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Handkerchief

A handkerchief (also called handkercher or hanky) is a form of a kerchief, typically a hemmed square of thin fabric that can be carried in the pocket or purse, and which is intended for personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one's hands or face, or blowing one's nose. A handkerchief is also sometimes used as a purely decorative accessory in a suit pocket.

Handkerchiefs can be made of cotton, cotton-synthetic blend, synthetic fabric, silk, or linen.

The use of a cloth handkerchief is occasionally considered old-fashioned or unhygienic, or both, in some parts of the world, mainly due to the popularization of disposable paper handkerchiefs and the fact that they are stored in a pocket or a purse after being used. However they are a potentially more environment-conscious choice, as cloth handkerchiefs are reusable.

At first the Kleenex company had not imagined that there would be a demand for a disposable paper handkerchief, so they initially marketed their product exclusively for make-up removal. It was only after they discovered that people were blowing their noses into the tissues that they began marketing them for this purpose.

Handkerchiefs are also used to hold hair back, as a fashionable head accessory. Handkerchiefs designed for this purpose are usually printed in a vibrant color and with a paisley pattern, and are known as bandanas or kerchiefs.

When used as an accessory to a suit, a handkerchief is known as a pocket square. There are a wide variety of ways to fold a pocket square, ranging from the austere to the flamboyant:

  • The Presidential, perhaps the simplest, is folded at right angles to fit in the pocket.
  • The TV Fold looks similar but is folded diagonally with the point inside the pocket.
  • The One-point Fold is folded diagonally with the point showing.
  • The Two-point Fold is folded off-center so the two points do not completely overlap.
  • The Three-point Fold is first folded into a triangle, then the corners are folded up and across to make three points.
  • The Four-point Fold is an off-center version of the Three-point Fold.
  • The Cagney is basically a backwards version of the Four-point Fold.
  • The Puff or the Cooper is simply shaped into a round puff.
  • The Reverse Puff is like the Puff, except with the puff inside and the points out, like petals.
  • The Astaire is a puff with a point on either side.
  • The Straight Shell is pleated and then folded over to give the appearance of nested shells.
  • The Diagonal Shell is pleated diagonally and then folded.

Source: wikipedia.org
Photo credit: handkerchief.us