Written correspondence is one of the little joys of the fast-paced, technologically-dependent world we live in. That’s why I love stationery, and have dedicated several posts to the wonders of Crane and Papyrus.
New York Times just published The lettered set, an article about people who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on custom stationery from famous stationers such as Printery, Crane & Co., or Grosvenor Stationery Company. I loved reading the descriptions of the papers… a girl can dream, right? 😉
But it’s a mistake to think that a stationery wardrobe is only for the rich or the famous. I’ll likely never spend $500 on 100 notecards with matching, tissue-lined envelopes from Dempsey & Carroll, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy and use stationery.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money on engraved stationery (although you can. And it’d look fabulous). In fact, I don’t even have special paper for letter-writing – I use them too infrequently to justify the cost. Instead, I keep in a shoe box a small but steadying growing collection filled with notes and cards.
Just as a classic wardrobe has its staples (little black dress, fitted jacket, kitten heels, etc.), a stationery wardrobe also have key pieces (which, in my humble and very non-expert opinion, are):
1. Thank-you cards. The thank-you card is the cornerstone of a stationery wardrobe – it’s the piece that you’ll likely use the most often. I send thank-you notes after job interviews , dinner at friends, etc. Right now, I have 3 different sets of thank-you notes: two from Crane (I tend to reserve these for business purposes), and a set of studier and “cuter” cards that I send to friends.
I am partial to Crane – the quality of its stationery is just so lovely. The cards aren’t cheap, but the website often have sales of 50% off or more. You can also check out discount stores such as Marshalls, where I’ve seen Crane thank-you cards for $5 a set (usually $15).
2. Blank cards / notes. These will be the workhorses of your collection. I have sets in several design – a “Sex and the City” style in pink and black, a “zen” design in muted green, and a quirky Hallmark card with a little imprint of a lamp and a tagline “Watt’s up” (get it? Lamp -> lightbulb -> watts -> what’s up?). I also saw that at Marshalls, and LOVED it. Who knew that Hallmark is so clever?
I use these cards for every and anything. Congratulations, condolences, catch-up notes.
3. Birthday cards. A birthday greeting on Facebook is nice, but birthday cards are even better! I have a set of birthday cards, and a couple of special ones I bought from Papyrus.
When I see sets I like and that I know are a good price, I stock up. One tip – when buying stationery, check out the design/quality of the envelopes. Many times discount stores have cute, super affordable cards for $2-$5 for a set of 10 or 15 cards. Sometimes, the envelopes are plain, white, and thin. I usually pass on these as I prefer colored and/or lined envelopes.
With the above 3 types of stationery, you will be prepared for 99.9% of normal stationery needs. Happy writing!
P.S. Here’s an easy way to remember the difference between stationery (paper goods) and stationary (standing still): stationery = paper.