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The Ultimate Pocket Square Guide

July 24, 2022 6 min read 1 Comment

A man fixing a pocket square


For men, the pocket square represents a low-effort, unique method of upgrading your outfit from regular to sophisticated. This piece of fabric can literally make or break your ensemble. Pocket squares can match and enhance your day's look if worn correctly. The vice versa is also true, so you must be sure to rock them as is required. 


As one of the most essential fabrics that a man of style can own, we want to help you feel confident in your pocket squares. The following guide covers the essentials of wearing these garments properly to help you add color and panache to your attires.


Let's get started.

Types of Pocket Square Folds


A pocket square has many versatile folds you can go for if you want to complete your elegant look. These tools often bring a pop of color and fashion wherever you go, but knowing how to fold one can be a problem. 


The secret is to fold the fabric to match the occasion and to avoid comparing the pocket square to a handkerchief! 


While handkerchiefs are positioned in your front or back pockets, pocket squares go in your jacket's breast pocket. 


The two pieces of fabric also serve very different purposes – you wouldn't want to walk into a wedding with your oversized handkerchief stuck out of your breast pocket! 


Just go out there and get yourself a men's pocket square, then try out one of these six types of folds:


The Square Fold


Also called the presidential fold, this fold type is best worn to black-tie events. 


This fold is considered the most basic and elegant. 


The end product should be a single horizontal strip of cloth parallel to your breast pocket's top part. 


Use this pocket square when you want to attend formal occasions. Make sure you iron the folds and go for a cotton or white linen pocket square. 

The Triangle Fold


This is also called the one-point fold. Triangle folds are best for adding color to your outfit. 


They are also simple enough for business events and casual blazers. Cotton and linen pocket squares are preferred.

The Stairs Fold


This is an intricate and fancy pocket square fold. Once you learn how to do a stairs fold, you will have three-tiered stairs popping out of your jacket pocket's crest! 


Use this if you are tired of wearing the square and triangle square folds.

The Puff Fold


Although versatile, puff folds are pretty easy to maneuver. You can always go for printed patterns and designs with this one. 


An important point is that puff folds should have dimples and wrinkles, making them stylish.

The Winged Puff


For the winged puff, always wear a solid color pocket square or one with minimal prints. 


This one is ideal if you prefer low-friction pocket squares.

Tips for holding your pocket square in place


Sometimes a pocket square can keep slipping into your jacket breast pocket, and this can be particularly frustrating if you have just bought the pocket square or are attending a very important event.


You can follow some specific approaches to ensure that this never happens again. Here are the top three:

Change the length: Before anything else, check the fold's length. Make sure you adjust the length by folding the pocket square closer to its base so that its bottom touches your pocket's bottom.

Change the width:Again, you can ensure that your pocket square does not slip by altering its width. Expanding the spread ensures that it perfectly fits at the pocket's entrance.

Get a fitting suit:Now, if both options fail, perhaps you should get a fitting outfit! The secret is to get rid of that loose suit that makes the pocket square fall out of position.

When To Wear Pocket Squares

Formal events: Formal workplace events, meetings, interviews, and graduation ceremonies are the best times to wear your pocket square. The best pocket square fold for such a time is the square fold or triangle fold. 


The square fold is the ultimate classic because it is both simple and elegant. These pocket squares should be solid, striped, plaid, or checkered. 


Informal events:You can also impress your colleagues with your statement of style during less formal and not-so-casual social events. 


You can go for the paisley, polka dot, checkered, and plaid pocket squares during such occasions. You can also experiment with the stairs and puff folds


Celebrations : You can go for puff and winged puff folds during these casual occasions. 


It is also a good time to experiment with your floral, paisley, polka dot, and checkered pocket squares, as there is more leeway to showcase your sense of fashion than in formal and informal events. 

How to match a pocket square with a tie


As earlier stated, pocket squares can match and enhance your day's look if worn correctly. However, if worn wrongly, you risk ruining your entire outfit. 


You should have an idea about complimenting your tie with a pocket square. The aim should be to harmonize or contrast all your accessories with these two pieces of the garment. 


Note: Matching your tie and pocket square does not mean that you literally match colors. This will make you look dull and unfashionable. 


Despite what you may have read or seen being done in the past, there should be color and pattern dissimilarities between ties and pocket squares.


Some basic rules are choosing a primary color from your tie, matching it with your pocket square, and going for a pocket square that is a shade darker or lighter than your tie.


Here are some dos and don'ts that you should consider when rocking this piece of fabric.

Dos and Don'ts of Pocket Squares (and How to Match a Pocket Square With Your Outfit)


As earlier stated, pocket squares can match and enhance your day's look if worn correctly. However, if worn incorrectly, you risk ruining your entire outfit. Here are some dos and don'ts that you should consider when rocking this piece of fabric.

  • For formal occasions, go for a plain white pocket square. If you're looking for something that can blend within all business environments, always opt for a predominately white pocket square with light patterns or colored edging. This is a conservative but serious look.

  • You do not have to worry about white pocket squares. You can basically wear them with any tie and jacket combination, or color, for that matter.

  • Matching your tie and pocket square color is a no-go zone.

  • Make sure that you desist from overdoing your patterns. Always balance flat colors and colored patterns in your tie and pocket square. 

  • Also, ensure that your pocket square fold matches the occasion you attend. Flat folds, one-point folds, and two-point folds are for formal occasions. For casual events, you can experiment with more flamboyant folds.

  • If you wear a black or a white suit, go for monochrome pocket square shades.

Different Pocket Square Materials and Pocket Square Product Care


There are different types of materials used to make pocket squares. The most common ones are linen, silk, cotton, polyester, and wool. 


Let's look at some of the ways you can clean them and get the wrinkles out.

How To Clean Your Pocket Squares

When cleaning your pocket square, always consider the type of fabric you have – linen, silk, cotton, polyester, or wool. Different materials have different ways of handling them, as follows. 




Linen is easy to tidy up. You can clean your plain linen fabrics at 140°F and the colored ones at 104°F. However, do not put them in the dryer. Always hang them out to dry, but use high temperatures and lots of steam to iron them when they get wrinkled.




You can also treat cotton squares the same way as they are pretty easy to clean. After cleaning, you can put them in the dryer. An added advantage with cotton is that you can always use that bleach formula to remove the tough stains unless we are talking about colored pocket squares. In that case, go easy on the bleach. Ironing at high temperatures can help remove wrinkles.




When it comes to silk squares, a lot of vigilance is required. A lot of challenges can be encountered here because silk is very delicate, and therefore, machine washing and drying are not viable options. The best approach is to send them to a dry cleaner for washing. 

However, if you are hell-bent on doing the cleaning yourself, hand wash the squares in cold water. When drying, just use a towel. Roll them nice and slow inside the towel and press. You can then lay them out in areas without direct sunlight. When removing the wrinkles, put a piece of cloth on top of the silk square to iron. 




The fourth square fabric you can have is polyester. Due to its durability and convenience, you can machine wash, dry, handwash, and air dry the material as you like. The only caveat is that you should avoid bleach and use low temperatures with polyester squares to avoid shrinkage. You can also iron at warm temperatures.




Finally, you can clean wool squares at 140°F and the colored ones at 104°F. Do not put them in the dryer. Always hang them out to dry and iron at medium temperatures.

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