Sometimes, just occasionally, I change my mind. While the didactic style of some of these postings might suggest a singleness of purpose, an almost obstinate point of view, I am open to the possibility of evolution. The stuffing of a handkerchief is one such occasion.

In one of my earliest posts on this blog, Tips on Stuffing, I outlined the three most popular ways to arrange a silk handkerchief: pulling the centre to the bottom of the pocket, thus exposing the points; vice versa, exposing the puff; and combining the two by folding the handkerchief in half, displaying both the centre and points.

I used to be a puff person. Exposing the points seemed a little affected except on a special occasion (my wedding, for example, though that was a linen handkerchief). And the folded, combination option does not leave anything at the bottom of the pocket and therefore tends to slip down during the day.

The puff was practical by comparison and a little more understated. However, it had a number of weaknesses, chief amongst which was that differently sized hankies would puff at different heights out of the pocket. The tips could be folded down inside the pocket in order to adjust the height, but that rather defeats the simplicity of the technique and could take a few attempts to get just right.

Instead I revert to what I have christened the Lazy Fold. Stuff one corner of the handkerchief into the pocket until you feel it touch the bottom. Then fold over the rest and stuff it behind, leaving as much silk exposed as you desire.

It’s easy but surprisingly effective. Height is easier to adjust, it’s quick and it never has to be done more than once. What’s more, the fold you create above the pocket is slightly different every time, creasing in a different place. This creates a more casual, less studied look. (Something you want to strive to do with a handkerchief as it will look, to most, rather studied already.)

As a footnote, I also find that if I want to highlight the border pattern of the handkerchief a fold is better than a stuff. This is in direct contrast with my previous posting, which advocated exposing the tips to achieve this effect, and relegated folding to cotton or woollen handkerchiefs.

That is the traditional approach. But in this case I believe I was (whisper it) wrong. It is very hard to display the points of a silk handkerchief without it appearing affected, at least in a business setting – which is where I would be wearing mine almost exclusively.

Try a normal TV Fold instead, with the edges uppermost; it is more subtle. I consider myself evolved.

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asdrubal76

Simon, what’s the best material for a handkerchief if you want to wear it (in a TV fold) with a dark grey wool suit? Cotton or linen?

initials CG

What’s damaging about the “pochette” pocket square is that once you get the hang of it (not necessarily mastery)you feel rather incomplete without one. You’re absolutely correct in mentioning that it must look as if you gave it no thought whatsoever.

Great suggestion!

Anonymous

Why not linen?

Anonymous

By folded neatly, what exactly do you mean? Isn’t the TV fold a neat fold? In your introductory post for the style guide, what kind of handkerchief is Mats Klingberg wearing? Cotton?

Anonymous

So, could you tell me if I’m correct: presidential fold=cotton; lazy fold=silk or linen; stuffed square=cotton as well or linen? Thank you!

Anonymous

But didn’t you say that linen was too stiff for the presidential fold (which, as far as I know, is the same as the TV fold)?

And if I understand your description correctly, isn’t the lazy fold in the end just another type of puff?

It’s not always obvious without images. Thanks for the clarifications.

Nathan

Simon,
Sorry, I must be a little slow, but I didn’t quite get the lazy fold, could you expand on it a little ? When you say “then fold over the rest and stuff it behind”, fold over how ? Having the three other ends rejoin the one you already stuffed, The final result exposing only the center ? I always wear a square, mostly silk since I wear lots of tweed and I like the contrast, but I’m still looking for the right way to fold it.
Nathan

Nathan

You mean you favor cotton handkerchiefs over silk squares ? Or is there a difference I’m not aware of between silk squares and silk handkerchierfs ? Sorry but English is not my native language 🙁

Well thank you for all the explanations anyway (but you’re right a video would still be a great addition to this post).

Oh and I happen to just have gotten the Drakes Unicorn square you show in your last post as a christmas present and am already quite fond of it.

Nathan

Now I got it ! It was indeed a miscommunication on MY part. To me, a square was synonymous with handkerchief ! I didn’t know it was implying the way you wear it. And I totally concur with you on not folding silk handkerchiefs.
I usually wear them the way Michael Alden wears them (http://dresswithstyle.com/2010/01/02/mens-style-have-a-handkerchief-always-handy/), but they do indeed tend to slip down after a few hours.
Well, thank you very much for your patience and you time.

Charles

When i was 5 mum put a hanky in my coat pocket when we went anywhere always white with 1 or 2 points