to become a trend. 60’s was the years of school proms. It was quite important for all schoolboys and everyone was well prepared. Generally, black tuxedo jackets and black tow tie was combined with a stylish pocket square. Actually, preference of designed pocket squares was an indicator of classy look. Besides prom nights, colored but not patterned pocket squares were chosen by men. During these years, hippie lifestyle also had impact on men wear. Pocket squares were also used as cravats  or kerchief during late 60s. This was a unique way to combine casual and classy wear.


We are here in the years where masculinity was gone. 70’s were the years of pink, purple and red. Disco culture and John Travolta effect changed even the formal wear of men. Wide length trousers and flash colored shirts were used extensively. Pocket squares were matched with that brave colored shirts. Everything was all about music, art, fun and style. Little unique details such as pocket squares were a way to express the 70s spirit even in a formal occasionSince shirt collars were massive, pocket squares were relatively smaller. Putting flower to the breast pocket was very popular during 70’s. Accordingly, rose folded pocket squares are seen in 70’s suits. While usage of pocket squares as scarfs was still a trend, examples of pocket squares attached to belts are known.  


These years were the years of neon colors and denim for the casual wear. For formal wear, oversized suits with large shoulder pats were quite popular. Dominant suit colors were light blue, brown and grey. Ties and pocket squares were chosen as bright and gold color. Men tried to wear t-shirts in the suits and combine it with a pocket square as well. This was no doubt the effect of TV series like Miami Vice and CheersAlso, uniquely designed pocket squares are seen. Especially neon pink and tones of blue was used a lot for pocket squares. 


While denim trend was still on, oversized suits were also a hit during 90’s. However, mostly used colors were brown, grey and denim.  All suits elements were plain and matt. Although shiny silk pocket squares were quite popular, they were not as neon as 80’s. Blazers with colorful pocket squares were combined with jeans an even with leather jackets for casual wear. It was also a hot number to combine a formal jacket with a pocket square and a high-waist mom jean. Cotton pocket squares were also used as bandanas which is the symbol of 90’s for sure! 


During this decade, slim fit suits were back! There was no oversized suits and shoulder pats anymore. By many, it is said that formal men wear returned what it deserved during 2000’s. Black suits with white shirt, black tie and a white pocket square was well accepted. Another common usage was to combine pocket squares with the tie. This trend is seen as a mistake today, but during early 2000’s, matching tie and pocket squares was a hit! For ties and pocket squares, bright and brave colors were chosen such as pink, light blue and mustard. Pocket squares were silk most of the time which added another brightness to those brave colors.


Slim fit suits and shorter jackets remained their popularity in 2010’s too. Today’s suits’ dominant colors are black, dark blue and tones of grey. Patterned and colorful ties are used but pocket squares are not chosen as same as tie pattern or color. If you use a patterned tie, you can pick color from the pattern and use it for your pocket square. Plain but colorful ties match with patterned but coherent pocket squares. Sometimes, pocket squares have no matching color at all! Nowadays, pocket squares are the representation of elegance, elaboration and gentleman likeness. They are indispensable element for wedding, parties, business meetings and job interviews. Who knows what 2020’s will bring to pocket square fashion but it is certain that, they will be the symbol of classiness.