How to Fold a Pocket Square: 10 Easy Ways

Remove the guesswork with easy-to-follow instructions from our menswear editor
Menswear suit with tie and pocket square
Photo: Photo Love
tres dean Associate Menswear Editor
by
Tres Dean
tres dean Associate Menswear Editor
Tres Dean
Associate Menswear Editor
  • Tres writes and edits articles for The Knot, with a specialty in menswear and suiting.
  • He brings over a decade of expertise in the field garnered as a writer, editor, copywriter, and trend specialist.
  • Before joining The Knot he covered menswear for publications including GQ, AskMen, Men’s Health, Sharp Magazine, Highsnobiety, and Spy.
Updated Oct 27, 2023

Not quite sure how to fold a pocket square? You've come to the right place. Not even sure what a pocket square is? We've got you. As the name implies, this square cut of fabric is a classic suiting accessory that is designed to be folded into the chest pocket of a suit or tuxedo, providing a splash of color or contrast to a jacket. Just how far you want to take this sartorial flourish is up to you (the market spans everything from white linen to psychedelic silk) but before you make any decisions, you'll want to be clear on just how you should fold your chosen pocket square.

Before we dive too deep, it's also important that I clarify the difference between a pocket square and a handkerchief. The latter can serve as a pocket square but it has a more functional purpose: It can be used to salvage clothing from a spilled cocktail, to clean one's glasses, or even to dab tears during a particularly moving performance. A pocket square generally serves a purely decorative purpose, especially if it's patterned or made from a fabric that can't be tossed into the wash such as silk.

Types of Pocket Square Folds

Whether you're trying to decide what kind of pocket square fold you need, how to fold a pocket square in the presidential style, or looking to learn more about this suiting accessory, you've come to the right place. Read on, I promise we'll start you off easy.

In this article:

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 style of fold. Remember, the goal is to make your pocket square the perfect finishing touch, not to distract from the rest of your outfit.

Difficulty: Easy

How to fold a flat pocket square
Design: Natalie Romine for The Knot

Flat Pocket Square Fold Steps

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 one-point pocket square fold is a one-size-fits-all approach. Most any pocket square material will work great for this one, and it goes well with everything from sport coats to tuxes.

Difficulty: Easy

How to fold a one point pocket square
Design: Natalie Romine for The Knot

One-Point Pocket Square Fold Steps

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 fold 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 coat 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 for a softer looker or a colder climate.

Difficulty: Easy

How to fold a two point pocket square
Design: Natalie Romine for The Knot

Two-Point Pocket Square Fold Steps

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

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. This style looks fantastic in bright colors or patterns and goes well with business or casual attire.

Difficulty: Medium

How to fold a three point pocket square
Design: Natalie Romine for The Knot

Three-Point Pocket Square Fold Steps

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 centered 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" in homage to Hollywood legend James Cagney, who favored this style. The Cagney works well with cotton or linen and is suitable for business or more formal evening wear, though it could be considered too flashy for a black tie event.

Difficulty: Medium

How to fold a four point pocket square
Design: Natalie Romine for The Knot

Four-Point Pocket Square Fold Steps

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. Try a patterned pocket square with this fold; solid colors just won't do it justice.

Difficulty: Hard

How to fold a puff pocket square
Design: Natalie Romine for The Knot

Puff Pocket Square Fold Steps

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 (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.

Difficulty: Hard

How to fold a winged puff pocket square
Design: Natalie Romine for The Knot

Winged-Puff Pocket Square Fold Steps

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 that 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 everything from black-tie occasions to business events (consider it White House-approved). This pocket square fold looks best with solid colors and is a great choice for white pocket squares.

Difficulty: Easy

How to fold a presidential pocket square
Design: Natalie Romine for The Knot

Presidential Pocket Square Fold Steps

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 that are still appropriate for 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.

Difficulty: Medium

How to fold two pocket squares together
Design: Natalie Romine for The Knot

Two-Pocket-Square Fold Steps

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

2. Lay Square 2 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 2 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.

Tips for Folding a Pocket Square

Figuring out how to fold a pocket square is only one small step in incorporating this finishing touch into your suit. From selecting the perfect material for your suit to deciding whether or not you even need to wear a pocket square, we've rounded up our most sage advice on the matter.

Pocket Square Material

Most pocket squares are either made from silk or cotton. Cotton is a sturdier material for which more complicated folds will hold over a longer period of time. 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 texture means simpler folds might hold better over the course of the night.

Regardless of fabric content, you'll want to iron your pocket square beforehand in order to achieve a neater, cleaner fold this way. Using a true square of material (rather than a rectangular shape) will also help you to create cleaner folds.

Suit Vs Tuxedo Pocket Squares

The etiquette surrounding suit pocket squares versus tux pocket squares is a little more relaxed. As there are very few rules when it comes to wearing a pocket square with a suit, you are limited only by what's available on the market and your own comfort level. With a tuxedo, you're going to want to be a bit more restrained given the formality of the garment. Tradition dictates that one use a silk pocket square in a solid color. White is usually the best bet, but it's entirely appropriate to coordinate your pocket square with your tie if you're opting for a color.

Pocket Square Size

How big is a pocket square? The accessory tends to come in a range of sizes from 10 to 17 inches. In most cases, you'll want to go with something on the slightly larger side, around 15 inches. That said, you'll want to skew a bit smaller if it's made from a thicker cotton or other sturdier material (more than 12 inches and you may have trouble fitting it into your pocket).

How to Place a Pocket Square in Your Pocket

To put in a pocket square, you first need to fold your square into the desired shape and style. You'll then want to keep it in that fold by pinching it and sliding it into your jacket pocket. You should always put your pocket square in while wearing your jacket, not before putting it on.

Do I Have to Wear a Pocket Square?

If you aren't feeling like wearing a pocket square, good news: it's not a requirement. Plenty of suits and tuxedos can look great without one. This classic accessory and can add an extra dose of polish to your look but it's entirely possible to look pulled together without one.

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