I received a couple of very nice pocket squares as a gift during the festive period. I’m not sure what the rules are in terms of styling them. Can you help?
Pocket squares are one of my favourite accessories that can entirely change up an outfit or bring life to an old blazer in seconds. In fact, I would say that you can never have too many pocket squares. Bold, subtle, silk, cotton, printed, plain, polka dot, paisley, the options are endless. What’s also great about pocket squares is that there are no set rules that you must abide by. How its styled can be completely up to you, although my personal preference is for it to be kept very simple to create that sense of “nonchalance” that Hardy Amies once spoke about.
If you want to go for a 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.
Now, I will say that merely shoving the pocket square into the jacket just won’t roll, but it’s not advanced origami either. Ensuring that at least half an inch is on show is a must. It can be placed in a “puff” style or a simple straight square fold (the square fold always looks better if the pocket square is relatively simple, the puff or scallop for the fancier squares).
When choosing which colour to wear keep in mind the colour of your shirt and tie. They should complement, but please avoid the absolute matching of a yellow tie with a yellow pocket square — what this says is that you have zero originality. Pocket squares are all about personality. It should complement, but never absolutely match.
Pocket squares are also a great conversation starter, and you will see the more sartorially inclined gents taking note or passing comment on a nicely placed, well complementing pocket square. Beware here not to overdo it though. The pocket square itself will elevate the appearance of the jacket and or shirt-and-tie combination, but stay clear of crazy pattern combinations.
When wearing a burgundy tie, for example, look for a patterned square that has burgundy as a secondary colour. This will show that you have taken the time and effort to complement but not overdo it with brash matchy matchy styling.
Gary Sweeney is brand manager of Ascots & Chapels, bespoke tailors with locations across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.