Linen Handkerchiefs

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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You might expect to find linen handkerchiefs in the British House of Lords or at a French tea ceremony, but are they really at home in day-to-day affairs? For a lot of men, the only thing worse than being dubbed a boor is being dubbed a dandy. Frankly, however, given the preponderance of men wearing visors, flip-flops, and gaudy t-shirts, being pegged a fop isn't exactly the most horrendous fate.

So where, precisely, do linen handkerchiefs play a role in daily life? Well, there are the everyday instances first, such as coughing fits, sneezing episodes, and other symptoms of the garden-variety cold--no need to belabor the specific functions these kerchiefs play. Second, there are events such as weddings and funerals in which linen handkerchiefs may play a role. These, of course, both represent functional uses of linen kerchiefs.

Decorative Uses for Linen Handkerchiefs

Technically, linen handkerchiefs aren't the same as their cousins, pocket squares. Those tempted to stuff a linen hankie into a breast pocket for a style infusion be forewarned: men (and women) of distinction may frown upon this. Unless you're opting for a colored or monogrammed kerchief woven from high-quality linen, you're better served by a pocket square instead.

That doesn't mean that a few well-chosen monogrammed linen handkerchiefs won't garner their share of accolades, especially from ladies on the prowl for that dying breed, the gentleman. Linen kerchiefs are a bit of a throwback indeed, but one that signals an appreciation for subtlety and tradition. Plus, they provide a reason to approach dripped-on damsels in storefronts, office buildings, and restaurants on rainy days.

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