How to choose a pocket square fabric (cotton or silk?)
Wearing a pocket square in your jacket is usually the easiest way for men to be more stylish. There’s just something about the novelty and aesthetic of wearing a small square of colorful fabric in your chest pocket. But aside from knowing how to choose a pocket square, you will want to give some thought to the fabric of your pocket square.
When you go to the store and start looking around, you’ll see that there are typically three different fabrics from which to choose: cotton, linen, or silk.
When should you wear which one? Does it matter?
Here’s the big thing to know:
Generally speaking, a cotton or linen pocket square will always be more casual than a silk pocket square.
A notable exception is a crisp white cotton pocket square that always looks great for black tie events and when you’re wearing a white dress shirt. If it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for you.
The rule of thumb when choosing a pocket square fabric is that you want to match the fabric of the pocket square to that of your jacket. Cotton and linen suits demand a cotton or linen pocket square. Whereas, a very refined woolen suit needs a more refined pocket square, and that means silk.
Like with so many things style related, much of this can be subjective. Rules can be bent. You’ll remember that I said as a general rule, cotton goes with cotton and silk goes with silk. But if you’re just starting out and still trying to build your own unique sense of style, I think there can be some real value in understanding the basics before you start to innovate.
Then, in the future you may begin to realize that understanding how to choose a pocket square fabric was the easy part, that the real art lies in the matching.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t end a blog post on pocket squares without trying to drive the point home that all men look better wearing a pocket square in their jacket pocket. Indeed, not all men choose to wear one, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t! In fact, I think it’s the perfect opportunity for you to stand apart.
Remember, anytime you have a jacket on, you should be wearing a pocket square. Period. That may mean a suit, sportcoat, or blazer. If there’s a chest pocket, you need to fill it! For some further reading, here’s a link to the BE Learn article, When to wear a pocket square.