Although small in size, the pocket square is a key component in men’s formal wear. Also known as a pocket handkerchief, it consists of a thin square-shaped piece of fabric that’s neatly folded and placed inside the breast pocket of a suit jacket. Pocket squares are used to enhance a man’s outfit by introducing a new color. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to wear them.
History and Origins of the Pocket Square
It’s unknown who exactly is responsible for pioneering the pocket square. However, historians believe this now-popular men’s accessory originated several thousand years ago out of ancient Greece. Back then, Greek noblemen would carry handkerchiefs sprinkled with perfume in their pockets. The trend slowly but surely spread to other regions, including Europe and eventually North America. Today, the pocket square remains a staple accessory worn by men of all ages and backgrounds.
Choosing the Right Pocket Square
With so many different styles of pocket squares available on the market, choosing one can be a daunting task. You can find pocket squares available in single colors, patterns, prints and more. First and foremost, though, you need to consider the suit that you’ll be wearing it with. A good rule of thumb is to choose a pocket square that matches the color of your suit tie. If you are wearing a navy blue tie, a similar navy-colored pocket square should work well.
The key thing to remember when choosing a pocket square is that it should feature a different color than your jacket. If the pocket square is the same color as your jacket, the two items will blend together – and not in a good way. Choose a pocket square that flows cohesively with your suit, but has a different color than your jacket.
How to Fold a Pocket Square
Unfortunately, you can’t just tuck the pocket square into the breast pocket of your jacket and call it a day. You might be surprised to learn that there are several different folding techniques designed specifically for the pocket square, some of which are simple and others more complex. The Presidential fold, for instance, is regarded as the easiest way to fold a pocket square. Lay the pocket square out on a flat surface, fold one side in, now fold the bottom half over the top. Congratulations, you’ve just folded a pocket square using the Presidential fold! Now neatly tuck into the left-hand side of your jacket’s breast pocket and you are ready to rock.
Of course, there are several other folding techniques for pocket squares, including the Westo Four Point, TV Fold, One-point, Two-point, Three-point, Four-Point, Cagney, Puff (also known as Cooper), and Reverse Puff fold.