Introduction

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.

The Pocket Square Look Book

Men's Pocket Square Lookbook

How to Fold A Pocket Square

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:

Pocket Square Picks
  • Asos Paisley Pocket SquareAsos Paisley Pocket Square
  • Reiss Mayfield Polka Dot Handkerchief ChocolateReiss Mayfield Polka Dot Handkerchief Chocolate
  • Topman Toffee Pocket SquareTopman Toffee Pocket Square
  • Reiss County Floral Print Handkerchief LatteReiss County Floral Print Handkerchief Latte
  • Austin Reed Navy Daisy Silk HandkerchiefAustin Reed Navy Daisy Silk Handkerchief
  • Ar Red Navy And White HandkerchiefAr Red Navy And White Handkerchief
  • Topman Blue Geo Print Pocket SquareTopman Blue Geo Print Pocket Square
  • Drakes Polka-dot Silk Pocket SquareDrakes Polka-dot Silk Pocket Square
  • Forzieri Ken Scott Paisley Printed Silk Pocket SquareForzieri Ken Scott Paisley Printed Silk Pocket Square
  • Richard James Wavy Print Silk Pocket SquareRichard James Wavy Print Silk Pocket Square
  • Drakes Paisley Print Pocket SquareDrakes Paisley Print Pocket Square
  • Z Zegna Paisley Pocket SquareZ Zegna Paisley Pocket Square
How to Wear: Blazer Pocket
Look 1

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.

  • Topman White Smart Long Sleeve ShirtTopman White Smart Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Asos Slim Fit Check Suit In BlueAsos Slim Fit Check Suit In Blue
  • Richard James Classic Silk-satin TieRichard James Classic Silk-satin Tie
  • Drakes Silk-twill Pocket SqaureDrakes Silk-twill Pocket Sqaure
  • Paul Smith Accessories Navy Polka Dot SocksPaul Smith Accessories Navy Polka Dot Socks
  • Lanvin Classic Stitch Lace-up ShoesLanvin Classic Stitch Lace-up Shoes
Look 2

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.

  • Chucs Cashmere Rollneck SweaterChucs Cashmere Rollneck Sweater
  • Topman Camel Tweed Skinny BlazerTopman Camel Tweed Skinny Blazer
  • Dockers Stone Classic Twill D1 Straight ChinosDockers Stone Classic Twill D1 Straight Chinos
  • Asos Geo Print Pocket SquareAsos Geo Print Pocket Square
  • River Island Flat CapRiver Island Flat Cap
  • Red Wing Tan Suede Work Chukka BootsRed Wing Tan Suede Work Chukka Boots
The Alternative Pocket Square

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.

The Alternative Pocket Square Look Book

The Men's Alternative Pocket Square Lookbook

How to Wear: The Alternative Pocket Square
Look 1

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.

  • Asos T-shirt With Raw Edge Crew NeckAsos T-shirt With Raw Edge Crew Neck
  • Topman Denim Sanderson Western JacketTopman Denim Sanderson Western Jacket
  • Austin Reed Burgundy Design Silk HandkerchiefAustin Reed Burgundy Design Silk Handkerchief
  • Nudie Jeans Grim Tim Black Slub JeansNudie Jeans Grim Tim Black Slub Jeans
  • Luis Morais Black Diamond And Beaded BraceletLuis Morais Black Diamond And Beaded Bracelet
  • Clarks Originals Sand Suede Desert BootsClarks Originals Sand Suede Desert Boots
Look 2

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.

  • Burton Light Blue Slim ShirtBurton Light Blue Slim Shirt
  • Topman Three Piece Steel Blue Gable Skinny SuitTopman Three Piece Steel Blue Gable Skinny Suit
  • Reiss Cutler Knitted Silk Tie CoralReiss Cutler Knitted Silk Tie Coral
  • Charvet Polka Dot Silk Pocket SquareCharvet Polka Dot Silk Pocket Square
  • J.crew Mayfair Wool-blend CoatJ.crew Mayfair Wool-blend Coat
  • Kg By Kurt Geiger Anton Lace-up ShoesKg By Kurt Geiger Anton Lace-up Shoes
Conclusion

That just about wraps up our definitive guide to the pocket square and all that is left is for us to garner your opinion.

  • Are you a pocket square pro?
  • If so what is your favourite fold?
  • Or are you new to dressing your pocket?
  • What have your experiences been so far?

As always, let us know in the comments below and if the debate gets too heated, you can take it over to our forum!

Alex.