The rules for initials on male handkerchiefs

Written by mike koehler
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The rules for initials on male handkerchiefs
A handkerchief used to be a standard item a man would carry. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Carrying a handkerchief, let alone a monogrammed one, has fallen out of style for most men. But, there was a time when it was a standard item in a man's pocket. That rule is making a comeback in some circles, according to The Art of Manliness website. If a man chooses to keep a handkerchief, he should understand the rules of monogramming and embroidering it.

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Rules of Monogramming

Monograms were originally placed on items of linen and shirts to let the person doing the laundry know who they belonged to, according to online adviser The Etiquetteer. How a handkerchief is monogrammed can be a status symbol, but it is also subject to the proper rules of etiquette as well. Unlike women, who use their first name's initial on their handkerchief, it is proper for a man to use his last name's initial, too.

Other Monogramming Rules

If a man chooses not to use the traditional last name initial on his monogram, he may go for the traditional monogram of his first, middle and last initial. If a man wants to choose that monogramming style, there are two popular ways to arrange the letters, either ordered from right to left with the first, middle and last initials or ordered with the first, last and middle initials. If the last initial is in the centre, it is usually more prominent.

Monograms With Wife's Name

A man may choose to have a special handkerchief created for his wedding, in which case the wife's initials would also be included on the linen. The rules for these monograms are to have the first initials of the wife and the husband on both sides of a larger initial of the new couple's last name. If they choose to combine or hyphenate their last name, the initials of both names (without a hyphen) would be at the centre of the monogram.

Using a Handkerchief

The use of a handkerchief by a man is good for two reasons, according to The Art of Manliness website. First, it shows that a man isn't wasteful in his use of tissues, but, most importantly, it is carried for a man to be prepared if the woman he is with needs it. Whether a woman needs to wipe away a tear, fix a smudge or blow her nose, a man can carry a handkerchief and have it ready for her.

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