How to Fold a Pocket Square

Unsure how to fold a pocket square? Learn 9 easy pocket square folds with The Knot pocket square guide.
by The Knot
Menswear suit with tie and pocket square
photo by Photo Love

How to Fold a Pocket Square: Your Complete Pocket Square Guide

Learning how to fold a pocket square is a great skill for men and women alike, as this timeless accessory is hotter than ever. The perfect complement to a fitted suit, sports jacket or even a tuxedo, a pocket square is a simple but elegant finishing touch.

Learning how to fold a pocket square isn't passed down from one generation to the next as it once was, though. Kids aren't learning the pocket square rules from dad on a big anniversary night out with mom, and no one is showing kids today how to wear a pocket square for prom. Here's an easy-to-use guide to help you for any occasion.


Pocket Square Folds: What They Are and Why You Need to Learn Them

There are more ways than ever to sport a pocket square today, and in our pocket square guide, you're going to learn how to fold a pocket square in the traditional two-point, three-point and four-point ways. You'll also see how to fold a silk pocket square and how to fold the stylish presidential pocket square. You'll learn eight unique pocket square folding patterns, the correct pocket square size and even how to fold two pocket squares together.

For each of these pocket square folds, we've provided written step-by-step directions with images for each step in folding a pocket square.

Are you ready? Keep The Knot Complete Pocket Square Guide on hand and you'll always be ready to fold a perfect pocket square for any occasion.


Pocket Square Rules

Is there a right or wrong way to sport a pocket square? It's a traditional accessory, but there aren't many pocket square rules governing its use.

Some recommend that your pocket square complements but does not exactly match your tie, but you should let your own personal preference guide you. The most important rule when wearing a pocket square: Make sure you're comfortable and feel fantastic wearing it.


How to Wear a Pocket Square

Traditionally a gentleman's accessory, pocket squares can be worn by anyone today as an elegant way to accessorize a suit, tuxedo or sports jacket. Dating back to ancient Egyptian times, pocket squares were an accessory reserved for the wealthy and elite. This was particularly true of those who wore a white pocket square, as the naturally off-white linens of the day had to be bleached to achieve the desired effect.

Today, there are no hard-and-fast rules as to how to wear a pocket square, except that it should be kept clean and folded properly. Learn the different pocket square folds so you can keep yours looking its best.


Folding Different Types of Pocket Squares

Also called pocket handkerchiefs or even pockerchiefs by some, pocket squares can be made of linen, cotton, wool, silk or other materials. Dry cleaning helps ensure your pocket squares will retain their shape—you should avoid machine washing at all costs. Taking good care of your materials makes the task of folding a pocket square that much easier.


Pocket Square Folds for Different Occasions: Suit Pocket Square vs. Tuxedo Pocket Square

The major differences between a suit pocket square and a tuxedo pocket square are:

a) the material, and

b) the best type of pocket square fold for the job.

A silk pocket square is an excellent and appropriate choice alongside a tuxedo or other formal evening wear, particularly using a classic pocket square fold like the flat pocket square or the presidential pocket square (see below).

Depending on the fabric of your suit, a cotton, wool or linen pocket square can all be a great choice, as long as it complements the rest of the suit. You can get creative with your choice of pocket square fold, depending on the occasion.


How to Fold a Pocket Square: Cotton vs. Silk

Learning how to fold a silk pocket square isn't much trickier than using other materials. You just need to take into account silk's delicate nature and remember that its inherent slipperiness means simpler folds might hold better over the course of the night.

Whether your pocket square is cotton, silk or another material, take the time to iron it beforehand. You'll achieve a neater, cleaner pocket square fold this way. Using a true square of material (rather than a rectangular shape) will also help you make better pocket square folds.

Now, keep this pocket square guide on hand for quick reference as you master how to fold a pocket square in these eight different ways:


How to Fold a Flat Pocket Square

The flat pocket square is a simple, elegant fold that pairs well with a tuxedo or other black tie wear. Cotton or linen materials work best for this pocket square fold. Remember, the goal is to make your pocket square the perfect finishing touch, not to distract from the rest of your outfit.

The Knot - How to fold a flate pocket square
photo by Andrew Roberts Illustration

1. Lay your pocket square flat on a hard, level surface, with a horizontal edge at the top and bottom.

2.Fold the left side of the square over the top of the right, matching the corners.

3.Fold the bottom up until it's just short of touching the top edge.

4. Tuck into your pocket and adjust as needed so the straight, flat edge runs horizontally across the top of your pocket.


How to Fold a One-Point Pocket Square

The flat pocket square is a simple, elegant fold that pairs well with a tuxedo or other black tie wear. Cotton or linen materials work best for this pocket square fold. Remember, the goal is to make your pocket square the perfect finishing touch, not to distract from the rest of your outfit.

The Knot - How to fold a one point pocket square
photo by Andrew Roberts Illustration

1. Lay your pocket square flat on a hard, level surface, with points facing top and bottom, right and left.

2. Bring the bottom point of the diamond up to the top point, folding the pocket square in half. You'll now have a triangle.

3.Fold the left corner about two-thirds of the way over to the right, then folding the right corner over that fold so it meets the new left edge of the pocket square.

4. Tuck into your pocket and adjust as needed so the one point is centered in your pocket.


How to Fold a Two-Point Pocket Square

The two-point pocket square fold is slightly more advanced. It's a good look to complete a sports jacket or suit jacket outfit for business or casual wear. Linen and cotton hold their shape best, but you might like to try a wool pocket square with the two-point fold as well.

The Knot - How to fold a two point pocket square
photo by Andrew Roberts Illustration

1. Lay your pocket square flat on a hard, level surface, with points facing top and bottom, right and left.

2. Fold the bottom corner up and instead of matching it perfectly to the top corner, leave it slightly to the left.

3.Fold the left corner about two-thirds of the way over to the right, then bring the right corner over that fold so it meets the new left edge of the pocket square.

4. Tuck into your pocket and adjust as needed so the pocket square's two points are centered in your pocket.


How to Fold a Three-Point Pocket Square

Once you know how to fold a pocket square with one point or two, you'll find the three-point pocket square fold a snap. It looks fantastic in bright colors or patterns and goes well with business or casual attire.

The Knot - How to fold a three point pocket square
photo by Andrew Roberts Illustration

1. Lay your pocket square flat on a hard, level surface, with points facing top and bottom, right and left.

2.Fold the bottom corner up and instead of matching it perfectly to the top corner, leave it slightly to the left.

3.Bring the bottom left corner up and fold it to the right, laying the point just to the right of the middle “peak."

4. Fold the remaining right side of the pocket square straight over to the left.

5. Tuck into your pocket and adjust as needed so the pocket square's three points are centred in your pocket.


How to Fold a Four-Point Pocket Square

The four point pocket square is more intricate still and is known by some as the “Cagney Square." It works well with cotton or linen and is suitable for business or more formal evening wear, though it might be too flashy for a black tie event.

The Knot - How to fold a four point pocket square
photo by Andrew Roberts Illustration

1. Lay your pocket square flat on a hard, level surface, with points facing top and bottom, right and left.

2. Fold the bottom corner up and instead of matching it perfectly to the top corner, leave it slightly to the left.

3. Bring the bottom left corner up and fold it to the right, laying the point just to the right of the second “peak."

4. Fold the remaining right side of the pocket square up and to the left, bringing the corner up to form the fourth point to the left of the first three.

5. Tuck into your pocket and adjust as needed so the pocket square's four points are centered in your pocket.


How to Fold a Puff Pocket Square

Finally! A fold perfect for showing off that silk pocket square you've been dying to wear. It's one of the easiest of the pocket square folds too. Try a patterned pocket square with this fold; solid colors just don't do it justice.

The Knot - How to fold a puff pocket square
photo by Andrew Roberts Illustration

1. Lay your pocket square flat on a hard, level surface, with points facing top and bottom, right and left.

2. Pinch the center of the pocket square fabric with your thumb and forefinger.

3. Lift the fabric up so it drapes down onto the surface around the point you're holding.

4. Lightly wrap your other hand around the draping fabric, and don't worry if it's starting to look messy. Keep a gentle grip on the material while you move your hand almost to the end of the fabric, still holding the center of the square with your thumb and forefinger.

5. Fold the top of the pocket square (the part between your thumb and forefinger) over the thumb of the hand holding the bottom of the fabric together.

6. You can now release your thumb and forefinger grip and use that hand to pinch the pocket square together below your other thumb.

7. Turn the pocket square upside down, so the fold is at the bottom and the tips are at the top.

8. Tuck the bottom folded edge into your pocket and adjust as needed so the pocket square's tips stand up out of your pocket.


How to Fold a Winged-Puff Pocket Square

The winged-puff pocket square fold is a fancier looking, more advanced fold that still works best with business or casual attire. Cotton or linen, solid colors or patterned—it's your choice with this versatile fold.

The Knot - How to fold a winged puff pocket square
photo by Andrew Roberts Illustration

1. Lay your pocket square flat on a hard, level surface, with points facing top and bottom, right and left.

2. Fold the top corner down to meet the bottom corner exactly.

3. Bring the top left corner down to meet the same bottom middle point, then the right.

4. Now fold the left, right and bottom corners of the pocket square all in toward the middle, so the left, right and bottom edges are all square.

5. Tuck the bottom folded edge into your pocket and adjust as needed so the pocket square's top point is centered in your pocket.


How to Fold a Presidential Pocket Square

Similar to the square fold, the presidential pocket square is a distinguished, classic fold suitable for black tie and formal to business casual events. This pocket square fold looks best with solid colors and is a great choice for white pocket squares.

The Knot - How to fold a presidential pocket square
photo by Andrew Roberts Illustration

1. Lay your pocket square flat on a hard, level surface, with a horizontal edge at the top and bottom.

2. Fold the fabric in half from left to right.

3. Take the bottom of the rectangle shape you're left with and fold it three-quarters of the way up to the top.

4. Tuck the presidential pocket square into your pocket and adjust as needed so the straight, flat edge runs horizontally across the top of your pocket.


How to Fold Two Pocket Squares Together

Learning how to fold two pocket squares together allows you to create bold, unique accessories to go with your business or casual suits and jackets. This look works best with two pocket squares that complement one another, like a solid-colored pocket square and a second patterned one that incorporates that same color.

The Knot - How to fold two pocket squares together
photo by Andrew Roberts Illustration

1. Lay Square 1 flat on a hard, level surface, with points facing top and bottom, left and right.

2. Lay Square 2t on top, overlapping so the left point of Square 2 is just touching the middle of Square 1.

3. Fold the bottom point of Square 2 up to the top point, so it forms a triangle. Do the same with Square 1 so it forms a triangle in which the other one is resting.

4. Fold the right corner of Square 2t back into the middle, then fold the left corner of Square 1 over to the new far right bottom corner.

5. Fold the top right corner down to the bottom left corner, then repeat with the top left corner to the bottom right, so you're left with a small triangle.

6. Fold the bottom right corner of this small triangle up to meet its apex.

7. Flip the pocket square over and fold the last remaining point in over the rest of the folded material.

8. Gently fan out the folds and place the bottom folded edge into your pocket. Adjust as needed so the alternating pattern of the two pocket squares folded together is clearly visible.


How to Fold a Pocket Square: A Quick Reference Pocket Square Guide

Now that you know how to fold a pocket square in so many creative ways, share your newfound knowledge with a friend. Skills like this aren't taught in school or passed down in families like they once were, yet knowing your pocket square folds can help you stand out in job interviews, in the workforce and at social events.


Keep this pocket square guide on hand for quick reference the next time you need to dress up your suit or sports jacket to look your best. For more step-by-step guidance on mastering the art of business and formalwear, check out our “How to Tie a Tie" and “How to Tie a Bow Tie" guides, complete with illustrations to help you get started.



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