Whether you are completing an ensemble, sprucing up a dressed down one or have just decided to loose yourself of neckties all together, spring is a great time to bloom in color with the great selection of pocket squares so very much in vogue now.
As an expression of personality pocket squares go a step further than neckties, since they can be arranged in so many ways. (Yes, ties have different knots, but they are basically of a type.) Hankies are endless in the ways they can be folded (or not really folded) in your breast pocket. And they all come with a separate message. The square fold (at top left) is the most basic and says you're ready for business. It's the no-nonsense presentation that Don Draper uses to show he's alpha dog among the arty types. It works best in solid or simple patterns in cotton (for its sturdiness), like the one shown from Turnbull & Asser ($90).
Folds that come to a tip (or several tips) retain a reserved demeanor, but show more imagination—and that's the point (or several points). Most of those arrangements involve laying out the handkerchief flat and folding the tips together at the one end or creating a single triangle that protrudes from the jacket pocket. We're currently partial to a variation called the three-stairs fold (top right) that's a bit more complicated (look it up on YouTube). It adds more interest and elegance, especially with the geometry of this pocket square from Massimo Bizzocchi ($115).
When spring has sprung, the floral arrangements, which go by names like flower, rose and blossom, fit the season. Most of them entail creating curvy, soft petals from the straight edges and points of the square hankie. However, J. Lucas Clothiers (whose jacket is shown) makes a floral-specific pocket, well, not-square. This handkerchief (bottom left, $45) is round, so all you need do is pick it up from the center, push it through a ring you've made with two fingers on the other hand and give it a twist.
While there are any number of structured folds with descriptive names like the monarch, the bird of paradise and the wave, the presentation that bespeaks the utter insouciance that befits a cheeky hanky is free-form and nameless (Massimo Bizzocchi, bottom right, $115). Take it in your hands, twist it, turn it, create billowing folds, feature whatever part of the pattern you like. And if during the day, you feel like a change, take it out, stuff the points in the pocket and show off the rounded center of the pocket square in a free-form arrangement that actually has a name: the puff.