One of our favourite things about pocket squares is the way they suggest palettes of shade and design which are superb jumping-off points for socks, ties, bow ties, even belts. Today we are looking at how you can effectively pair your bow tie and pocket square to always look at your dapper best.
Firstly, bow tie and pocket square sets are something that you most certainly want to avoid. As with matching your pocket square directly with your tie, this is a definite no no. Another way to look at it is, men have so few opportunities to express themselves through clothing, why curtail any one of these?
You should start your thought process by looking at the colours of your suit jacket and shirt and then use these to match your first accessory, either the bow tie or pocket square; the second accessory should then be considered alongside the first in the same way.
The easiest starting point is to match the primary colour of one accessory with that of your shirt or jacket. In the example below, the bow tie is taking it's cue from the both the shirt and jacket. The pocket square is then matched to the bow tie through the blue edging on square. This a simple look to put together by taking the blue through all the different articles, however the white pattern adds a bit of interest and texture.
The next step on from this is taking classic neutral shades and adding another colour accent to give your look a bit of a flare. In the below the bow tie is quite understated with the blue and greys of the rest of the outfit but the pocket square provides a hint of flamboyance that is also reflected in the red laces.
If you start with classic colours for your shirt and jacket then that opens up a world of options to show some flare with your accessories. The complementary colour chart below sets out how colours complement each other such as a blue bow tie and orange pocket square would provide a balanced colour combination.
The image below is a good example of taking primary and secondary colours from the different articles of clothing and then matching a complementary accessory. The bold yellow vest is the focal point of the outfit which then matches the secondary colour in the houndstooth patterned bow tie. The pocket square is a purple / crimson colour which complements the yellow primary colour.
If wearing two patterns together, the only tenet set in stone is not to have both patterns be the same size even if the design is replicated, polka dots or stripes being the most obvious but perhaps not the ones we would champion the most fervently. Other than that, the nature of the bow tie means you can really experiment with it and have fun.
Another thing you should consider is the fabric of your bow tie and the fabric of your pocket square; they should be comfortable companions. Cotton and linen make good bedfellows, for instance.
As a general rule, we tend not to wear a solid coloured pocket square with a solid coloured bow tie in the daytime – it’s an unimaginative look, especially when patterns provide so many invigorating possibilities, and the bow tie by it's nature is quite a fun accessory. Keep the solid coloured pocket square and bow tie combinations for more formal evening events. We would also say that a plain white shirt with an accompanying white pocket square and a patterned bow tie can be a very refined look when you want to elevate a casual look or work outfit.
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Jacopo Tintoretto, about 1518-1594 Saint George and the Dragon about 1555 © The National Gallery, London 100% Silk Hand Rolled Designed and Printed in Britain 42cm x 42cm Saint George is...
Canaletto 1697 - 1768, The River Thames with St. Paul's Cathedral on Lord Mayor's Day, c.1747-8 100% Silk Hand Rolled Designed and Printed in Britain 42cm x 42cm This pocket square is...
This Midnight Blue Star Repeat Wool Tie is handmade in England and made from the finest quality wool. It provides a subtle addition to an outfit and can be used in both casual...
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The Death of Major Peirson, 6th January 1781, John Singleton Copley, 1783, © Tate, London 2014 On this pocket square we’ve used a large oil painting by American artist John Singleton Copley that depicts the death of...