Some call it a handkerchief, others call it a hankie. Whatever is that that you would like to call it, this piece is an important part of a gentleman’s wardrobe—the pocket square. When it comes to wearing a pocket square there’s really only one rule. As obvious as it may seem, it’s an important rule overlooked by many.
Your pocket square should not match your tie.
It’s sort of like the golden rule, you know the whole don’t do to others that you wouldn’t want done unto you type of thing. This type of pocket square / tie matching combo will only lead to the impression that your grandmother bought it for you at a local gift shop. I mean… if that’s the type of impression you are looking to give off… to each his own. However, the pocket square is meant to be an elegant, albeit underrated, finishing touch to a gentleman’s attire that goes equally well with a sports jacket as it does with a suit and tie.
Pocket squares are meant to compliment ties! Key word: COMPLEMENT not match. If you’re wearing a tie with pink and gray patterns, just pick one color to compliment; you may want to compliment the tie with a solid gray pocket square or a solid pink, not both. Just because you shouldn’t match your tie with your pocket square doesn’t mean you can’t match your pocket square with your shirt (this is the only time matching is ever acceptable…) unless your matching your shoes with your belt—that’s okay too, but that’s a different topic!
Let’s review: If you’re wearing a white shirt you may wear a white pocket square. If you are wearing a pocket square without wearing a tie, you may match your pocket square to your shirt or even contrast it completely, perhaps even matching it with your socks. There really aren’t any rules other than your pocket square should not match your tie.