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Dapper Ways to Fold a Pocket Square

Everyone wears clothes, but only certain people have style. What makes the difference? It’s in the details.

The shine of a shoe, the glint of a watch, and, the topic of today’s discussion, the fold of a pocket square, can all make the difference between a nice but forgettable outfit and a show-stopping ensemble.

As one of the easiest, most versatile, and most affordable ways to level up the look of a suit, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be making the most of pocket squares. Even if you only have one or two, you can easily increase their versatility and range by using different folding techniques.

For adding a pop of colour and a dash of panache to your suit jackets, here are the nine main folds you should know (picture instructions coming soon!):

The Square Fold, or the Presidential Fold

1. Start with a flat, unfolded pocket square.
2. Fold your square more or less down the middle—the aim is to make it the width of your pocket.
3. Create the finished shape by folding up from the bottom to form a rectangle that’s the width of your pocket and about a centimetre longer.
4. Place the pocket square with the bottom fold tucking into the base of your breast pocket and adjust it to present a crisp, sleek strip of fabric just peeking out the top.

This classic fold is so popular and timeless because of its simple elegance. It presents as an understated yet eye-catching band of fabric, running parallel to the top of the jacket pocket.

When to wear it: Choose this fold when formality and effortless sophistication are called for, from weddings to cocktail hour.

The One-Point Fold

1. Start with a flat, unfolded pocket square.
2. Create a triangle by making a diagonal fold down the centre.
3. Take each corner at the edges of the folded base and, one at a time, fold inwards to create a shape that looks like an open envelope and that is roughly the width of your pocket.
4. Slide the rectangular edge into the base of your pocket so that just the pointed triangular tip points straight up and out.

This fold is extremely versatile and works well for a variety of occasions.

When to wear it: Choose this fold when you need a great day-to-night look as it moves seamlessly from the boardroom to a more casual setting.

The Two-Point Fold

1. Start with a flat, unfolded pocket square.
2. Create a triangle by making a diagonal fold down the centre, just as you do for the one-point fold, but this time don’t make the corners meet at the top of the triangle. Aim for the corner of the top piece of fabric to veer just left of the corner that’s lying flat. This is what creates the two points.
3. Take each corner at the edges of the folded base and, one at a time, fold inwards to create a shape that looks like an open envelope with two pointed flaps up top and that is roughly the width of your pocket.
4. Slide the rectangular edge into the base of your pocket so that just the two pointed tips extend out.

This look is favoured in business settings since it’s dressy and a little bit unique. Plus, it looks a little more complex than a basic fold but it’s just as easy to create.

When to wear it: Choose this fold when you want a business look with an extra dose of swagger.

The Three-Point Fold, or Tri-Fold

1. Start with a flat, unfolded pocket square.
2. Just like with the two-point fold, create a triangle shape by making a diagonal fold down the centre and angle it so that the two points don’t quite meet flush, and instead form two peaks of fabric, with the top peak lying to the left of the bottom peak.
3. Take the left bottom corner of the folded edge and fold it up so that it forms a third peak to the right of the existing two. Take care to ensure that all three points are equal in size and spacing.
4. Take the bottom right corner and fold it over to the left side so it forms a base that is approximately the width of your pocket.
5. Slide the bottom folded edge down into your pocket, with the three points rising up out of the top.

This fold requires some patience and a practiced hand, as it can take a few attempts to get the three points lined up properly.

When to wear it: Choose this fold when you want to add some flash to your look, and take care to ensure the fold is immaculately done.

The Four-Point Fold, or The Cagney Fold

1. Start with a flat, unfolded pocket square.
2. Just like with the two-point fold, create a triangle shape by making a diagonal fold down the centre and angle it so that the two points don’t quite meet flush, and instead form two peaks of fabric, with the top peak lying to the left of the bottom peak.
3. Take the left bottom corner of the folded edge and fold it up so that it forms a third peak to the right of the existing two.
4. Take the bottom right corner and fold it up to form the fourth point, to the left of the existing three. Take care to ensure that all four points are equal in size and spacing.
5. If need be, you can narrow the base of the fold to make it fit your pocket by folding the outer edges in under the four points.
5. Slide the bottom folded edge down into your pocket, with the four points rising up out of the top.

Because of the intricate folds, this look is best suited to pocket squares made of thin fabric that holds its shape well, such as starched linen.

When to wear it: This is an extra sharp look that conveys you’re a bit daring. Choose it when you want to get noticed.

The Puff Fold

1. Start with a flat, unfolded pocket square.
2. Grasp the centre of the fabric and let the rest of the pocket square hang loosely.
3. Gather the loose ends and pull them into a tube shape, creating a puff of loose fabric on top.
4. Roll up the ends together or fold them back behind the tube.
5. Tuck the rolled/folded edge down into your pocket so the puff forms a rounded peak.

Embrace the unpredictability of this fold—the wrinkles and dimples are all part of the look.

When to wear it: This fold is far from formal, so choose it for occasions that call for a little playfulness, such as a night on the town.

The Winged Puff Fold

1. Start with a flat, unfolded pocket square.
2. Create a triangle by making a diagonal fold down the middle, with the point of the triangle facing down.
3. Take both corners (left and right) and fold them down to meet the bottom point, creating a diamond shape.
4. Pull slightly on the top corner to loosen up the wings of the fold.
5. Take the remaining three corners (all except the top peak) and fold them into the centre to create a square base.
6. Tuck it into your pocket with the winged peak poking out.

Take the time to finesse this one. You want the two visible wings to open slightly, creating a loose shape with some movement.

When to wear it: Since this fold works best with softer fabrics that move, choose it for occasions when you want a more relaxed look.

The Scallop Fold

1. Start with a flat, unfolded pocket square.
2. Create a triangle by folding the pocket square diagonally down the middle with the top point of the triangle facing right.
3. Fold it in half once more by bringing the bottom point up to meet the top left point.
4. Grasp one of the top corners and curl it inward to meet the opposite edge. Do the same for the other corner, taking care not to make hard folds or creases. You’re aiming for a rounded shape.
5. Slide the triangular base of the fold down into your pocket, leaving the curved, scalloped top visible.

When to wear it: This fold is often worn at celebratory occasions such as weddings, perhaps because it strays from formality and expresses a certain joie de vivre.

The Dunaway Fold

1. Start with a flat, unfolded pocket square.
2. Grasp the centre of the fabric and let the rest of the pocket square hang loosely.
3. Gather the loose ends and pull them into a tube shape, creating a puff of loose fabric on top.
4. Turn the tube on its head and fan out the loose edges so they are roughly even.
5. Form the base by folding the centre of the pocket square halfway up.
6. Snug the base into your pocket so the loose edges “blossom” out the top.

When to wear it: This fold also has something of a joyous, celebratory nature, with the folds resembling a flower in bloom. Choose it for occasions when you want to let loose and have fun.

Now that you have nine different pocket square folds in your arsenal, you can go forward with confidence and style and perhaps even turn a head or two.

Other useful guides:

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If you’re interested in the history of bow ties and the different shapes and designs available, you may like to read our ‘Types of Bow Tie Styles’ article.

Have you ever wondered when’s a good time to wear a bow tie? Try our ‘When to Wear a Bow Tie’ article to get some inspiration.

If you're uncertain whether you should opt for a pre-tied or self-tie bow tie, have a read of our 'Pre-tied Vs Self-tie bow tie' guide.

Are you attending a wedding this year? You might be a guest or a groom wondering whether you should wear a necktie or bow tie. If so, our useful ‘Bow Tie or Tie?’ guide might help you make up your mind.