The Found Art of Thank-You Notes

The pearl white cards Ms. Gelderman chose for her thank-you notes are engraved in dove gray ink by Arzberger and bear her name engraved in Roman lettering at the top. The envelopes were lined with gray-and-white patterned paper, and a custom shade of ink slightly darker than the paper was ordered from Iroshizuku to fill her fountain pen.

— The Found Art of Thank-You Notes, Guy Trebay for The New York Times

I've always subscribed to the notion that Fashion Designer Tom Ford captured with his quote, "Dressing well is a form of good manners." Unfortunately, it has become rather commonplace to dress down as much as possible — even on special occasions. While doing so may be easier and more comfortable, it doesn't show much respect for the company we keep. 

Take, for instance, the wedding I once attended where one of the guests chose to wear a pair of camouflage shorts and an American Eagle t-shirt. His attire would have been perfect for hanging out in the park on any other warm, summer day, but it seemed rather disrespectful for a wedding in the park.

He could have been the most wonderful, caring person on earth, but his outfit said otherwise. It stated simply, "I didn't care enough about the bride and groom or this occasion to take my dress pants and collared shirt off their hangers and wear them around for 2 hours. But, you know, I'm here."

Like our fashion habits, we have also been slacking in the way of handwritten correspondence — especially thank-you notes — as of late. We say thanks via text, tweet, or Facebook post, but these methods seem rather inadequate considering the alternative — handwritten notes lovingly penned on carefully selected stationery. 

In this scenario, a thank you via social media or text is the equivalent of camo shorts and a t-shirt, while the handwritten note is the dress pants and collared shirt. Handwritten notes show that we care enough about the note's recipient to take a few moments out of our busy lives, find a pen and some nice paper, keep our penmanship on its best behavior, and write a few words that truly appreciate them.

This type of note also establishes a much more personal connection between ourselves and our note's recipient since we actually touched the paper and wrote the words in our own handwriting. After all, our handwriting is like a little piece of ourselves — our personalities, our beauty, and even our imperfections. It's definitely more meaningful than a few lines written in a generic typeface on a screen. Also, a physical note is more memorable than a message that will be swallowed up and forgotten by our recipient's social media feed or text message history.

Luckily, my lament over the loss of handwritten notes was squelched slightly after reading the article from which the quote above was taken — The Found Art of Thank-You Notes. It was written by Guy Trebay for The New York Times. As the title suggests, it follows the comeback of the handwritten thank-you note and why it's important. Be sure to give it a read!

Now about our fashion choices...