A Guide to Matching Your Tie to Your Pocket Square (B)

The pocket square, also known by the name pockerchief or handkerchief, is a very small, yet significant piece of men’s accessories. The hankie, as it is also called is mostly known for its decorative purposes and for the fact that it can be folded in so many ways that you practically loose count. However, the number one question that men ask when it comes to their pocket squares is whether this should match your tie or not.

There is only one rule when it comes to matching your tie to your pocket square, and this is that they shouldn’t match. For many guys, this puts them in some difficulty, as choosing to be exactly matched is the easy way out. Unfortunately, being all matched is not something that looks well: it simply goes to show that you do things in a simplistic way. There’s nothing wrong with being simple, but simplistic denotes that you are lazy.

Some brands, such as Ulterior Motive, which was launched in 2006 in Sweden, offer both ties and pocket squares to their customers (as well as wallets and other pieces of accessories) and they even offer combo packs with matching ties and pocket squares. You might wonder what the reason for that is, since we just established that pocket squares and ties should not match. In this article, we will be looking into the different elements you should take into consideration when you are wearing both a tie and a pocket square and we will reveal why you can and should buy a combo.

Of course, if you are wearing a tie, it is not mandatory to wear a pocket square or vice versa; especially on casual occasions, but it makes a nice touch. One of the reasons Ulterior Motive, the brand we spoke about earlier was launched, was because they wanted to introduce the world to everyday casual ties. We really like their idea, as we believe that one can wear a tie and a pocket square even if you are not at a dinner or a gala, so it’s great to see that there are brands out there that cater to this idea! So, whether you want to wear a tie and a pocket square to a formal event or in a casual setting, here are the elements you should consider:

 

Colors

Just because your tie should not match your pocket square, doesn’t mean that they should be picked at random. There are a lot of color schemes you can use to establish which colors go together well. For example you can opt for complementary colors, such as red and green; blue and orange; yellow and purple for a contrasting effect, or you can opt for analog colors such as green and blue; blue and violet; or yellow and orange for a more subtle look!

If one of the two accessories (tie or pocket square) is a neutral color (gray, beige, white, khaki, black, etc.), the other one can be any color you want it to be. Neutrals go with any color.

 

A neutral tie goes very well with a colorful pocket square. The pattern matching applies here as well.

A neutral tie goes very well with a colorful pocket square. The pattern matching applies here as well.

 

Also, sometimes you might want to match your pocket square to your shirt, especially if you are wearing a white shirt. A white shirt goes well with a white pocket square, especially if the jacket is black or navy. In this case, the tie can be of any color and style.

 

Patterns

There are three possibilities when it comes to matching your tie to your pocket square should you decide to wear a pattern or a print.

a. The tie is a solid color and the pocket square has a pattern or a print. In this case, one of colors of the pocket square can be the color of the tie, but not mandatory. For a more subtle look, you can opt that the color that reoccurs to be in a different shade on the pocket square.

 

b. Both the tie and pocket square have patterns or prints. If both accessories have patterns or prints, they should never be the same. The rule to matching patterns is that they should never be the same size. Even if you are mixing different patterns, they should still not be the same size. To give you an example, if your tie has thin stripes, you can mix it with a pocket square with thick stripes (the same pattern but in a different size). A tie with thin stripes can also be mixed with a pocket square with dots, for example. In this case, the dots should be large, since the lines on the tie are thin. If the stripes on the tie were thick, you should have matched them to small dots (different patterns of different sizes).

 

In this case, we used a tie with a stripes and a pocket square with a floral pattern. The green from tie is found in a subtle way on the pocket square. Also, green goes great with red and purple, as they are split complementary colors. Both products can be found on the UM website.

In this case, we used a tie with a stripes and a pocket square with a floral pattern. The green from tie is found in a subtle way on the pocket square. Also, green goes great with red and purple, as they are split complementary colors. Both products can be found on the UM website.

 

This being said, you might wonder then, how come so many brands such as Ulterior Motive sell tie and pocket squares combos? The answer is that, while you can have ties and pocket squares of the same color/pattern/print, you shouldn’t wear them together. For example, if you are going to a week-end event, you can wear on one day the tie matched to a pocket square and on the second day the pocket square from the set matched to another tie (maybe even from another set). This way, you will opt for continuity and will give out a sense that you have a unique personal style.

 

c. The tie has a pattern and the pocket square is in a solid color. In this case, there is not much to say, the same rules from point a apply. The two should not match, but they should go together well and complement each other.

 

Fabrics

When it comes to fabrics, a man is supposed to follow the same rule. Since the purpose of the pocket square is to break the jacket and to add a nice touch to it, the fabric of the pocket square should also be different than the fabrics from which the jacket and tie are made. Of course, the tie and the jacket should not necessarily be made from the same fabric, but the pocket square can really be something else. Since most suits are made from wool, a nice pocket square can be made from silk. Silk and wool go great together. If your suit is made from a rather fine material, you can add a rougher pocket square, maybe even something with a texture.

 

We used these two accessories by Ulterior Motive to demonstrate how well two pieces from different fabrics go together. They also go great in terms of color, as the very saturated red is toned down by the calm nuances of the pocket square, which will light up any dark-colored jacket. The reason we used the same pocket square twice in this post is because we wanted to show how one piece can look differently depending on the item with which it is matched.

We used these two accessories by Ulterior Motive to demonstrate how well two pieces from different fabrics go together. They also go great in terms of color, as the very saturated red is toned down by the calm nuances of the pocket square, which will light up any dark-colored jacket. The reason we used the same pocket square twice in this post is because we wanted to show how one piece can look differently depending on the item with which it is matched.

 

It’s up to you how you wish to match your tie to your pocket square, but we think that if you follow these guidelines, you will always look great, no matter of the style you adopt and of what your taste is. You should have confidence in yourself and try different combinations to see which one works best. Being prepared is always a good thing and simply going to the grocery shop is a good enough occasion to dress up!

 

Fraquoh and Franchomme

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. How do you like to match your tie to your pocket square? Do you have a special combination you generally like to follow? Are there certain color combinations or fabric combinations you think work best? Leave us a comment or a question and don’t forget to follow us via e-mail on our social media!

 

 

34 thoughts on “A Guide to Matching Your Tie to Your Pocket Square (B)

    • Dear Li,

      Thank you for the comment!

      Matching your tie to your pocket square is an older practice, which used to be in fashion a while ago. You can wear a matching tie and pocket square, but the whole point of wearing both is to add something new to your outfit with each new piece you put on, which is why we recommended wearing different styles.

      However, if you feel matching them is better, you should do it! You are right, some very stylish men like Tim Gunn often wear matched ties and pocket squares and they look amazing!

      Best wishes,

      F&F

  1. How many different colours can you have? For example will a blue and gold tie go with a red pocket square or are there too many colours?

  2. Hi, if I wear a darker red tie with a white shirt and charcoal suit, what shade of red square can I get away with? Thanks

  3. I always wear a white pocket square, since I wear it for work. However I’m always in doubt about the color of the tie and shirt.
    – Does the white pocket square goes well with all kinds of suit, regardless the color?
    – While wearing a white pocket square, should I always wear a white shirt? Or can I wear shirts of different colors? How do I match them? What about the tie in those cases?
    Sorry for the English mistakes, I’m from Brazil.
    Great article! It was really helpfull!

    • Dear Braulio,

      Thank you very much for the question!

      Here are the answers to your questions:

      1) White is a neutral, which means that it does go with any other color. In fashion, neutrals are colors that can be matched to any other color and to each other. Other neutrals are: gray, beige, khaki, tan, ivory, brown, black, dark blue etc. However, please note that a white pocket square is a little on the dressy side, so you should make sure that the clothes you wear are not too casual. If you have made the white pocket square your style statement, that you can probably wear it regardless of the other things you are wearing.

      2) If you are wearing a white pocket square, you don’t have to wear a white shirt. Your pocket square, shirt and tie should be part of a harmonious color scheme. For example, if you are planning on wearing a shirt, a pocket square and a tie, you can create a split-complementary color scheme or a triad color scheme (colors that lie on the same distance from one another on the color scheme). Remember, that if one piece is white (a neutral), you must find only two colors that go together (for the other pieces).

      If you want to learn more about color coordination, we recommend the following guides:

      A guide to coordinating the colors of your clothes (+examples) http://attireclub.org/2014/05/05/coordinating-the-colors-of-your-clothes/

      The professional way to choose the colors of your clothes http://attireclub.org/2013/01/05/the-professional-way-to-choose-colors/

      Please let us know if we can give you more insight or if you have any questions! And, don’t worry, your English is great ;)!

      Best wishes,

      F&F

  4. Nice article!

    I am currently having a difficult time matching my dark grey suit with white shirt and plum purple tie with a pocket square. Are there any recommendations? I am hoping to avoid green.

  5. Very good article…I have a wedding in my family…Color theme is Royal blue and Gold.We intend to have a dress code for tiesand squares.can you advice us color of squares if the tie is optional but in blue

    • Dear Richard,

      We’re not very sure what you mean by “the tie is optional but in blue”.

      However, if your theme is royal blue and gold, you can wear everything in these two colors or you can go on variations.

      For example, you can go for a very light Alice blue or Azure (see more colors here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Shades_of_blue)

      If you want to play out the gold, you can tone it down with a crayola Gold: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_(color).

      If you’ve chosen to go only for two colors, you should go with that.

      If you are looking for colors to complement these two, you can go for white, emerald green, beige, etc.

      In case you have more details, let us know so we can give you a more complex answer.

  6. Navy blue with orange dots tie – what would be best choice for pocket square?

    Black suit and cream/yellowish shirt

    • You could go for a yellow pocket square. Green would also work.

      Alternatively, you can go for a very dark blue pocket square or any neutral (beige, khaki, tan, ivory, gray)

  7. Hi,

    Have got a wedding coming up and I would be wearing a balck suit and tie, could you please suggest if to wear a pocket square and/or lapel flower and which colour would you recommend for both?

    Thanks!

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