My grandfather carried a pocket square every day. This wasn’t the handkerchief that many people his age used to have (read: he did not blow his nose into it), but an honest-to-goodness pocket square. I remember watching him use it all the time:
- Cleaning off wet eye glasses
- Wiping dirt off of a garden spade
- Clearing condensation off of a foggy windshield
The great Douglas Adams saw how useful such an item was (in his case, a towel):
“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V…More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag [1. strag: non-hitch hiker] discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc…What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”
A pocket square won’t protect you from the harsh elements of Jaglan Beta, but I’d argue that it’s nearly as useful. I have two, one of which is on me almost all of the time.
Danielle Romero makes fantastic pocket squares that aren’t the least bit stodgy or old-man-ish, and sells them through her business, New York to Nashville She writes:
“Most of our pieces began as a vintage item or reclaimed fabric that still had a story to tell. We wanted to hear that story, and we know you do too. This means that the pocket squares, cufflinks, and earrings are LIMITED RUN often just enough for 4 sets. I handcraft each one to reflect charm and beauty of all things Americana.”
I’ve got the “Rhett Butler” (pictured above). It’s about 10″x10″ and I love it. Great for cleaning off that iPhone screen. Cotton.
Izola strives to offer “functional everyday staples” with a vintage, nostalgic aesthetic. I bought this “Peace and Prosperity” handkerchief (above) and I love it. It’s big at 14″x14″ and made of natural cotton. It’s getting softer and better-looking with each wash.
There you have it, traveler! A bit of handy weekend travel gear that’s a bit nostalgic (miss you, granddad), great-looking and supremely useful.