Now that you’ve decided to join the ranks of the most dapper-dressed gentlemen at the office and on the red carpet, you may be wondering what exactly to do with your pocket square?
For, of course, one does not simply stuff this carefully chosen fabric into one’s breast pocket. The pocket square must fit neatly inside, and not leave a bulge. The edges visible to the world must not be a disorderly series of wrinkles, but rather a fine, elegant arrangement.
There are many ways to fold a pocket square, and if you’re a creative sort, you may even invent your own version of traditional styles. Do remember, of course, to adapt your fold to the occasion – perhaps you may need to be more reserved at certain events, and more eye-catching at others. Here is a list of the most tried-and-true pocket square folds, with links to helpful tutorials. Whether you’re traditional, or a more audacious fellow, you’re sure to find something that fits your taste:
1. The Straight Fold, also called The Presidential Fold: Count on this classic, sober fold to give a sleek, professional, and not too flashy look. Here’s how to do it.
For a slight variation, try the TV Fold, (the top of the pocket square is diagonal to the top of your breast pocket) – the perfect way to hint to the world you’re not quite as straight-laced as you might appear.
2. The One Point Fold: Still in the realm of the understated, but already showing a little more square, this fold is what it sounds like: some of your pocket square will emerge, in one elegant point. Here’s how to do it.
3. The Two, Three, or Four Point Fold: Let’s gradually enter into bolder territory, gentlemen. Each of these folds builds on the one before it, becoming more elaborate. You can find a how-to for the Two Point Fold here (scroll down to Fold #3); one for the Three Point Fold here (scroll down to Fold #4); and a Four Point Fold tutorial here.
4. The Cagney: If you like the Four Point Fold and want to take it a little farther (by doing it in reverse), the Cagney, named after silver screen star James Cagney, is a worthy choice. Here’s how to do it.
5. The Puff Fold: Maybe sharp edges aren’t your thing. In that case, we suggest you try the Puff Fold, which suggests your softer side – or just provides a welcome visual contrast from the straight lines of your suit, collar, and cuffs. Here’s how to do it.
There is a more rakish variation of this fold, called The Cooper, in honor of our man Gary. Here’s how to make this more relaxed puff.
6. The Reverse Puff: Perhaps you’re feeling a bit bohemian today. Perhaps you want to stand out from the crowd more than you do already. May we suggest the Reverse Puff, which will make your pocket square emerge from the breast pocket like an eye-catching (yet still dignified and manly) exotic flower of sorts? Here’s how to do it.
7. The Astaire: Fred Astaire had a lot going for him. In addition to being a great dancer and showman, he was a sharp dresser. So sharp, in fact, that he’s one of the three classic Hollywood legends who’s given his name to a pocket square fold. Like its namesake, the Astaire is bold, yet still perfectly respectable in polite company. If the audaciousness of the Reverse Puff seems a little too much, this fold is a great, more controlled alternative. Here’s how to do it.
8. The Straight Shell: Take the concept of these sculptures of the sea and put it in your breast pocket…in the form of your pocket square fold, that is. Here’s how to do it.
For a less vertical look, read the information on the Diagonal Shell Fold, just below its more rigid brother.
All what you have to do now is… Practice! Go and get them all here