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Three ways to fold a pocket square

Three ways to fold a pocket square

Even since its sign-of-wealth origins in ancient Egypt, this simple piece of cloth has been a badge of sartorial savoir faire. Nothing says “I know how to dress well” quite like a pocket square does – but only if you style it like a pro. While there are countless ways to style one, here we’ve listed our three favourites with a guide on how to do it – so you can whip up your dapper, Don Draper-esque look in a matter of seconds. 

Style 1

The simplest and most versatile of the folds, this particular style is sometimes known as the ‘Square’ or ‘Presidential’ fold. First, get a white (or another block colour) pocket square in a rigid fabric to help you get the clean, straight lines you’re after. Then, simply fold the pocket square in half and then again to achieve the shape. You may need to fold the corners slightly if it's a little too big for the pocket. For extra precision, you could even get a small piece of card to fold the pocket square around.

“Opting for a white pocket square allows you to wear it with ties in any colour or pattern,” says Thread stylist Freddie Kemp. “If you choose another block colour, then opt for a similar tone (not colour) in the tie but feel free to experiment with pattern and texture.”

Style 2

Arguably invented by Fred Astaire, this slightly more relaxed ‘puff’ style is somewhat less formal and requires minimal finessing. Lay the pocket square out flat and then grasp it from the middle. Lift it so all the edges fall to the bottom. Then, edges first, pop the pocket square into the breast pocket and pull down the edges slightly to create the ‘puffy’, rounded appearance. 

“For this style, I’d suggest choosing a pocket square with a more vibrant geometric pattern,” Freddie advises. “As a rule, never match your tie and pocket square. Always opt for colours and patterns that complement, instead.”

Style 3

“This is the most flamboyant of the three styles, and carries a kind of ‘sprezzatura’ vibe,” Freddie says. “Part of its charm is that it has a way of moving and flopping around, so you have to have the confidence and nonchalance to let it do its thing.” 

With your left hand, put your thumb and forefinger together as if you’re gripping a pole, and then lay the pocket square on top. With your right hand, push the middle of the pocket square through the hole, but not all the way. Stop with the corners of the pocket square resting on the top of your fist. With the middle of the pocket square now in your right hand, let go with your left hand so that the corners drape over your right fist. With your left hand grab the pocket square from the top and into a bunch – this is what gives off the more rippled effect. Place it into your breast pocket, corners first, leaving the big centre bunch on show.

“This style offers you the opportunity to go all in with a bright paisley pattern or an illustrated style,” Freddie says. “Instead of a geometric design, going for a more freeform pattern will ensure the pocket square looks good from all angles as it moves around.” Finally, opt for a more simple tie to let the pocket square shine. 

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Words: Ashiana Pradhan
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Freddie Kemp