Pocket Square Etiquette: A Guide to Wearing and Pairing with Suits

Introduction: The pocket square is a small yet impactful accessory that can elevate the sophistication and style of a suit. Whether you’re attending a formal event or want to add a touch of flair to your everyday attire, knowing how to wear and pair a pocket square can make a significant difference. In this article, we will explore pocket square etiquette, offering guidelines on wearing and pairing this stylish accessory with your suits.

  1. Understanding the Pocket Square: A pocket square is a small, square piece of fabric that is folded and placed in the breast pocket of a suit jacket. It adds a pop of color, texture, and personality to your overall ensemble. Pocket squares come in various fabrics, including silk, cotton, linen, and wool, each offering a different look and feel.
  2. Choosing the Right Pocket Square: Consider the occasion and the overall color scheme of your outfit when selecting a pocket square. For formal events, such as weddings or black-tie affairs, silk pocket squares in solid or subtle patterns are a classic choice. For more casual occasions or creative ensembles, you can experiment with bolder colors, patterns, or textured fabrics.
  3. Coordination and Contrast: When pairing a pocket square with your suit, aim for a coordinated yet contrasting look. Choose a pocket square that complements one or more colors in your outfit, but avoid matching it exactly to your tie or shirt. The goal is to create visual interest and depth. For example, if your suit has shades of blue, consider a pocket square with a complementary color, such as a deep burgundy or a patterned design that incorporates blue tones.
  4. Folding Techniques: There are numerous folding techniques to give your pocket square a distinctive appearance. Popular folds include the classic square fold, the puff fold, the two-point fold, and the three-point fold. Experiment with different folding styles to find the one that suits your personal taste and complements your outfit.
  5. Placement and Proportions: When inserting the pocket square into your suit jacket pocket, leave a portion of the fabric exposed, typically around ¼ to ½ inch. This slight peek creates a polished and intentional look. Adjust the height and angle of the pocket square to achieve the desired effect. It’s important to find the right balance between a neatly folded pocket square and a relaxed, effortless appearance.
  6. Consider the Pocket Square as an Accent: While the pocket square is meant to draw attention, it should not overpower your overall look. It should act as a tasteful accent, adding an element of style without becoming the centerpiece of your outfit. Balance the pocket square with other accessories, such as your tie, lapel pin, or cufflinks, to create a cohesive and well-put-together appearance.
  7. Care and Maintenance: Proper care is essential to ensure your pocket square remains in pristine condition. Follow the care instructions provided by the fabric manufacturer. Most pocket squares can be gently hand-washed or dry-cleaned when necessary. Iron or steam them to remove wrinkles before each use.

Conclusion: Wearing a pocket square is an art that allows you to showcase your individual style and attention to detail. By understanding pocket square etiquette, you can confidently incorporate this accessory into your suit ensembles. Remember to choose a pocket square that complements your outfit, experiment with different folding techniques, and maintain a balanced and proportionate appearance. With the right pocket square, you can add a touch of elegance and charm to your suits, leaving a lasting impression wherever you go.

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