Escapes Travel Style: The Necessity of the Hankie

Image via Mike Baird on Flickr.

Some think hankies are old-fashioned. I find that they are one of the most useful things I carry – and not only are they a sweet style statement, they are there to address the inevitable messes of a life on the go. Here’s just a short list of what I use my hankies for:

-For patting perspiration from my upper lip and forehead
-As a ‘fabric bracelet’
-Around the neck for color (and to absorb sweat or keep warm)
-To blow my nose
-To wrap cookies, granola or fruit in lieu of a plastic bag
-To wipe my hands on after eating
-As a face cover while catching some rays on my body
-To cover a sneeze
-As aromatherapy – just douse fabric with two to three drops of your favorite essential oil, then place over your face and close your eyes (I do this with lavender in the middle of the workday – magic!)

ThirtySomethingFashion blogger Carly shows us how to wear a Happy Hanky – nice!

Hankies are much better at dealing with messes (and are less wasteful) than carrying around a bunch of napkins from the coffee shop, or disposable tissues which never seem up to the job. Hankies can be washed with a bit of handsoap or shampoo and left to dry – it usually only takes an hour or so because they are made from very lightweight fabrics (often cottons, but sometimes blends).

Handmade Modern Hankies:There are a few craftspeople making modern updates on the traditional hankie, so if vintage isn’t your style, or you want something more graphic, a new hankie is the way to go (look for organic materials where possible).


Happy Hanky has a supergraphic sensibility and a huge collection of fabrics to choose from. I love their unabashed appreciation of all things hankie! They make hankies for men, for wedding favors, and the hilarious “I’m Not a Tissue” hankie. Hah!

To read more, click over to our sister site, Eco Chick Escapes, all about travel and style.

About Starre Vartan
Starre Vartan is editor-in-chief of and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life.


  1. Your blog is great! Thank you for fun little posts like this hankie one – so great to have new ideas for reducing and reusing. Love it and thanks!

  2. So glad to see this article. I use bandanas to wrap sandwiches and, when unwrapped, it serves as a napkin.

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