Men looking to level up their wardrobe typically have questions about the pocket square. What does this non-functional piece of fabric do anyway?
Ever noticed the rectangular-shaped cloth men usually fit inside their jacket’s breast pocket? That’s called the pocket square. According to Stylish Alpha, that hint of fabric peeking out adds an element of style that enhances the visual appeal.
The pocket square might not seem like much, but it is capable of turning your outfit from substandard to stellar with barely any effort. Read on to discover more about this essential piece in men’s formal wear.
How Is a Pocket Square Different From a Handkerchief?
Despite looking like a handkerchief at first glance and being considered by some as its direct descendant, a pocket square is not a handkerchief. These decorative accessories were born from the struggles that came with placing handkerchiefs inside pant pockets, which became unsanitary more often than not.
What’s more, their reason for existing made them different in the following ways:
A handkerchief and pocket square can look so much alike that it can be difficult to tell the difference between them initially. Then, there are fashion articles using these terms interchangeably, which further adds to the confusion.
Nevertheless, these two accessories hold very different functions. In fact, one of them isn’t even functional, while the other is. A hanky is what you use to blow your nose, while a pocket square is merely for decoration. You don’t touch a pocket square; you just let it be.
On the other hand, a handkerchief is something you grab when you need it. With that said, a pocket square does function for style. You can use it to express your personality, creativity, and other things related to your fashion sense.
Size-wise, handkerchiefs are generally bigger than pocket squares. That’s because they’re not just there for decorative purposes; you actually need them to blow your nose and mop spills.
There’s also the fact that handkerchiefs are meant to be kept in the larger pant pocket and not the smaller breast pocket. Imagine how awful you’d look having a too-large pocket square in your tiny breast pocket. It simply wouldn’t be right.
In terms of fabric, both pocket squares and handkerchiefs come in different varieties. However, this variation tends to make more sense with pocket squares due to their decorative purposes.
On the other hand, handkerchiefs are most useful when made from cotton, as cotton is a lot more absorbent. Even so, you can still opt for other handkerchief materials in case you’re using it as more of a decorative accessory as opposed to a functional one.
Wearing a Pocket Square
A pocket square can make for an awesome accent piece when used correctly. The fact that it comes in various styles and colors means it can work with any type of look you have going on. Do you know how ties were to the older generation? That’s what pocket squares are to your generation. So, how do you wear these accessories?
Don’t go overboard.
Because pocket squares come in so many styles and patterns, there’s a good chance one could get carried away when wearing them. It’s so incredibly easy to experiment and go for designs that have no place in your ensemble. Sure, this is fashion we’re talking about, but you still want to avoid committing a fashion faux pas.
Mixing is fashionable; matching is not.
When using pocket squares, don’t pick ones that match the color of your tie. When you become too matchy with your fashion accessories, it might not look as stylish and could even appear tacky. Instead, you want these pieces to complement each other so that you improve your overall look.
When unsure, go for the safest option.
The safest option would be a white pocket square made of silk. White goes with almost any suit and tie combination. Not to mention, silk almost always adds shine to any type of outfit. So, you can’t really ask for anything more. Just remember to keep things neat and clean, and you’d be good to go.
If white isn’t your shade, you might want to go for the more neutral hues that neither overwhelm your ensemble nor get drowned out by other decorative pieces like your tie.
An Essential Piece in Men’s Fashion
A pocket square is just what you need to amp up your style. It adds a touch of elegance to your ensemble that not only completes your look but livens it up considerably. And, no, a handkerchief won’t ever be a substitute for this decorative accessory. It simply doesn’t have the qualities to get heads turning and mouths talking.
With that said, in almost any situation where you need a pocket square, you are also likely to need a handkerchief. After all, fashion calls for constant preparedness.