Handkerchiefs… ah, the romance of them! They have been around since before the Renaissance era, dainty-fying both ladies and men alike.

Handkerchiefs, also known as hankies are small, hemmed, square-shaped pieces of fabric used for personal hygiene or as a fashion accessory.

A handkerchief can be made of cotton, silk, or linen. It can be plain or have embroidery on it. Often, the embroidery is simple in design – a flower, a small grouping of leaves, a ballerina dancing in a corner, and so forth. A handkerchief can also have a name, initial, or coat of arms embroidered on it.


Not many ladies and gentlemen walk around with handkerchiefs today. So, it is a bit difficult to find a store that sells them. But don’t worry. We are here to help! You can find handkerchiefs on the websites below…

Flax and Thimble


If you are looking for a handkerchief style with a modern design or vibrant color(s), we recommend you look at stores that sell men’s suits. If you are looking for a design that is more masculine than feminine, to use let’s say, in the Financial District, we also recommend you look at menswear stores. There you will find handkerchiefs for gentlemen which can easily be used by ladies.

You can also find pocket squares at these stores. As matter of fact, it is much easier to find a pocket square than a handkerchief.

A pocket square is a small piece of fabric that is placed in the breast pocket of a suit jacket. The fabric is usually colorful. So, it is placed in a way that leaves a portion of it sticking out in order to add color and style to the suit. The pocket square is purely aesthetic. For this reason, they tend to be more delicate than a handkerchief and cannot be washed as often. However, if you can find a high-quality, durable pocket square, you can turn it into a sophisticated handkerchief. Here are some menswear stores that sell handkerchiefs and/or pocket squares…

Brooks Brothers

KJ Beckett


If you want to carry handkerchiefs, we recommend you also carry a container to put them in. Handbag interiors are rarely cleaned and the items you normally place in them (eg. cellphones, keys and wallets) are covered with bacteria and viruses. By placing your handkerchiefs in a container, you will keep your handkerchiefs separated from the insides of your handbag, and thus, clean.

There is no official handkerchief bag today. But it must be small enough to fit into the majority of your handbags, big enough to hold at least 3 folded handkerchiefs, and thick enough to protect your handkerchiefs from dirt, bacteria and viruses.

If you do not already have the perfect container, we suggest a small, slim clutch or pouch. Another option is a small, slim box like a cigarette case with a retention band to hold the handkerchiefs flat and in place. Here are a few examples…

Small Pouches at Mulberry

Leather and silver cigarette cases from Executive Gift Shoppe

If you love vintage items, there are many lovely cases sold online from the late 1880s to the early 1900s. Some are plain, but others have beautifully etched designs on them. Please just remember to have them re-finished and sanitized before using them.