How to Wear a Pocket Square

It's the most delicate of final touches that bring a whole piece together: think the cherry on the cake, the interior designer's finishing trinkets, the flash of red in a Turner seascape - and the right accessories to add a flourish to your tailoring. Pocket squares are a gentleman's way of bringing versatility, and a little bit of chutzpah, to your bespoke suit wardrobe.

A pocket history

During the Renaissance period, lavishly embroidered handkerchiefs of silk became a status symbol to be shown off. They were also a flirtation device: a lady would show her interest by running hers across her cheek. By the Victorian times, the popular pocket square was hung out of a man's rear pocket, but by the twentieth century they had established themselves as a staple resident of any suit's front chest, and a mark of gentlemanly style.

How to fold it

The simple square-edged fold is an easy and reliable classic, but other options such as the two point fold or the winged puff can offer a less crisp cut look, ideal for a daytime event or a relaxed party. For some peacock-like flamboyancy try the Dunaway fold, sitting like a blooming flower from your pocket. Old conventions suggest your pocket square should not stick out from the pocket more than an inch and a half. Ignore this. However, if your pocket square is monogrammed, this detailing must be hidden.

How to wear it

As a general rule, your pocket square should compliment either your tie or shirt, but should never match it completely. Look to match a secondary colour in your tie or tailored jacket, or find a complementary shade to your shirt. Personally, we like to wear pocket squares with a variety of colours or shades, both of the paired-down pastel and vibrant varieties depending on the event or mood. Others like to choose a texture that contrasts with the materials surrounding it, such as a silk tie worn with a linen or embroidered pocket square.

Pocket squares offer an easily interchangeable, playful and eye-catching way to finish your outfit. Whether you go for the subtle and elegant or something of the baroque bombastic, follow these simple rules to really raise your sartorial game.