Tradition and Practicality Combined: Vintage Handkerchiefs

Frequently seen in classic movies or old photos, there is an elegance to vintage hankies unmatched by any contemporary paper equivalent. Often adorned with embroidery, and frequently handmade with care, vintage handkerchiefs, easily found on eBay at affordable prices, are still a mark of elegance and refinement. They are also a practical accessory for anyone who suffers from allergies or the common cold but prefers a more eco-friendly alternative to tissues.

The styles of various handkerchiefs for sale on eBay

More than just a piece of cloth, vintage hankies come in many styles. They were designed as an accessory as well as to represent the fashion sense of their owner. They can convey a great deal about the personality of whomever owns it.

  • Monogrammed - Whether initials or a full name, monogrammed handkerchiefs are personalized to their owner.
  • Lace or crocheted - Primarily found in vintage ladies’ handkerchiefs, these elaborately worked pieces of fabric are ideal for special occasions such as weddings.
  • Embroidered - Nature themes such as flowers or butterflies are common in embroidered hankies, but more esoteric themes can be found as well.
  • Designer - Some of the more elaborately designed men’s and ladies’ vintage handkerchiefs were created by well-known designers, who would even sign the hankie.
A handkerchief for everyone in the family

Back when handkerchiefs were commonly carried by almost everyone, there were specific designs for every different member of the family. Children’s, men’s, and ladies’ vintage handkerchiefs can all still be found, and the differences between them are charming.

  • Women - Pastels, floral embroidery, and lace border-work is commonly seen in vintage ladies’ handkerchiefs.
  • Men - Embroidery can still be found on men's handkerchiefs, but it is more often contained to a monogram or a smaller border design. Simple plaid or striped designs are instead utilized more frequently.
  • Children - Animals, cartoon characters, and animal designs are favorites on children's hankies, as are embroidery or printed patterns based on nursery rhymes.
Do the materials differ depending on usage?

Some vintage handkerchiefs for sale were intended for daily use, while others were instead more for display. Their intended usage can often be guessed at via the fabric these antique handkerchiefs for sale were made from.

  • Cotton - Many everyday or homemade hankies were made of this versatile material and ranged from simple to elaborately decorated.
  • Lace - Designed to be more decorative than functional, they could be used for special occasions or as daily accessories.
  • Silk - Many hand-painted or designer handkerchiefs are made from silk and are almost too pretty to use.