Once you have read up on the best pocket squares to buy online as well as how to properly wear one, the next step is to put it on! In this guide, you will learn how to fold a pocket square for just about any occasion!

We will be focusing on the six following folds for your pocket square:

  1. TV / Presidential Fold
  2. Puff Fold
  3. Simple Foldover
  4. One Point Fold
  5. Two-Point Fold
  6. The Plop Fold

Simply use the links above to jump to the fold you want to learn the most. You can also learn more folding tips and why we fold pocket squares below.

Indochino-Wide-Banner-2020

Indochino-Wide-Banner-2020

6 Easy Pocket Square Folds & How To Fold Them

This guide focuses solely on folding techniques. For more on coordination and matching them with garments, head to the how to wear guide linked below.

Indochino Link Block

See The Top 10 Pocket Squares Brands

Shop Now

1. TV / Presidential Pocket Square Fold

The TV Fold (also known as the Presidential fold) is so named because of its popularity amongst American TV game show hosts in the 1950s. It’s a simple fold that shows a straight line of ¼” (0.6 cm) to ½” (1.3 cm) of pocket square above the breast pocket.

There are some who consider this fold passé; Flusser chalks this up to its “…purposeful symmetry” that “…contravened the art form’s underlying spontaneity.” We couldn’t disagree more. It’s a simple, conservative fold that’s easy to execute. Furthermore, it’s extremely versatile for just about any occasion!

How To Fold A TV / Presidential Pocket Square

how-to-fold-a-pocket square tv presidential

  1. Lay pocket square flat.
  2. Fold in half.
  3. Again fold almost in half in the other direction to the width of the breast pocket.
  4. Fold it back in on itself to the height of the pocket square.
  5. Place square in breast pocket, allowing approximately ¼”-½” to show.

When placing the pocket square in the pocket, push it in with the edges first. This fold is meant to be seamless unlike the Simple Foldover below, which shows the edges. You can also use an iron when folding to accentuate and harden the creases for a crisp finish.

When To Wear & Ideal Fabrics

2. Puff Pocket Square Fold

puff pocket square fold

Allegedly invented by Fred Astaire, the puff fold gets its name from the cloudy, “puff” shape created when finished in the breast pocket. Once you learn the fold, it’s one of the quickest to execute and punches far above its weight in style points.

This still of fold is ideal for silk handkerchiefs with eye-catching patterns and designs. We’re particularly fond of the silk art-work prints made by Rampley & Co for creating this dazzling effect!

How To Fold A Puff Pocket Square

how-to-fold-a-pocket square puff

  1. Lay square out flat.
  2. Grab center of square in your right hand.
  3. While still holding the center with your right hand, use your left hand to fold the points behind the “puffy” part of the square.
  4. Place in pocket with only the “puff” part showing. Adjust to your liking.

What’s particularly interesting with this fold is that the puff can be moulded to any shape you want. For instance, you can keep it flat like a TV fold or you could shape it into a one-point fold. The result can be as conservative or as outgoing as you want!

Finally, there is also a “reverse” puff fold, which is when you reveal the edges of the pocket square by putting the puffy end in first.

When To Wear & Ideal Fabrics

3. The Simple Foldover Pocket Square

simple fold pocket square

This fold is simply a slightly asymmetrical TV fold with the handkerchief’s edges facing upwards. Easy to execute while simultaneously sartorially conservative and visually interesting, it works particularly well with white hanks that have coloured trim.

How To Fold A Simple Foldover Square

how-to-fold-a-pocket square simple foldover

  1. Lay square out flat.
  2. Fold square in half.
  3. Going the other way, fold in half again.
  4. Fold in half once more.
  5. Fold in half the other way one last time, but don’t make both ends of the square meet.
  6. Place in pocket in such a way that both sides of the square are visible.

When To Wear & Ideal Fabrics

  • Occasions: Slightly less versatile than the TV fold, it can work for anything except potentially black tie attire.
  • Fabrics: Cotton or Linen

4. One-Point Pocket Square Fold

Another easy-to-fold number, one point looks like a triangle pointing upwards from your breast pocket. A bit more complex than a TV fold, it’s a tad more conspicuous as well. Overall, it works particularly well with solid squares.

How To Fold A One-Point Square

how-to-fold-a-pocket-square-one-point handkerchief

  1. Lay square out flat.
  2. Fold in half diagonally.
  3. Then, fold the left side of the triangle one-third of the way in.
  4. Fold right side of the triangle one-third of the way in. A point should now have formed at the top.
  5. Place in pocket with point facing up. About an inch or so is sufficient.

When To Wear & Ideal Fabrics

  • Occasions: Weddings, Dates, events, Black Tie
  • Fabrics: Cotton or Linen

5. Two-Point Pocket Square Fold

Needless to say, the two-point is very similar to the one-point fold above, but with two points showing up from the pocket. Although there are other folds with more points, we believe that this is about as complex as a pocket square fold should get. Adding additional points can quickly appear quite extreme.

How To Fold A Two-Point Pocket Square

how-to-fold-a-two-point pocket square

  1. Lay square out flat
  2. Fold in half diagonally but a bit to the side so the fold is somewhat asymmetrical and generates two “points”
  3. Fold left corner in approximately 1/3 of the way
  4. Repeat step three with other corner
  5. Place in pocket with both points showing approximately .5″ above the hem. Adjust to your taste.

When To Wear & Ideal Fabrics

  • Occasions: Weddings, Dates, Business Casual
  • Fabrics: Cotton or Linen

6. “The Plop” Pocket Square Fold

Plop Pocket Square Fold

Cary Grant was known for this. It’s is essentially a non-fold, a version of the puff that’s been stuffed into the pocket as opposed to folded. This “fold” is very casual in nature and goes very well with casual looks like odd jackets and trousers, sport coats with button-down collar shirts, and so on.

Indeed, it’s a particularly laid-back and easygoing style, which simply exudes sperratuza!

How To Fold A Plop Pocket Square

  1. Take pocket square into your hand
  2. Plop it in the breast pocket
  3. Adjust to your liking

In short, you just shove the handkerchief into your breast pocket without too much thought. Grasp it however you fancy and push it all the way in. Afterwards, simply start pulling it back out until you’re happy with the length.

When To Wear & Ideal Fabrics

  • Occasions: Weddings, Dates, Casual
  • Fabrics: Anything

How To Fold A Pocket Square With Style

Having a discussion on the “proper” ways to fold a pocket square is somewhat of an exercise in missing the point. While it’s true that folding a handkerchief requires a certain level of care similar to tying a tie, the whole point is to look unstudied, unfussy, and natural.

The word “aplomb” -that is, “casually self-assured”- comes to mind when we think about how one should wear a pocket square. To obsess over how your pocket square is folded is the antithesis of aplomb, which is in effect the antithesis of style itself.

There are many websites out there that will show you things like fifty different ways to fold a pocket square to get fifty different looks out of them. While we appreciate the attention to detail and thoroughness, these folds that make your pocket squares look like roses or castles or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters are more for novelty than anything else.

Like a musician who can play expertly but without feeling, these crazy folds are the mark of a dresser who relies on complexity in lieu of style. They miss the point of wearing a pocket square.

Now, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t pay attention to how you manipulate your pocket silk. There are certain folds that work better for certain materials and certain situations. We are happy to offer guidance on five different folds so that you can have some choice when getting dressed.

Importantly, these are all reasonably easy to fold. One of the biggest reasons men avoid wearing pocket squares is fear that they won’t fold them correctly, and hopefully this will help you get over that hump.

Please, don’t spend too much time on them. Allow your pocket square to do its thing. You will look and feel more natural, meaning that you’ll be more stylish as a result.

Pocket Square Aesthetics

Regardless of how you fold your pocket square, there’s one aesthetic rule that we should address. Your pocket square should add to your ensemble without taking anything away. The key here is to be inconspicuous.

plain and ornate pocket square folds

The above left photo is how a pocket square should look: natural and not stepping on the toes of the other outfit elements by which it’s surrounded. The above right photo is the same combination but with a foppishly overdone handkerchief. It’s not that it gets attention, it distracts and detracts from the whole.

Remember: the whole point is to get the viewer to look at your face, not just your pocket square.

How Materials Affect Handkerchief Folds

Who would have thought that a single pocket square could offer so many stylistic options? Indeed, just about any pocket square can be folded the following ways! However, you may notice that the fabric of your pocket square will certainly affect how it folds and performs in the pocket.

Silk has a “wet,” “loose” texture that gives it a certain airiness, while cotton and linen are “dry,” stiffer, and tend to stand at attention more. As a result, the rigidity of cotton may be better for basic folds whereas silk allows for more elaborate styles.

Why Do We Fold Handkerchiefs?

In the 1920s, folding techniques forever changed the handkerchief’s place in fashion. Instead of seeing the breast pocket as a clean place to keep a handkerchief, the pocket square became a stylistic statement rather than a utilitarian one.

In an interesting twist, men started to keep a separate handkerchief in their trousers to wipe their nose with, while leaving the pocket square untouched. Nowadays, this is referred to as the “one for blowing, one for showing” rule. You can learn more about this in our guide on how to wear a pocket square.

What Next?

Your pocket square should serve to enhance your attire without distracting from any other part of it. The folds we detail above are all easy enough to execute so you should be able to wear your pocket square and not let it wear you. For your convenience, here are more related resources:

Black Lapel Sidebar Banner

Newsletter

Best Of Bespoke Unit & the Web