The elegance of a Groom with a white handkerchief in his jacket…a tradition to keep? My how times have changed in the men’s wardrobe department! They haven’t changed styles as much as women’s styles do from year to year, but there are a few traditions which have been slightly altered or mostly forgotten for many formal occasions. Today’s ever present “casualness” proves the lack of men dressing up in a suit and tie for an evening out with their wife or girlfriend. It is very sad for me, as I truly find men so sexy when they are dressed to the nine’s with a tie and yes, a white cotton handkerchief sitting either square like or origami styled in one’s pocket. Like a boat setting off to sea with all sails proudly displayed.
We recently attended a wedding in Scottsdale and my husband forgot to pack his cummerbund and bow tie for his tuxedo. So we ventured out to the shopping mall where we went on the prowl for a replacement. The pickings were slim. We finally found a few at Macy’s tucked in a shelf in the corner full of dust. Obviously there wasn’t a run on the item. Then we asked for a men’s handkerchief to put in his pocket. None. So we ended up at Saks where we found a wide selection. That is our story.
Casualness has indeed come into style. Even for some destination or themed weddings (such as Hawaiian or Western style) the handsome suit and tie or tails is one of the last traditions which is slowly fading. Especially on the west coast, where “California Casual” takes a front seat.
Troy Patterson said it so well in the latest Wall Street article on the background and importance of the lowly upland cotton white handkerchief and the importance it played to him growing up attending formal dances or job interviews. Today it is a lost art with young adults, especially in the creative and tech fields where donning a tattoo has replaced the formality of dressing up for the day to meet clients. However, there are still some industries where the coat and tie still rein as the main uniform.
Kelly Stuart, the director of brand training and “unofficial” historian from Brooks Brother’s said the handkerchief was originally only made of fine Irish Linen or silk before the war. Cotton was reserved for more colorful styles. However today, the commonplace upland cotton rose to importance and came into vogue when the process of making linen became extremely expensive and it was difficult to import silk because of the war.
Nowadays grooms are choosing ties that match the colors of the wedding style or choosing styles that bring out their own personalities. With the permission of the bride of course!
Troy describes the white handkerchief as the equivalent of the value of a Swiss Army knife, for saving many of the unexpected spills that arise with daily living such as stopping the bleeding of s child’s skinned knees, wiping runny noses or cleaning up spills at the dinner table. Especially when an additional napkin is hard to procure from a missing attendant. Troy usually comes prepared with one in his pocket, one in his hip pocket and an additional one for those occasional emergencies of one type or another.
So, what does this all mean to a groom or to you his bride? Nothing but a touch of old- fashioned class and practicality with the simple addition of a white handkerchief in a man’s pocket. Cheers for manners that are timeless through the years.
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