The pocket square dates back centuries, but its usage has lapsed somewhat in recent times. While used in previous centuries as perfumed squares of fancy cloth for noblemen to avoid the stench of the masses, these days they are the epitome of sharp and considered style for the suit-clad gentleman. Should you wear a pocket square with your bespoke suit? Hemingway Tailors investigates.
Having fallen out of fashion, anyone rocking a pocket square will likely come under some scrutiny and may even face accusations of vanity. However, we say that self-confidence is the most appealing quality in a sharp dresser.
The only other con of wearing a pocket square is potentially getting the style wrong. Go too formal in an informal situation and you’ll look overdone, while opting for too informal a look at a formal occasion will make you look sloppy instead of stylish. It’s a fine art.
A pocket square can lift a tailored bepoke suit, or give new life to an old outfit. The accessory is also incredibly versatile, boasting numerous colour options and fold techniques.
The unique touch of a pocket square shows personality and flair, even with the most muted tones and understated patterns. It demonstrates an element of creativity, and will often balance out the hard lines of a sharp suit with a slightly softer finish to make the wearer more approachable.
If you have invested in a bespoke handmade suit, a pocket square will really show off the finer details of a quality outfit, too. Picking out colours in the tweed or matching fabric types will enhance the suit’s appearance. Finishing off a handmade suit with a simple pocket square will not so much scream quality as quietly, persistently suggest it in a very gentlemanly way…
When should it be worn?
We suggest you are daring and wear a pocket square whenever you have donned a suit jacket or blazer with a breast pocket. However, most men will benefit from a pocket square at least with formal business suits, and of course at formal attire events. A day-to-day office suit would look sharp with pocket square flair, if you want people to sit up and take notice of your dedication to style.
How should one be worn?
If you decide to wear a pocket square, there are a few simple rules to follow in order to get it right. Too flouncy and you may seem foppish, but too understated and you miss the creative benefit of wearing one in the first place.
- 1. Never match exactly to your tie
If there is one absolute golden rule for pocket squares, this is it. While it is possible to purchase matching tie and pocket square sets, these should be avoided. They limit your creative options, which negates the point of a pocket square in the first place.
2. Pick out a few colours to complement
Whether taking a key colour from your tie, matching to your shirt or finding a couple of interesting colours in the tweed blend of your suit, pick a few you would like to accent and match your pocket square to these. If done well, the square will highlight the key colours in your suit without being garish.
3. Match your fabrics to suit and season
Lighter fabrics such as linen are more suitable for summer outfits and sports blazers, while heavier wool pocket squares are better for the winter months and for formal suits.
4. Learn at least two folds
Folding a pocket square is not rocket science, but it can take a bit of practice for clean lines. There are three key styles that are easy to learn:
- The Hollywood: A flat line, simply fold your pocket square into quarters and keep the edge sharp, a few centimetres above the pocket line.
- The Point: Fold opposite corners to the centre, then bring the remaining two points together. Place in the pocket with the fold downwards in the pocket.
- The Puff: lay the square flat, pinch the centre and lift up. Take the dangling four corners and place into the pocket, arranging the puff as you wish.
Pocket squares are always stylish, but many modern men are afraid to try them out. With our guide above, hopefully you’ll have the confidence to try out a flash of fashion with your new handmade suit, too.