How to Fold a Handkerchief

A handkerchief has a few different purposes: it can be used for personal hygiene such as blowing your nose or it can be used as a decorative accessory in a man's suit.  Handkerchiefs are commonly used as accessories for formal men's wear.  There are many different ways to fold a handkerchief such as the Astaire, Presidential, Tears of Joy or the four-point fold, just to name a few.  All you need are a couple of handkerchiefs and practice to perfect these different folding techniques.

If you don't know what type of fold to do then it's a good idea to start out with a basic square fold.  It's the easiest to do and once you have mastered it you can experiment with the other styles.  

  • First, fold the handkerchief in half to make a rectangle shape. 
  • Next, grab one of the narrow sides of the handkerchief and fold it over until it is about a half-inch below the other end.  This layered look will be the front of your handkerchief once you have placed it into the coat pocket. 
  • The last step is to fold the rest of the handkerchief into three evenly proportioned sections big enough to fit into the pocket of your coat.

If you want to try something a little different then you can try the Tears of Joy fold.  The Tears of Joy handkerchief is typically worn by the groom at a wedding.  There are a few different options on how to achieve this type of fold: the square-ended fold, puffed fold or multi-pointed fold.  The puffed fold is the easiest to do.  

  • Hold the middle of the handkerchief and let the ends flow freely. 
  • Next pull the ends straight, and then fold the ends over towards the middle of the handkerchief where you are holding it. 
  • Insert the ends of the handkerchief into the coat pocket leaving the folded end poking out.  After practicing this a few times you will have mastered a beautiful fold for your handkerchief.

These are two great folds to practice doing in order to have a great looking handkerchief in your coat pocket.  After you have mastered the basic square fold, you can attempt the many different folds available.  Wait until you have mastered a fold before using your handkerchief as an accessory; you don't want to be seen with a rumpled misfolded handkerchief in your pocket at an important event.  The handkerchief is meant to complement your suit or tuxedo, not to be a distraction.


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