The ability to fold a pocket square like a boss is a sign of someone who takes menswear seriously. The pocket square has a long and rich history. It is believed by some that the pocket square can be traced back to ancient Egypt. Egyptians were thought to dye small linen cloths with a red powdered dye and wear them as a sign of prestige and wealth. Ancient Greeks, the Catholic Church, and Kings of England were all known to wear a handkerchief as an accessory.
A Brief History of the Pocket Square
In the 1400s, the handkerchief became popular when the upper classes first adopted them as a fashion accessory. Made of silk and other exotic fabrics, they were ornately embroidered and used as demonstrations of wealth and status.
With the introduction of the two piece suit in the 19th century, gentlemen began placing their handkerchiefs in their suit breast pocket to avoid having it mix with coins in their trouser pockets. This is when the true pocket square is thought to have been born.
Men who don the pocket square effortlessly make others believe that it is a simply accessory, but in reality, the pocket square requires some consideration. Folding a pocket square is a labor of love and there are several ways to get the job done.
How to Fold a Pocket Square
There are several acceptable ways to fold a pocket square. Which one you choose will depend on how formal you want it to appear and how much talent you have.
The Square Fold
Also referred to as The Presidential Fold, the square fold is the most common and easiest fold. Simply fold your pocket square in half and then back on itself in half again. One final vertical fold will leave a small square that can be easily placed in your suit pocket. Iron the fold into place. The clean edge should run adjacent to the top of the pocket for a sleek look.
The Square Fold works best in professional settings when crossing t's and dotting i's a must.
The Winged Puff Fold
An intricate fold, this one may require some patience. The Winged Puff Fold parts down the center and reveals more of the pocket square design. Begin the fold by folding the fabric in half by the corners to create a triangle. Fold the two wider corners towards the point, leaving a diamond shape. The last step is to fold the sides behind and the bottom up so there is a small square with a point at the top. The puffed part will be at the top of your pocket.
The complexity of the fold will send the message that you are serious about your appearance.
The Scallop Fold
To achieve The Scallop Fold, fold the pocket square diagonally by the corners and then repeat. Hold the smaller triangle, leaving the two widest corners at the top. Wrap one corner around and down and then repeat for the other side. What remains is a layered, round fold. The point is placed towards the bottom of your pocket and the rounded fold sits at the top.
The Scallop Fold can be a more casual fold for a night out or an afternoon event.
The One Point Fold
The most basic pocket square look, The One Point Fold is easily achieved. Fold the pocket square in half and then in half again to create a square. When you hold the square like a diamond, fold the two outside corners over the center to form a cone. Fold the bottom back onto itself and stick into your pocket with the point facing upwards.
Perfect for business or casual, this pocket square fold is a classic.
The Two Point Fold
To stand out a bit, but not too much, The Two Point Fold is a signature pocket square fold. Fold the pocket square in half, corner to corner, leaving the points slightly askew. Fold one side inwards across two thirds of the length. Repeat this for the other side and fold the bottom back onto itself to leave the desired height. Flatten the fabric and place inside your pocket.
Coordinate this fold with plain fabrics or more flashy patterns to stand out in a sea of plain.
Today, pocket squares are donned by those considered to be Renaissance men and have become as essential accessory for those who invest in menswear.