We all love to feel and look dapper. Whatever your style might be, every classy man needs to have a nice suit or two, plus a couple of jackets. You know… To keep things versatile…
Just like a nice car, well-tailored suits need something that will give them character. Exactly like new wheels will look great on a car, a nice pocket square will do the same for a nice suit. It will make it stand out in a subtle way. Yes, everyone can go and order a nicely tailored suit. However, not every guy knows how to tastefully style a pocket square.
But no matter how cool your suit is, and how well tailored your shirt might be if you don’t know how to accessorise that outfit, then you’re lacking in your style game. Big time.
There aren’t really a lot of opportunities when it comes to styling your suit. You’ve got your watch, one or two bracelets maybe, a lapel pin if you are attending a wedding. However, the pocket square is often times overlooked. Shame really… It’s the most versatile accessory out there. You can wear one on a black tie event, and on a night out with ya’ boys.
Avoided by many men for unknown reasons, the pocket square is one of the best ways to style your outfit. It’s simple, inexpensive and the way you are going to wear one can be the perfect way to show off your personality.
Nonetheless, in order to know how to wear one, and how to style it without looking like a goon, you should know the ground basics behind the pocket square. So, that’s where we shall start from…
The History of The Pocket Square
The pocket square has its place in history as long as fancy clothing exist. People speculate that handkerchiefs used for decoration exist in men’s attire since Ancient Greece. But Achilles is a bit too old for us. That’s why the time frame we are going to take a look at starts from the 1400’s until now.
Just as almost any clothing piece in the past the pocket square too used to show the social status of a man. Understandably, only the richest men in the past could afford to wear handkerchiefs.
Often times, they were made from the most exquisite fabric of the time – silk.
It’s thought that the most beautiful embroideries came from Italy. History hints that even the Medici family might have imported them into France. We all know that French people appreciate the nice things in life…
Fast forwarding a couple of centuries to 19-th century, the two piece suit becomes the go-to outfit for most men and they had to find a place to keep their handkerchiefs without getting them dirty. The only logical place was a pocket that wasn’t used that often. The breast pocket of the jacket. Inevitably, that was the choice of many men.
With the beginning of the 20-th century, men started to experiment with different folding techniques. More diversity in fabrics came to the market and now there were handkerchiefs made from silk, linen and cotton.
One thing led to another and now we have the pocket square in it’s latest fashion. Trough the years it had it’s up’s and down’s but in the latest years we see the pocket square are coming back in fashion.
How to Style a Pocket Square
The beauty of the pocket square is that you can style it in numerous different ways. It’s your choice how to fold the pocket square and there aren’t really any constrictions. Yes, if you are going to a funeral you might want to go with the classic fold. The same goes for black tie and white tie events. Probably these are the two times where you should go with a more conservative style. Anything else it’s okay to go on and show your personality.
Now, talking on styling a pocket square, we should really talk trough some things.
First thing is matching.
Learning how to combine your pocket square with the rest of your outfit is what really shows the world your knowledge on style. Almost all stores offer packs of tie + pocket square that are with the same pattern. Easy right? Wrong! The last thing that you should do is have a matching pocket square with a matching tie.
Matching your pocket square to your tie is okay. What isn’t okay is rocking them with the same pattern and colour. The right way is to match the handkerchief in the realm of colour shades and complimenting patterns.
Having trouble deciding what with what to match? I do understand you. Most of the posts online are full of complex explanations of colour schemes and how they combine. I’m just as equally confused as you when I read them…
But no worries! Understanding how colours work in style has nothing to do with understanding the complexity of colour. Most of the times you’ll find out what works together by experimenting and trying out new combinations. If that doesn’t work then stick with solid colours. It’s a foolproof way to rock a pocket square stylishly.
However, always follow the rule and stick with a white handkerchief if the event is formal.
There are more than 50 ways to fold your pocket square! Of course some of them are more complicated , just like with ties. Here is a beautiful infographic from tie-a-tie.net
Although all of these are extremely beautiful, in your day-to-day use you are going to use around maximum three or four different folds. Even with the things that we discussed so far you still might have some difficulties choosing a fold. Here are my three go-to’s and also my favourite.
- The Presidential
It’s the most common and also the easiest. Stick to the presidential in more formal events. It’s also a no brainer when yo have difficulties choosing the exact fold. It’s minimal, easy, and timeless.
- The Peak Pocket
If you are going for a more casual look then this should be your choice. I’m pretty fond of this fold for all my casual outfits. It has become my go-to actually. It’s another pretty easy fold.
- Two Tip up
The fold that you should use with all dressier outfits. Unlike the presidential it’s gonna stand out. This makes it the perfect choice if you want to add a bit of a personal touch to a more conservative outfit.
Some rules to follow
- The pocket square is not meant for you to blow your nose in it.
The square is meant for showing purposes only. If you use it to blow your nose in it then you should keep it in your inner pocket.
- Don’t over-do it.
Yes, the pocket square should accent your outfit, but it shouldn’t overtake it. Instead think of the pocket square as a compliment for an outfit. Make it subtle, yet noticeable.
- Don’t match it.
We mentioned it above. If you want to keep the nice looks make sure you don’t match your pocket square to your tie. You should complement it.Ex: If you rock a solid blue pocket square you can complement it with a white polka dotted pocket square.
- Consider the dress code.
If you are going to the office keep things a bit more subtle. It’s easy to over-do it without even realizing. Again, if you ever feel unsure what fold to choose go with the simple presidential.
In my opinion, the pocket square is the most versatile way to show your personality trough style. If you are going to (and you should) wear a pocket square then make sure you know the basics and the rules of styling.
Any of you that might be unsure if they should add a pocket square to their daily outfits just take a look at this collection from our friends from Instagram.
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