Today I will be introducing an affordable small luxury that you can treat yourself to, or gift it to someone ever so special.
And it is… handkerchiefs.
Yes, I know what you mean! In this modern era where wet wipes/tissues have replaced handkerchief when it comes to personal hygiene purpose, I hardly recall the last time I actually owned one. I do have lots of fabric napkins, but they are mainly for wiping that pasta sauce off my babies’ faces.
For a quick history background of handkerchief’s origin, apparently the first handkerchief might have been used dated back to 3000BC, as an intricate linen cloth was discovered in the tomb of an Egyptian princess Dahshur. In Persia in around 700 BC, handkerchiefs were symbols of nobility and were often made from the finest-quality silk adorned with embroidered decorations, and were only permitted to be owned by members of royal families. Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, reigned over the French court as a fashion leader at the end of the 18th century, while the ladies in the French court competed in terms of how beautiful their handkerchiefs were.
But today I would like to change your mind about handkerchiefs in the year of 2017. By the way, 3rd of November is the Handkerchief Day, as it was also Marie Antoinette’s birthday!
Introducing, CLASSICS The Small Luxury (CSL)– the only specialty store in the world that dedicates wholly to handkerchiefs.
Blooming Nakanishi was founded in 1879 in the Nihombashi Ningyocho district – the heart of business and culture in the Edo period, so the history dates waaaaay back.
One hundred over years later, they opened a specialty boutique ‘CLASSICS the Small Luxury’ in Roppongi Hills in 2003.
I had the honor to visit the store in Nihombashi during my recent trip to Tokyo, and the ambience of the store simply spells class.
In this modern day, handkerchiefs are more than just a square fabric you blow your nose into. It can be enjoyed as a fashion accessory for many occasions, it could also be a way of expressing your special feelings for someone.
To me, I think it is the perfect gift for almost everyone, for almost all occasions.
Once a Japanese friend gifted a hankie with Junya’s name embroidered, as a newborn baby gift to me. It was so precious that I still keep it nicely in the wardrobe, intact. Junya is not allowed to touch it until he learns how to treat his belongings with love and respect, so I’ll probably keep it until he goes to elementary school haha.
So yea, I really love the idea of gifting handkerchiefs to the people who mean something to you. It may not be a valuable object so extravagant which you can flaunt, like a branded bag for example, but it is something that’s so intimate which you keep close to you. It represents the thoughts and feelings of the person who gifted it to you.
And I would like to share some of the beautiful designs that I’ve seen in the store that day:
CSL has amazing varieties in terms of designs and fabric. There’s something for everyone. The daily series are rather simple, down to earth selections of handkerchief that you can use it at all time.
You are bound to find your favorite colors among these rainbow folds…
And you will be sure to discover a fabric that is so pleasurable to the touch of your skin.
Most of CSL’s designs are constantly refreshed to match the trend and current season in Japan.
I love looking at the kaleidoscopic display of beautifully crafted art and illustrations, and I had to resist the urge to run my fingers through every one of them.
If natural is your thing, CSL also has an organic cotton line that’s perfect for delicate skins and sustainable fashion advocates.
I like the earthy tones that convey its natural elements.
The series that wowed me the most, was the premium hand-embroidery pieces. The most expensive piece they have cost ￥70,000! That’s truly the highest grade of luxury.
Every single motif and pattern on these handkerchiefs is lovingly hand-embroidered, can you imagine how much time and effort it took?
I love this series, it makes me feel as if I was a madamoiselle in the mid century who coyly hands this to her crush.
If you pay attention to the details, you will be delighted to find little surprises. You may find little birds, jewelries, or hearts in the elegantly sewn embroidery.
Now, it may not be a Chinese or Western culture to have handkerchiefs as a gift for weddings, but just imagine how a beautiful hankerchief would add a nice touch to the happy occasion for the bride and groom!
In Japan, it is common to give a special handkerchief as a gift for a couple about to have their wedding ceremony, or from the bride and groom to their guests as a wedding favor, with the initials of each guest attending the wedding ceremony embroidered on the handkerchief. That’s some super hospitality.
Look at these! I’m already smitten it makes me want to get married again (to the same man).
I really really love this design. So much love and promise in a tiny cloth.
CSL’s hankies are not only exquisite and beautiful, they are also thoughtful, creative, and humorous.
My favorite is the Thank You series.
Don’t you instantly feel uplifted upon seeing such heart-warmingly cute designs??
This is not just sweet-looking, but has a thoughtful meaning behind it!!
It was genius. You all know that I love my puns. This Japanese pun translates to:
39 (San kyu) = thank you
berry berry = very very
match = much
Sankyu berry berry macchi.
This one is another brilliant pun.
There are ten ants on the hankie.
Ari (ant) ga (there’s) tou (ten).
This is totally totally my kind of thing!!! ❤︎
Ok I lied. The Thank You series wasn’t my favorite. This is. Actually I love all of them it’s such a torture to have me even choose a favorite!!
Isn’t this the cutest thing ever??? Bunny hopping on green green grass, little lamb gnawing on its hay…
There’s the “Hang On’ animal series too. Maybe it’s also trying to send a message – hang in there!
Star Wars fans, rejoice! Now you can wear your favorite StormTrooper or Master Yoda on your favorite suit.
While the Spider Man enthusiast may have a secret little pleasure in your pocket.
The avengers unite on this adorably illustrated hankie.
For me, nothing sparks joy like the Tokyo Tower. If I were to pick one for myself, maybe this would be my choice!
Fold to Find Something!
There’s a series of 3 different prints called “Pig or Bear?”, “Bird or Rabbit?” “Skull or Whale?”
At first it didn’t make any sense at all…
It looks like skulls floating on sea water no matter how hard I stare…
Until the shop staff folded the bottom half over to reveal the surprise.
Ah. Brilliant. CSL has just made handkerchiefs extra fun now.
The bird/rabbit one is super cute too!
Here comes the best part!
CSL also offers personalized embroidery services for all customers who purchase the products. They have a wide selections of motifs and alphabet fonts, we are all spoilt for choice.
Over 30 types of different fonts for your liking or to match the style of the handkerchief.
And many motifs to include, most of them are lucky symbols from all over the world to represent something special, while some are seasonal or made for an occasion, for example teddy bears and toy trains for a newborn baby, or the 12 zodiac for someone’s birthday and the rings and bouquet for an anniversary.
First you will choose the motif and font, and then the thread color.
The very helpful shop staff would hand you a clear embroidery sample so you can have a preview how it’s gonna look like.
You may also choose the placement of the embroidery.
Here are a few customized hankies that I have ordered as gifts:
Sankyu Berry Berry Match for C, a friend I’m very grateful for.
Hang on monkey for Sakura. She was born in the year of monkey ^^ I wanted to tell her to hang in there no matter what happens (and because cherry blossom will for sure be in full bloom again).
Pig or Bear? for A who loves her animal, and Darth Vader for K who is obssessed with Star Wars.
These are all perfect gifts, I am actually quite pleased with my own taste and selection haha. I couldn’t wait to hand them out!!
The best news is, now you may order your favorite products from CSL without having to fly all the way to Japan!
CSL’s online store ships globally, they even have a few designs that are online store limited edition!
Order process is very simple too.
For all overseas order, CSL is using EMS International Mail, so you may expect fairly speedy delivery!
And the best news is yet to come.
CSL is providing free shipping exclusively to all Cheeserland’s readers!! You may use the coupon “csl2017cheesie” upon check out.
Free shipping applies to the first 200 orders, so be fast! ^^
If you happen to travel to Japan, don’t forget to check out their stores in this store list page! There’s a store in Roppongi Hills, Ningyocho as well as Fukuoka in Kyushu!
I hope you guys enjoy shopping! ^^