How to Fold a Pocket Square: Top Tips and Easy Steps
Pocket squares are popular accessories for men but learning how to fold a pocket square can be tricky. Here’s an easy guide to popular folds.
Typically when you think of pocket squares, you think back to your childhood when your grandfather would wear one with a dapper suit, right? Maybe the item conjures up images of Old Hollywood and the particular type of glamour that existed back then. More recently though, you might think of your super-stylish husband, brother, or friend who wears pocket squares on any random Saturday night. This is because pocket squares are having a moment, and men of all ages are embracing the small piece of fabric again.
“Pocket squares are more versatile than they get credit for,” says men’s plus-size fashion blogger Ryan Dziadul of Extra Extra Style (go give him a follow @extraextrastyle). “Of course I wear them with blazers, but I like to tuck them into the pockets of overcoats, too.” He adds that pocket squares are a great way to add personality to your look, especially in the sea of navy, black, and grey that is the men’s suiting world. Dziadul is one guy who definitely knows how to fold a pocket square. Here he shares his tips and step-by-step instructions for the most popular pocket square folds.
How to Fold a Pocket Square: Tip #1
Tip #1: Your pocket square should go with the rest of your outfit without matching exactly. “The mot du jour should be ‘coordinating’,” Dziadul says. Here, for example, a rich maroon pocket square perfectly offsets navy and chambray.
How to Fold a Pocket Square: Tip #2
Tip #2: Fabric plays a large role in determining what pocket square should be saved for dressy occasions and what has a more of an ‘everyday’ vibe. “All pocket squares are not created equal,” says Dziadul. “A general rule of thumb is, the smoother the fabric (like silk) the dressier the pocket square.” He adds that textured fabric is a great casual option and recommends wool for fall and linen for summer.
How to Fold a Pocket Square: Tip #3
Tip #3: If you’re attempting to wear a pocket square for the first time, Dziadul says to keep it simple. “Stay away from complicated pocket square folds or you risk looking like a tabletop garnish,” he warns. “For every day, I like what I call the Straight Across Fold.”
Below are instructions on how to recreate Dziadul’s “Straight Across Fold” (or Presidential Fold, as we like to call it) along with directions for any other pocket square fold you might want to try.
How to Fold a Pocket Square: Simple Folds
Here are three simple folds that generally work for everyday life or a dressy occasion if using a luxe fabric, like silk.
The Presidential Fold
Step 1: Lay the pocket square flat on the table.
Step 2: Fold one side over the other lengthwise.
Step 3: Fold the bottom up to meet the top.
Step 4: Adjust the width by folding lengthwise again to correspond to the width of your breast pocket.
Step 5: Insert the pocket square into your breast pocket, folded side down so the end sticks out the top.
The One-Point Fold
Step 1: Lay the pocket square flat on the table with the corners arranged in a diamond shape.
Step 2: Fold the bottom corner up to meet the top corner.
Step 3: Fold the left corner to the center and do the same with the right corner so they crisscross.
Step 4: Flip over and insert the pocket square into your breast pocket, pointy side up.
The Two-Point Fold
Step 1: Arrange your pocket square as explained above, in the shape of a diamond, flat on the table.
Step 2: Bring the bottom corner up to the top corner but place it slightly to the left, so the corners don’t line up. These should look like two mountain peaks side by side.
Step 3: Fold the left side into the center and do the same with the right side so they crisscross.
Step 4: Flip over and insert the pocket square into your breast pocket, pointy sides up.
How to Fold a Pocket Square: Tip #4
Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to try a pocket square. “It’s a detail that will set you apart from the people who just threw their clothes on in the morning,” Dziadul says. “Pocket squares show you care.”
How to Fold a Pocket Square: Advanced Folds
These pocket square folds are ideal for when you want to take your look up a notch with sharp suits and tuxedos, although Dziadul says "The Puff Fold" can go either way. “The classic puff is a real crowd pleaser and is perfect for everything from a meeting with your lawyer to a regular day at the office.”
The Puff Fold
Step 1: Lay the pocket square flat on the table, pinch the center, and pick it up.
Step 2: Create a ring around the pocket square using the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand.
Step 3: Use your original hand to bunch up (and sort of fold up) the bottom tails of the pocket square to make the whole thing short enough to fit into your pocket.
Step 4: Place those gathered ends into your pocket and fluff the puff that’s sticking out to the desired puffiness.
The Three-Point Fold
Step 1: Lay the pocket square flat on the table in the shape of a diamond.
Step 2: Fold the bottom corner up and slightly to the left of the top corner. The corners should not be lined up but instead look like two mountain peaks side by side.
Step 3: Bring the left side over the center, up and to the right, again, not lining up with any of the two corners already there. This one should be over to the right slightly.
Step 4: Take the right side over to the left, in a straight across manner.
Step 5: You should see three peaks at the top of your fold which means you’re ready to place it into your breast pocket, points side up.
The Cagney Fold
Step 1: Lay the pocket square flat on the table in the shape of a diamond.
Step 2: Fold the bottom corner up and slightly to the right of the top corner. The corners should not be lined up, they should be side by side.
Step 3: Bring the left corner over and up to the right so it rests next to the two corners already there.
Step 4: Bring the right corner over and up to the left so it rests on the other side of the three corners that are already there.
Step 5: Fold in the flat sides below the points (as if you’re folding a paper airplane) so that it fits the width of your pocket.
Step 6: Fold up the bottom if needed and place in breast pocket, points facing up.
How to Fold a Pocket Square: Tip #5
Tip #5: Ready to incorporate pocket squares into your wardrobe or someone else's? Dziadul says there’s no need to go out and buy a bunch. “The truth is you only need a few pocket squares to choose from,” he explains. “I have a navy and red one that goes with about 80% of my wardrobe, and a burgundy one that goes with the rest.” He says the only other option he needs is one in solid gray, and then he’ll be “set for life.”
How to Fold a Pocket Square: Tip #6
Tip #6: “For dressier occasions, my fold of choice is what I like to call 'The Slash,'” Dziadul says. “I made it up because sometimes I just like to have a small sliver of color peeking out of my pocket.” This pocket square fold works best with a solid colored pocket square that dramatically contrasts with your jacket, as in the black tuxedo at right.
Now that you’re educated on the many different pocket square folds, Dziadul wants you to keep one thing in mind: “The end goal is for your pocket square to come across as cool and casual, not like you painstakingly practiced for 20 minutes in the mirror.” Then again, he adds, “Keep in mind you will have to practice for 20 minutes in front of the mirror for it to eventually look cool and casual.”
So go ahead and practice until you feel confident—you’ll do your grandfather proud.