Pocket square, also known by the name handkerchief (or in Italian pochette), is a small, yet significant piece of men’s accessories. The pocket square is mostly known for its decorative purposes and for the fact that it can be folded in so many ways that you practically loose count. However, the number one question that men ask when it comes to their pocket squares is whether this should match your tie or not.
There is only one rule when it comes to matching your tie to your pocket square, and this is that they shouldn’t match. For many guys, this puts them in some difficulty, as choosing to be exactly matched is the easy way out. So, whether you want to wear a tie and a pocket square to a formal event or in a casual setting, here are the elements you should consider :
Just because your tie should not match your pocket square, doesn’t mean that they should be picked at random. There are a lot of color schemes you can use to establish which colors go together well. For example you can opt for complementary colors, such as red and green; blue and orange; yellow and purple for a contrasting effect, or you can opt for analog colors such as green and blue; blue and violet; or yellow and orange for a more subtle look!
If one of the two accessories (tie or pocket square) is a neutral color (gray, beige, white, khaki, black, etc.), the other one can be any color you want it to be. Neutrals go with any color.
A neutral tie goes very well with a colorful pocket square. The pattern matching applies here as well. Sometimes you might want to match your pocket square to your shirt, especially if you are wearing a white shirt. A white shirt goes well with a white pocket square, especially if the jacket is black or navy. In this case, the tie can be of any color and style.
There are three possibilities when it comes to matching your tie to your pocket square should you decide to wear a pattern or a print.
a. The tie is a solid color and the pocket square has a pattern or a print. In this case, one of colors of the pocket square can be the color of the tie, but not mandatory. For a more subtle look, you can opt that the color that reoccurs to be in a different shade on the pocket square.
b. Both the tie and pocket square have patterns or prints. If both accessories have patterns or prints, they should never be the same. The rule to matching patterns is that they should never be the same size. Even if you are mixing different patterns, they should still not be the same size. To give you an example, if your tie has thin stripes, you can mix it with a pocket square with thick stripes (the same pattern but in a different size). A tie with thin stripes can also be mixed with a pocket square with dots, for example. In this case, the dots should be large, since the lines on the tie are thin. If the stripes on the tie were thick, you should have matched them to small dots (different patterns of different sizes).
While you can have ties and pocket squares of the same color/pattern/print, you shouldn’t wear them together. For example, if you are going to a week-end event, you can wear on one day the tie matched to a pocket square and on the second day the pocket square from the set matched to another tie (maybe even from another set). This way, you will opt for continuity and will give out a sense that you have a unique personal style.
c. The tie has a pattern and the pocket square is in a solid color. In this case, there is not much to say, the same rules from point a apply. The two should not match, but they should go together well and complement each other.
When it comes to fabrics, a man is supposed to follow the same rule. Since the purpose of the pocket square is to break the jacket and to add a nice touch to it, the fabric of the pocket square should also be different than the fabrics from which the jacket and tie are made. Of course, the tie and the jacket should not necessarily be made from the same fabric, but the pocket square can really be something else. Since most suits are made from wool, a nice pocket square can be made from silk. Silk and wool go great together. If your suit is made from a rather fine material, you can add a rougher pocket square, maybe even something with a texture.
We used these two accessories with the tie made of silk and the pocket square from to demonstrate how well two pieces from different fabrics go together. They also go great in terms of color, as the very saturated red is toned down by the calm nuances of the pocket square.
It’s up to you how you wish to match your tie to your pocket square, but we think that if you follow these guidelines, you will always look great, no matter of the style you adopt and of what your taste is. You should have confidence in yourself and try different combinations to see which one works best. Being prepared is always a good thing and simply going to the grocery shop is a good enough occasion to dress up!
Are you inspired yet? Mix and match your accessories now and remember to always stay on top of the game!