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Do You Know How to Wear a Pocket Square?

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Section: Neckties, Bowties, and Pocket Squares - Blog

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Some men's accessories, like pocket squares, seem to be clothed in a aura of perceived difficulty. In reality, wearing a pocket square is easy and adds a dashing fashion touch to any outfit. Here's the "rules" for wearing them as well as some shortcuts to avoid.

Many man seem untutored satorially when it comes to the colour, fabric and fold of a handkerchief (aka pocket square) worn in the breast pocket of a man's suit jacket. However, a handkerchief is not a mysterious or frightening item. All you need is a little know-how for it to become a standard, debonair part of your wardrobe.

Rule # 1 - Contrast

The number one rule for dress handkerchiefs (or pocket squares)? The handkerchief and tie never, ever match. Therefore, we recommend you avoid like the plague those patterned, silky pocket squares that are often sold with matching ties.


While they do provide convenience, they do not deliver on style. A dress handkerchief is designed as a contrasting accessory to draw attention to the wearer's suit. If it is perfectly matched to the tie, the objective is never achieved.

What is even worse for the sartorial minded gent is that if it matches the tie perfectly, it gives the impression he is clothed in made to measure suits that are package specials. This is an image no well-dressed man would want to project.

Rule # 2 – Show Pieces

Dress handkerchiefs are chiefly for show. Therefore, for general use, carry a plain white cotton handkerchief in another pocket. No gentleman would use his tie to cover his nose or his jacket to wipe a spill; therefore, it goes without saying that a gentleman would not use his dress handkerchief for such tasks either.


Romantic tip: Carrying a handkerchief for regular use has a secondary benefit. It's incredibly romantic when a man offers a clean white handkerchief to a lady who is suddenly overcome with emotion or distress. We recommend you insist she keep the handkerchief once she has recovered; you'll score huge bonus point with her if you do!

Rule #3 No Pre-Fabs

Many retailers offer pre-fab pocket squares, which are small squares of cardboard with fabric attached. The intention is to imitate the look of a pocket square without requiring you to learn to fold one.

We don't really need to warn you to avoid such shortcuts - including pre-tied bow-ties and clip-on neckties - do we? The art of dressing elegantly gives you total control over the appearance of your attire; these shortcuts cheat you out of that control and can make you look poorly dressed or unfashionable.


Dress handkerchiefs come in a wide variety of fabrics, an infinite array of colours and patterns, and a world of origami-like folds. For those gentlemen who choose to adopt it, the dress handkerchief provides an elegant touch to a well-crafted ensemble. It symbolises the wearer's confidence in his style and showcases it to the world.

If you'd like a personal demonstration of how to wear a pocket square to best advantage, call or email us to book a personal styling session. One of our expert staff members will be delighted to work with you and share the "tricks of the trade" so you can wear your pocket square with pride and dignity.

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