The Playbook For The Modern Man

It’s Time You Learnt How To Fold A Pocket Square

Learn the art of the fold.

The year was 1377 to 1399 and a man by the name of King Richard II of England had invented the cloth handkerchief. According to surviving documents written by his courtiers, square pieces of cloth had been used to wipe his majesty’s nose.

Fast forward a couple of hundred years to the 1920s and the handkerchief had made its way into the fashion world where it began gracing the pockets of men’s jackets – this is where it earned the name of ‘pocket square’. By the 1960s distinguished actors such as Cary Grant, Fred Astaire and Gary Cooper all rocked one.

The pocket square died off briefly in the coming decades only to be resurrected again in the late 2000s thanks to a popular show called Mad Men which championed the iconic dapper looks of the 60s.

These days you’ll find pocket squares made in fabrics in everything from silk to cotton, linen, wool and even denim.

Now that the history lesson’s over, here’s how to fold every type of pocket square.

The Presidential Fold

A classic in every sense, the Presidential fold is for the clean and conservative gentleman – sharp enough but not ostentatious or loud (think Don Draper). It’s also the easiest to fold and can suit business or smart casual occasions.

  • Place the pocket square face down
  • Fold it in half from right to left (even length)
  • Fold it in another half from left back to right but this time leave a 1cm gap on the right side (uneven length)
  • Fold it in half from top to bottom
  • Fold the bottom up and behind the front
  • Adjust pocket square to fit the size of your jacket pocket

The Stairs Fold

One of the harder ones to fold, the Stairs fold is one go to style for formal events without going over the top. Here’s how to do it.

  • Place the pocket square face down
  • Fold it in half diagonally from the top right to the bottom left to create the first step of the stairs
  • Pinch the fabric two inches (5cm) below the first stair and fold up to create the second stair below the first stair
  • Repeat the above process again for the second stair – this will form the third stair
  • Hold all the steps in place and fold them all in half diagonally, making sure to place the top left portion behind the bottom right portion
  • Whilst holding the stairs in place, fold the right side behind and to the left
  • Fold the left side to the back and to the right
  • Finally, fold the bottom up and behind the front
  • Adjust pocket square to fit the size of your jacket pocket.

Cagney Fold

This one’s named after the legendary movie star James Cagney. It’s basically a four-point fold in reverse that’s suitable for both business and casual looks.

  • Place the pocket square down flat
  • Fold it in half to form a triangle
  • Fold one corner across to create a secondary tip at the top
  • Repeat the same for the other side to create another tip
  • Fold the right side of the pocket square to create a sharper point at the bottom
  • Repeat the same for the left side
  • Fold up the bottom corner to create the 4th tip at the centre
  • Place and adjust pocket square in the jacket pocket

Single Point Fold

The single point fold is simple, elegant, classic and one of the best folds for your everyday wear. There’s also versatility in the fold with a simple turn to expose the folded edges of the point. Or just keep it nice and simple with a clean triangle.

  • Place the pocket square face down in the diamond layout
  • Fold it in half evenly from the left and bottom corners across to the top corners
  • Fold it in half again from the right and bottom corners to the top corners
  • Fold the top right corner across to the centre
  • Bring the left corner to the right
  • Fold the bottom point up to the back
  • Adjust the pocket square to fit your jacket pocket

Two Point Fold

It’s designed to be slightly off-centre and that’s the point. This one’s another conservative fold which best suits formal occasions.

  • Place the pocket square face down in a diamond position
  • Flip the bottom corner up to the top corner to form twin peaks
  • Take the right corner to the left past the centre point
  • Flip the left corner over to the right
  • Fold any remaining corners to the back
  • Fold the bottom part to the back
  • Adjust pocket square to fit your jacket pocket

Three Point Peak Fold

This one’s for the dressier man when compared to the single point and two point folds. On the flip side, it’s designed to show off your most dazzling pocket square so reserve this one for parties, weddings or events.

  • Place the pocket square face down in the diamond position
  • Flip the bottom corner up to the top
  • Take the right corner up to the left of the first peak
  • Take the left corner up to the right of the two peaks
  • Fold the right edge inwards towards the centre
  • Repeat with the left edge towards the centre
  • Fold the bottom to the back
  • Adjust pocket square to fit your jacket pocket

The Puff

The preferred fold of TV reporters who have no idea what they’re doing and no time to actually fold a pocket square. It’s simple but very casual so keep this one out of the office.

  • Place the pocket square faced up flat
  • Pinch and pull up from the centre
  • Create an ‘ok’ sign with your fingers and run the pocket square through it
  • Grab onto the centre
  • Fold up from the bottom and place it behind the front
  • Adjust accordingly

RELATED: How To Wear A Pocket Square
RELATED: Don’t Buy A Suit Until You Know These Crucial Tips About Cloth & Thread Count



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