How to Fold a Pocket Square – The 5 Essential Ways
Five pocket square folds that make you look like a boss, along with step-by-step instructions on how to fold and wear a pocket square.
What size is a pocket square? Is it a handkerchief? Is it a pocket silk? Should you use it to wipe your brow? Or nose?
There aren’t hard and fast rules about the difference between a pocket square and a handkerchief, but Webster’s defines a handkerchief as “a small, square piece of linen, cotton, silk, etc., for wiping the nose, eyes, or face, or carried or worn for ornament.” A pocket square, though, is only worn for ornament and is not intended for use as a rag.
Just like all squares are rectangles, all pocket squares are handkerchiefs, but not the other way around. So, to keep things straight, we’ll use the phrase pocket square from here on out.
The Only 5 Pocket Square Folds You Need to Know
There are many ways to fold a pocket square and we’ve seen them all, from the uptight “TV fold” with its rigid 90-degree angles that make it look more like a piece of looseleaf paper in your pocket to the flamboyant, my-jacket-just-threw-up-paisleys look.
It seems most guys fall into two camps, they don’t even attempt to wear a pocket square, or they go way over the top with their pocket square folds.
But if you’re wondering “what’s the best way to fold a pocket square?” or you just want to know “how do you fold a pocket square to look stylish?” you can relax. There are many different ways to fold a pocket square but most fall into the categories of the square fold or the puff. Even among these two main categories, there are many ways to create an expertly folded square. We chose our top five techniques and we promise, by the time you’ve scrolled to the bottom of this page, you’ll be able to produce the perfect pocket.
How to Fold a Pocket Square into a Square Fold
#1 – The Standard Square Fold
Chocolate Drop Pocket Square by Armstrong & Wilson
#2 – The Beefed Up Square Fold
Brown Wool Pocket Square by Black Lapel
Best Pocket Squares For Square Folds
Small pocket squares
Smaller pocket squares don’t always give you enough to material to do more intricate pocket square folds. This begs the question: How big is a pocket square? There is no standardized size, but If you’ve got a pocket square that’s smaller than 11 in. x 11 in., it can be tough to do more than square fold it.
Linen Pocket Squares
Linen fibers stiffen the fabric, making linen pocket square, and pocket squares with linen blended into them, easy to fold into a squared off edge. Because they hold their shape, linen pocket squares also let you create little nonchalantly stylish elements like edges that don’t line up.
Cotton Pocket Squares
Pocket squares made out of cotton tend to be thin and prone to creasing. You can fold a cotton pocket square into a square fold once and never unfold it again. Just be sure to use a beefed up fold to give the square some oomph.
So you may be wondering how to fold a silk pocket square into a square fold. Will it keep its shape? The answer is, it depends on how the silk is woven, but generally speaking, silk pocket squares are harder to fold square. If you’ve got a silk pocket square, we suggest you start with the puff folds below.
How to Fold a Pocket Square into a Puff
#3 – The Rose Puff
#4 – The Knot Puff
#5 – The Points Puff
Brown Wool Pocket Square by Black Lapel
Best Pocket Squares for Puffs
Silk Pocket Squares
Silk, with its smooth, soft qualities puffs easily curving, instead of producing sharp right angles, making for a much more fluid, pleasing look.
If you’re wondering how to fold a pocket square for a tux, the puff is your answer. Unlike it’s more businesslike brother, the square fold, the puff says “I’m dressed up but it’s still a celebration.”
With Casual Outfits
On the other end of the spectrum from black tie, when you’re wearing a blazer more casually, a puff telegraphs a more laid-back vibe that says “I just threw this on.” (We won’t tell anybody you spent an hour in the mirror picking out the perfect outfit.)
How to Wear a Pocket Square
Of course, everyone knows how to wear a pocket square. Simply put it in the chest pocket of your jacket. But knowing how to put in a pocket square takes a bit of skill. After all, there’s no point in going to the effort of perfecting your fold if you ruin it in the transfer to your pocket. But, here’s the thing, the pocket square isn’t finished until you put it in the pocket. Manipulating it to add the finishing touches in your pocket is often a necessary step.
To wear a square fold, either play with the angles in the front and the back of the fold or fan out the edges of the layers a bit to loosen up the look a bit.
To wear a puff, you’ll likely have to tug on the square a bit around the curves to give it the desired shape and then gently press your chest pocket to reduce the volume in your pocket and avoid the man-boob look.
How to Choose a Pocket Square
Armed with these folds, you’re now ready for anything, right? Sort of…there is still one important component to consider. The pocket square itself. Many guys fret over matching, but it’s really not a big deal. The trick is having a collection of squares that cover a lot of ground.
When in doubt, keep it simple. A white solid pocket square, while a little plain, will suffice for the majority of outfits. You can’t go wrong with a few whites when building your collection. After that, move on to the accent colors that work best with your wardrobe. Got a lot of blue ties? Look for pocket squares that have a blue in their designs. Love earth-toned suits, look for squares in earthy browns and greens. Just remember, most people will only see a 1 in. x 3 in. section of a pocket square, so you don’t have to be too meticulous about choosing colors.
The main thing is to wear one. If for no other reason than the fact that an unfilled pocket looks a bit bare, we believe if you have a jacket on, you should have a pocket square in the pocket. Yes, it’s purely decorative, but then again, most clothes are. Hopefully, we’ve given you all the ammunition you need to never go square-less again.
As always, if you have questions, we’ve got answers. While we can’t build you an outfit in the comments section, we can offer guidance about the pocket square folds and anything else we showcased above.
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