Handkerchiefs -The Gentleman's Accessory You're Not Carrying But Should
Birthdays, Christmas, graduation, random care packages from home, any occasion where I received gifts from my father, a pack of handkerchieves came with the goods. For most of my young adult life, I never understood why my dad always bought me these cotton napkins I thought I'd never use. I never questioned why he bought me packs of them instead of giving me what I thought I wanted: more clothes and sneakers I that didn't need to style and profile.
Around three years ago that changed. Faced with my worst enemy, a runny, stuffy nose that would inevitably drip for the next 72 hours and leave the skin on my upper lip raw from constant rubbing, wiping and blowing, I found a pack of handkerchiefs that I neglected in the past and comfortably blew my nose all day. Hankies are square pieces of cloth for blowing the nose or cleaning the face. Usually made from cotton, with a stitched hem, they fall under the general category kerchiefs, a piece of cloth made for the face or neck. Men who carry these gentlemen snot rags store them in their inside jacket or back pant pocket.
Handkerchiefs are not to be mistaken for pocket squares, made from silk (though you can find them in linen, polyester or cotton) in an array of colors and patterns and carried folded in intricate shapes in the front breast pocket. These kerchiefs are for decoration only. Unlike handkerchiefs, the beautiful silks used for pocket squares don't absorb mucus and sweat in the same fashion. Now after years of carrying a handkerchief to manage my dripping nose or sweaty forehead needs, the label whore in me is ready for a luxe snotty. Hermes has several of them in multiple colors made from jacquard cotton with hand-rolled edges.
Those start at $140. Fancier ones with hand embroidery, signature "Clic Clac a Pois" print and "Petit jour" finishing can hit the $200 price point. More cost friendly, but still "high brow" options include a 7 pack from Brook Brothers, the oldest men's retailer in the country, and it will set you back $35. Thanks to my father I love the handkerchief so much I plan to own "boffum."