How to Fold a Pocket Square: 4 For Every Occasion (Plus Examples)

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The pocket square is a classic staple of menswear. Learn how to wear and fold your pocket squares with confidence to level-up your personal style.

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What is a Pocket Square?

A pocket square is a decorative handkerchief that peeks out of your suit jacket or blazer’s top pocket. They’re typically 10 to 17-inch squares made of light-weight silk, linen or cotton.

They’re often brightly colored with elaborate patterns and high-quality ones have their edges hemmed by hand.

Why Wear a Pocket Square?

Pocket squares can be worn instantly upgrade any suit or blazer. They can add a touch of personality to an otherwise drab business suit or complement the colors of a casual suit. They add a touch of polish and elegance to show it’s not just business as usual.

You can wear a pocket square without a necktie for a splash of casual elegance. If you wear a pocket square with a necktie or bow tie, make sure they match. If you’re uncertain, the easiest way is to buy them together in a set.

How Did Pocket Squares Get Started?

Pocket squares gained popularity in the 1920s, when it became popular to put a decorative scarf in the breast pocket and handkerchiefs used for practical purposes were relegated to the trouser pocket.

The phrase “one for show, one for blow” derives from this stylistic influence. Obviously distinguishing between the two was critical so pocket squares became highly colorful and detailed.


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How to Fold a Pocket Square

You can, of course, buy pre-folded pocket squares. However, that severely limits the scarves you can choose from and how he wears them. There are a number of ways to fold pocket squares that range from casually elegant to white-tie formal. A gentleman quickly discovers the value of being able to confidently fold his own.

While these instructions offer a guideline, please adjust for the individual cuts of your suits. Ideally, you want the pocket square to fill the width of your breast pocket while also sliding inside easily. (This will get easier to estimate with practice).


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Puff Fold Pocket Square

Best for Casual Elegance: Night out, date, or leisure

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First of all, you might not need to fold your pocket square at all. Cary Grant is a great example of stuffing a loose pocket square in the pocket, arranging it rakishly and pulling off a suave look most of us can only dream of.

Just make sure to do this with a soft, thin fabric like silk so it folds gently and doesn’t create an awkward bulge in your breast pocket.

  1. Lay the pocket square flat and pick it up by the middle.
  2. Hold it in the middle, allowing the folds to fall naturally.
  3. Gently gather the ends together and slip them into your breast pocket so only the top “puff” of fabric shows.
  4. While the goal of this look is effortless elegance, you’ll likely want to arrange it slightly to get the desired effect.

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 Square-Fold / Presidential Pocket Square

Best for Formal Professional Wear: Job interview, work, or funerals

If you’re looking for a button-down look, the square-fold or Presidential is the easiest and best. This is the most conservative way to wear a pocket square and is most appropriate for serious formal occasions like job interviews, conservative workplaces, or even funerals.

The goal is to have a thin color line from your pocket square just barely peeking out of your pocket.

  1. Lay pocket square flat and fold it in half.
  2. Measure the width of your breast pocket and fold in half again to be slightly smaller than the breast pocket.
  3. Fold the height of the pocket square on itself again so it’s short enough to fit into your pocket.
  4. Slide the pocket square into the breast pocket, allowing just a narrow sliver of color to peek out.

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How To Fold A One-Point Pocket Square

Best for Formal Social Occasions: Wedding, date night, black-tie events

A one-point fold is a bit bolder, creating a triangle of color pointing up out of your breast pocket. It’s perfect for formal social occasions such as weddings, fancy date nights, or black-tie events. Folding is done on the horizontal axis so it may seem slightly more complex but you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

  1. Lay square out flat and fold it in half diagonally creating a triangle pointing up.
  2. Take the left side of the triangle and fold it one-third of the way in towards the middle.
  3. Take the right side of the triangle and again fold one-third way in towards the middle.
  4. The scarf should look like an arrow with a point in the middle and straight sides.
  5. Slide the pocket square into your breast pocket with the point going upwards. You can adjust how much is showing for a more conservative or more conspicuous look.
pocket-square-wedding

How To Fold A Two-Point Pocket Square

Best for Formal Social Occasions: Wedding, date night, black-tie events

Mastered the one-point fold and want more? The two-point fold is a slight variation that looks much more complex than it actually is. The double-points soften the look and it’s popular both for formal events and for professionals.

  1. Lay square out flat and fold it in half diagonally — however instead of folding it exactly straight, fold it slightly off-center so the edges at the top are slightly askew and do not line up.
  2. Take the left side of the triangle and fold it one-third of the way in towards the middle.
  3. Take the right side of the triangle and again fold one-third way in towards the middle.
  4. The scarf should look similar to the single point arrow but with two peaks of fabric in the middle.
  5. Slide the pocket square into your breast pocket with the point going upwards. You can adjust how much is showing for a more conservative or more conspicuous look.
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