Pocket Square Guide | Pocket Square Folds, Occasions & Fabrics

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Ryan MacMorris

The Dark Knot carries a range of hand made silk and linen pocket squares, with distinctive, contrasting hand rolled edges.

Are you looking to add some flair to your wardrobe?  For that extra accessory that will add a splash of color and panache?

Welcome to the Pocket Square.

Pocket squares have long been the mark of a well dressed man. A full suit, tie, pocket square and hat for a long time were the minimum a man could wear out of the house.

Those days are obviously long gone, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from wearing a pocket square every so often, if not every time you go out with a blazer on. With that said though you want to look more like Don Juan or Don Draper than you do Chuck Norris with a bunch of mismatched pocket squares.

In order to pull that off you need to know more detail about Pocket Squares!  In this Pocket Square Guide, we will cover the following topics:

(1) When to wear a pocket square 

(2) How to wear a pocket square

(3) Pocket Square Fabrics.

When to wear a pocket square

The “when’ of how to wear a pocket square is most likely the most important part, or at least half the battle.

There are times and places that a pocket square is really fitting and times when they are not. The best rule to follow is that you will most likely be able to wear a pocket square anytime that you wear a blazer or sports jacket along with a button up shirt.Casual Jacket Pocket Square

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Anytime you are dressed less formally than that the pocket square will seem overly formal compared to the rest of your clothing.

There are also some instances when a pocket square can be close to mandatory. In extremely formal workplaces and things like weddings at least the simplest of white pocket squares is a necessity.

However, you will most likely need to coordinate your pocket square’s colors or color with those of the rest of your outfit or the color scheme of the wedding you are at. The Dark Knot’s guide on matching ties to pocket squares will be helpful here.

The Dark Knot's Berkshire Abstract Grey Tie with Pocket Square

The semi-casual pocket square can be a great fashion tool, but when worn together the pocket square and tie mean formality. If you are trying to stay more casual you need to choose between the tie and the pocket square in order to stay more casual. Contrary to popular belief, a tie can be worn casually and is a topic that we have covered in detail here.

How to wear a pocket square

Another important part of wearing a pocket square is picking out the one. There are just about as many patterns and colors of pocket squares out there as there are ties, so the amount of choices you have may astound you.

One of the first rules to choosing your pocket square is to make sure that it isn’t identical to your tie. Matching the color or colors of your tie to your pocket square is an easy way to bring your outfit together, just make sure they have different patterns if they are patterned.

Another choice of pocket square is the solid white or cream pocket square. The plain white dress shirt is a classic staple for many, but in some respects can be seen as a bit boring. The white pocket square adds a touch of brightness and brings a classic accessory to the outfit. 

Pocket Square Folds

While the color and pattern of your pocket square can say a lot about your fashion sense and color coordination skills you should also know how to fold or not fold your pocket square.

The Puff

The puff ‘fold’ is the easiest and most casual way to wear a pocket square. All you have to do is lay the pocket square flat out on a table and pinch it up from the center. Once you have achieved this gently tuck the corners of the pocket square into your jacket breast pocket.

puff pocket square fold

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Edged Puff

The Edged Puff is a variation of the Pocket Square Puff Fold, where the edges that are tucked into the breast pocket are now fold back up so they are showing behind the ‘puff’.  The Edged Puff is one of my favorite ways of wearing a pocket square as it shows color and style with both the puff and the pocket square edges being displayed.

Cream Paisley Silk Pocket Square

The Dark Knot's Cream Paisley Silk Pocket Square with an edged puff fold, showing distinctive hand rolled contrasting edges.

Square Fold

The Square Fold works well with linen or cotton pocket squares given that their fabric structure is slightly more rigid than silk, helping to keep the pocket square’s edges in place. Hence, a square fold is ideal for business / formal settings.

  1. Lay the pocket square flat.
  2. Fold the pocket square in half.
  3. Fold it in half again.
  4. Fold the bottom half of the square up about 70% of the way of the upper half of the square. Given that pocket square sizing can range from 13” to 22”, how many times you have to fold the square to get your desired look can vary!

Linen Checkered Pocket Square

The Dark Knot's Franklin Checkered Pocket Square with a Square Fold.

Single Point Fold

The single point fold is a classic fold that is extremely easy to learn and makes your pocket square look great without being too ostentatious. To fold your pocket square this way:

  1. Lay out the pocket square flat.
  2. Then you fold it in half once from opposing corners to form a triangle.
  3. Then you take one of the points along the longer side of the triangle and fold along that side to near the middle of that side of the triangle, about two thirds of the way along the length.
  4. Repeat the last step with the other side and you are ready to place it into your pocket.

Single Point Fold

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Single Point Fold

Pocket Square Single Point Fold

The great thing about the single point fold is that it is extremely similar to the two point fold. In order to do the two point fold you follow essentially the same instructions, but to start when folding your pocket square in half you do a messier fold and create two points for the top of the triangle instead of one.

Three Stair / Three Step Fold

The next and last pocket square fold that we’ll go over is the three steps or three stairs fold. This is for when you are really going formal with your pocket square or if you want to really make a statement with it. This fold is also one of the toughest to get right.

  1. To start you will fold your pocket square into a triangle like in the other folds.
  2. You will then fold one of those triangles back down in order to form a smaller triangle and an accordion like ridge.
  3. Then fold the triangle back up with another small gap between your last fold. The top of one of your triangles should be an inch or two from the tip of the others with an accordion style fold in the lower fold of the triangle.
  4. Do this same process once more and you are nearly done.
  5. Then you will fold your triangle in half so these ridges stay on the outside. And lastly you will fold the right and left third of the triangle together.
  6. Then you can place the pocket square into your pocket easily.

Pocket Square Three Stair Fold

Pocket Square Three Stair Fold

The Dark Knot's Lexington Abstract Blue / White in a Three Stair Fold.

Pocket Square Fabrics

When wearing a Pocket Square, paying attention to the fabric type can really make a difference in elevating your attire to another level.

Silk Pocket Squares

A Silk Pocket Square is the perfect addition to your formal wear clothing, as the sheen that comes with silk will give your outfit an injection of flair and vibrance. Just as silk neckties work perfectly with a suit, so do silk pocket squares!

Where the silk square lacks is that the edges are not as rigid as cotton or linen.  Hence, Silk Pocket Squares generally work best with a puff or edged puff fold.

For a look at our exquisite Silk Pocket Squares (30 Day Money Back Guarantee) with distinctive hand rolled contrasting edges, please click here.

Silk Pocket Square

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Cotton Pocket Squares

Cotton Pocket Squares have more rigidity than their silk counterparts, and so are best used for very formal occasions.  The stiff edges allow for more intricate folds that show off the squares corners and edges, which can add a sense of elegance to one’s outfit.

cotton pocket square

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Linen Pocket Squares

Linen Pocket Squares fall somewhere in between Silk and Cotton.  As a result, while their edges have some rigidity, the fabric is also soft enough to be worn with a puff fold.  Linen Squares are therefore your most versatile as they can be worn with simple puff folds typically reserved for silk or more intricate folds often used with cotton!

For a look at our array of beautifully hand made linen pocket squares with distinctive hand rolled contrasting edges (30 Day Money Back Guarantee) please click here.

Linen Pocket Square

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And that's a wrap for this one! I hope that you have enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!

To view The Dark Knot's range of exquisite hand made Silk & Linen Pocket Squares, please click here.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our Tie & Accessories Starter Kits, where we will help you match ties and pocket squares (and lapel flowers if needed!) to your suits and shirts.

The Dark Knot's Ties & Accessories Starter Kits are a great way to build up your wardrobe or get it replenished.  But before I do that, I would like to give you some background on our Starter Kits and why I think they are of so much value both to you and us as a brand. Please read more here, where you can gain insight into our brand and product offering, as well as 20% off on top of existing discounted prices!

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