Pocket Square Etiquette

Whether you’re a pocket square aficionado or just a dabbler in menswear trends, navigating the etiquette of this accessory can admittedly be a bit of a sartorial minefield so below we’ve set out our pocket square guide.


◦ General pocket square rules

◦ Different pocket square styles

◦ What colour pocket square to choose for an occasion

◦ Should your square match, complement or contrast with your outfit?

◦ Are you aiming for a smart or casual aesthetic, or mulling over what pocket square to wear at work?

If all of these questions leave you feeling a bit flummoxed, read on for our comprehensive pocket square guide on how to wear your square with panache.


Historically, the pocket square was a necessity for guests attending dinner parties and other formal engagements. The classic pocket square fashion for smart occasions remains much the same today: a white, handkerchief-style pocket square folded into a flat fold (more on that later). However, even within the sphere of formal attire, there is still scope to experiment with your arrangement and move outside the standard white pocket square rule.

We are occasionally asked, is there ever a time not to wear a pocket square? The answer to that is not really. Once you become a regular square wearer you’ll find that not wearing a square is like leaving the house without your shoes.

It’s really a case of degrees. If you want to go for a very conservative look choose a pocket square that is only a shade or two lighter than your jacket and go for a flat fold, or something that provides just a little bit of contrast such as a dark brown square with polka dots.

Tonal monochrome shades work well for pocket squares teamed with black or grey suits, for instance, while a vibrant pop of red adds interest to crisp blue suits, particularly in summer. A puff fold can also offer a more nonchalant approach to formal dressing than the classic flat fold.

However, in more recent times, the pocket square’s recent resurgence in popularity has also led to an influx of men elevating their everyday looks and showing a bit of sartorial flair.

We like to keep a plain white pocket square for formal occasions, but a square that is predominately white with either a coloured edging or light pattern provides a relatively conservative look that will work in all business environments.

A well-cut suit or jacket certainly makes a strong statement about a man, but to really stand out, it’s your accessories that really make all the difference. Just look at the difference the humble pocket square can add to a relatively simple jacket. Not a flamboyant colour combination or fold, but a subtle accent.

Remember, if you look good you’ll feel good. Always dress for success