So, you’ve made a commitment to yourself to start wearing pocket squares more often. Good for you! The BE team stands in applause. Seriously, this is a big thing. For whatever reason, a lot of men don’t wear pocket squares, leaving their chest pockets, sadly, very empty. The first step to filling that pocket and looking sharp is understanding how to choose a pocket square fabric.

If you head to the store to pick up a few, you are going to realize very quickly that aside from there being an enormous assortment of colors from which to choose, that you’ll also need to choose a fabric. That fabric is often cotton, linen, or silk.

When should you wear which one? Does it matter?

How to choose a pocket square

Here’s the big thing to know: In general terms, 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 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…Yes, not many men wear one, and that means that it’s a 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!

Check out Episode 19 of the Daily BE for the video on how to choose a pocket square.

Further Reading

The BE Learn article: When to wear a pocket square