world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

One Handy Kerchief

  • Najib Benouar

The handkerchief was once a central part of any gentleman’s arsenal of personal effects—at the ready to mop a brow or console a distraught stranger. Or in the case of this new set of Wildwood Wisdom handkerchiefs from Barnaby Black: ready to assist you in starting a fire or finding your way out of the woods.

They’re all cotton and a bit more rough-and-tumble than your average pocket square—meaning you can stick one in your breast pocket for the same effect, but it works just as well tucked into the back pocket of your jeans. Consider these the utilitarian entry into our ongoing coverage of summer pocket squares.

Perfect for your next semiformal camping trip.

The Classic Handkerchief

The graphic handkerchief has had a bit of a comeback in recent years, thanks in no small part to Drake’s, but they’ve been filling the pockets of the dandied class for upwards of a century.

And it just so happens a batch of vintage Hermès handkerchiefs is arriving on the auction block this Friday (hat tip), the perfect chance to sample the old ways for yourself.

The vintage versions are more intricate than what you’d see in the modern day, with large-scale prints of military landscapes or equestrian scenes, but the effect when one’s stuffed into the front pocket of your blazer is just a blur of patterned color.

Think of it as a victory lap once you’ve mastered white linen.

Julia Stegner Is Suspicious of Anything Between Her and the Pool

Ride, Lara, Ride: Lara Stone takes a ride in an SL Roadster. Naturally, we are intrigued. [Selectism]

Our Powers Combine: The Ace Hotel teams up with Tokyo’s legendary Beams for a crop of handsome gear, including some of the best gloves we’ve seen all year. [T Magazine]

Gesundheit: A photoset proudly displaying the political handkerchiefs of the 19th century, in case you’ve ever wanted to blow your nose on a Whig. [Archival Clothing]

The World’s Largest Negroni Is Here: In New Orleans this summer, a group of well-dressed bartenders mixed together the largest Negroni on earth, equal to about 900 normal-sized cocktails. God bless America. [Vimeo]

The Casual Handkerchief

A man should own a handkerchief.

They’re ideal for mopping brows and consoling distraught strangers—but it’s not just that. It’s the kind of gentlemanly affectation that suggests you’re in tune with a more genteel era. Of course, the white linen version can be a little traddish, even for us, but there are plenty of more lively options.

For instance, this chambray handkerchief from Rogue Territory. It’s rough-and-tumble enough to leave hanging out of the back pocket of your jeans, or peeking out of the breast pocket of your coat.

It wouldn’t look bad tucked into a stocking either.

Mr. Postman


We can always use a little more idiosyncrasy in our wardrobe.

So we were glad to see this cotton handkerchief come down the transom from Lyonstate. It’s printed with a young girl’s letter from camp circa 1920. (Sample: “I need some stationary. I have nearly written it all out.”) But the real point is the classic blue-on-white color scheme, which should match with just about anything you find yourself wearing.

And while it’s a little too big to use as a pocket square, it should cut a pretty fine figure the next time you need to mop your brow.

Pater Familias


One of the perks of Americana is that you never run short of Father’s Day gifts. This linen handkerchief from Hill Side, for instance, isn’t too different from any other piece of industrial nostalgia they’ve set loose in the past year. Nevertheless, they’re pitching it as the perfect Father’s Day gift, and we’re hard pressed to disagree.

It might be the simple universality of a handkerchief, or the fact that everyone starts longing for a scrap of linen once the thermometer tops 80, but this is the kind of handsome, all-purpose item we usually recommend for gifts. And since you’re jumping generations, it probably doesn’t hurt that it came off the assembly line a few decades back.



The bandana is as classic a summer piece as we can think of, and apparently we’re not the only ones. Archival Clothing just tipped us off to Discharge Style a fantastic Japanese blog entirely devoted to the versatile squares, and it’s got our head spinning with sartorial combinations. The classic thing is to keep it in your pocket and break it out for an occasional brow-mopping, but if you’re feeling adventurous, it can double as a neckerchief, an ascot, or even a pocket square.

Our favorite so far is this one. It was stamped with an ad for Wolverine gloves back in the 50s, then dug up by Hickorees a few decades later. There’s also a wealth of good finds on eBay—particularly these two—if you want something a little cheaper and with a little more history to it. Supposedly Archival Clothing has one in the works…but we’re not sure we can wait that long.

Mona Kuhn is Not Afraid to Crop


Out of Frame: The hips, it would appear, do not lie. [Fashion Copious]

A Gentleman’s Guide to Bright Colors: The basics of working a few pops of color into your wardrobe. This kind of thing is what makes men into style guys. [Valet]

Don’t Forget the Starch: Bruce Pask is on a handkerchief kick, for reasons elaborated herein. [The Moment]

We the Tweeple: The drunken tweet you sent at 3am Sunday morning is now part of congressional record. Consider yourself warned. [Epicenter]

On Hand


A well-managed handkerchief is more than just a pocket square. Used properly, it’s an emblem of chivalry.

Primarily used to comfort distraught women, it’s an indispensable accoutrement for the modern man, and Tom Ford seems to understand it pretty well. The pattern makes this one a bit too noisy to wear peeking out of your jacket, but it’s better off in your side pocket anyway. Who knows: you might need to use it.

City Life


While iconic, the white handkerchief can begin to look downright unsanitary after it’s been through the wash a few times. We recommend something a bit more colorful…

This handkerchief comes from Muji’s recently unveiled online shop, and while we probably won’t have to find our way around Akasaka any time soon, we never mind having an extra map around. There are Paris, London and New York versions, but coming from Muji, Tokyo seems like the appropriate choice.

Provided you can keep from sneezing on the palace grounds.