Pop Quiz: What do you match your pocket squares with?

  1. Your tie.
  2. Your shirt.
  3. Your suit.
  4. Your socks.
  5. None of the above.
  6. Any of the above.
  7. Pocket what?

I’ll come back to the quiz later on this post and give you the correct answer(s), for now just remember your choice.

Ah, Those Beautiful Pocket Squares…

Has the idea of wearing a pocket square recently crossed your mind, but don’t know where to start?

You’re in the right set of mind.

And what’s better: you got to the right place.

I believe the pocket square is only surpassed by a tie in its capacity to take a simple suit and tie outfit to a whole new level of elegance. As a matter of fact, they might be just at the same level as ties when appropriately worn.

And yet, some men simply refuse to wear pocket squares with their suits. Or what’s even worse, they venture into the pocket squares realm, but without the basic knowledge that is required to wear them successfully.

Not good.

So here’s your quick introduction to pocket squares, so that at least you feel confident enough to be able to wear them when the need (or most likely, desire) arises.

Pocket Square Fabrics

colorful pocket square


Let’s start with the basics: the fabrics of a pocket square.

In theory, a PS can be made from many fabrics, but I bet the most common you will find are the following:

  • Linen – This is my personal favorite fabric when it comes to pocket squares. It works perfectly with suits, it has enough body to stay in place, it’s easy to fold and its texture clashes great with that of a suit.
  • Silk – My second favorite and probably the fabric you’ll most commonly find when looking for pocket squares to buy. Silk pocket squares can be versatile, but I would recommend pairing them with more textured fabrics, think tweed, for a nice texture contrast.
  • Wool – A lot less frequent than the previous two, but a good alternative if you want to go for a rougher texture look. These are harder to find, but not impossible.
  • Cotton – I would have to say you’re better off leaving cotton for handkerchiefs and choose a different fabric for pocket squares. Not that cotton pocket squares cannot be elegant, but given the other options, I would always go for either linen, silk or wool before cotton.

The Pocket Square Fold

This is where pocket squares get really fun.

But I must say, since this post is meant to be a quick introduction to pocket squares, it wouldn’t be right to take all the time to explain to you all the different folds that you can try, so I will leave that to forthcoming posts dedicated to teach you about each fold.

For now, just know there is plenty of folds to choose from, some are very clean looking, like the presidential or the TV fold. There are also some folds that are much more casual in their end result (in fact, some of them shouldn’t technically be called folds). And then there are the very complex folds, that require serious practice before you can master them.

What I do want to mention in this post, though, are a few basic rules you should try to follow when it comes to choosing a pocket square fold:

  • If you are not sure which fold to go for or feel doubtful about actually wearing a pocket square, better skip it until you feel confident enough.
  • Stick to clean-looking pocket square folds when elegance is your main goal.
  • Try folds with more personality (puffs, artful folds) when going for a more adventurous look.
  • If your fold feels more like origami than a pocket square fold, you’re overdoing it.
  • Make sure whatever fold you are sporting, you wear it with confidence and sprezzatura. You know, make it seem like an afterthought.
  • Never, ever overthink pocket squares, if you start overthinking it, go back to the first bullet point.

Okay, so I believe these are the basic guidelines you need to consider, but still feel free to go a little wilder with your pocket squares. After all, pocket squares are attention grabbers, so welcome the attention they’ll bring to your outfits.

So going back to the beginning of this post, what about the matching rules for pocket squares?

It’s coming, I haven’t forgotten that I still owe you a response to the pop quiz that I opened this blog post with… 🙂

What To Match Your Pocket Square With?

If you chose options 1, 2, 3, or 4 you are wrong. 🙁

If you chose option 5, you are right. Well, kind of. 🙂

If you chose option 6, you are right as well. Sort of. 🙂

If you chose option 7, watch this.

You see, the thing about pocket squares is that, unlike socks (which have a more straightforward set of matching rules), pocket squares just don’t like following rules.

They have a whole personality of their own, so to speak.

It’s fact they do have to complement the rest of your pieces, but they shouldn’t exactly match any of them. Let me repeat that: never,ever wear your pocket squares in an exact match with other pieces of your outfits, particuarly your ties. Just don’t. Please.

So what’s a man to do, then?

It’s quite simple, wear a pocket square that contains one or two colors already present in your outfit and use it to highlight these colors. Another option is to go for complementary colors to the ones already present – know your color wheel!

Go Ahead, Wear Your Pocket Squares

Now that you are armed with this basic knowledge, feel free to break out the pocket squares. Or if you still unsure about starting a cool pocket square collection after amassing a good necktie collection, your time to start is now

You’ll find yourself addicted to the huge options you’ll have to take your outfits to a whole new level just by donning a fun pocket square.

Do you have any questions about pocket squares? Ask in the comments below and I will reply to all questions, it should be fun.

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