We get it! Folding a pocket square can be difficult. Particularly if you’ve never done it before.
Trust us we know. We’ve seen many a groom and groomsmen fumbling around at weddings we’ve photographed. Almost every one of them there are clueless men huddled around trying to figure it out. They’ll usually end up on a blog post just like this one telling them exactly how to fold a pocket square for a wedding.
Well, you’re in the right place, we’ve shot over 1000 weddings so have assisted a lot of individuals with this particular conundrum.
In this article, we aim to tell you just that, how to do it. However, we also intend to tell you the different types of pocket square folds, which materials are best for certain folds as well as how the right fold can really show off your pocket square design in the best way.
What is a Pocket Square?
No, it’s not the same as a handkerchief. That has a practical purpose for dabbing sweat or blowing your nose ewww. DO NOT BLOW YOUR NOSE ON YOUR POCKET SQUARE! The pocket square serves no function other than to send your outfit to the next level.
It acts as a finishing touch to your suit. It elevates it whilst also bringing in matching elements. Perhaps it picks up some tones of your tie? or the stitching on your suit? Or maybe the bride has chosen this pocket square to tie in the groomsmen’s outfits with the bridesmaids?
The pocket square is usually made of fine fabric and can be plain or have a jazzy pattern to its design.
There are multiple ways to fold a pocket square to best emphasize this design. Obvs we’ll let you know about these soon.
At the same time, the way you fold it could reflect your personality. Maybe you’re a slightly reserved gent and want to go for a minimalistic vibe. Or perhaps you’re more out there and want to go for a more flamboyant fold? The choice will ultimately come down to you (or the bride) yeah probably the bride!
And we know what you’re thinking, “Surely folding a pocket square is super hard”. ERR NO! It’s actually really easy once you know how.
The pocket square is here to stay so we think it’s time you learned how to fold one.
When should you learn how to fold a pocket square for a wedding?
Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? It could be too late hahaha. Unless you’re a good boy of course and doing your research well before the wedding.
We think this is the best way. We’ve seen far too many grooms stressing on the day of the wedding about how to complete this simple task. Of course, everyone from the mother of the bride to the vicar thinks they know how it’s done as well and are interjecting with their opinion.
So, even if it’s the night before the wedding we just suggest you don’t learn on the day. It’ll save you a lot of time and will ensure you have a more chilled-out wedding morning.
At the same time if you or the bride have decided on a particular fold you want it might take a little bit of perfecting.
Equally, If you’re having 10 groomsmen as well you might want to factor in some time for folding theirs as well and making sure they all look dapper.
Related Reading: What’s the maximum amount of groomsmen I can have?
Do you need a pocket square for a wedding?
If the thought of a bit of wedding day origami is just too much to bear you could forgo pocket squares altogether.
However, in our opinion, a suit jacket just looks odd without this finishing touch. After all they are a staple of the classic white wedding.
That being said we have shot weddings where the groom just simply didn’t wear a blazer. This was mainly for destination weddings that were outside and absolutely scorching. So a pocket square wasn’t required.
The no-blazer look definitely works for those more laid-back DIY types of weddings. But less so for the more traditional or formal events.
It will ultimately be down to what you think is best for your wedding but we can’t hand-on-heart tell you not to have one.
They’re great at tying the theme of the wedding together through the color chosen, the type of fold, or their design.
We’re very pro pocket squares if that hasn’t come across yet!
Types of Pocket Square Folds
Various types of pocket square folds lend themselves to different occasions. There are classic folds, ones that are more casual, and those that display a more formal aesthetic.
Let’s have a look at some of the pocket square folds to help you determine what might be best for your wedding.
Flat fold aka the presidential fold
The flat fold is a timeless one that’s suitable for almost any event. It suits a formal wedding perfectly because of its clean-lined aesthetic.
Start by laying your pocket square completely flat preferably on a hard surface. Then simply fold it in half. Your next fold will very much depend on the size of your pocket but look to fold it roughly in half again in the same direction. You should now have a rather thin rectangle shape. Now, from the bottom of the rectangle fold upwards in the opposite direction to the previous folds. Repeat this once more to create a square shape.
And there you have it. We told you it was easy. The direction you insert it in your pocket will depend if you want to showcase the border edging or the folded edge. You’ll have to decide that for yourself based on any design elements of your chosen pocket square.
The idea is that this fold just peaks out following the contours of the pocket.
Another ‘simple to achieve’ pocket square design is the puff fold. Again we think this is another timeless fold that works well for traditional weddings.
Once again you’ll start out by laying your pocket square on a flat surface. Pinch the material in the middle of the square with your right hand and pull it upwards. With your left hand make a circle with your thumb and index finger and run it down the material. Tease it out to give a bit more volume. You should have a shape resembling a deflated balloon. Twist the excess material and place it underneath.
Like we’ve said it really isn’t complicated stuff once you know how. Place this in your top pocket and make any necessary adjustments. This one should have more of a volume to it and a curve compared with the presidential fold.
Reverse puff fold
The reverse puff fold will see you having four peaks emanating from your top pocket. This fold almost resembles flames and again suits a more chilled wedding vibe with a bit of flamboyance.
Start out in the same way as the puff fold. Pinch the middle and make a circle with your index finger and thumb of the opposite hand. Run your finger and thumb down the material until you get about half way. At this point twist the material from the bottom multiple times.
Place the material in your pocket and you should have the four corners peeking out. Adjust these as necessary until you’re happy with them. This fold will add a bit of texture and intrigue to your outfit and works well for patterned designs.
The wave fold sets a much more casual but neat vibe. Perfect for a backyard wedding or one at the marina.
With the pocket square laid out flat, grab two of the diagonal corners. You’ll now have a triangular shape to lay flat on your surface. Bring one corner in to effectively halve the triangle and then repeat.
You should now have quite a small triangle. Place your index finger at the top of the triangle and bring one of the corners to meet its position. Flip the whole pocket square over and bring the corner of the triangle down towards you. You should now have a diamond shape.
Turn the material over once again and you should see the signs of a wave at the top of the pocket square. Simply cinch the bottom two edges in so that it’ll fit nicely in your suit pocket. You’ll end up with three wave folds peeking out of the top. Perfect!
This one requires a little more dexterity and practice but once perfected looks awesome.
One point fold
In a similar fashion to the presidential fold, this is one we see at most weddings. It appears as a pyramid shape peeking out of the top pocket and is a really simple look to achieve.
Start by grabbing two diagonal corners of the pocket square and create a triangle shape. Fold it one more time so that you end up with a smaller triangle. You then bring the two bottom corners of your triangle towards the center and there you have it.
Pop it in your pocket and you’ve got one of the classic pocket square folds proudly on display.
Rose pocket square fold
Yeh, you guessed it right! It’s called the rose fold because it looks just like the petals of a rose. It may sound really intricate but it’s actually one of the easiest pocket square folds to achieve. This fold may suit a more formal wedding or one where there are lots of flowers on display.
You’ll feel like a bit of a magician creating this one. Make a circle with your thumb and index finger and place the material over this hand. With your other hand use your fingers to push the material into the circle you created. Pinch that material tightly and with your other hand use it to twist the material in circular motions.
You’ll start to see the rose taking shape at this point. Simply place it in your pocket and you’re done. Try not to disturb it too much as you don’t want the twists to come loose.
What is the most popular way to fold a pocket square for a wedding?
We’ve looked through a lot of the weddings we’ve photographed over the years and found the most popular fold of choice is the presidential fold.
We see this one the most often at weddings and it’s easy to see why. This is a simple and sleek design and super easy to accomplish.
The runner-up is the one-point fold. Perhaps these two are so popular because the groom is often in a rush and these are the easiest to achieve. That’s our suspicion anyway.
We’d definitely like to see more variance in the pocket folds we photograph. Take some time to learn some of the more seemingly complex pocket folds and you’re guaranteed to stand out from the crowd.
What color and pattern matches each fold best?
The color or pattern of your chosen pocket square may affect how you fold it. Some folds are best at showing off a snazzy pattern for example whereas some are best for a subtle flash of color.
Try to match your style of the fold to the pocket square design and you should be on to a winner.
Keeping it simple with one color
A simple one-color pocket square can be folded any way you like. Neat lines look best in our opinion. The one-color design gives off a classy and sophisticated vibe that can be reflected in the fold you choose. The rose fold is particularly popular at very formal weddings where the groom is also wearing ties and tales.
Large bold print
A larger bold print lends itself to a more casual wedding. As such you should choose one of the more relaxed pocket square folds to really emphasize its features. One of the puff folds works brilliantly as it gives an air of “I don’t care” but in a very purposeful way. A bit like those guys who style their hair as if they’ve just got out of bed. It looks like no effort but they’ve probably spent an hour perfecting every strand.
A small but repeating print
In our opinion, a small repeating pattern suits one of the more flamboyant styles of pocket square folds. It’s likely you’re a bit of an extrovert or at least appreciate fashion if you’ve chosen a snazzy print. One of the puff folds works brilliantly for this type of design and really adds to its free-flowing nature.
As with all the pocket squares, they work great if you can match them to your tie or bowtie. A distinctive paisley pattern works particularly well in our opinion. They once again suit a more relaxed fold and can work with a formal fold. We think the rose fold might be just a touch too much and quite hard to distinguish.
This type of pattern works great for an outdoor summer wedding and we’ve found suits any style of fold. We’ve seen them made out of cotton with sharp lines in a presidential fold and also seen silk numbers with a more relaxed puff fold. Honestly, they’re very versatile.
If you want to make your pocket square as unique as possible you could design a custom print. Maybe you could go for a geometric design that will work well with sharp lines of some of the more formal folds. Alternatively, you could opt for something a little more abstract like your favorite painting for a more relaxed fold.
How do different materials affect folding?
The material you choose will likely have an impact on how much you pay for your pocket square. At the same time, it can also affect how easy it is to fold and how well it holds its shape.
What’s also worth mentioning is that it’s a good idea to iron your pocket square so that you have a nice neat starting point. You can also iron some of the edges of whichever design you decide on to reinforce the folds. Just make sure you set the iron to the correct temperature. We don’t want you burning holes in your pocket square!
Cotton will have a matte appearance, will be relatively easy to fold, and should hold its shape quite well, particularly if ironed. It may not look as formal as other alternatives though but is an easy material to work with.
Silk or silk-like polyester is the most common material of pocket squares we see. It can be a bit of a tricky material to fold as it’s quite slippery and doesn’t want to hold any one shape. That being said, it looks the most classy in our opinion for weddings so a bit of perseverance is well worth your time.
Whichever material you choose, be sure to practice folding your pocket square so that it becomes second nature.
So there you have it. Our complete guide on how to fold a pocket square for a wedding.
Hopefully, you’re not reading this on your wedding day and instead allowing yourself plenty of practice to perfect your fold.
If not, maybe you’ll go for the super simple presidential fold or the one-point fold like most grooms and groomsmen.
At the same time, we hope you understand that you should aim to match the type of fold to the wedding.
Having an outdoor affair? something a little loose and flamboyant might work a treat. If you’re having a formal ballroom wedding a more sharp edge design of fold may be more appropriate.
Make sure not to pester your wedding photographer to show you or it might result in you having to give them a bigger tip. Only joking cake is fine! But your photographer will like capturing you folding your pocket square for you and your groomsmen.
So what are you waiting for? Get that pocket square out of its packaging and start practicing. The sooner the better!