Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I hope all of my American Readers have a great Independence Day tomorrow and everyone else has a pleasant Saturday.

This week’s tip harks back to last week’s about tissues.

Handkerchiefs are classy.

I stand by my tip that having a packet of tissues to hand is a useful thing, but also consider carrying a handkerchief. They are so much nice for weeping into, patting your glowingly damp brow, waving farewell, flirtatiously dropping, and surreptitiously wrapping up leftover petits fours.

Gentlemen, this goes for you too!

It’s thoughtful to give a crying friend a tissue, but so much more of a gesture to hand over your hanky. (If you’re on the receiving end, offer to launder it after you’ve used it. It’s a great excuse to get together again.)

It’s not so easy to find handkerchiefs for women these days. Men’s are usually available where suits are sold. Just make sure they are actually handkerchiefs and not pocket squares. Pocket squares are excellent and should be worn, but they are for decoration only.

Vintage handkerchiefs are easy to find and often inexpensive (I can usually find nice ones between $3 and $5). Here’s a few from my collection:

Hankies are also very simple to make. Cut a square of fabric (linen or cotton are traditional). 13×13 is a good size for a lady’s handkerchief, I’ve found. Add a narrow hem and you’re all set! If you’re that sort of person, you can add all sorts of embellishment — lace, embroidery, &c.

I’m still rather proud of this “something blue” handkerchief I made for my sister:

It has an embroidered initial, decorative hemstitching, and handmade tatted lace. Obviously you don’t have to go all out like that.

M2

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Published in: on 1 July 2015 at 3:03 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. Nice work on that hanky!
    I was very interested in your definition of a pocket square; which I totally agree with. However I have noted others recently that are saying that the term “pocket square” is the new name for a handkerchief. I was wondering if you had any thoughts regarding that?

    • According to my male sartorial consultant, a pocket square is a fashion accessory. It is worn in the breast pocket of one’s jacket and can be folded in a number of decorative ways, from the very simple to utterly elaborate. The fabric should coordinate with some aspect of one’s outfit (often the tie), otherwise it’s a missed opportunity to make a statement.

      A handkerchief is a utilitarian item, used for blowing one’s nose, drying tears, picking up a suspicious object, &c. It’s kept neatly folded in the back trouser pocket, so as not to ruin the line of the jacket. They are usually made from cotton or linen so as to be easily laundered.

      A nice handkerchief could be used as a pocket square, but I wouldn’t use a pocket square as a handkerchief.


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