Tag Archive for 'Hankie'

Legacy of STYLE

I inherited my sense of style from my maternal grandmother, Mrs. Effie Hayes. She was one of those stylish church ladies who moved up North from the South eons ago.  When she went “out” (which was not to be mistaken with just going to the grocery store or some other mundane task), she always wore bright red lipstick, a slip and/or camisole regardless of how warm it was outside and her sensible heels. At all times, she had a pressed hankie in her pocketbook that was nestled in the crook of her arm and some sort of hat stylishly cocked on her head.  Women and men alike always talked about how stylish Mizz Hayes was.

My grandmother passed away almost 13 years ago, but she still holds a very dear spot in my heart and mind.  When I came across this book, My Mother’s Clothes, by Jeanette Montgomery Barron, I was reminded of my grandmother and her stylish ways.  The book is an homage to Ms. Barron’s mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s.  As her mother began to decline, Ms. Barron realized that the one way to bring the woman she knew back to her former self was to tag along as her mother went through her closet.  So Ms. Barron, a photographer, catalogued the garments in her mother’s closet pictorially so that her mother could easily flip through and relive precious moments.  The photographs in My Mother’s Clothes are beautiful and help to bring to mind the vibrancy of the woman who must have worn them.

While my grandmother (who maybe weighed 105 pounds soaking wet) was about far more than the clothes she wore, as I’m sure Ms. Barron’s mother was too, her commanding presence was always highlighted by the way she was dressed.


Hankie Pankie

Dabbing at tears and wiping away beads of perspiration are facts of life.  How many times have you found yourself in one of these situations and not had something to properly dab or wipe with?  If you’re lucky, a loved one, a friend or a perfectly good stranger stepped in and offered you their hankie. Handkerchiefs, paper or cloth, are something one should never leave home without.

Fellas, before you walk out the door you check to make sure you have your essentials – keys, wallet, Blackberry, iPhone – is a handkerchief on your check-list?  If not, please add it.  If nothing else, having one on your person will win you big points with the ladies (those you want to impress as well as those whose respect you hope to gain).

My grandmother taught me that a lady never leaves the house without her hankie. Most days I live up to her credo – I’m lucky I have her old hankies, which are a lovely way to carry a little bit of her with me every day.  Carrying a hankie is also a little Holly Golightlyesque for me – pulling out a beautiful little piece of embroidered fabric to dab a tear or stiffle a cough usually brings a smile to my face.

Now, I’m old school.  I believe in cloth hankies – cotton or linen – embroidered with pretty flowers or initials.  I started my collection with my grandmother’s, but over the years friends and family members have helped me to amass a nice collection of my own to pass down.  But, my mother, like many of my friends who’s grannies drilled the same lesson into them, prefer the paper tissue packets — there’s something about their disposable nature and no need for ironing that makes them so appealing.  Kleenex of course, has tissue packets available in spades; guys, these are a great alternative to cotton handkerchiefs. But for you savvy stylistas, Sniff has cornered the market on the die-for tissue packets of the moment.  You’ve seen them – zebra print, leopard, denim-like and beautiful florals to boot.  Beware though these are a bit pricey. My mom has been known to dole these out judiciously (she needs to know that you really do have a runny nose) as if they were $20 bills not to be parted with lightly. Now, if you’re really special and don’t want the muss and fuss of cloth hankies, but want what you carry to be personal to you, there are all kinds of websites out there ready to personalize your tissue packets for you! Who knew, right?  Just Google “personalized tissue packs”.

And you thought Hanky Panky was just a great brand of underwear. (Bet you didnt know that the company got started when one of it’s owners gave the other a beautiful pair of underwear made out of hand embroidered vintange hankies).