It's no secret that the pocket square and the bow tie are two of the most timeless men's fashion elements. However, whether a pocket square should accompany a bow tie often sparks confusion. The answer is unequivocally affirmative: pairing a pocket square with a bow tie can create a distinctive, attention-grabbing ensemble that sets you apart.
So, to see how to transform an outfit from "just nice" to "stunningly spectacular," we will explore the following:
The Art and Style of Bow Ties and Pocket Squares
The Purpose of the Pocket Square
The pocket square is nothing to sneeze at. (or should I say sneeze in) Nope, it’s not a handkerchief, my friend. So why wear one? With such a utilitarian-sounding name, you would think it had some function.
The pocket square’s sole purpose is to add character and personal flair to your jacket.
It’s like a hubcap on a car. It provides that added oomph so your style can be noticed. Consider a crisp, white linen pocket square folded in the classic presidential style. Like being the strong, silent type at a cocktail party - unassuming yet undeniably polished.
The Purpose of the Bow Tie
A bow tie is a tied piece of fabric around a gentleman’s neck. It makes a fashion statement and lets folks know you are confident and uninhibited. The bow tie symbolizes individuality and non-conformity. For example, if you don a flamboyant, patterned bow tie at a beach wedding, you probably enjoy life and are ready to celebrate.
Thus, the pocket square and bow tie make a potent combined statement of unabashed character and quiet elegance. They speak volumes about a man's sense of style without speaking a word.
The Pocket Square
The Function and Purpose of Pocket Squares
A cloth used initially for blotting sweat from the brow and wiping tears from a lady's eyes.
- Now, it is the cherry on top - adding charm and panache to a man’s attire.
Different Designs of Pocket Squares
Solid Colors and Neutrals - A solid navy blue pocket square complements a white shirt and navy tie to a T.
Prints and Patterns - Polka dots, paisley designs, checks, or some stripes - all for the man who is unafraid to be noticed. Pair a burgundy suit with a geometric patterned pocket square and witness a visual delight.
- Trending Designs - Polka dots, paisleys, and florals are sought-after designs and add a pop to your ensemble.
The Different Materials of Pocket Squares
Silk - Smooth and glossy, silk is perfect for formal gatherings. This material folds easily also. How about a white silk pocket square with a black suit? Classy!
Cotton - Ideal for a crisp, structured fold, particularly fitting for a business setting, offering a matte look that is subtle yet sophisticated.
Linen - For semi-formal events in the summer, linen provides a rustic charm and casual vibe.
- Wool - Wool will grace your pocket with a rich and luxurious feel and blend effortlessly with a wool suit.
The Different Folds of Pocket Squares
The Presidential Fold- An immaculate straight line adorns your pocket in a sleek, modern way.
The Puff Fold - This is infinitely comfortable yet elegant, like a soft cloud resting atop your pocket.
The Crown Fold - Allows your pocket square to reign supreme, with pointy edges jutting from your pocket.
- The Points Fold - A symphony of classy points bursting from your pocket.
The Bow Tie
How To Tie a Bow Tie
With practice, you will become a pro! It all starts with the bow tie being placed around the neck, one end slightly longer than the other. For complete instructions on tying a bow tie, see
Bow Tie Materials
Silk- lustrous and rich, this fabric is a timeless classic. Silk bow ties epitomize formal dressing.
Velvet - Glamorous and bold - an amenity that will turn heads.
Cotton - Casual and light-hearted - events like a summer soirée
Choosing the Right Bow tie
When searching for your bow tie, it's crucial to remember that much like Cinderella's glass slipper, the bow tie should be well-suited to the occasion. For instance, at a highly formal black-tie event, only a sleek, black silk bow tie will suffice.
However, you can opt for a bow tie with playful patterns or vibrant colors for casual gatherings such as a garden party.
Pairing a Bow Tie with a Pocket Square
General Guiding Principles on Pairing
A pocket square should complement your bow tie, i.e., a navy blue bow tie paired with a white pocket square with navy edges. They DO NOT have to be an exact match.
The goal here is to have them complement each other rather than mirror.
Different patterns can be selected as long as they do not clash. A simple, solid-colored pocket square would balance things out if your bow tie is adorned with a bold paisley print. Remember, the aim is to create a harmonious ensemble, not a battleground.
Specific Steps on How to Pair
Step 1: Choose the predominant color or theme for your ensemble. This could be based on the occasion or mood of the day.
Step 2: Select a bow tie that highlights this color or theme.
Step 3: Opt for a pocket square that complements the bow tie. It may hint at the bow tie's color or simply harmonize.
To illustrate, choosing a bow tie in a burnt orange for a cool fall affair might inspire you to choose a pocket square with autumnal colors and a paisley pattern.
Trial and Error, Building Your Style
Personal style is built through trial and error. Choosing the right pocket squares and bow ties for your outfit is about showcasing your style. So be patient, be willing to experiment, and most importantly, have fun.
The Best Bow Tie and Pocket Square Combinations
The Classic Combination
- Black bow tie with a crisp white pocket square folded in a presidential fold. Timeless!
The Modern Combination
- Midnight navy bow tie with small polka dots with a soft blue pocket square folded in a puff fold. Striking!
The Southern Gentleman's Combination
- Red gingham bow tie with a navy-blue pocket square folded in a crown fold. Splendid!
When and How to Wear a Pocket Square with Your Bow Tie
Always pair your bow tie with a pocket square when donning a suit.
The 'when' of wearing these fine accessories boils down to one simple question: What's the occasion?
Aim for a silk bow tie and pocket square set for a matrimonial celebration, preferably in a color that'd make you blend right in with the wedding theme. Understated elegance!
A collegiate stripe bow tie matched with a pocket square in one of the secondary colors from the tie will have you looking the embodiment of academic achievement.
Put on a black bow tie with a white pocket square and finish it off with a sterling silver tie bar.
Stick to muted colors and conservative patterns. A solid navy or charcoal gray bow tie paired with a patterned pocket square in similar color tones would be perfect.
When Not to Wear a Pocket Square
Events that are casual in nature. A beach barbeque or a relaxed family get-together are great instances. Although these settings are laid back, a neat bow tie can elevate your casual shirt.
Styling for a Bow Tie with a Pocket Square
It’s a “dance.” Your bow tie and pocket square need to be in harmony.
So, if your bow tie is patterned, opt for a solid-colored pocket square. If your bow tie is solid or subtly textured, a patterned or brightly colored pocket square would add just the right amount of flair.
The fusion of bow ties and pocket squares epitomizes timeless elegance and sartorial finesse. With their ability to elevate any ensemble, these classic accessories have become symbols of refined style and individuality.
The bow tie's understated charm and the pocket square's flair for adding color and personality create a captivating synergy. Together, they transform an ordinary outfit into a statement of sophistication, making a lasting impression in formal and casual settings.
So, whether donned for a black-tie affair or a casual gathering, pairing bow ties and pocket squares remains a quintessential choice, celebrating the enduring allure of men's fashion.
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Remember, a true Southern gentleman never misses a beat regarding his style!