If you are hoping to dress to impress, then the first lesson to learn is that every little detail matters. If the occasion or event you’re attending calls for you to wear a jacket, there are few less accessories that can compliment an outfit like the pocket square does. Pocket squares can be as formal or as casual as you need them to be, meaning they are fitting and will look great for any social outing.
But before you go and place any old handkerchief in your pocket, there are a few things you should know. After all, anyone can wear a suit; but it takes a special kind of man to add a pocket square that turns heads, and garners attention from everyone in the room.
The history of handkerchiefs and pocket squares dates back to the Ancient Egyptian times. Worn among only the elite, the material was made of silk, and the Egyptians would change the color of the handkerchief with dyes and natural bleaching material.
As expansion began towards Europe, handkerchiefs made their way through Greece, Rome, England, France and other countries. And while the styles and reasons for wearing them varied, the fact that they symbolized wealth and greatness remained the same.
It’s quite astonishing that after all these years, as wearing pocket squares still represents some of the same social norms for different social classes. After all, when is the last time you saw a blue-collar worker wear a pocket square to work? Yet as expansion towards America became the trend for people around the world during the 1900’s, the trend of the pocket square slowly made its way to the United States.
During the 1960’s and the rise of corporations and large business in America, pocket squares went hand-in-hand with snazzy suits and Italian loafers. If you were a high-level advertising executive, the CEO of a company, or simply someone who had to wear a suit for an entry-level position, pocket squares represented that you were ready to work and ready to be taken seriously.
In the recent day-and-age of hipsters and men looking for unique fashion, pocket squares are much more common among the average person. It’s even not considered uncommon to see someone wearing a pocket square and blazer, with a pair of shorts for those really looking to make a statement. In truth, it’s not always about what you wear with the pocket square, but rather how you wear it. And what better way to wear it, than with full confidence and pride in how you dress.
How To Wear A Pocket Square
Confidence may be one of the biggest factors that goes into wearing a pocket square, but it’s not the only thing to consider. Keep in mind that a pocket square still represents fashion, class and style and should be worn with the utmost respect. (Okay, maybe its not that serious; but the pocket square deserves to stay among that which symbolizes creativity and uniqueness in fashion). With that in mind, it’s important to factor in what you are wearing, and how it can compliment your entire outfit.
As mentioned earlier, pocket squares can be worn with nearly any jacket or blazer. Just like men who only wear blazers for semi-casual and formal events, pocket squares can look great when tailored to these types of gatherings. You can pick a color and style that is perfect for the particular setting and be accordingly dressed. Even for evenings out on a date, you can tone it down and pair a pocket square or handkerchief with a blazer and a pair of jeans.
For colors and patterns of your pocket square, make sure to keep it in the same fashion as the rest of your outfit. Often times, a pocket square should be the same color as, or quite close to, your shirt. If you are wearing a tie, you can also coordinate secondary colors or patterns between the tie and pocket square. However keep in mind you should never match everything with the same exact solid color. Remember a pocket squares function is to add some fun and interesting appeal to your outfit; going bold with a combination of yellow and blue is perfectly fine.
For patterns, evaluate whether you are wearing shapes like squares or circles, or horizontal or vertical lines. In most cases, horizontal and vertical lines don’t work well together. But if you have a pocket square with circles, squares, triangles or any other shape, it should look great with a stripped or patterned undershirt.
The style you wear your pocket square with is entirely up to you, but you will need to consider the shape and pattern of your pocket square. Match it along with the rest of your outfit to make it look clean and neat, and not just something you threw together. Now it’s time to take a look at how to fold a pocket square for the perfect occasion.
How To Fold A Pocket Square
There are a few different styles that you can use to fold a pocket square. Here is a list of each idea and the perfect occasion they can be worn in.
The puff-fold is probably the easiest way to wear a pocket square. It doesn’t scream manliness, considering any young child can throw a pocket square in their pocket, and pull out just enough to show style. However, it is still fun and can add a splash of style to your outfit. To achieve the puff-fold, pick up your handkerchief and pull it to a point. Once you have done so, fold the pointed end towards the ruffled area and then tuck that into your pocket.
The square fold takes a little bit more time, but not much. The great thing about the square fold is that it barely shows outside of the pocket, and leaves a bit of mystery as to what you have going on inside the breast pocket of your jacket. When wearing a square fold, no more than half an inch should show outside of your pocket, or else it will begin to sag and look quite messy.
The point fold is one of the most common ways to wear a pocket square. Probably because it is easy to do, but still looks great when done right. In order to achieve the point fold, fold your handkerchief into quarters. After placing the square into a diamond shape, fold the bottom up three quarters of the way to add stability to the design. Once you have done this, tuck just enough of the square into the pocket to maintain stability and remain visible.
The multipoint fold is not for beginners. Nor should it be worn on just any occasion. The multipoint fold should be considered for the best occasions and wardrobe requirements. This fold will result in multiple patterns in your handkerchief and will leave everyone around you asking you how you made it look so great. The secret to forming the multipoint fold is to fold the square in half along diagonal points. You’ll then pull the two ends over one another to make four points. Remember that you will stability with the fold, to assure that your multipoint fold doesn’t turn into a puff-fold throughout your event.
Maintaining your pocket square is a bit different than other men’s accessories and garments. Assuming you have a quality pocket square made of quality fabric, you won’t want to throw it in the washing machine with your other clothes. With that said, if consider the infrequency of wearing a pocket square, you might not be certain as to how often you should clean it. The best way to clean a pocket square is to simply take it to a dry-cleaner every so often to have them maintain it for you. As is the case with most places, they will know how to properly clean and handle your pocket squares.
In the case that you decide to wash your own pocket square, try and do so with hand washing and never, ever, dry your pocket square in the drying machine. If it doesn’t ruin in the first time, it will surely do so over time by fraying the corners and deteriorating the color.
Pocket squares are a great look, there’s no doubt about it. But as they become more mainstream, only the strong will survive when it comes to making a pocket square look proper and classy. These tips will keep you on the straight and narrow road when it comes to wearing a pocket square with your outfit, and make sure your style catches the eye of those around you.