A guide to pocket square etiquette in 2021.
An essential accessory in every smart gentleman’s wardrobe, the timeless pocket square has the power to add flair and finesse to any formal or casual ensemble.
The perfect finishing touch to a well-cut suit, the pocket square is a direct route to defining yourself as a man of style with minimal effort. However, the key to standing out as a true fashion connoisseur lies in knowing your pocket square etiquette.
In order to radiate as a smart and stylish modern day gentleman and avoid looking outdated, here are the do’s and don’ts of executing the pocket square like a pro.
Should you match your tie and pocket square?
No. Your pocket square should never exactly match your tie. That matching tie and pocket square you’ve got your eye on? Avoid it at all costs.
Whilst it may seem like the simplest way to coordinate your attire, matching your tie to your pocket square is breaking all style rules. The purpose of the pocket square is to complement the rest of your ensemble with a design that offers a contrast, in order to accentuate the look.
How do you coordinate a tie and pocket square?
A simple rule of thumb is to choose colours and patterns that look good together, but aren’t a complete match.
Any gentleman looking to truly up his stakes in the style game should start by knowing his colours. Refer to a colour wheel and study the complementary (blue and orange, red and green, etc) and analogous (pink and red, blue and purple, etc) colours, as these are the ones you’re looking to pair up.
The key to choosing your pocket square is to pick out a colour from another part of your outfit, and choose a colour which complements or contrasts it. This works best when working from the design of your tie in order to achieve a coherent look.
When opting for a bold look, the contrast should be enough to make a statement. Choose a complementary colour scheme and roll with it – i.e. an orange pocket square will create the greatest contrast to a tie with hints of blue.
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Depending on the occasion, you may require a more subdued, muted look. Choose an analogous colour scheme and match two warm colours or two cooler colours, i.e. blue and purple. Conversely, opt for a more neutral colour scheme that you can’t go wrong with.
Getting the patterns of your suit, tie and pocket square to work in harmony is undoubtedly the most difficult part. When accessorising with similar patterns, it’s important to choose different sized patterns to contrast. For example, pairing a large polka dot tie with a smaller polka dot pocket square. If you have a lot of pattern going on elsewhere in your look, sticking to a plain pocket square may be your safest bet.
Last but certainly not least – never accessorise with styles of the exact same fabric. Wearing a silk tie with a silk pocket square is overkill, and a rule that shouldn’t be broken. Bring contrast to your outfit and opt for a cotton or linen pocket square, and vica versa.
With that in mind, think of your pocket square as a way to express your style. It adds a sense of refinement to any outfit, with its main goal being to stand out and be clearly visible. So don’t be afraid to be bold, daring and above all, wear it with confidence.
When should you wear a pocket square?
For the style conscious gentleman, there really is no time or place where a pocket square would be deemed inappropriate.
If you find yourself asking the question “should I wear a pocket square with this?” there’s a high chance that your outfit will benefit from one. They don’t have to be reserved solely for formal engagements – if you’re wearing a smart coat, blazer or jacket with a pocket to fit your square, then it’s a no brainer.
Although, you’ll want to choose the perfect pocket square to suit the occasion. Where your finest luxury silk pocket square will be the first choice for any formal event, you may want to consider keeping it conservative for a day in the office, and opt for a more casual look for an evening out.
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Is it OK not to wear a pocket square?
In our personal opinion, a jacket is naked without a pocket square. They aren’t a formal wear essential though, so it is ok not to wear one if you don’t want to.
However, if you’re skipping the square, the rest of your outfit details need to be on point to achieve a crisp, sharp look. Consider ditching the tie along with the square, and make your shirt or suit jacket the stand-out event.
Can you wear a pocket square in a shirt?
Whilst there are many uses for a shirt breast pocket, stuffing it with your finest pocket square isn’t one of them.
As a general rule, pocket squares should be worn to accessorise your outerwear. Pair it with a suit jacket, blazer, topcoat or sports coat and you’ll be good to go.
Do you wear a pocket square with a bow tie?
Yes. Pairing a bow tie with a pocket square is the ultimate combination for creating a smart and sophisticated look.
Providing all of the same rules are followed in regards to choosing complementary accessories, a pocket square equally elevates a bow tie look as it does with a necktie.
Should a pocket square match your shirt?
Shirts and pocket squares shouldn’t match in anything other than maybe a similar colour palette. A checked shirt paired with a checked square is an unforgivable style mistake.
Instead, we’d recommend using your shirt and suit jacket to lay the foundations, and then choose accessories which complement or contrast, to add a unique edge to your look.
Where can I buy silk pocket squares?
When it comes to accessorising, fabric matters, and the quality of your pocket square can make or break your outfit. Any true pocket square aficionado knows the worth of investing in high quality pocket squares.
Adamley are the UK’s leading silk printer, specialising in the creation of gents luxury accessories. A completely bespoke product, our silk pocket squares are made with the finest quality silk, and printed with any custom design.
Hand crafted and finished with a flawless hand-rolled hem, our unique and stylish pocket squares are the perfect fit for gentlemen who appreciate the finer quality in a premium product.