My girlfriend Alison will often send me a note in the mail instead of dropping me an email or shooting me a text to thank me for a cup of coffee or invite me to tea with girlfriends. Is there anything more elegant or rewarding? The vision of her sitting quietly at her beautifully appointed home, dashing off a quick word or two on her beautiful stationery, makes me feel loved and also reminds me that not everything needs to be done today, in five second stretches of attention. Sometimes we can afford to wait a day for a thought to reach a friend, or for a gathering to come together. Her notes remind me of the elasticity and gift of time — and encourage me to sit down, on occasion, without any intention of doing anything but staring out the window and having a think, as someone might have done “in the old days.”
At any rate, one lovely Magpie wrote in to request a roundup of some of my favorite affordable stationery sources, and it was oddly prescient, as I’d already been teeing this post up for some time, in a kind of loving homage to my friend Alison. May we all take a page out of her book, sit down, and write a little love note to a girlfriend, or an invitation to coffee, or a “thank you for that time you let me unravel on the phone because nothing and everything was wrong and I am nine months pregnant and over-wrought with nerves,” a card that, incidentally, I owe my sister today.
Affordable Stationery Sources for Adults.
+Haute Papier. You’ll be hard pressed to find more affordable personalized letterpress stationery. I love the range of monograms and colors they offer, and am especially drawn to the shadow-drop bold initials of the M39 style of monogram. (Also love their monogrammed cups for a special birthday weekend or festivity.)
+Dinglewood Design — another well-priced letterpress shop. I used them to make mini’s birth announcements (a custom variation on this) and they turned out beautifully. I especially love this style for personal stationery.
+Dixie Designs for a range of creative and elegant styles — I’m dying over this chinoiserie set in particular!
+Hi Elizabeth Rose for preppy, clean patterns.
+Missive if you like letterpress but aren’t into monograms. I love this understated, Southern-looking bee set. I love Ornament Letterpress for the same reason — how gorgeous is this lilac set or this one with the happy little mussel?
+Kate Chambers for a Rifle paper-esque look.
+Personalized notepads! As a perennial list-maker and note-leaver, I have these in practically every drawer of my house.
+Kate Spade’s boxed initial sets are a great and affordable way to get the monogram look without the price tag. The quality of her paper is insane, too. (Also love the clever expressions on a lot of her box sets — I mean, how a propos is this set in relation to Alison’s ethos?!)
+No matter what, I always have a set of staid stationery from Crane or Boatman Geller with our family name on it (“The Shoops”) and the return address on the back of the envelope. I can’t tell you how often I’ve needed stationery that reads elegant and serious — grown-up stationery, if you will — for condolences, professional interactions, notes to neighbors, etc. Neiman’s almost always has Boatman Geller pieces on sale and I usually snag them on promotion in big boxes once a year. Most recently, I bought this set.
+Dear Lola for a more modern take on letterpress monograms.
Affordable Stationery Sources for Children.
ED. NOTE: I published a separate post on this subject after this post was originally written. Even more options here!
+Sophie Puckett. I love the linen finish of her paper and the elegant water-color-esque designs on the top, like this sailboat style and these gorgeous enclosure cards/stickers, which I might actually use as ex libris plates.
+Preppy Prodigy — I am constantly reordering from here. They ship quickly (and for free) and have affordable, clean styles that are neither too baby-ish or too grown-up. I’ve ordered a bunch of their fruit-print styles and I love their book plates (great gift to send along with a book or two as a gift for a kiddo) and stickers, too.
+So Hospitality Company for Lilly Pulitzer-inspired foldover cards. So cheery for summer thank you notes!
+Dixie Design has some truly precious prints.
+Little Oh Louise for more whimsical motifs.
P.S. For fellow letter-writers: you need these pens. They are my all-time favorite — I have tiny, precise handwriting and they make my life very happy. I also love this Caran D’Ache pen Mr. Magpie gave me for Christmas. I carry it in my handbag daily and it brings me such joy.