How to Fold and Wear Men’s Pocket Squares

by JJ
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Pocket squares can seem like more hassle than they’re worth with the endless folds, fabrics and patterns to choose from. We’ll eliminate that hassle for you, bringing you the best pocket square folds and exactly how to wear them.

A well-placed pocket square can do a lot more than you think. Not only does it add just the right amount of flair to an outfit but it can also reveal a little bit about your personality too. There’s no reason to stick to the basics either, and you can get experimental with this little piece of fabric, changing up the colours, folds and materials to create a unique look that’s personal to you.

With the formal look gathering slow but steady popularity around the world, there’s no reason you can’t incorporate the pocket square into everyday life, rather than saving it for the weddings and christenings. With so many looks to choose from, you can create classic or contemporary looks with just a simple fold.

4 Reasons Why You Should Wear A Pocket Square

  1. It gives you an edge over the average Joe: No one likes to stick out like a sore thumb but if you’re reading this, chances are you don’t want to look average either. Adding a pocket square is a subtle way to make you stand out in the sartorial sea.
  2. It reveals your attention to detail: Someone who considers the details rises in the style ranks. Other sharp-eyed people will be impressed, be they stylish women or smart men.
  3. It adds colour and personality to your outfit: A suit can go from good to great with the right colour pocket square. It can provide a contrast or complement to other colours. You can also show a bit of personality through the fold you choose. A classic fold in white linen can show you mean business, whereas a puff fold in a patterned fabric can express eccentricity.
  4. It makes an outfit more formal. Aside from the obvious benefits of this, a pocket square can add enough formality to an outfit that you don’t need to wear a suffocating tie. Bonus.

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How To Fold A Pocket Square

As we stated before there are a number of ways you can personalise your pocket square, and the main way is how you fold it. Simply shoving a nice piece of fabric into your pocket and hoping it looks good just isn’t going to cut it, and if you’re going for that class and sophistication it’s important to get the right fold. Luckily there are a number of ways to fold a pocket square, and we’re going to go through all of them.

Thankfully, the guys over at Ties.com have put together some videos which break down every individual step, for every individual pocket square fold. Handy, right?

Presidential Fold

This is the easiest and quickest way to fold a pocket square. Classic, simple and smart, this fold is great for formal occasions. Typically done in white linen or silk.

  1. Lay the pocket square flat
  2. Fold in half from left to right
  3. Fold the bottom up
  4. Flip over and position inside your pocket keeping around ½ an inch visible

One-Point Fold

Another simple fold to learn, the one-point fold is versatile and can be worn for business occasions or casual events. Best done in cotton or linen.

  1. Lay the pocket square flat with a corner facing you
  2. Fold in half from bottom corner to top corner
  3. Fold the left corner in
  4. Fold the right corner in

Two-Point Fold

The two-point fold is a slight variation of the one-point fold. It is just as versatile but looks more impressive. Perfect for subtly injecting a bit more style into your outfit. Works well whether you opt for plain or patterned fabric.

  1. Lay the pocket square flat with a corner facing you
  2. Fold in half from the bottom but don’t align the tips. You can choose to keep the tips at the same level or have one high than the other.
  3. Fold the left corner in
  4. Fold the right corner in
  5. Flip over and position inside your pocket

The Crown or Three Peak Fold

The crown fold is more prominent than the two-point fold. It firmly represents the mark of a stylish man. This is where you go from beginner to skilful. Again, these precise folds work best in cotton or linen.

  1. Lay the pocket square flat with a corner facing you
  2. Fold in half from the bottom but don’t align the tips
  3. Fold the left corner diagonally up to create the third tip
  4. Fold the right corner in
  5. Flip over and position inside your pocket

Cagney Fold

A variation on the crown fold creates a four-point, Cagney fold. Named after the actor James Cagney, this iconic fold has lasted the test of time and is now one of the most notable ones on this list.

  1. Lay the pocket square flat with a corner facing you
  2. Fold in half from the bottom but don’t align the tips
  3. Fold the left corner diagonally up to create the third tip
  4. Fold the right corner diagonally up to create the fourth tip
  5. Fold the outermost corners in to the middle to finish

Winged Puff Fold

The winged puff fold is pretty straightforward, clean and formal. It’s great for business occasions and a step-up from the presidential fold. Take your pick from cotton, linen or silk.

  1. Lay the pocket square flat with a corner facing you
  2. Fold in half from top to bottom
  3. Fold the top left and right corners down to meet the bottom point
  4. Fold the left, right and bottom corners in
  5. Tuck into your pocket with the vertical fold lines visible at the front

Three Stairs Fold

The three stairs fold might take a bit of practice but the results are worth it. This style is clean-cut but still, makes an impact with its intricate folds. It’s a great way to show off some personality at a formal or business occasion. This fold works best in cotton or linen.

  1. Lay the pocket square flat with a corner facing you and fold in half from bottom corner to top corner
  2. Fold the top corner of the first layer down so that the point sits past the base
  3. Then fold the point back up so that the point sits just past the newly created fold
  4. Once again, take the point and fold it down so that the point sits past the base
  5. Fold back up so that the point sits past the latest fold
  6. At this point, you may want to gently press the folds in place with an iron on low heat
  7. Carefully fold the right side behind the left side keeping the folds on the outside
  8. Take the bottom right corner and rotate the pocket square 90 degrees so that this corner is now at the top and fold the left side in
  9. To finish, fold the right side in, making a square base

Pocket Square Guide

So now you’re equipped with some of the best folds, here are some pocket square tips to keep in mind:

  • Classic, simple folds work best in cotton or linen.
  • Silk pocket squares are far more adventurous. Be creative.
  • Try to avoid being too “matchy” with your pocket square and tie combo. Colours may correspond but make sure the pattern or fabric texture is slightly different. See our guide below for more detail.
  • Pocket squares are for style not sweat (despite their practical origins). Keep it clean by carrying an extra in your trouser pocket should you need something to wipe your brow with.
  • Don’t forget to consider texture. White linen makes a different impression than white silk. One conveys a smart and strong tone whilst the other is smooth and suave.

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Should A Pocket Square Match My Tie?

Although it might make sense to match your pocket square to your tie, it’s best not to. You won’t be committing a great sin, but if you really want to look like you know what you’re doing, avoid this amateur move. Completely matching your pocket square and tie runs the risk of looking too… well, “matchy.” That, along with your co-ordinating trouser suit is one match too many for most outfits.

Before you’re put-off by this spanner in the works, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. You can match colours, just try to go for a slightly different pattern on your tie, shirt, or pocket square. For example, if you’re wearing a burgundy tie, you could go for a burgundy pocket square with white polka dots. The pattern will break the all-matched-up look.

So, if you’re wearing a patterned shirt or tie, picking a pocket square should be straightforward. Just choose a colour within the pattern and find a pocket square to match. Similarly, if you’re wearing a patterned pocket square, simply wear a suit, shirt or tie that complements a colour found within the design.

How to Fold and Wear Men’s Pocket Squares

  • Make sure you follow the steps – every pocket square fold is different and will have varying difficulty. If you want to nail your pocket square look then follow the steps properly
  • Does the fold match the formality? Chances are you’re not going to use the Stairs fold for the everyday, but it would be good for more formal occasions. Check your fold doesn’t look out of place.
  • Wear it with pride! Pocket squares are a superb addition to your suit and take some time to master, show them off after all your hard work!

grey suit white shirt blue tie white pocket square mens

On That Note

So there you have it. A pocket square doesn’t automatically mean you’re a posh dandy. It simply means you have the confidence to try out different accessories and go a little bolder with your formal look. You decide which fold best suits you, so you can choose to go for simple looks and colours, or patterned styles with complex folds. What’s stopping you now? Try it today.

Feature image from Pinterest

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