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How to Fold a Pocket Square: 5 Ways

The pocket square has a long and storied history of being the quintessential accessory for the discerning gentleman. This simple, yet stylish item, is the perfect accompaniment for a tuxedo, suit jacket or sport coat, taking any boring outfit from drab to fab.

Best of all, they are available in a wide array of styles, shapes, materials, patterns and colors, allowing the dapper gentleman to highlight their personality. From simple and elegant, to vibrant and energetic, there is a pocket square ideal for virtually any person or event.

Despite their popularity, many men have trouble with how to properly fold a pocket square. Fret not, in this guide we’ll provide you with simple “how-to” instructions taking you from start to finish and helping you master the art of folding a pocket square in no time.

But before we dive into the specifics, let’s cover a few other fundamentals that will affect how you fold your pocket square.

It’s not Just a Cliché, Size Does Matter

Surprisingly or not, the size of your pocket square will play a big role in the fold and type of style you can achieve. For example, silk is light and thin, meaning that any square smaller than around 14-16” will tend to have less bulk, making it prone to slipping down into your suit or jacket pocket (not ideal). For those squares made from thin, light material, consider sticking with sizes around 14-18”, or seeking out fold styles that involve addental overlapping folds to create enough bulk to hold in place.

Pro Tip: in a worst-case scenario you can use a low profile fabric clip on the inside of your pocket to keep the pocket square in place without having the clip visible to others. 

What Occasions are Appropriate to Wear a Pocket Square?

In historical context, the pocket square generally made its appearance at formal engagements and dinner parties. Yet, in modern times the pocket square is more versatile, with plenty of scope and room to experiment with both the occasion and arrangement of this accessory.

Pocket Squares are Commonly Worn With:

  • Jackets
  • Sports coats
  • Suits
  • Tuxedos
  • Vests

As for the occasion, the sky is the limit. There isn’t really an occasion when they would be overtly inappropriate. Use your judgement and good sense. For example, a day at the beach or pool party might not be the best place to wear a suit.

Why Bother with Pocket Squares?

  1. Bring your suit, shirt, tie and vest together perfectly complementing the ensemble
  2. Liven up your outfit with a bit of color
  3. Add a touch of elegance and sophistication
  4. Helps you easily “dress up” an outfit
  5. Affordable and high-impact
  6. Get more out of your wardrobe (ex. The same suit can be worn daily but accessorizing with a different pocket square can give you a different look each time)
  7. Adds personal style to what may otherwise be a dull uniform looking suit

How to Fold Pocket Squares

Option #1: Elegant, Timeless, Classic and Sleek

Commonly referred to as the “Presidential Fold”, this style is perfect for formal black-tie events.

How to Execute this Fold:

  1. Lay out the pocket square on a clean level surface
  2. Fold the fabric in half
  3. Now fold one side up (how far will depend on the depth of your jacket pocket)
  4. Gently stuff the folded pocket square into your breast pocket, allowing about ¼” to remain visible.

Option #2: The “One Tip Up” Fold

Quite popular in its own right, this style suits virtually any dress code and presents a triangular tip protruding out of the pocket.

How to Execute this Fold:

  1. Place the unfolded pocket square on a level even surface
  2. Fold a single corner to produce two overlapping and equal triangles
  3. Next, fold one side of the triangle inwards
  4. Repeat this for the opposite side
  5. Gently place the folded pocket square in your breast pocket

Option #3: A Unique Fold with Character

Looking for something a bit out of the ordinary? This unique design, sometimes referred to as a “two tips up” fold, might be just what you were looking for. Ideal for any color or pattern, this style is often a good choice for a casual-sleek attire and generally isn’t advised for formal events.

How to Execute this Fold:

  1. Lay your pocket square out on a flat surface
  2. Fold a single side point to point so that the result is two equally overlapping triangles (you may want to play with one triangle tip a bit higher than the other)
  3. Next, fold one side in
  4. Repeat for the opposite side
  5. Place the resulting pocket square in your breast pocket

Option #4: The Aficionado’s Fold

Commonly referred to as a “crown fold” or “three tips up” fold, this style is ideal for both colored and patterned squares. It can be worn with formal attire, but may be better suited for pairing with a sports coat or blazer jacket.

How to Execute this Fold:

  1. Spread out your square on an even surface
  2. Fold a single side inward to create two triangles (two tips)
  3. Create the third and final tip by folding one side inward enough to create a “base” to hold the pocket square in place
  4. Repeat with the opposite side
  5. Place in the breast pocket

Option #5: The “Puff Fold”

A casual style, this fold is best accompanied with a business casual or sleek outfit. It is also better suited to be used with patterned pocket squares (polka dots work well).

How to Execute this Fold:

  1. Lay out the square on a flat surface
  2. Pinch the square near the center and pick up
  3. Slide the fabric through your other hand to condense
  4. Flip the pocket square upside down
  5. Stuff in the breast pocket

Enjoy the Wonderful World of Pocket Squares

Pocket squares are a timeless classic accessory that can upgrade the look and style of virtually any man (or woman). Follow the tips in this guide to find and execute the perfect style for your next night or day out.