How to wear a pocket square

March 21, 2011 · 39 comments

in Accessories, How To, Tips

Purple gingham pocket square from Fifth&Brannan

Have you seen EG’s video on how to fold a pocket square? Click here.

The pocket square is the ultimate accessory. It provides the extra punch you need in an outfit, and it’s actually useful if you spill or need to clean yourself up after a street brawl.

The old rule says to always carry two pocket squares, or hankies: one in your suit jacket’s breast pocket (for looks, but more importantly, in case the lady you’re with needs to use it), and one in your back pocket for yourself. I guess that’s because you wouldn’t want a pretty girl wiping her nose with something that’s been touching your butt all day.

Here are some basic ways to fold and place a pocket square in your suit jacket’s pocket. There are an infinite amount of ways to do this, but these are the basics. The idea is to not try too hard. You don’t want it to look too perfect, or too imperfect that it seems you tried for 10 minutes to get the right amount of pizazz and flare in your display. If you’re struggling, just stuff the damn thing in there and get on with your day.

1.) The clean edge

clean edge

This is probably the most basic (and also cleanest) way to display your pocket square. Fold it in thirds, and then in half, and place in your pocket, clean edge up.

If you’re trying to keep it simple but still stand out, try this with a tux or a dark suit and a white pocket square. Or you can try something like this combo in the photo, with a herringbone blazer and small grid-patterned pocket square.

2.) The rolled hem

rolled hem

The decorative red stitching on the edge of this pocket square by Fifth&Brannan is called a rolled hem. Something like this creates a bit of visual interest and pop when you throw it in your pocket.

If you fold your pocket square like the basic clean edge in #1, just insert it in your pocket clean edge first, letting the rolled hem peek out over the pocket. When I keep a pocket square in my jacket, I often throw it in there rolled hem up.

3.) Four corners up

four corners

This is a variation on the common “three corners up” style, which might be more ubiquitous.

Fold your pocket square corner to corner, creating a triangle. Fold over again, corner to opposite corner, and then once again. Stuff in your pocket, and arrange the corners like so.

When I have a pocket square with a contrasting rolled hem, I like how the fourth peak doesn’t display any stitching. To me, that’s interesting and part of being effortless. If you’re a perfectionist, you may not like it, but that’s entirely your call.

4.) The Poofy Poof

Poofy Poof

I doubt “Poofy Poof” is what true clothiers and sartorialists would call this style, but that’s what I call it.

Gather and bunch the pocket square from the middle and it will create this mountain of fabric. Then stuff in your pocket, leaving the peak sticking out. Poof it so it looks like you’re keeping a cloud in your pocket and it’s attempting to escape. BOOM. Done.

4b.) The Inverted Poofy Poof

Inverted Poofy Poof

I think one of my favorites (and probably the most nonchalant) is the Inverted Poofy Poof. You take the peak of the mountain that formed when you gathered the pocket square from the middle, and stuff it inside your pocket first.

This leaves the edges haphazardly formed and spilling out of your pocket. If you’re more conservative, you can stuff more of it in. If you feel like showing off a bit, leave more out. It’s up to you. Effortlessness at its best!

This is the easiest method by far, and one you can have the most fun with.

5.) The butt pocket

butt pocket

I always carry a pocket square with me, even if I’m not wearing a sport coat or suit. I always find myself sans napkin, or in a situation where I’ll need to wipe a couple drips of coffee off my jeans.

The square always goes in my right pocket, edges up, ready to go whenever I need it.

Add a pocket square to your daily arsenal (which probably includes your wallet, watch, phone, and maybe a Swiss Army knife) and you’ll wonder how you went so long without one.

What’s your favorite way of folding and wearing a pocket square? Is your preferred method not listed here? Let us know in the comments below.

___

Thanks for reading. Hopefully you can put some of these methods to use. If so, I’d love if you followed us on Twitter and Liked us on Facebook.

Also, keep an eye out for our new segment on EG coming this Thursday! I’ll be introducing a new topic that will hopefully interest all you dudes out there trying to look and feel your best.

Until then!

About

Barron is the founder and editor of Effortless Gent, a site dedicated to helping guys figure out what looks best on them. He's based in San Francisco. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Previous post:

Next post: