Pocket Squares: Fabrics and Folds

by | Feb 25, 2011 | Image consulting for Men

What should your pocket square say about you?

From Artistic and Creative to Master and Commander, utilized the design and style detail of a pocket square to finish off your look.

I am often asked what are pocket squares, how are they different from handkerchiefs, what reason does a man wear one and how is it worn?
As a proper gentleman my father always carries a white linen or cotton handkerchief in his trouser pocket. Aside from blowing his nose, they have probably come in handy over the years in dozens of uses from spills to blood to tears.

When a handkerchief is used as an accessory to a suit, it becomes known as a pocket square. The material can still be the neatly folded cotton “hankie” or an Hermes silk paisley pouf.

White cotton or linen is traditional, and is always worn in a very crisp manner, folded into points or plainly across. It needs to “match” nothing, and is a stand alone visual detail. Colored cotton can be used in the same fashion, but with a summer cotton or linen suit. When the fabric is silk there are more options. A simple fold is acceptable, but there are many other looser options. Silk is no more formal than linen, but it is more creative, and can carry more visual energy.


Sam Hobers website has detailed step by step instructions of dozens of pocket square folds – very informative. Here are the most common.
The Presidential is the simplest, almost austere fold.

It is also the most conservative and well suited for a man in a fiduciary position.

Pointed pocket squares can be of linen or silk and of two, three, even four points.

The points must be absolutely perfect, and the subliminal message is exacting attention to detail. And the more points, the more strong the message.

Poufed pocket squares are silk only.

They give a business suit a softer, even feminine or romantic look – this is not “bad” for a man – it can be a way to relax or disarm his business opponent. It is also an easy way to transform a work day suit to a social or date suit after work.

See my other post:  Pocket Squares:  SIZE AND COLOR!

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