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One small change: Don't match your tie and pocket square

One small change: Don't match your tie and pocket square

Why make the change?

"It's not that matching your tie and your pocket square looks terrible: it's just that it could look better and more contemporary. Mismatching the accessories you wear with your suit helps you out in three ways: it makes you look more modern, it makes it seem like you've made less of an effort, and it gives the impression that you know what you're doing. 

"In short, matching everything in an outfit can look a bit out of date. Instead, use your tie and pocket square to introduce some personality into a formal outfit. While the photo on the left, below, is too matchy-matchy for my liking, the combinations in the middle and on the right are great ways of wearing mismatched pocket squares and ties."

Why this works

Photographed: Selected navy suit (£129), Mr Start white shirt (£110), The Hill-Side Indigo Madras Tie (£69), The Hill-Side Indigo Madras Pocket Square (£29), Drake's black silk tie (£105), Gant Green Diamond Flannel Tie (£50), Reiss Pink Spotted Pocket Square (£25)

  1. The fabrics are the same texture. "When your tie and pocket square are the same texture (e.g., shiny or not shiny), the only contrasting element is the pattern or colour. A shiny satin tie with a not-shiny cotton pocket square, for instance, would look off."

  2. The two are complementary, not matching. "In the middle photo, the white of the pocket square picks up on the white pinstripe in the tie. So it borrows an element, which makes it feel like the two pieces go together without matching exactly. You could pull the same trick with any patterned tie: just pick one of the colours and reflect it in a solid-coloured pocket square.

    "In the case of the pink-and-green combo, what works is that they're both bold and bright. However, a bright tie wouldn't look right with a pastel pocket square."

  3. There's enough contrast. "The contrast needs to be obvious: the tie is patterned but the pocket square is plain, or they're two entirely different colours. Make it clear that they're not supposed to match."

  4. Not matching the two shows some confidence. "By not matching, you'll take a bit of the formality of a suit and add a dash of nonchalance. It looks like style comes naturally to you—and wouldn't be mistaken as stuffy or over-considered."