Accessories are well known to be a separator of the good and the great. A well-accessorised look is the mark of a truly stylish gent and the pocket square is chief among the accessories at their disposal.
The pocket square (or handkerchief) has its origins as a practical accessory, although in the modern day it is principally used for a more decorative purpose. Trust me, blowing your nose or wiping champagne with a silk handkerchief is not going to end well or have you in good stead.
As a decorative accessory, the pocket square adds an undeniable touch of elegance and individuality. It can be used to spruce up even the most drab of suits.
A flash of gold paisley against the backdrop of a navy blazer brings an extra dimension to your party wear as much as a simple white handkerchief can bring together your white shirt and charcoal suit in the boardroom.
What makes the pocket square most appealing is not just its ability to elevate an outfit, but in the manner in which it does.
Elegance aside, the humble pocket square garners attention without being flashy, drawing nods of approval from those who know and satisfying compliments from those less sartorially inclined.
Of course knowing how to utilise and fold a pocket square is your first hurdle in reaching this bastion of refinement.
Don’t panic if you’re a novice when it comes to the folding – our basics boss Mr Matt Allinson has once again preached words of wisdom on this subject in Part 33 of his essential guide.
Paul McGregor, our good friend from Brighterman.com and regular FashionBeans contributor, has also had his say on this must have and prepared a great video guide on how to master some simple folds that will get you started:
The natural home for any pocket square is in the breast pocket of your blazer or suit jacket. It finishes off the uniform of the modern gent with aplomb and brings with it a touch of sartorial excellence.
If your line of work is one that requires the wearing of a suit, a pocket square shows that you’ve taken that extra bit of care in your appearance and that you’re ready for business. For work, try not to get too bold with your pocket square, unless you own the place in which case feel free to exhibit a bit of panache with your pocket.
A blue or navy suit is a great go-to and also opens up a world of possibilities to play with pocket squares. Pale pink can be a little daring but exhibits confidence and is not overtly flashy – perfect for the office. A navy tie works well with the pink and the subdued blue of the suit, again sticking to the conservative side of things.
Finally finish off with some bold polka-dot socks and some classy brown lace-ups.
A pocket square should never be confided to the office. Work a blazer into your casual wardrobe and make use of your pocket squares on the weekend. Tweed is a great choice for an off-duty blazer and gives you an opportunity to mix up textures.
Layer a tweed blazer over an on-trend navy roll neck and pair with some classic stone chinos. Finish off your look with some suede boots and accessorise with a red print pocket square and a flat cap for that extra bit of country chap.
Your pocket squares don’t have to be left solely for when you break out the blazer. They are much more versatile; anything with a breast pocket is a target.
From shirts to denim jackets, waistcoats and even your overcoats can all be brought up a style notch with a bit of pocket decoration. The trick is to simply be wise with your choice of fold.
The lookbook below can give you some help and inspiration on which folds to use and when.
A denim jacket is a great piece to add some individuality to with a pocket square.
Layer a classic wash denim jacket over a plain white t-shirt and dare double denim with some slim black jeans. Stuff a design pocket square into the left breast pocket, accessorise with a bracelet and top the look off with some classic desert boots.
Another piece of outwear that can benefit from a dash of panache in the breast pocket is the wool overcoat. A camel overcoat is right on-trend and it would be rude not to take advantage of a spare pocket with your own stamp of individuality.
Navy polka dots compliment the rich camel colour and when layered over your work wear, you’re guaranteed to be the best dressed in the office.
That just about wraps up our definitive guide to the pocket square and all that is left is for us to garner your opinion.
As always, let us know in the comments below and if the debate gets too heated, you can take it over to our forum!
As this article is over a year old, the comments are now closed.
If you have a specific question about one of the points raised in the article, why not join our free fashion & style forum and start a thread? The FashionBeans community will always do their best to help you out, and our writers also frequent the forums regularly.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with us on our contact us page.