The Lady’s Guide To Basic Letter Writing

Mail time at The Hooper-Brackett estate is one of my favorite times of the day. It is when I can hope that there will be a bona-fide, handwritten letter from a cultured and thoughtful friend. Ahhh the joy of seeing pen to paper, rather than the electronic typing of an email. I understand that email and digital communications are necessary, but there are times that a handwritten letter is a must! I will discuss greeting cards in another post.

I will not be covering different types of letters in today’s entry, merely going over the supplies and accoutrements that you should have when sitting down to pen a letter.

  1. Use real, honest-to-goodness paper. Not a torn out notebook sheet or recycled envelopes (horrors!)
  2. Make sure the paper is of the best quality that you can afford and be sure it is of a conservative color. Gray, Ecru, White, or a Light Blue are all acceptable. Remember, letter-writing is for all occasions. You may be writing a condolence letter and certainly do not want to only have on hand a red or other festive paper. Also, if you are penning business correspondence, conservative is the way to go.
  3. If you choose to personalize your paper, please omit any cutesy designs or emojis and choose a conservative font.
  4. The pen and ink you use matters! I am fond of rollerball pens with black or blue ink.
  5. Beautiful stamps are the finishing touch to the correspondence. If the post office does a series on flowers, these are wonderful for all letters. As much as I appreciate cartoons and commemorative TV show stamps (a la Star Trek etc..) these are not truly appropriate.
  6. Preprinted labels are fine for mailing a bill payment, but handwriting your return address is best on all social correspondence or invitations. Incidentally, clear seals are acceptable to seal an ungummed envelope, but avoid childlike stickers.
  7. Please, for the love of all that is neat and sweet, DO NOT load glitter, sequins, confetti or anything that will drop out of the envelope and make a mess when the person opens the envelope. In once had to clean up an explosion of glitter and I swear two years later I still see the shiny specs in the carpet despite daily vacuuming.
  8. Try to cultivate a neat handwriting. I am from the Dark Ages when the Palmer Method was taught in school under the stern, perfectionistic gaze of the nuns at my Catholic school. I developed my penmanship slowly. Incidentally, I believe that ALL schools should teach this lost art once more. It adds polish.
  9. A good writing desk is a must with all the aforementioned tools within arm’s reach.

And there you have it. Let there be more thoughtful letter writing and less emailing going forward!!!

Best Letter Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

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