Dating vintage hankies

Renaissance portraits show both men and women holding handkerchiefs embroidered and edged in lace.

Handkerchiefs appeared in Shakespearian plays – in which a misunderstanding over a handkerchief caused Othello to kill his wife and then himself.

Several years after the war, once fashion began to revive, Balmain, Dior, Rochas and other designers utilized handkerchiefs as a final touch to their haute couture.

Hankies were seen tied to the wrist or bracelet, threaded through the top buttonhole of a suit, draped over a belt, or popping from the side pocket of a handbag.

Considered a symbol of wealth, handkerchiefs became larger and larger, until, in 1785 Louis XVI issued a decree prohibiting anyone from carrying a handkerchief larger than his. The tradition of borrowing a bridal hankie may have stemmed from the times when they were too expensive for a young bride to afford.

Speaking of brides and courtship the handkerchief served as a surreptitious go-between to send explicit messages to the gimlet eyed observer.

Everywhere you looked, hankies could be seen peeking from breast pockets or draped over a belt as a fashion accessory.

It was said that Queen Elizabeth I, who carried handkerchiefs embroidered with gold and silver thread, created a whole vocabulary of hankie gestures for dealing with her staff.Should these young men have the misfortune to be shot down, they literally held an escape map in their hands.In addition, hankies were printed during both WWI & WWII for soldiers to carry and/or give as mementos.History Some historians opine the handkerchief originated in China, and was first used to shield a person’s head from the hot sun.Statues dating as far back as the Chou dynasty (1000 BC) show figures holding decorative pieces of cloth.

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