Hey gents, looking for a way to look sharp without donning a constricting tie? Look no further than the pocket square. In olden days, European noblemen carried perfumed handkerchiefs to protect their noses from offensive odors. Pocket squares later evolved to serve a more aesthetic function, but were still handy for wiping up a spill or consoling a distraught lady. With the invention of disposable tissue however, pocket squares practically died out … until now.
These seemingly useless scraps of fabric are making a strong comeback, allowing a new generation of budding gentlemen to express their personal style and creativity.
- Know When to Fold ‘Em: Whether you choose a classic square fold, three-point crown or relaxed puff, the way you fold your pocket square matters. Experiment with different types of folds in various social situations to see which ones best represent your personality and mood. Check out Patrick Novotny’s YouTube channel for dozens of ways to fold a pocket square.
- Colors, Patterns & Textures: Different materials lend themselves better to certain folds – cotton pocket squares can provide more structure, while silk is more pliable and playful. Solid colors showcase complicated folds better, whereas those intricate pleats can be lost within a busy pattern. When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a plain white pocket square.
- Too Matchy-Matchy: Contrary to popular belief, your pocket square should NOT directly match your tie, let alone be the same fabric. Department stores often sell matching tie-and-square combos, but you must not fall for this trickery. No sirs, your pocket square should complement your shirt and tie, thereby creating more visual interest.
Men’s accessory shops like The Tie Bar, Weekend Casual and The Grunion Run offer affordable pocket squares in a wide assortment of bold colors and lively patterns. The next time you want to spruce up your boring blazer but don’t want to feel hampered by a necktie, try slipping a pocket square into that little chest pocket you never use and just wait and see how many heads you turn.
For more men’s style inspiration, follow me on Instagram at @the.hybrid.gent