The Complete Guide to Pocket Square
Pocket Squares are back!
To be fair it was never gone.
In this quick post, you will 1) understand why (if you haven) incorporate wearing a pocket square with your suit. 2) You will also learn how to fold some of the most common and popular ways to fold a pocket square (both basic/ low-profile folding technique and more advance/ bold styles). 3) Understand the different types of pocket square fabrics and 4) the pattern and colour of pocket square to choose.
By the end of this post, we are hoping for readers who felt intimidated to try one, to actually go for it. For the more advanced and fashioned forward gentlemen, we hope there are some varieties you can venture and try out as well.
Without further ado, lets dive right in…
Why should you wear a Pocket Square?
First things first, a pocket square is a good conversation starter.
One pocket square can be low profile for can be very attention grabbing based on the way you fold it. It lifts your suit drastically, yet in a subtle way. How awesome is that!
Not only will it add more colours to your outfit, it instantly help you stand out from the crowd! This is especially true in Singapore where almost every guy settle with just Suit/ Blazer and Tie (not to mention most of the suits were bought off shelve).
Having a pocket square also sends off a subtle signal that you are someone who pays attention to details.
What’s more, a pocket square can be a good substitute for a tie. Switching the pocket square with the tie immediately switches the mood.
Now that you understand the benefits of wearing a pocket square the next question will definitely come to mind – what color or type of pocket square to buy?
What color Pocket Square to choose?
This is a common question especially for beginners looking to incorporate pocket squares into their suit game for the first time.
For beginners, going for a white pocket squares is probably one of the safest choices. A white pocket square is a basic must-have as it matches all suit and shirt combinations (see photo of David Beckham at the beginning of this post).
There is only one rule to remember when it come to choosing your pocket square color and that is, NEVER wear a pocket square with the same pattern and color as your tie. Now we know a lot of departmental stores sell tie and pocket square combo packs with exact matching patterns and colors. You can still buy those but be sure to match either the tie or pocket square with something else.
One common sense thing to note though is to have a pocket square that is in CONTRAST with your suit pocket (i.e DO NOT pair a black suit with a black pocket square) as the pocket square will not be noticeable.
Your pocket square’s color doesn’t have to only carry elements of the tie. Having elements of the shirt or socks color is a great way to bring that color balance to your overall outfit.
Types of Fabric of Pocket Squares
We are going to make this really simple – Cotton or Silk.
Cotton is a more matt version and basically works well for the more basic folds that flat and requires some degree of ‘order’ (don’t worry, we will talk about the types of folds below).
Silk on the other hand is obviously the shiny version. Silk fabric usually comes with ‘louder’ colors and even patterns like the floral or paisley pattern. Silk can be quite challenging to fold but works great for the fancier folds like the flower patterns. Folding with silk pocket square might take a bit of practice but you will get a hang of it relatively fast, and one pro of the silk fabric is that there is room for ‘imperfection’.
Watch this video that talks about the difference between a handkerchief vs a pocket square:
How to fold a pocket square
There are dozens of ways to fold the pocket square and it can be overwhelming when it comes to deciding which style to fold.
Hence when it comes to choosing a packet square style to fold, we generally use one of these method: 1) Choose the pocket square before deciding, and 2) Decide the overall look we want before deciding which style to fold:
#1 Choose the pocket square before deciding
As mentioned earlier, cotton pocket squares are more suitable for folds with solid and flat folds. Hence if you only have a cotton pockets square, maybe choosing the cleaner folds will make more sense and easier to maintain throughout the day/ night.
#2 Decide the overall look we want before deciding which style to fold
If you want a more casual and bold look (perhaps without tie and two top buttons undone), a silk pocket square and ‘fancier’ folds might be the way to go.
On another hand, if you are going for a more formal and serious look, the more basic, solid folds might be a better choice.
Without further ado, these are a few videos we go for more of the time to find the right fold (yes, there is no need to memorize these).
You can also check this link for very comprehensive folding illustrations: https://www.samhober.com/howtofoldpocketsquares/pocketsquarefolds.htm
Basic guidelines for wearing a Pocket Square
Very quickly, we would like to end this post with some golden rules to take note when choosing and wearing a pocket square.
Pocket Square Rule # 1
Never wear a pocket square that is identical to the tie – NEVER.
Pocket Square Rule # 2
Don’t go overboard with your pocket square, its there to lift your suit up while adding more colors and flow to your overall look and feel.
If the pocket square is way too ‘loud’ that it takes away the rest of the effort you have placed to the choice of shirt, socks, shoes and your hair, then you might be better off without one.
Pocket Square Rule # bonus
There is no bonus rule, just remember that the pocket square is just an add-on and although you should just pick any pocket square to match, yet it shouldn’t a something you put too much concerns and time on. Just have fun and experiment.
What’s your thoughts on wearing a pocket square? Are there a go to style you go? Any personal favourite in terms of the colour, fabric and the way you fold your pocket square? Feel free to leave a comment and share with the community.