An Empty Breast Pocket is a Wasted Opportunity

Why everyone should wear a pocket square

ne of the best parts about wearing a suit, blazer or sport coat, is the pockets. There’s a pocket for my keys. There’s a pocket for my wallet. There’s a pocket for my phone. There’s a pocket for my girlfriend’s phone when she realizes she doesn’t have enough pockets herself.

But the breast pocket, located below your collarbone, just left of the lapel, that’s a special pocket. That’s a pocket for possibilities.

For many, that pocket is just empty — maybe even still sewn shut from when you first bought the jacket. But an empty breast pocket is a wasted opportunity.

It’s a wasted opportunity because the easiest, simplest, best way to upgrade your outfit is to add a pocket square to that breast pocket.

Now, what is a pocket square? No, it’s not something for blowing your nose - It’s a fancy piece of small fabric. They come in unlimited variations of colours, fabrics, patterns, and sizes, and they let everyone around you know that you’re stylin’, wilin’, and livin’ it up in the city.

Quick note: while pocket squares tend to be most associated with traditional men’s clothing, they work in any professional jacket with a breast pocket. So ladies, you can (and should) rock the square!

A pocket square can be one of the most versatile accessories in your wardrobe. It can be a simple, elegant addition to support your outfit, or a loud and proud splash of excitement. And the best part is, they don’t have to be expensive; some of the pocket squares I wear most often cost me under $5. True story: one time, a friend of mine wore a paper napkin as a pocket square, and I’m 90% sure nobody but me noticed. While I wouldn’t recommend trying that at your next formal event, you certainly don’t need to shovel over big bucks to fancy boutique clothing stores to get started.

A pocket square can tie your whole outfit together. It can add layers to your outfit’s texture or patterns, and it’s a subtle way to let people know that you know your fashion. When I see an empty breast pocket, I shed a tear, and my heart aches for the outfit that could’ve been… Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration!

How do you wear a pocket square? You can fold it almost any way (and there are certainly some elaborate folds out there), but the two most versatile folds, and my two favourite happen to be the easiest.

The Square/Presidential Fold

The Square/Presidential Fold

This clean, crisp fold goes great in a formal setting.

Begin by folding the pocket square vertically until it matches the width of your pocket. For most cases, straight down the middle should work. Then, fold it up from the bottom to the same width as your pocket, and about half an inch longer. Tuck the bottom fold of the pocket square into your pocket and snug it down to the base. Adjust as needed.

The Puff Fold

The Puff Fold

Not quite as formal as the square/presidential fold, this fold is great with a blazer, and showcases patterns.

Start by pinching the pocket square at the center, adjusting to hang evenly all around. Tuck into your pocket until just the rounded top of the pocket square is visible. You may need to fold the bottom end to fit properly in your pocket.

Puff folds are supposed to have wrinkles and dimples, as long as the fold is staying in place.

If you’re new to the world of pocket squares, it might seem daunting to just jump right in. With so many options, where do you start? I would recommend that you start with these three choices:

Plain White

The plain white pocket square is a simple accent piece that goes best with a white shirt. It’s classy, timeless and sets your suit-and-tie combination apart from everyone else in the room. Fold it in a square and tuck it in, and you’re ready to take on the world.

Simple Colour

Take a look at your wardrobe and see what colours you tend to wear. For most people, there are a lot of blues and grey. Start there with your pocket square collection, a simple colour that accents as much of your wardrobe as possible.

Simple Pattern

Patterns are where pocket squares really start to shine, especially if you tend to stick to solids in your jackets and shirts. Try polka dots, stripes, even flowers.

A quick note here — the goal of a pocket square is to compliment your outfit, not necessarily match it exactly. Try to avoid a pocket square with the exact same, or even too similar colour and pattern as your shirt or tie (Unless you’re going with a white or light solid pocket square).

These three pocket squares will certainly give your wardrobe a boost, and they’re a great start to your collection. Once you have worn them a few times, try adding another one in a new pattern or different colour.

Adding a pocket square is the simplest way to step up your style game. Quit let ting your breast pocket go to waste, and start adding a pocket square to your outfit today!

Justin Draper is a writer, musician, animal lover, political watcher and pun enthusiast from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

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