The Pocket Square: More Than A Handkerchief

The Difference Between Pocket Squares & Handkerchiefs

They are similar in appearance but completely different in utility.

Pocket squares are decorative squares of fabric used to adorn a jacket, fitting neatly (or unneatly) into the breast pocket. They have no practical purpose, simply an accessory.

pocket squares.jpg
Left to right: plaid; textured; gingham; solid; polka-dot.

Handkerchiefs are simple cloths used for blowing noses and coughing onto, which are then hastily stuffed into the users’ pockets to hide the mucus and other nasties accumulated throughout the day.

sneeze handkerchief

Nothing sexy or sanitary about that. Disposable tissues do the job just fine.

Why Use Pocket Squares?

Pocket squares are criminally underrated and underused. The power of the humble pocket square is in the discrete but notable way that it makes a good suit look great, displaying a flash of personality. In all but the more formal settings these cloths can be used in lieu of a tie, taking the fun but still all-business aesthetic of the open collar look to the next level.

tom ford open collar wth pocket square







If it’s good enough for Tom Ford, it’s good enough for the rest of us.

Subjectively speaking, a suit jacket just looks like it’s missing something without a pocket square. Like having a perfume bottle without the cap, or being served a five-star meal without the garnish, the presentation will simply be incomplete without that cloth in your breast pocket.

no pocket squareAlways have a pocket square in.

Fabrics and Patterns

A variety of fabrics are used to make a pocket square. Silk and satin are the standard, cotton and linen are  suitable textiles, as well.

Pocket squares have a myriad of stylish patterns you can show off. Solids, paisleys, plaids, polka-dots, ginghamprints,  you name it.

The 4 Essential Folds

No need to master the art of pocket square origami. Ignore the superfluous and focus instead on simplicity (how’s that for “Zen”?). Most folds work for every occasion.

If you devote yourself to mastering these unnecessarily complex folds, it’s time you re-evaluated your priorities; you’re not impressing anyone but your mom, and your therapist.

Essential Fold 1: The Straight Fold (aka the “Square Fold”)

Essential Fold 2:The Puff

Essential Fold 3: One-Point Fold

Essential Fold 4: Three-Point Fold

When in doubt, do the puff, it’s the quickest and easiest to learn and use.

Pocket Squares and Ties

Few things scream out “amateur” more than using the same style of pocket square and tie. Never match pocket squares and ties, even if they came in a convenient little set.

Contrast of colours and patterns is key. If you wear a black tie, wear a white pocket square. Pair a solid tie with a printed pocket square, or mix in totally different patterns.

Hover your mouse over each of the pictures, for a breakdown of the combinations.

There you have it: the Pocket Square. Any of these folds can be used in all social occasions, but when in doubt, go for a plain white silk pocket square, in a straight fold.

Separate yourself from the crowd with a pocket full of personality.

Thank you for reading Principles of Style. I hope you enjoy this post and found the blog useful. If you have any questions, feedback, or want to share some of your style and scent tips, tricks, and insights, please leave your input in the comments section below, or send me a PM.

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