From a subtle accent to an outfit dominating colour contrast, there are a number of ways to style a pocket square.
As we are often asked about the best ways to wear a pocket square, we thought we would create a visual guide of some of our favourite looks from images that our customers have shared with us.
The Basin of San Marco on Ascension Day, 1740, Canaletto
To symbolise the marriage of Venice to the sea, the Doge of Venice drops a gold ring into the Grand Canal. This is the scene depicted here in one of Canaletto’s finest paintings. The annual festival, which has taken place for more than 1000 years, symbolises Venice’s dominance of the seas during this period in history.
View the pocket square here: Venice: The Basin of San Marco on Ascension Day.
In the image below we love how the white hand rolled edge of the square complements the white shirt and the white flecked texture of this double breasted jacket.
A beautiful contrast of the texture of the jacket against the silk square in the image below, with the light blue in the square matching the shirt.
A nice use of different shades of blue with varying textures adding real interest to this outfit. The prominent fold is a variation of the Fleur De Lis.
A lovely complementary look between the blue stripes of the shirt being picked up in the tie, square and jacket to give a very balanced look.
A nice rolled puff fold below that leaves the light blue as a secondary colour, with the dark grey's and brown's of the pocket square being the primary focus and contrasting against the pink stripes and dark blue tie.
We love this as a casual look. A brown jacket with the classic herringbone pattern, denim shirt and subtle puff fold with the secondary colour in the square mirroring the pale blue of the shirt.
Samson and Delilah about 1609 – 1610, Peter Paul Rubens
This pocket square depicts the gentle scene of biblical characters Samson and Delilah sharing a tender moment. There is a softness in the pose and we as an audience take on a voyeuristic role gazing at a seemingly very intimate moment, however, it is in fact a scene of ultimate betrayal.
View the pocket square here: Samson & Delilah
A refined look with the sharp, well-tailored grey jacket and knitted tie. The 4 point fold gives a nice flourish to the outfit to add some interest to a more formal look.
We love the deep tones in the outfit below. The crimson of the knitted tie is beautifully matched to a similar shade in the pocket square and contrasts nicely against the blues of the jacket and shirt.
In the below, a similar knitted tie is displayed but is contrasted against a heavily textured jacket. We also like the subtle matching of Delilah's dress from the pocket square to the tie as a complementary colour.
The Death of Major Peirson, 1783, John Singleton Copley
This large oil painting by American artist John Singleton Copley depicts the death of Major Francis Peirson at the Battle of Jersey on 6th January 1781. Major Peirson led an attack against the French troops, during which he was killed by a French sniper.
View the pocket square here: The Death of Major Peirson
Nice use of a two-point puff fold and different textures from the heavy weight jacket fabric through to the lightly textured tie and finally the silk pocket square.
Lightweight summer jacket and shirt combination with a variation on the winged puff fold. The prominent fold adds some interest to a casual summer look.
Nice variation on the 3 point fold, with the red tie being subtly reflected in the secondary colour in the pocket square.
Lovely variation on a Fleur de Lis pocket square fold. The different patterns and contrasting colours, along with the prominent fold make this quite a striking look.
One of our favourite folds, the three-point puff fold it adds a lot of interest to the jacket using both the edging of the square along with all the different colour variants within the painting itself.
For the more formal occasion, a subtle roll fold is a perfect look. Rising just over an inch above the pocket it adds a colour accent while not being too flamboyant.
The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, 1822 (restored 2011) John Martin
On this pocket square, we’ve used John Martin’s oil painting of the destruction of the great cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD.
View this pocket square here: The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum
This is a very flamboyant puff fold that clearly draws the eye. The different variations in red tone provide a nice complementary look.
Another great casual look for summer with a check sports coat and polo shirt. The fan fold adds further interest with the rounded nature of the fold contrasting nicely with the check pattern of the jacket.
Nice use of a double point roll pocket square fold, while the classic navy and red combination always look good together.
Beautiful intricate fold with a variation of the 4 peaks fold with a puff. Adds interest to a simple jacket and shirt combination.
Beautifully matched combination of pocket square and bow tie. A flamboyant look that will obviously draw attention.
The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius, 1486, Carlo Crivelli
Set in the town of Ascoli, Italy, Crivelli has captured the day of the Annunciation in stunning detail. Crivelli’s precision with colour and composition narrates The Virgin Mary, seen on the right, seated indoors and a divine, heavenly shaft of light from above is breaking into the physical world symbolising the Annunciation.
View the pocket square here: The Annunciation, With Saint Emidus
Nice muted colour combination with the tones of the blues, greys and yellows all complementing each other.
Classic matching of the small amount of green in the pocket square reflecting the green textured tie. We particularly like the colours in this outfit as perfect for an Autumn look.
Adding a pocket square with a bit of colour can really give a tuxedo a touch of flare and separate it from the classic all black/navy and white look.
A nice variation of the one point roll fold. A nice subtle matching of the blue edging of the pocket square with the blue navy jacket.
Subtle use of the pocket square as a minor accent to the jacket. With orange tones in the square reflecting a similar shade to that of the tie.
A classic look for the City with a pin stripe double-breasted suit with burratti tie and pocket square. The muted tones make it a great business look while the tie and square add texture and flair.
Lovely use of a four peak fold with a puff adding interest to a classic dark navy jacket and white shirt combination.
The Kingfisher Silk Pocket Square is part of our William John Swainson Collection, a 19th century British artist and naturalist.
He was also the first illustrator and naturalist to adopt lithography with the monochrome lithographic prints in his books being hand coloured and it was use of this approach along with his natural talent at illustration that led to his fame.
View the pocket square here: Kingfisher Pocket Square
We do like folds that incorporate both the edging and the colours of the square itself and this is a nice example of a two peak incorporating a puff fold. A nice match between the more flamboyant fold and casual shirt.
Great use of complementary colours with the yellow of the tie being mirrored in the pocket square with the secondary pale blue colour of the square reflecting the shirt colour.
For the ultimate casual look for summer, letting the square hang freely from the pocket will both catch the eye and make a bold fashion statement. The yellow lightweight summer scarf is reflected in the pocket square edging.
We like the below look for general business wear, the jacket, tie and shirt are all classic colours and patterns, while the pocket square fold is relatively understated.
The below outfit employs relatively muted colours with the pocket square fold and vibrant yellow providing a touch of flair.
The Battle of San Romano, about 1438-40, Paolo Uccello
This brilliantly structured and colourful painting depicts part of the battle of San Romano that was fought between Florence and Siena in 1432. The central figure is Niccolò da Mauruzi da Tolentino on his white charger, the leader of the victorious Florentine forces, who is identifiable by the motif of 'Knot of Solomon' on his banner.
View the pocket square here: The Battle of San Romano
Nice use of different shades of browns and yellows with the secondary colours of the tie and pocket square matching and complementing the jacket for a coordinated look.
Another nice casual pairing with the gingham patterned jacket and polo shirt with a slight variation on the four mountains fold.
Saint George and the Dragon, about 1555, Jacopo Tintoretto
Saint George is seen here about to defeat the dragon by the edge of the sea. The treatment of the subject is unusual, with the figure of the fleeing princess dominant, and in the centre lies a corpse which the dragon was about to eat.
View the pocket square here: Saint George and the Dragon
Beautiful use of colour in the outfit below, combining the base colours of navy and white with vibrant oranges, reds and blues.
What we like about the below is the pale yellows in the pocket square give an extra pop of colour to grey and white pinstriped jacket and contrasts nicely with the red tie.
Nice use of multiple patterns, with a classic Prince of Wales check jacket, paired with a striped shirt and patterned pocket square. The key with pattern matching is to ensure that the patterns are varying sizes or shapes.
The Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory, 1806–8, Joseph Mallord William Turner
This painting represents the moment Nelson was hit with the final shot at The Battle of Trafalgar. You can see him lying left of centre and if you draw your eye towards the top right you see the smoking gun of the French marksman high in the rigging of his ship.
View this pocket square here: The Battle of Trafalgar
Lovely matching of different shades of brown in this outfit with seven or eight different shades and then contrasted against the pale blue shirt. The 3 peak fold with a puff also provides an extravagant finish.
Nice use of light summer colours with the lightweight summer jacket, casual white shirt and pocket square utilising the yellow in the square with just a touch of dark brown for contrast.
We always appreciate a set of braces, and in the image below the braces add an extra layer of interest with the browns in the braces and square complementing the jacket nicely.
Another classic summer look with a bold white and navy striped jacket paired with a casual white shirt and a very flamboyant fold. Definitely a striking look.
As has been demonstrated above, there are myriad ways to style a pocket square. The key rules to follow are to never directly match the colours of your pocket square and tie and the same applies to not directly matching the same patterns.
Other than that, the pocket square allows you to really display your individual style and can be adapted to the occasion with subtle folds for more formal events to flamboyant folds for more casual occasions.
All the squares shown above can be found in our store here: Pocket Squares
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...
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...