How to Style a Pocket Square in 2023: The Ultimate Guide

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What is a pocket square and how is it traditionally worn?

A pocket square is a small, decorative piece of fabric that is placed in the breast pocket of a suit jacket or blazer. It adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to an outfit, and can be used to complement or contrast with the other elements of your attire. Traditionally, pocket squares were worn by men as a practical accessory to keep their hands clean while wiping away sweat or dirt. However, over time they have evolved into a fashion statement and are now primarily worn for aesthetic purposes.

When it comes to wearing a pocket square, there are several traditional styles that you can choose from. The most classic way to wear a pocket square is the “presidential fold,” where the fabric is folded into a neat rectangle and inserted into the pocket with about ¼ to ½ inch showing above the pocket’s edge. Another popular style is the “one-point fold,” where one corner of the fabric is folded diagonally towards the opposite corner, creating a triangular shape that is then placed in the pocket.

Traditional Ways to Wear a Pocket Square:

  • Presidential fold: A simple rectangular fold that shows a small portion of the fabric above the pocket.
  • One-point fold: A triangular fold created by folding one corner diagonally towards the opposite corner.
  • Puff fold: The fabric is gathered in the center and puffed outwards before being inserted into the pocket.
  • Two-point fold: Similar to the one-point fold, but with two corners folded towards each other to create two points.


  • Avoid overstuffing your pocket with a bulky fold as it may ruin the clean lines of your suit jacket.
  • Make sure the pocket square is centered and symmetrical within the pocket for a polished look.
  • Experiment with different folds and styles to find what suits your personal style and the occasion best.

Step-by-step instructions on folding a pocket square

Classic Fold

The classic fold is the most basic and versatile way to fold a pocket square. Start by laying the pocket square flat on a surface, then fold it in half horizontally. Next, fold it in half vertically so that you have a smaller square. Finally, fold the bottom of the square up to meet the top, leaving about 1/4 inch of the folded edge visible. Adjust as needed to fit into your jacket pocket.

Puff Fold

The puff fold adds a touch of elegance and volume to your pocket square. Begin by pinching the center of the pocket square and lifting it up. Use your other hand to gather the fabric around the pinched center, creating a puffy shape. Adjust as needed and place it in your pocket with the puffed part facing upwards.


– Iron or steam your pocket square before folding to ensure crisp edges.
– Experiment with different fabrics and patterns to add variety to your looks.
– Practice folding techniques before wearing them for special occasions.

Popular folding techniques for pocket squares

One Point Fold

The one point fold is a simple yet sophisticated way to wear a pocket square. Lay the pocket square flat on a surface, then fold it diagonally in half to form a triangle. Take one corner of the triangle and fold it towards the center, then repeat with the opposite corner. Adjust as needed and place it in your pocket with one point sticking out.

Two Point Fold

The two point fold adds an interesting twist to your outfit. Start by folding the pocket square diagonally in half to form a triangle. Then, take one corner of the triangle and fold it towards the center, followed by folding the opposite corner towards the center as well. Adjust as needed and place it in your pocket with two points sticking out.


– Experiment with different folds to match the formality of your outfit.
– Consider using contrasting colors or patterns for a bolder look.
– Don’t be afraid to play around with asymmetrical folds for a more unique style.

Choosing the right pocket square to complement your outfit

When selecting a pocket square, it’s important to consider the overall color scheme and style of your outfit. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

Color Coordination

Choose a pocket square that complements or contrasts with the colors in your tie, shirt, or suit. For a cohesive look, opt for a pocket square that picks up one of the accent colors in your ensemble.

Fabric Selection

Consider the fabric of your pocket square based on the occasion and season. Silk is a popular choice for formal events, while cotton or linen can be more suitable for casual occasions. Additionally, consider textures such as satin or jacquard for added visual interest.


– When in doubt, go for a white or off-white pocket square as it pairs well with any outfit.
– Experiment with different folds and placements to showcase different parts of the pattern or fabric.
– Don’t be afraid to mix patterns and textures, but ensure they complement each other harmoniously.

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Rules and guidelines for matching a pocket square with a tie or shirt

Matching Colors

When it comes to matching a pocket square with a tie or shirt, one of the most important rules is to consider the color coordination. The pocket square should complement the colors of your tie and shirt, rather than clash with them. A good rule of thumb is to choose a pocket square that includes at least one color from either your tie or shirt. This will create a cohesive and stylish look.

Contrasting Patterns

Another guideline for matching a pocket square with a tie or shirt is to consider the patterns. If you’re wearing a patterned tie or shirt, it’s generally best to opt for a solid-colored pocket square to avoid overwhelming the overall look. On the other hand, if you’re wearing a solid-colored tie or shirt, you can experiment with bolder patterned pocket squares to add some visual interest.


– If you’re wearing a navy blue tie and white shirt, consider choosing a white pocket square with navy blue accents.
– For a striped tie and checkered shirt combination, go for a solid-colored pocket square in one of the colors present in either the tie or shirt.

Creative ways to wear a pocket square beyond traditional folds

Puff Fold

The puff fold is an easy yet stylish way to wear a pocket square that adds volume and texture to your outfit. To achieve this fold, simply pinch the center of the fabric and let it naturally gather into a puff shape. Place the puff into your jacket’s breast pocket, adjusting as needed for desired fullness.

Two-Tone Fold

For those looking for more visual interest, try experimenting with two-tone folds. This involves folding your pocket square in such a way that two different colors or patterns are visible. One popular method is the “crown fold,” where you fold the pocket square diagonally and then fold one corner inward to create a crown-like shape.


– The puff fold works well with solid-colored pocket squares, adding a touch of elegance to formal attire.
– The two-tone fold is great for showcasing patterned pocket squares, allowing you to play with contrasting colors and designs.

Common mistakes to avoid when wearing a pocket square

Misaligned Folds

One common mistake when wearing a pocket square is not properly aligning the folds. A crooked or unevenly folded pocket square can detract from an otherwise polished look. Take the time to ensure your folds are straight and symmetrical before placing the pocket square in your jacket’s breast pocket.


Another mistake to avoid is overmatching your pocket square with other accessories. While it’s important for your pocket square to complement your tie and shirt, wearing all three items in the exact same color or pattern can be overwhelming. Instead, aim for subtle coordination by choosing complementary colors or patterns that enhance each other without being too matchy-matchy.


– Use a ruler or straight edge as a guide when folding your pocket square to ensure precise alignment.
– Experiment with different color combinations and patterns to find what works best for your personal style.

Fabrics and patterns that work best for different occasions or seasons

Silk for Formal Events

Silk is a classic fabric choice for formal occasions due to its luxurious appearance and smooth texture. Silk pocket squares add an elegant touch to tuxedos or suits worn at weddings, galas, or black-tie events. Opt for solid-colored silk pocket squares or ones with subtle patterns for a sophisticated look.

Cotton for Casual and Summer Events

Cotton pocket squares are versatile and perfect for more casual or warm-weather occasions. They offer a more relaxed and breathable feel compared to silk. Cotton pocket squares can be found in various patterns, such as checks, stripes, or floral prints, making them suitable for outdoor events, garden parties, or everyday wear during the summer months.


– A white silk pocket square with a subtle paisley pattern is ideal for a formal evening event.
– A cotton pocket square featuring a vibrant tropical print adds a playful touch to a summer wedding outfit.

Caring for and maintaining the quality of your pocket squares

Proper Storage

To keep your pocket squares in good condition, it’s important to store them properly. Avoid folding them tightly or leaving them crumpled in pockets for extended periods of time. Instead, consider using a dedicated pocket square holder or gently rolling them up and placing them in a drawer to prevent wrinkles and creases.

Gentle Cleaning Techniques

When it comes to cleaning your pocket squares, it’s crucial to follow the care instructions specific to the fabric. Most silk pocket squares should be dry cleaned to maintain their luster and shape. On the other hand, cotton pocket squares can often be hand washed with mild detergent and air-dried. Always check the label before attempting any cleaning methods.


– Avoid exposing silk pocket squares to direct sunlight for prolonged periods as it may cause fading.
– Iron cotton pocket squares on low heat while they are slightly damp to remove wrinkles effectively.

Reliable resources and tutorials for learning about different pocket square styles and trends

Online Style Guides

There are numerous online style guides and fashion blogs that provide detailed tutorials and inspiration for different pocket square styles. Websites like “The Gentleman’s Gazette” and “Real Men Real Style” offer comprehensive guides on various folding techniques, matching tips, and the latest trends in pocket squares.

YouTube Channels

YouTube is a valuable resource for visual learners seeking step-by-step demonstrations of pocket square styling. Channels such as “Gentleman’s Gazette,” “Alpha M,” and “Real Men Real Style” feature videos dedicated to pocket square folding techniques, outfit ideas, and expert advice.


– The Gentleman’s Gazette provides in-depth articles and videos on classic pocket square folds like the presidential fold or the one-point fold.
– Alpha M offers practical tips on incorporating pocket squares into everyday outfits, including casual looks with denim jackets or blazers.

In conclusion, this guide on pocket square how-to provides a concise and practical resource for mastering the art of wearing a pocket square with style and confidence.

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