Wednesday, September 12, 2012

13 Uses for Vintage Handkerchiefs while Traveling by Mary Van Note

Today's post is brought to you by Mary Van Note, a comedian with killer vintage style who I've known for a few years now (time does fly on the Internet!) - I adore Mary's individual, fresh take on vintage fashion and you can see many of her great outfits here at her blog. Her guest post is full of great tips that I hope you all find helpful!


I'm sure every vintage-loving gal has at least a couple cute vintage hankies lying around. I recently acquired a big lot of pretty vintage handkerchiefs. For a while I hadn't any ideas on how to use them, but they recently became quite handy on some road trips so I thought I could share those ideas with you. 

1. Keep some in your glovebox.


Most recently I used some pretty hankies for wiping sweat from my forehead while driving in the hottest hour of the day without air conditioning so I could save money on gas. This is by no means a pretty act, but it appears more lady-like with a dainty floral handkerchief!


 2. Stuff them in your shoes to use as shoe horns when you pack. They're eco-friendly and cute! 

3. Use them to wipe your glasses. Micro-fiber cloths? No thanks. Give me a cute vintage hankie for my swank vintage frames. 

4. Tie it to your suitcase handle.



Of course my 60s blue suitcase wouldn't really get lost amongst a sea of modern black suitcases, but if you happen to have some modern luggage (yep, I've got some of those practical roll-y cases) it's a good way to make them stand-out and in a cute vintage way no less. 

5. Wrap money in it and tuck it in your bra. That's right, no hidden travel wallets for me. If you are going to a sketchy place and don't want to carry a purse, why not wrap your essentials in a cute soft hanky and stick it where the sun don't shine? 

 6. Sew a few together to make a darling sack for dirty laundry or to use as a lingerie bag. 

7. Fill one with dried lavender for a suitcase sachet. It'll make your things smell nice and it'll look cute too. 

8. Use them as napkins for a vintage style picnic on your travels. 

9. Wrap your jewelry in them when you pack.


 I secured the hankie with a stick pin I could use for an accessory later. 

10. Wipe your phone with one. Yeah, you know it gets gross. Vintage hankies can be a germaphobe’s best friend. 

11. Take one on the plane. You never know what in-flight movie they might be playing. When I flew to New Orleans it was the Pixar movie Up. Watching that while being hormonal due to it being that time of the month meant massive uncontrollable tears flowing in front of complete strangers. I didn't know it then, but a vintage hankie could've saved me a lot of embarrassment. 

12. Use it for sneaking food. I'm sure we've all stayed at budget hotels with continental breakfasts at some time or another. If you know you'll be staying at one come prepared. Bring a hankie and wrap up some of that free food for snacking on later. Do a classic grandma move in classic grandma style!


13. Use one as a foreign language cheat sheet! I happen to have a "How To Speak French" handkerchief in my collection.





 The very same handkerchief is for sale here. I even found this Spanish version on ebay.


 If you don't want to buy one, make your own! Use permanent fabric marker on a vintage hanky, or embroider the phrases that you'll need help with the most.


 And lastly, say goodbye with one. Want to say goodbye in the most vintage-y iconic way possible? Wave that hanky like there's no tomorrow... out of a moving train, of course.

Mary's blog Mary Van Notes


  1. Love love love this post! What fantastic ideas! Can you believe it never occurred to me to actually put one of my vintage hankies in my purse! I would seriously use at least 10 of those tips.

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

  2. OMG, Thanks for sharing this. In addition to reading some great hanky ideas, I get to re-connect with an old correspondence. Back when I was in college I researched an independent study on zines, and actually wrote to Mary Van Note. It's so lovely to see what she's up to now!

    Gotta love that internet. Ha.
    <3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

  3. This post is INSANELY cute Mary ahhh! <33

  4. Earlier this year I happened to massively luck out and come across a fairly good sized lot (I haven't counted them all, but I'd guess at least 30 or more) vintage (40s - 60s) hankies at yard sale for next to nothing (off the top of my head, I think $3.00 for all of them), which massively expanded my collection in one fell swoop. I'll certainly be using some of these great ideas with them now, thank you, Mary!

    ♥ Jessica

  5. Ahh this is why I love Mary, I totally use my handkerchief to keep my phone in it embarrasses my friends xxx

  6. Aha this made me chuckle! Wonderful!

  7. This is fantastic - thank you! I've often wondered what to do with my lovely vintage hankies and now I know! Sarah xxx

  8. Haha! This is great!
    I have many vintage hankies and never thought to use them in these ways. ;)

  9. Ha ha LOVE this post, funny and practical. I have so many of the pretty little things and now I know excatly what to do with them. Go Mary. xx


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