Pocket Square Etiquette: Dos and Don'ts

While pocket squares add a touch of elegance and personality to any outfit, there's an underlying etiquette to their selection, folding, and wearing. Observing these unwritten rules can enhance your overall appearance, ensuring that this stylish accessory complements rather than detracts from your look. Here are the essential dos and don'ts of pocket square etiquette, guiding you to wear this classic accessory with confidence and finesse.

Do: Coordinate, Don't Match

  • Do: Choose a pocket square that complements the colors or patterns in your outfit, such as picking up a secondary color in your tie or shirt.
  • Don't: Match your pocket square exactly to your tie or other accessories. This can make your ensemble look overly coordinated and lacks creativity.

Do: Consider the Occasion

  • Do: Select a pocket square appropriate for the occasion. A white silk pocket square might be perfect for black-tie events, while a casual linen one suits more laid-back settings.
  • Don't: Wear overly bold or novelty pocket squares to formal events where subtlety and sophistication are key.

Do: Master a Few Folds

  • Do: Learn and master a few different pocket square folds. The classic flat fold suits formal occasions, while a puff fold can add a relaxed touch to casual outfits.
  • Don't: Rely on overly complicated folds that can look fussy or out of place, especially in professional settings.

Do: Embrace Texture and Pattern

  • Do: Experiment with different textures and patterns to add depth to your outfit. A textured wool pocket square can add interest to a smooth suit, and a patterned silk one can brighten up a solid-colored ensemble.
  • Don't: Choose patterns or textures that clash with your outfit, making it look disjointed.

Do: Ensure Proper Placement

  • Do: Make sure your pocket square is neatly placed and doesn't protrude excessively from the pocket. About a quarter to a half-inch visibility is generally ideal.
  • Don't: Stuff your pocket square into the pocket haphazardly, as this can look sloppy and detract from your overall appearance.

Do: Use a Pocket Square for Its Intended Purpose

  • Do: Wear the pocket square as a decorative accessory meant to enhance your outfit.
  • Don't: Use your pocket square as a handkerchief for personal hygiene. If you need a handkerchief, carry a separate one for that purpose.

Do: Reflect Your Personal Style

  • Do: Choose pocket squares that reflect your personal style and confidence. Whether you prefer classic elegance or modern flair, let your pocket square speak to your individual taste.
  • Don't: Feel compelled to wear a pocket square just for the sake of it. If it doesn't feel right or doesn't align with your personal style, it's okay to forego it.

Pocket square etiquette is not about rigid rules but about understanding how this accessory can best complement your attire and occasion. By following these dos and don'ts, you can ensure that your pocket square adds the perfect finishing touch to your ensemble, reflecting your attention to detail and sartorial sophistication.