How To Fold a Pocket Square - He Spoke Style
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How To Fold a Pocket Square

How To Fold a Pocket Square

Like the tie bar, the pocket square is a classic and timeless menswear detail that has made a comeback in a huge way. Thankfully, guys are discovering that they are allowed to rip out the stitching of their suit jacket’s breast pocket and fill it with a small accessory that makes a big impact with a high style reward.

A small accessory that makes a big impact with a high style reward.

A pocket square improves a suit jacket or blazer’s versatility, adds visual interest and depth to a look, and provides a subtle but powerful means of personal expression. There are many ways to fold a pocket square—some simple and some more complicated—but how you choose to rock it depends mostly on personal taste (and slightly on the degree of formality of the occasion). As with anything, practice makes perfect and a little time invested in the skill upfront will ensure you can wear the pocket square any way you want with ease and flair. Here are five of the folds I use most often and that are guaranteed to have you covered from casual to formal.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian
He Spoke Style

The Classic Fold

How To Fold a Pocket Square: Classic Fold - He Spoke Style

The Classic Fold is the simplest and most no-nonsense fold of the bunch. Wear it in casual situations, like grabbing a drink with friends or on a low-key first date. This fold is also a great showcase for solid pocket squares with colored borders.

How To Fold a Pocket Square: Classic Fold - He Spoke Style

How To Do It:

1. Start with the pocket square laying flat.
2. Fold one side over to the other side lengthwise.
3. Fold the bottom up to meet the top.
4. Fold lengthwise again to match the width of your breast pocket.

Bonus tip: If your pocket square has hand rolled edges, this is a great fold to show them off. You can get this effect by not folding the fabric completely symmetrically and letting the pocket square’s edges layer naturally.

The Pesko Fold

How To Fold a Pocket Square: Pesko Fold - He Spoke Style

This is the one you see Don Draper wearing on Mad Men or Sean Connery sporting as James Bond in Dr. No—just a crisp sliver of white peeking out from the breast pocket. For this fold, the pocket square does not need to be white, but definitely looks best with solid colors that contrast strongly with your suit jacket. Wear it this way in business or formal situations.

How To Fold a Pocket Square: Pesko Fold - He Spoke Style

How To Do It:

1. Start with the pocket square laying flat.
2. Fold one side over lengthwise about 1/3 of the width of the square.
3. Fold the other side over, making the resulting fold the width of your breast pocket.
4. Fold the two ends over.
5. Fold the entire length in half. Adjust to the depth of your breast pocket.

Bonus tip: Depending on the depth of your breast pocket or the size of your pocket square, you may find it hard to keep just the right amount of fabric showing. A great solution to this problem is to find a thin piece of cardboard—I once used a hotel’s room service menu—and cut it narrower than the width of your pocket square and so it fits in your breast pocket, sticking out above the pocket only slightly. Fold the pocket square over the cardboard, put the whole thing in your pocket, and you’re good to go.

The Puff Fold

How To Fold a Pocket Square: Puff Fold - He Spoke Style

This is my go-to fold. It’s simple but packs a ton of visual appeal, depth, and subtlety. Don’t be afraid to tinker with it once you’ve got it in your pocket. Blouse it a little more, stretch it to fit the width of your breast pocket, whatever floats your boat. The Puff Fold is extremely versatile and looks great anywhere and everywhere.

How To Fold a Pocket Square: Puff Fold - He Spoke Style

How To Do It:

1. With the pocket square laying flat, pinch the center.
2. Pick it up from the center.
3. Form a ring around the pocket square with the thumb and index finger of your other hand and slide it down almost to the bottom.
4. Fold the pointed edges over.

The Crown Fold

How To Fold a Pocket Square: Crown Fold - He Spoke Style

The Crown Fold is basically The Puff Fold upside down. Avoid making this one look too perfect. You can buy pre-folded squares like this and they just look wrong. Part of the allure of this fold is that it’s never quite the same twice—it’s the subtle variations that add depth and a ton of visual interest. Perfection is not a virtue in this situation and just removes all of the fold’s flair. The Crown Fold is eye-catching and is a great choice for any social situation.

How To Fold a Pocket Square: Crown Fold - He Spoke Style

How To Do It:

1. With the pocket square laying flat, pinch the center.
2. Pick it up from the center.
3. Form a ring around the pocket square with the thumb and index finger of your other hand and slide it down almost to the bottom.
4. Fold the rounded portion over.

Bonus tip: If your pocket square has a tag on it you might want to carefully remove it as you definitely don’t want it showing on one of your points.

The Flower Fold

How To Fold a Pocket Square: Flower Fold - He Spoke Style

If The Classic Fold is the simplest fold of the bunch, The Flower Fold is definitely the most flamboyant. It’s also the one that takes the most practice and care to pull off. You basically want to twist the fabric around until it resembles a flower. The tricky part is cinching it down so it holds its shape until it is secured by the breast pocket. Not rocket science, but a touch more finesse is required to get it right. Wear it this way when you want to make a statement.

How To Fold a Pocket Square: Flower Fold - He Spoke Style

How To Do It:

1. Form a ring with your thumb and index finger and place the pocket square over your hand.
2. Push the pocket square into the ring with your other index finger.
3. Grasp the fabric you’ve just depressed with the hand holding the pocket square.
4. Holding the fabric in place, twist the fabric clockwise.
5. When you get your desired look, cinch the fabric down to hold it in place.

A few final things to remember:

Practice Makes Perfect: Any new skill requires an investment of some time. Luckily, there’s not a huge learning curve for developing a dope pocket square game.

Don’t Be Afraid to Tinker: Even when you become a pocket square pro, chances are that the pocket square isn’t going to look perfect right after you put it in your breast pocket. There’s no rule against fiddling with it until it looks just how you want.

Experiment: The five folds I’ve covered offer great options for occasions ranging from casual to formal but certainly aren’t the only game in town. Learn the basics, try some stuff out, and find what suits your personal style best.

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Comments

  1. Bill Gabbard

    I remember reading in the older Flusser book (CATM) about squares and seeing a combo puff and crown (and a photo of Fred Astaire with it). Sharp. That’s what I usually do. I love the Pesko tip…hey, whatever works, and to paraphrase the Clairol ad, only your haberdasher has to know!

    • Yes, I definitely like the fold you’re talking about for squares that have interesting patterns and edges as well.

  2. Nicolas

    The great question is….silk or cotton? I have found that puff folds are harder to make with my cotton squares. I don’t know if all cotton pocket squares are as stiff as mine but I have a hard time folding them. Even when I try to do a classic fold I have to iron the sh** out of them…any advice?

  3. Love the tutorial. Can this work with pocket squares with multiple colors? You show a solid color. The first fold is awesome.

    • Absolutely. Multiple colors or patterns add much to the appeal.

  4. Ralph

    I have a question regarding the care of a pocket square. I recently received a very beautiful red floral print pocket square from Suitsupply made from a cotton and silk blend. Folding it is no problem for me. My concern is how to care for it if an unforeseen stain happens to touch it. I am aware of the fact that you can safely launder and lightly press a cotton square but with the added silk, this may prove a challenge. What do you recommend is the best route to keeping my new square nice and clean?

  5. Great Matching !

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