How to Fold a Pocket Square

Mastering the art of folding a pocket square is a skill that can elevate a gentleman or lady's formal attire to new heights of elegance. The pocket square, a small but significant accessory, has been a staple in the fashion of discerning individuals who appreciate the subtleties of sartorial refinement. With various methods available, from the understated flat fold to the more intricate four-point style, selecting the appropriate fold is crucial for matching the formality of the event and the wearer's personal style, whether it's with a green pocket square, a red pocket square or a white pocket square.

Understanding the different types of folds and their corresponding settings is essential for anyone looking to enhance their formal wear. Each fold carries its own message and level of flair; a flat fold might suit business occasions, while a puff fold adds a touch of dandy to casual events. The choice of fabric and colour can also impact the overall impression, with silk reflecting a luxurious sheen that's perfect for celebratory affairs, and cotton providing a crisp, clean edge more suitable for professional environments.

The techniques for folding a pocket square may initially seem daunting, but with practice, one can easily learn to create folds that add a layer of sophistication. Proper folding ensures that the pocket square sits neatly in the pocket without bulging or coming undone, completing an outfit with both grace and style. As an accessory that can communicate personality and attention to detail, mastering the fold of a pocket square is a skill that rewards with a polished and put-together appearance, irrespective of the occasion.

Basic Pocket Square Folds

Mastering a few basic pocket square folds can significantly enhance one's sartorial elegance. The following folds offer a range of styles from the understated to the flamboyant.

Classic Fold

The Classic Fold is synonymous with simplicity and sophistication. It is achieved by folding the pocket square flat into a rectangle to fit the width of the jacket's pocket, resulting in a clean, rectangular top edge.

One-Point Fold

For the One-Point Fold, one should fold the square diagonally, positioning the two bottom corners behind the top corner to create a single prominent peak that, when placed in the pocket, forms a concise triangle.

Two-Point Fold

The Two-Point Fold requires a second diagonal fold to create another peak next to the first one, offering a slightly more intricate look with two points emerging from the pocket.

Three-Point Fold

Building on the previous style, the Three-Point Fold adds another fold to produce a third peak, culminating in an elegant trefoil design that adds depth to the pocket square's appearance.

Puff Fold

The Puff Fold is a nonchalant but stylish option where the pocket square is laid flat, pinched from the centre and gathered loosely. It is then tucked into the pocket with the rounded puff visible.

Presidential Fold

Lastly, the Presidential Fold, also known as the Flat Fold, is the epitome of classic style. The square is folded horizontally to achieve a thin, straight line across the top of the pocket, embodying a sharp and clean look.

pocket square fold technique

Advanced Pocket Square Techniques

In the sophisticated realm of men's fashion, mastering advanced pocket square techniques is a sure way to inject flair and individuality into one's sartorial repertoire. These decorative folds are both functional and a staple of style, elevating the wardrobe with a touch of finesse.

Scallop Fold

The Scallop Fold adds a unique dimension to the traditional pocket square, resembling the undulating edges of a scallop shell. To achieve this look:

  1. Lay the pocket square flat.
  2. Fold one corner in, leaving a little gap from the centre.
  3. Fold the opposite corner similarly, slightly overlapping the first.
  4. Repeat with the remaining corners to create scalloped layers that sit well within the pocket.

Dunaway Fold

The Dunaway Fold breathes life into the usual pocket square display by presenting an effortless yet intricate appearance. Follow these steps:

  1. Start with the pocket square laid flat.
  2. Pinch the fabric at the centre and allow the corners to dangle loosely.
  3. Gather the dangling corners and neatly roll them around the central pinch.
  4. Tuck the rolled base into the pocket ensuring the “flower” sits prominently on top.

Origami Folds

Origami Folds transform the ordinary pocket square into an artwork, bestowing an origami-inspired twist to the classic accessory:

  • The Rose Fold

    1. Fold the pocket square diagonally, creating a triangle.
    2. Roll one corner in a spiral fashion to form the rose's centre.
    3. Tuck the spiral's end behind to secure.
  • The Bird Fold

    1. Fold the pocket square into a triangle.
    2. Fold the corners inwards to mimic wings.
    3. Adjust the folds to add volume and structure, resembling a bird.

These techniques require practice but once mastered, offer a final touch that transforms an ensemble from common to remarkable.

how to fold a pocket square

Pocket Square Size and Orientation

When selecting pocket squares, one must pay attention to size and orientation for the perfect fit and appearance. Traditionally, the sizes of pocket squares vary, but they generally measure from 30cm x 30cm to 42cm x 42cm. The ideal size often depends on the depth of the breast pocket of one's suit jacket or tuxedo. A pocket square that is too large can bulge, while one that is too small may not stay in position.

The proper orientation of a pocket square is vital in achieving a polished look. Prior to folding, the fabric is usually laid flat in a diamond or square orientation. For diamond orientation, one point faces downwards while another points upwards, forming the base for folds such as the puff fold. In contrast, a square orientation, where sides are parallel to the edges of the table, may be used for the classic presidential fold.

The fabric's orientation provides the foundation for different folding techniques, each suited to various formalities. For instance, a sharp, straight fold is generally preferred for business settings, while a casual gathering might allow for a more relaxed puff fold.

Here is a simple guide on how the pocket square should be placed:

  • Folded edge should be parallel to the breast pocket's opening.
  • Top edge of the pocket square should sit approximately 0.5 cm above the pocket line, ensuring visibility without overwhelming the overall ensemble.

In the context of fashion, mastering the size and orientation of pocket squares enhances one's attire, complementing both suit jackets and tuxedos with a touch of elegance and personality. Opting for the correct size and orientation is central to utilising pocket squares to their full potential.

Personalising Your Pocket Square Style

When incorporating a pocket square into one's attire, it is essential to consider personal style and the fashion statement they intend to make. A pocket square adds detail and personality to menswear, complementing the overall look.

Choosing the Right Colour:

  • Complement the Outfit: Select a pocket square that harmonises with the shirt or tie.
  • Contrasting Colours: For a bolder statement, choose a colour that contrasts yet coordinates with the primary outfit colours.

Folding Techniques: Personal style can be further expressed through different folds:

  • Traditional Fold: A classic and elegant choice that suits formal occasions.
  • One-Point Fold: Offers a subtle but stylish touch, ideal for businesswear.
  • Two-Point Fold: Adds a bit more flair and complexity, reflecting a keener eye for fashion detail.

Fabric Choice Matters:

  • Silk: Adds sheen and luxury, perfect for formal events.
  • Linen or Cotton: Offers a crisp appearance, suited for professional or casual looks.

Pattern Play:

  • Patterns allow for further expression of an individual's personality and style. A pocket square with a unique pattern can be a conversation starter and an element that truly sets a gentleman apart.

Mixing and matching these elements considering the occasion and personal preference allows the wearer to cultivate a signature style that stands out. One's choice of pocket square, from its colour and pattern to the fold and fabric, is a subtle nod to their attention to detail and dedication to personal aesthetics in menswear.

Incorporating Pocket Squares into Different Attires

When selecting a pocket square, one should consider the event and attire to ensure it complements the overall look. The right choice can elevate an outfit, balancing style with the formality of the occasion.

Casual Attire

For casual events, pocket squares add a touch of sartorial flair to otherwise simple ensembles. They can be styled more freely, with playful patterns and colours that stand out against a casual suit jacket. An effortless puff fold or two-point fold, where the fabric is casually brought together and placed in the breast pocket, suits relaxed gatherings and helps to express personal style without appearing overdone.

Business Attire

In a business context, pocket squares should be chosen to complement the suit and shirt without drawing undue attention. For business attire, consider a classic flat fold or a single-point fold which offers a clean and professional appearance. Neutral colours that match the shirt or tie ensure the pocket square enhances the suit's formality rather than distracts from it.

Business Attire Recommended Fold Colour
Traditional business suit Classic flat fold Neutral or matching tie
Contemporary business suit Single-point fold Complementary to the shirt

Formal Attire

At formal events, such as weddings or galas, pocket squares need to echo the sophistication of a tuxedo or formal suit. A silk pocket square with a presidential fold presents a crisp edge that aligns with the formality of a tuxedo's sleek lines. For black tie events, it's customary to choose a white pocket square, though the use of subtle patterns or textures can add depth to the fashion statement.

Formal Attire Recommended Fold Colour & Style
Tuxedo Presidential fold White, silk, minimal patterning
Wedding suit Three-point fold Colour coordinated with theme

By adhering to these guidelines, one can skilfully incorporate a pocket square into their attire for any occasion, improving their overall fashion presence.

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Written by

Victor Volynski

Victor is an expert in men's fashion, specializing in suits and accessories. With extensive knowledge in fashion, he combines creative and strategic insights. His experience with top fashion houses and designers enriches his writing, featured in leading fashion magazines, offering practical advice and insightful analysis.