The Southerner's Handbook

How to Master the Pocket Square

A staple of old-school Southern dress code

Photo: Sully Sullivan

A sartorial staple of the old-school Southern dress code, the pocket square adds a crisp, clean touch of understated style. Although there are several standard ways to wear one, Richmond native Peyton Jenkins, co-founder of the bespoke menswear company Alton Lane, favors the traditional flat fold over fussier peaked versions. “Classic always wins,” Jenkins says. “You can’t go wrong with it. It works with a tuxedo, a business suit, or a blazer on the weekend.” Choose a nice cotton fabric—solid or patterned. “It has more body and is easier to work with than silk,” Jenkins advises. For a more formal look, wear the pocket square with the smooth folded edge up. Sans tie, flip it 180 degrees and expose the layered edge. Depending on your preference, an eighth to a fourth of an inch of fabric should peek above the pocket.