The history of the pocket square
Do you have room in your brain for a little unnecessary trivia? If the answer’s yes, read on. If not, skip to the next paragraph. In the beginning, the pocket square was a practical accessory Romans used to wipe sweat and dirt from their faces. Sometimes, pocket squares were even perfumed to hide unpleasant smells. Over the years, this little piece of fabric developed into a purely decorative fashion accessory, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that they began to be used solely for this purpose.

Click here to check out one of the world's largest online collections of pocket squares.

Handkerchief in all colors and materials.

When should I wear a pocket square?
You can wear a pocket square any time you wear a suit or jacket. You can wear it for a regular day at the office or with your coat at a Nobel Prize dinner. The great thing about a pocket square is that it’s both informal and formal, meaning that it always works. Also, it’s incredibly easy to put in your chest pocket with a puff fold. If you have a load of pocket squares in different colours and patterns, it’s easy to mix up your outfit from day to day even if you have a limited number of jackets and shirts.

Pocket squares with black tie or white tie?
If you wear a black tie or white tie, your pocket square should be white and made of cotton or linen.

Pocket squares at funerals?
It’s not wrong to wear a pocket square to a funeral, but it’s not a must. It should always be white, and preferably made of cotton or linen, though silk is also acceptable. Folding with a straight edge is preferable. A puff fold has a more festive character, and should therefore be avoided.

How should I fold my pocket square?
That depends more than anything on the situation. The most common and simplest fold is the puff fold, and it’s suitable for everyday situations, like at the office, a party or a dinner. Just put your finger in the centre of the pocket square and let it fall onto your finger. Then put it in the chest pocket on your jacket with the rounded puff upwards.

For more formal events like weddings or important business meetings to which you wear a suit, a straight fold is preferable. This is also the preferred way of doing things at funerals.

What folds are possible is also determined by the material. Cotton and linen are well suited to more structured folds, whereas silk, which is much softer and therefore more difficult to keep in shape, is better for puff folds.

See our guide to different pocket square folds here.

How do I stop my pocket square from falling into my pocket?
Pocket squares slipping into jacket pockets after a while is a classic problem. It takes a little training on how to fold the pocket square properly to prevent it from happening quite as frequently. The important thing is to achieve the perfect width of fold on the pocket square so that the side walls of the jacket pocket keep it in place. If your fold is too narrow, the pocket square will slide down immediately. The size of the pocket and the thickness and dimensions of the pocket square and its dimensions all play a role, so it’s important to adapt your folding technique accordingly.

What pocket square should I choose?
The size: The most common size of pocket squares is between 25 x 25 cm and 30 x 30 cm. Something to keep in mind is that you don’t want one that’s too big and clumsy in your breast pocket. It's not nice if it forms a big ball that bulges out of your jacket. We really appreciate slightly smaller handkerchiefs of 25 x 25 cm, as it’s possible to do all folds without them making a mess in your breast pocket. If you do go for a larger pocket square, it should preferably be relatively thin so as not to become too unwieldy.

What colour pocket square? More than anything, you need a white pocket square in your wardrobe. It's almost as basic as owning a pair of black socks. No matter what jacket or shirt you wear, you can never go wrong with a white pocket square. It should be made of cotton or linen if it’s black tie or white tie.

Other than that, you’re free to let your imagination run wild when it comes to the colour and pattern of your pocket square. It’s a good idea to have it match your shirt. Alternatively, use it to bring out colours in your bow tie or tie. Avoid a pocket square that’s the same colour as your jacket because it won’t be visible. Instead, go for one that contrasts your jacket.

Should I match my pocket square to my bow tie or tie?
As a groom, best man or marshal at a wedding, it is an excellent choice to wear matching handkerchief with bow tie or tie. Likewise if you are going to match your prom partner's dress when you are going to dance prom. But in most other situations, it is better that the handkerchief is not exactly the same as the tie or bow tie. They can be in a similar colour and style, but you should preferably avoid an exact match. If you still want an exact match, it's not wrong, but it will automatically be a more informal outfit of a more festive nature.

Can you iron a pocket square?
Yes, you can, but place a piece of cloth between the iron and the pocket square, start on a low heat, and use lots of steam. Be careful, as too much heat can damage a pocket square, especially if it’s made of sensitive silk. Do you really need to iron your pocket square when it’s going to get folded or puffed in your jacket pocket anywayOnce it’s in your jacket pocket, an ironed pocket square won’t necessarily look any better.

How do I get rid of stains on my pocket square?
Start by gently scraping off as much of the staining food as you can. Then, dip a cloth in cold mineral water and try to rub away the stain. If you can, dry the pocket square immediately so that you’re not left with permanent water stains. Water can leave dark circles on a light silk pocket square.

Wine stains on pocket squares are best treated with cold mineral water and rubbed off with a cloth. Add a pile of salt to absorb the wine. You can also find alcohol-based stain removers that can work on wine and grease stains.

How should I store my pocket square?
A handy tip if you want to keep your pocket squares in order while also getting a good overview of them is to put them is a shallow glass bowl with a small diameter of between 5 and 10 cm depending on the number of pocket squares in your collection. Fold the pocket squares into puffs and put them in the bowl at the same time for a practical and stylish solution. Just choose the pocket square you want each morning and pull it right out.


We use cookies to give you the best experience. I accept