There are those who find the pocket square to be a completely useless adornment. I’m not one of them. I believe that the chest pocket on a suit jacket or sports coat is there for a reason, and I intend to use it. Whether a simple hint of plain white linen or a bold pop of colorful silk, a pocket square is a quick and easy way to let the world know you’re a man who enjoys dressing with style, not just some guy who’s wearing a suit because he has to. Here are four ways to do it.
1. The “T.V.” Fold
The simplest and perhaps most formal way to wear a square is to opt for crisp white linen or cotton in a simple “T.V.” fold, named for the anchormen who wore it this way in the early days of television. The square is folded neatly, with only a small amount of straight edge showing above the pocket. This look is perfectly appropriate with dark business suits and formal wear, and is the easiest one for any man to pull off. The trick is to make sure that no more than half an inch shows, otherwise it looks out of proportion.
2. The Points Up
Wear a square folded in such a way that some of the points show above the pocket for a bit more style. Again, in plain white cotton or linen, this is a perfect fold for business attire. It’s a bit more rakish than the T.V. fold, but still not overly flashy. A colored or patterned square will always look good this way too, whereas a tight T.V. fold can seem a little too stiff.
3. The Puff
A somewhat more casual approach is to stuff the pointed end of the square into the pocket so that only a puff formed by the middle of the square shows. This tends to work best with heavier, more textured fabrics like tweeds or the Prince of Wales check pictured. A note too on color: In this photo, the blue background of the tie picks up the faint blue check in the suit fabric, while the hunter green square picks up the bits of green in the pattern of the tie. Pocket squares work best when they relate to the other items in the ensemble, rather than match too directly.
4. Puff and Points
Personally, my favorite way to wear a square is to stuff it in the pocket in such a way that a puff and some of the points show. This is the best look for squares printed in rich, dense patterns as it shows more of the pattern in a very small peek. A note here on pattern mixing: In this photo, a paisley square and checked jacket give depth and texture to a relatively simple, semi-casual outfit. When mixing patterns, always vary the scale. The large paisley contrasts the smaller checks, providing visual interest. Note, too, how something as simple as a lively square puts dash into a simple outfit with no tie. This combo would even work with jeans.
Pocket squares are a great way to add that one little touch to an outfit that separates you from the crowd. Once you get the hang of wearing them, you’re likely to find you’ll feel “unfinished” without one. Pockets were meant to be filled, even the one on your chest.
Photo credits: An Affordable Wardrobe
More from Giuseppe Timore