Are you looking to accessorize your suit with a pocket square? Also known as simply as a hankie, it can complement your suit trousers and jacket to create a more cohesive and attractive appearance. You’ll need to choose the right type of pocket square, however. Some men take the easy route by choosing the first pocket square they come across for sale. For the best possible look, as well as longevity, follow these seven tips when choosing a pocket square.
#1) Consider the Material
When shopping for a pocket square, you should consider the material from which it’s made. Like suits, pocket squares are made of a wide range of materials, some of which include cotton, wool and linen. Each material offers unique advantages. Cotton, for example, is soft and easy to care for, whereas wool is slightly thicker and more voluminous. Linen, on the other hand, is an incredibly lightweight and thin material, making it another excellent choice for a pocket square.
#2) Choose the Right Size
You’ll need to choose a pocket square in an appropriate size. If it’s too small or too big, it may look awkward when placed inside the front breast pocket of your suit jacket. The good news is that most pocket squares are made in an appropriate size that allows them to rest comfortably inside the breast pocket of your suit jacket.
Keep in mind, though, that you need to choose an actual pocket square and not a standard handkerchief. Standard handkerchiefs are typically larger than pocket squares. While you can always carry a standard handkerchief in your pants pocket, you shouldn’t wear them in your breast pocket. Instead, it’s recommended that you should a pocket square for this purpose.
#3) Match With Tie
Going back to the basics of suit fashion 101, you should always match your pocket square with your tie. Whether you are wearing a necktie or a bow tie, it should feature the same color and overall design as your pocket square. If these two accessories clash with each other — meaning they don’t match — they’ll have a negative impact on your personal style and appearance.
You don’t have to purchase your pocket square separately from your tie. There are bundles or “combo packs” that include a pocket square as well as a matching necktie and bow tie. The Lightweight Dark Gray Combo Pack, for instance, includes all of these suit accessories in a classic dark gray color.
#4) Solid Color vs Pattern
Not all pocket squares feature a single color. Some are designed with a pattern, such as plaid, that features two or more colors. Plaid pocket squares are a popular alternative to traditional single-colored pocket squares. With a plaid design, they feature two or more colors rather than a single color. If you’re looking to create a bolder and more attention-grabbing appearance, you can’t go wrong with a plaid pocket square.
In addition to plaid, pocket squares are also available in striped designs. Some pocket squares feature vertical stripes, whereas others feature horizontal stripes. With stripes, these pocket squares have multiple colors as well.
#5) Quality Matters
The quality of a pocket square varies depending on countless factors. As a result, you should consider the quality when shopping for a pocket square. Don’t assume that all pocket squares feature the same quality materials or craftsmanship. Like most garments, as well as fashion accessories, the quality of a pocket square varies.
So, how do you distinguish a high-quality pocket square from a low-quality pocket square? First and foremost, look to see what material it’s made of. Low-quality pocket squares are typically made of cheaper materials than their high-quality counterparts. Second, low-quality pocket squares are often thinner and more susceptible to damage than high-quality pocket squares. By investing in a high-quality pocket square, you’ll get a better bang for your buck.
#6) Make It Visible
Some men make the mistake of concealing their pocket square by burying it deep in the breast pocket of their suit jacket. The entire purpose of a pocket square, however, is to introduce new colors into your outfit. If you stuff it deep inside the breast pocket of your suit jacket, it won’t serve this purpose. Rather, no one will be able to tell that you are even wearing a pocket square.
The bottom line is that you need to make your pocket square visible. If it’s hidden, it won’t benefit or otherwise improve the appearance of your suit. Only a visible pocket square that protrudes partially out of your breast pocket will serve its intended purpose.
There are several ways to fold a pocket square, some of which include the following:
- The flat fold (also known as the presidential fold)
- The cooper fold
- The winged-puff fold
- The one-point fold
- The two-point fold
- The four-point fold
- The three-point fold
- The cagney fold
- The straight-shell fold
#7) Iron or Press It
Regardless of which pocket square you choose, you should iron or press it before wearing it. Even if you choose a pocket square in the right material, as well as color or colors, it won’t look right if it’s wrinkled. Unfortunately, pocket squares can develop wrinkles just like any other fabric-based garment or fashion accessory. If left unchecked, these wrinkles will lower the aesthetic value of the pocket square, restricting its utility as a fashion accessory.
You can smooth out wrinkles from your pocket square by ironing or pressing it. A steam iron offers an easy and effective way to remove wrinkles from a pocket square. Just lay your pocket square flat on an ironing board, at which point you can run the iron across the surface to remove any wrinkles or creases.
A pocket square isn’t a requirement when wearing a suit. You can wear either a two-piece or three-piece suit without this accessory. If you’re looking to create a more formal and complete suit outfit, though, you can’t go wrong with a pocket square. Just remember to follow these tips to maximize the performance and utility of your pocket square.