How to fold a pocket square

Welcome to my pocket square folding guide where I am showing you the 5 most basic and classic ways to wear your pocket squares. For those of you who are looking for more eccentric folds, also check out my 50 ways to fold a pocket square feature on my blog. If you haven’t tried accessorizing your suit, shirt, and tie with a pocket square then the seven reasons below should be convincing enough to give it a try:

  1. A pocket square adds nice color and more live to suit, shirt, and tie.
  2. The pocket square is a perfect complement to your necktie.
  3. A pocket square instantly adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to your ensemble.
  4. Using a pocket square allows you to “dress up” or “dress down” an outfit.
  5. Best “bang for buck” accessory! – The pocket square earns you lots of style points for little money.
  6. Expand your wardrobe – Wearing a pocket square gives the same suit a different look each day.
  7. Last but not least, a pocket square allows you to add more personal style to an otherwise uniform looking outfit.

Fold #1 – Classic, Sleek, & Elegant

This fold, also called “Presidential Fold”, is one of the easiest ways to fold a pocket square. This fold is best for elegant attire ranging from formal business dress to black tie. Typically a classic white pocket square made from silk or linen is used for this fold.

fold a pocket squareInstructions:

  1. Lay the pocket square on a flat and clean surface.
  2. Fold the pocket square in half.
  3. Fold one side up. How much of the pocket square you fold in is depending on how deep your jacket’s pocket is.
  4. Tug the folded pocket square into your breast pocket so that about 1/4 of an inch is visible.

Fold #2 – One Tip Up

Another popular way to fold the pocket square is the triangular “one tip up” fold. It suits any type of pocket square and dress code. Personally, I like this fold with a solid colored, non-white, pocket square.

classic pocket square foldInstructions:

  1. Start out by laying the pocket square on a flat surface.
  2. Fold one corner in so that you get two overlapping triangles.
  3. Fold one side of the triangle in.
  4. Do the same on the opposite side.
  5. Finally place the pocket square in your jacket’s pocket.

Fold #3 – Unique & Sophisticated

Looking for a somewhat different pocket square fold? Then this fold, sometimes also called “two tips up” fold might be perfect. It suits any pocket square color & pattern. Personally I choose this fold for patterned pocket squares accessorizing a casual-sleek outfit that is rather sophisticated than formal.

how to pocket squareInstructions:

  1. Place your pocket square on a clean & flat surface.
  2. Fold one side over so that you get two triangles that overlap. I prefer the look of having one tip higher than the other (see illustration above).
  3. Now fold one side in.
  4. Do the same on the opposite side.
  5. Place your folded pocket square in your breast pocket and you are already done.

Fold #4 – The Pocket Square Aficionado’s Fold

This type of fold that is sometimes also called “three tips up” or “crown fold” is perfect for patterned and colored pocket squares. Although this fold would suit formal attire, I like it most with when paired with blazer jacket or sports coat.

pocket square foldingInstructions:

  1. Lay your pocket square on a flat surface.
  2. Fold one side in so that you have the look of two triangles – creating two tips.
  3. To create the third tip, fold in one side as shown in picture #3 above.
  4. This step creates the base which will keep the pocket square in place. Fold in the opposite side and make sure to create a strong fold with the palm of your hand.
  5. Place the folded pocket square into your pocket and you are done.

Fold #5 – The Casual Fold

This type of fold, sometimes also called “Puff fold”, is ideal for a more casual-sleek outfit. It looks best when used for patterned pocket squares. I particularly choose this fold for pocket squares that have unique paisley patterns, tartan checks, and polka dots. This fold is less suited for formal attire.

casual pocket square foldingInstructions:

  1. Place the pocket square down flat.
  2. Now pick up the pocket square by pinching it near the center.
  3. Slide the hanky trough your other hand as shown in picture #3.
  4. Now flip the pocket square upside down.
  5. Finally tug the pocket square in your breast pocket. Don’t over-think this fold, the fold should look casual and a bit uneven.

Colours & Patterns

Colour Pattern Pocket Square

Pocket Squares in basic tones like whites, navies and blacks are great to have on hand if you’re after something subtle and classic to annotate looks. Pocket squares are also one of the best ways to introduce colour into more formal looks and because they are only small additions, do not feel scared to opt for bolder patterns. Traditional patterns like ginghams, tartans, polka dots and paisleys are really effective in adding diversity to your wardrobe.

Matching Pocket Squares with Ties

Do not match your tie to your pocket square too obviously; this reads unstylish and boring. Rather, go with tones and colours that work well together, without being direct matches. Work within the same colour families and consider the types of colours featured in printed pocket squares. This will give you a better idea of complementary colours that can work well with your tie. Do not forget that a pocket square should show more of your personality, so don’t fear a bit of vivid colour, but keep it within reason and somewhat complementary with your tie.

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Matching-Pocket-Squares-with-Ties

The Stairs Fold

One of the harder ones to fold, the Stairs fold is one go to style for formal events without going over the top. Here’s how to do it.

  • Place the pocket square face down
  • Fold it in half diagonally from the top right to the bottom left to create the first step of the stairs
  • Pinch the fabric two inches (5cm) below the first stair and fold up to create the second stair below the first stair
  • Repeat the above process again for the second stair – this will form the third stair
  • Hold all the steps in place and fold them all in half diagonally, making sure to place the top left portion behind the bottom right portion
  • Whilst holding the stairs in place, fold the right side behind and to the left
  • Fold the left side to the back and to the right
  • Finally, fold the bottom up and behind the front
  • Adjust pocket square to fit the size of your jacket pocket.

Cagney Fold

This one’s named after the legendary movie star James Cagney. It’s basically a four-point fold in reverse that’s suitable for both business and casual looks.

  • Place the pocket square down flat
  • Fold it in half to form a triangle
  • Fold one corner across to create a secondary tip at the top
  • Repeat the same for the other side to create another tip
  • Fold the right side of the pocket square to create a sharper point at the bottom
  • Repeat the same for the left side
  • Fold up the bottom corner to create the 4th tip at the centre
  • Place and adjust pocket square in the jacket pocket

Single Point Fold

The single point fold is simple, elegant, classic and one of the best folds for your everyday wear. There’s also versatility in the fold with a simple turn to expose the folded edges of the point. Or just keep it nice and simple with a clean triangle.

  • Place the pocket square face down in the diamond layout
  • Fold it in half evenly from the left and bottom corners across to the top corners
  • Fold it in half again from the right and bottom corners to the top corners
  • Fold the top right corner across to the centre
  • Bring the left corner to the right
  • Fold the bottom point up to the back
  • Adjust the pocket square to fit your jacket pocket

Two Point Fold

It’s designed to be slightly off-centre and that’s the point. This one’s another conservative fold which best suits formal occasions.

  • Place the pocket square face down in a diamond position
  • Flip the bottom corner up to the top corner to form twin peaks
  • Take the right corner to the left past the centre point
  • Flip the left corner over to the right
  • Fold any remaining corners to the back
  • Fold the bottom part to the back
  • Adjust pocket square to fit your jacket pocket

Three Point Peak Fold

This one’s for the dressier man when compared to the single point and two point folds. On the flip side, it’s designed to show off your most dazzling pocket square so reserve this one for parties, weddings or events.

  • Place the pocket square face down in the diamond position
  • Flip the bottom corner up to the top
  • Take the right corner up to the left of the first peak
  • Take the left corner up to the right of the two peaks
  • Fold the right edge inwards towards the centre
  • Repeat with the left edge towards the centre
  • Fold the bottom to the back
  • Adjust pocket square to fit your jacket pocket

The Puff

The preferred fold of TV reporters who have no idea what they’re doing and no time to actually fold a pocket square. It’s simple but very casual so keep this one out of the office.

  • Place the pocket square faced up flat
  • Pinch and pull up from the centre
  • Create an ‘ok’ sign with your fingers and run the pocket square through it
  • Grab onto the centre
  • Fold up from the bottom and place it behind the front
  • Adjust accordingly

RELATED: Don’t Buy A Suit Until You Know These Crucial Tips About Cloth & Thread Count

How to: Puff Fold

Pocket Square Fold #3 – The Rose Puff

how to fold a pocket square how to fold a pocket square

City of Washington Pocket Square by Rampley & Co.

Fold #4 – The Knot Puff

City of Chicago Pocket Square by Rampley & Co.

Fold #5 – The Points Puff

Brown Wool Pocket Square by Black Lapel

Best Pocket Squares for Puff Folds

Silk

Silk, with its smooth, soft qualities puffs easily curving, instead of producing sharp right angles, making for a much more fluid, pleasing look.

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Black Tie

If you’re wondering the rules for a tux, the puff is your answer. Unlike it’s more businesslike brother, the square fold, the puff says “I’m dressed up but it’s still a celebration.”

how to wear a pocket square

With Casual Outfits

On the other end of the spectrum from black tie, when you’re wearing a blazer more casually, a puff telegraphs a more laid-back vibe that says “I just threw this on.” (We won’t tell anybody you spent an hour in the mirror picking out the perfect outfit.)

how to fold a pocket square with a casual suit

How to Wear a Pocket Square

Of course, everyone knows how to wear a pocket square. Simply put it in the chest pocket of your jacket. But knowing how to place it takes a bit of skill. After all, there’s no point in going to the effort of perfecting your fold if you ruin it in the transfer to your pocket. But, here’s the thing, the pocket square isn’t finished until you put it in the pocket. Manipulating it to add the finishing touches in your pocket is often a necessary step.

To wear a square fold, either play with the angles in the front and the back of the fold or fan out the edges of the layers a bit to loosen up the look a bit.

how to wear a pocket square

To wear a puff, you’ll likely have to tug on the square a bit around the curves to give it the desired shape and then gently press your chest pocket to reduce the volume in your pocket and avoid the man-boob look.

Now you Know How To Fold a Pocket Square

As always, if you have questions, we’ve got answers. While we can’t build you an outfit in the comments section, we can offer guidance about the folds and anything else we showcased above.

  • shop-pocket-squares_2Shop Pocket Squares

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Sew It

Making-the-Square

Try your very best to cut out a perfect square. You might want to get a little bit of extra fabric in case you need to try a few times. We made our squares 17 x 17 inches, but any size from 10 square inches to 17 square inches will work.

To make a hem, fold over the edge of one side and iron it. Then fold it a second time and iron it again. Repeat this step for all four sides of the square.

Place your fabric under the needle of your sewing machine, lower the presser foot, and start sewing with a quick tap on the pedal followed by a back stitch. Then continue around the square. When you hit the corners, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and turn it ninety degrees. Put the presser foot back down and continue sewing. Trim the thread at the ends.

Final-Flat Final-Messy

Now time to fold these bad boys!

How to Fold a Pocket Square

Presidential Fold

The Presidential Fold says, “I’m a baller. I am Don Draper. I know I look like a badass. Feel free to stare at me. I won’t think it’s weird.”

How-To-Presidential-Fold-Pocket-Square

Fold your square vertically to one side. Then bring up the bottom to create a smaller square. Fold this square the same way that you folded the first. Done.

Presidential-Detail

Two Point Fold

This fold is for the classy lad who likes a little extra somethin’ somethin’. With the two point fold there’s this little extra twinsie piece popping out the side to say hi.

How-To-Two-Point-Fold-Pocket-Square

Fold your square vertically to one side. Next fold the bottom up to the top edge, making a square. Turn the square so it sits like a diamond with the points at noon, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00. Fold up the bottom corner and shift it to one side. Bring in the right and left corners and flip your square over. Done.

TwoPoint-Detail

Winged Puff Fold

If you feel like taking a style leap and leaving the classy zone for the sassy zone, this fold is for you.

How-To-Winged-Puff-Fold-Pocket-Square-Part-1

Fold your square vertically to one side. Bring the bottom up to make a square. Rotate the square so it sits as a diamond and then fold the top corner down to meet the bottom corner.

Winged-Puff-Fold-Part-2

Now fold the top left corner down to the middle point and do the same with the right side. When you’re ready to pop this in your pocket, fold in the last three corners to give it square edges along the sides and bottom. And DONE!

WingedPuff-Detail

So many pocket squares, so few reasons to wear a suit. Maybe it’s time to start Fancy Fridays?

PocketSquares-Final-1 PocketSquares-Final-3 PocketSquares-Final-2 Pocket-Squares-Main2 DIY Pocket Squares

Dress to impress with a pocket square, bro.

Have a favorite fancy DIY? Share it below!

Folding Your Pocket Square

I remember the day I sat there in my hotel room getting frustrated because I couldn’t get the point on my pocket square to look right.

I was watching YouTube video after YouTube video but whatever I did… I just couldn’t get it to look right.

As I left the hotel room to meet with a stylish friend of mine, I asked him… “can you fold my pocket square?”

He pulled the handkerchief from my pocket, laid it flat on his hands and within seconds had it placed in my pocket looking stylish.

I didn’t get it, what took me forever to master he just did in a few seconds. I asked him, “how did you do that?” His reply still makes me laugh, he turned to me and simply said “don’t overthink it”.

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PocketSquares

When you try to become an Origami expert at folding pocket squares it simply looks like you’re trying too hard. We’re all time poor, we don’t want to spend forever folding our handkerchief into a flower to place into our pocket.

These 4 folds are the only 4 I ever use.

The good news is they take less than 30 seconds to do…

Choosing Your Pocket Square

So what pocket square should you choose?

Also known as a handkerchief if you want to look at it from a functional perspective, was originally created for the sole purpose of wiping your hands, face, or the most obvious association of blowing one’s nose.

It may seem ludicrous now to think that something that was initially intended for function has a very different role today.

Back in the day, the material your handkerchief was made of was seen as symbolic of the social class of the wearer, primarily down to the fact that some materials are significantly more expensive than others.

Now we don’t really take into consideration status in regards to fabric, we simply judge a man by how bold his pocket square is (alongside the way its folded).

pocket square design

Pocket squares are getting bolder in design and style, and this is a wonderful thing because it gives you an almost limitless choice.

When deciding on what pocket square to buy, think about design, fabric and colour.

Remember, accessorising is all about adding something to a look when it’s lacking, and a pocket square is perfect for this.

If your outfit is lacking colour, inject a pop of brightness with the pocket square you’re wearing. On the other hand if your outfit needs to be formal, go for a classic white pocket square so you don’t overdo it.

A silk pocket square gives you more freedom with the folds you do but it can also be the hardest fabric to fold. Silk looks more luxurious and it’s obviously a more expensive fabric than cotton. But cotton or a linen pocket square is easier to fold and can add a tailored element to an outfit.

Bonus Fold: The Stairs Fold

As promised here’s an additional fold that’s slightly more technical but can make a great impression.

What I love about the stairs fold is it’s still something you can do on the go but it shows more of the detailing in the pocket square.

It’s almost like a ‘fancier’ puff fold…

stairs pocket square fold

When to Wear a Pocket Square

Some say it was England’s King Richard II who first started carrying a pocket square, largely for hygienic reasons–he used it to wipe his nose when he had a case of the sniffles, or to clog his nostrils when someone with horrendous BO crossed his path. Functional origins aside, the pocket square soon became a fashion statement unto itself, synonymous with dapper gentlemen and true trendsetters.

To this day, the pocket square signifies style among fashionable men. As to when you should wear one, our answer is fairly straightforward: every time you wear a suit or blazer, even if you’re not wearing a tie. Doing so will not only spice up your appearance using the sparsest of fabrics, but further exhibit yourself as a man of classic distinction.

folding pocket square different style

Inverted Puff Pocket Square

  1. Spread the pocket square flat and grab it by the centre.
  2. Hold the pocket square at its centre with the four corners facing down.
  3. Turn the pocket square upside down while preserving the shape. The corners are facing up now.
  4. Fold the pocket square at the centre to create a small puff at the bottom.
  5. Rotate the pocket square and put it in your pocket.
  6. Tinker with the corners or points so that they form a leafy pattern.

puff folding pocket square

Puff Pocket Square

  1. Spread the pocket square flat and grab it by the centre.
  2. Hold the pocket square at its centre with the four corners facing down.
  3. Run the pocket square through the thumb and pointer finger on your free hand.
  4. Grip the pocket square at the centre.
  5. Fold the pocket square so that the bottom is behind the front.
  6. Place the pocket square in your pocket and adjust accordingly.

folding pocket square guide classic

Classic Pocket Square Fold

  1. Spread the pocket square flat, face down.
  2. Fold the pocket square in half from right to left.
  3. Fold the pocket square in half from top to bottom.
  4. Fold the pocket square in half from left to right.
  5. Fold the bottom of the pocket square behind the front.
  6. Place the pocket square in your pocket and adjust accordingly.

folding pocket square easy

Easy Pocket Square

  1. Spread the pocket square flat and grab it by the centre.
  2. Place the pocket square in your pocket and adjust accordingly.

This article is part of our Suited and Booted Series

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