A Handy Guide to Handkerchiefs

Our characterful handkerchiefs are not just for Christmas. Take a look at our handy guide to the hanky, and why we think it is an essential accessory to have up your sleeve…

Handy Hanky Guide by Thornback & Peel

Show Me Your Love

The handkerchief’s popularity soared in the 1700s.  Sweetly scented and highly decorated, men and women exchanged the little squares as tokens of love and friendship. In the absence of emojis, 19th century ladies used handkerchiefs to signal their amorous intentions. Handkerchief flirting comprised a complicated series of semaphore that included:

  • Drawing it across the cheek—I love you.
  • Drawing it across the eyes—I am sorry.
  • Drawing it across the forehead—Look, we are watched.
  • Drawing it through the hands—I hate you.
  • Dropping it—We will be friends.
  • Folding it—I wish to speak with you.
  • Letting it rest on the left cheek—No.
  • Letting it rest on the right cheek—Yes.
  • Letting it remain on the eyes: You are so cruel.
  • Opposite corners in both hands: Do wait for me.
  • Over the shoulder: Follow me.
  • Twisting it in the left hand—I wish to be rid of you.
  • Twisting it in the right hand—I love another.
Why Carry A Handkerchief? Blog post by Thornback & Peel
Having once again mixed up her left with her right cheek, Clarissa was forced to wave off yet another beau.

The Perfect Token

Thornback & Peel's Handy Guide to the Handkerchief

We love this tradition of giving handkerchiefs as a lasting token of love and affection. Our hankies are hand screen printed in our London studio and beautifully presented, making them the perfect gift for all occasions. Send as Get Well Soon gift to a friend who is laid up in bed with the sneezles and wheezles. Or leave as little gifts on people’s place settings at festive occasions.

Thornback & Peel's Handy Guide to the Handkerchief

Pop into a stocking at Christmas for that extra little something, or delight a colleague with a Secret Santa they will actually be pleased to receive.

Thornback & Peel's Handy Guide to the Handkerchief

Always Have a Hanky to Hand

There are many reasons why the humble hanky is still an essential accessory today. Quite apart from its eco credentials (a 100% cotton, easy to wash, no more disposable tissues piling up in the bin), there’s surely nothing as cheering as the scent of a freshly laundered hanky to help soothe a sore nose.

Thornback & Peel cotton handkerchief gift box set pink jellyIt’s always a good idea to have a crisp cotton hanky to hand at family occasions. Tucked into a clutch bag or jauntily displayed in a top pocket, they are great at weddings for dabbing away tears of joy or correcting make-up mishaps.

Thornback & Peel's Handy Guide to the HandkerchiefSartorial elegance

Worn in your top pocket, our handkerchiefs are a great way to add a dash of personal style to an otherwise sober suit. Fold into a triangle so that the characterful print peeks out, this is an easy and elegant way to update an outfit.

Thornback & Peel's Handy Guide to the Handkerchief

With 14 different designs to choose from, there’s a handkerchief to suit all your different moods and outfits! Browse our full hanky collection here.

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