How To Match A Pocket Square

This entry was posted on November 28, 2011 under How to. Written by:



When your suit is on, your shirt buttoned and your tie knotted and you’re ready for the finishing touch of a pocket square, you may feel a little confused about how to coordinate.

First off, congratulations for choosing to wear a pocket square at all. Many men — the kind who wear suits every night on television in front of millions of viewers, for example — usually forego this distinguishing detail.

But those who do often seem confused about the difference between complementing and matching. Thedifference here is the difference between how men and women dress. While women look great when everything is coordinated, men look contrived if too “matchy-matchy,” and this occurs most often when pairing ties and pocket squares.

It is tempting to repeat the tie color in your pocket square. This works best when there are contrasting patterns. For example, if your tie is an ivory and gold paisley, consider a pocket square of blue and gold plaid. In both cases there is more going on than just the color gold. In general, it is best not to repeat your sportcoat pattern in a pocket square.

Or, if your coat and tie is based on a color like wine, choose a pocket square with a complementary hue like silver for POP appeal. 

This is the way the most sophisticated dressers combine items, and I once new a dapper gent whose pocket square seemed to have a random color that had nothing to do with his jacket, shirt or tie — until you noticed his socks.



, ,

31 Comments to “How To Match A Pocket Square”

  1. Bobby Johnson says:

    I am an advocate of pocket squares BUT the last TWO sport coats I purchased from you had NO usable breast pocket, which pissed me and almost made me return it.

  2. Frank Davis says:

    I do believe it is quite necessary to include a pocket square with your dress. I do not agree with your “matchy-matchy” quote.For example, a paisley tie and plaid pocket square. That is one reason I must shop at another store that gives me the match I want. I can search Paul Fredrick and match solids but that is all. A pocket square is very important statement, and it must match your tie and complement your coat.A coat with a pattern demands a solid color pocket square as it also needs a solid color tie.If you offer me a tie of Paul Fredrick quality and a matching pocket square, I AM A BUYER!

  3. Angela says:

    Thank you for your comment! Unfortunately, the only matching options we can offer you at this time are from our solid satin collection, and it sounds as though you are already familiar with our selection. Our stylists think pocket squares are an important statement as well, and while sometimes we may show solid ties and squares together, we also believe in mixing up patterns while still coordinating the colors from the sportcoat/jacket and tie to pull the outfit together. At this time we do not have any plans to offer additional matching pocket squares and ties outside of the solids, but we will pass your suggestion along to our merchandisers.

  4. William Keller says:

    Pocket Squares make the difference. I can not count the number of times I have been told “Your dressed so nice!” while the person was clearly looking at my pocket square. It is the crowning item to a well dressed look.

  5. TJ says:

    Color and scale are what’s important.

    I would never match a tie and pocket square pattern. However, I don’t hesitate to mix patterns at all – as long as the scale of the patterns are all different. If I have a tie with large paisley patterns, I will choose a pocket square with a small pattern. Where things get interesting is when your suit, shirt, and tie all have patterns. The scale rule still applies, but then it also becomes a matter of making sure all of the patterns aren’t of equal “visual intensity” – in this case scale not only applies to size but to the overal visual impact. The English are masters at this sort of mixing.

  6. LauraH says:

    Thank you for your feedback, Bobby. Although, we are sorry to hear that you are not completely satisfied with your recent order.

    I reviewed your account and see that you had purchased two of our double breasted travel blazers. Our blazers do actually have a functional breast pocket; however, for shipping purposes, the pocket is closed with a loose basting stitch. Gently pull on the pocket to open it. If the stitching is too tight to pull open, you may carefully snip the stitching with a scissors to open the pocket.

    If you are unable to open the pocket, you may certainly return the blazers to us and we will be happy to open the pockets for you.

    We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at custserv@paulfredrick.com.

  7. LauraH says:

    Thank you Maryanne, William, and TJ for your feedback! We love hearing our comments!

  8. Ken Bennett says:

    I agree with Frank Davis’ comments above… I don’t know who establishes the criteria for what is right/wrong when it comes to matching a pocket square with your suit/shirt. I feel that uncoordinated pocket square combinations are distracting to the eye and creates disharmony with your appearance instead of flowing naturally or ‘tying it all together’ with a similar match or look. In my view, when I see someone on TV that has a blue blazer, white shirt, red striped tie, and a powder blue pocket square, it makes it appear like he doesn’t know how to dress/coordinate colors. Anyway, that’s my two-cents worth.

  9. LauraH says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Ken!

  10. Nathaniel says:

    I like to dress nice a standout and a pocket square gave you that extra leverage of style of course you had to be a little confidence in yourself also. I appreciate the tips on how to match with your shirt and tie. Thank you.

  11. Nathaniel says:

    I like to dress nice and standout and a pocket square gave you that extra leverage of style of course you had to be a little confidence in yourself also. I appreciate the tips on how to match with your shirt and tie. Thank you.

  12. LauraH says:

    You are very welcome, Nathaniel! We are glad to hear that you found this blog to be helpful!

  13. alfred says:

    good conversations…but where can I find methods of folding pocket squares ?

  14. LauraH says:

    Great question, Alfred!

    By clicking on the link below, you will find directions for the two most common ways of folding a pocket square.

    How To Fold A Pocket Square

    Please let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with!

  15. Douglas Baker says:

    I’ve seen some pocket squares squared off in the pocket. Is this a styl or is it lazy?

  16. LauraH says:

    Thank you for your question, Douglas!

    The squared off pocket square is actually a style – it is call the TV Fold. Please click on the link below to see how to achieve this particular look.

    Fold a Pocket Square – TV Fold

    If you have any other questions, please let us know!

  17. Kevin says:

    The problem with a pocket square, is not the actual square, but rather the stitching of the pocket has to be removed, and when a square is NOT worn, the pocket does not remain flat/closed against the jacket & comes off as loose and baggy.

  18. LauraH says:

    Thank you for your feeback, Kevin.

    Generally sport coat pockets do lay flat after a pocket square is worn and taken out. If you are having any issues with a specific Paul Fredrick item, please let us know and we will be happy to look into this further.

  19. david w says:

    I enjoy wearing pocket squares with my suits and sports coats my wife orders my shirts and ties from paul fredrick.thank you

  20. LauraH says:

    That is great to hear! Thank you, David!

  21. mecman says:

    @Bobby Johnson from November..I thought that was the issue with one of my sport coats only to find out that the pocket was hem stitched closed to prevent damage in handling..go ahead and take a seam ripper or bring to tailor. Its really easy to do.

  22. Kacey Jordan says:

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this site and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info especially the last part I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thanks and best of luck.

  23. LauraH says:

    Thank you for your feedback, Kacey! We are glad to hear that you enjoyed this post.

  24. Neil says:

    Im wearing a solid black Hckey suit with a French cuff white shirt and the Prada black tie with a gold heart on it. I’m trying to find a shimmery or metallic gold pocket square. Thoughts? I’m also considering a Dior gold pocket square brooch. What other color/ pattern would you recommend?

  25. LauraH says:

    Thank you for your question, Neil!

    Unfortunately, we do not offer a metallic gold pocket square; but yes, that would probably be the best match. White would be easy and classy as well, especially since you are wearing a white shirt. It sounds like the pattern on everything is solid, so a gold paisley or micro design could be nice to add visual interest, but a solid pocket square works just as well too.

    If you have any additional questions, please let us know!

  26. Jeet says:

    I have a black suit, a light slate colored shirt with tiny black dots and a black tie, can u suggest what should be the colour of my pocket square?

  27. Angela says:

    Thank you for your question! I think a burgundy pocket square would work well with what you have described, Jeet. It will give your look a pop of color. Below is a link to one in our collection if you are interested. Please let us know if you would like additional suggestions.

    Burgundy Pocket Square

  28. Dan Olson says:

    I have read differing accounts on whether the pocket square should match the tie vs. the shirt. My research tilts towards the matching of the tie, but as you can see from the following picture link, Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford suit style has the square matching the shirt, which I believe is the sharper look:

    http://www.luxury-insider.com/uploads/news/2012/09/ford-tom-ford-daniel-craig-suits-up-in-skyfall_6.jpg?width=600

    Thoughts/opinions?

    -Dan

  29. LauraH says:

    That is a great example, Dan! I also agree that matching the pocket square to the shirt is a sharp look. However, in the end, it is a matter of personal preference.

    I wonder if our other customers would agree?

  30. Joseph A Connell Sr says:

    Thank you for this article. I’ve always had a great deal of trouble trying to figure out what pocket square goes with what tie or jacket. I understand about not matching the pocket square to the tie, pattern for pattern, but how do you discern which patterns work best for pocket square, or what method can be used to determine complementary colors? Does Paul Frederick publish a style manual?
    Many thanks for your wisdom

  31. Thank you for the post, Joseph. We do not publish a style manual, as such, however we do post on our Facebook page several days a week and create new blog posts periodically.

    In regards to complementary colors, Ask Andy has a fantastic article that explains color wheels and has a chart available to help select accent colors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>