Embroidered monograms are a hallmark of good taste and personal style that date back hundreds of years. During the Middle Ages, they were widely used as a signature since most kings and emperors were not able to sign their names. In the 18th century, it became common to mark your linens in order to identify them as laundering was a collective, communal task. In the 19th century, the bourgeoisie was eager to show off its success and power, and monograms became a status symbol. Then in the 1950s, sewing machines brought them back in vogue as a handsome way to embellish your home. Today, monograms are re-emerging as a refreshing layer, adding elegance to any decor.
While historically identified as a motif of two or more letters, today’s monograms are stretching the boundaries of traditional formats with clean lines and personal designs. A monogram should appear as a single, cohesive unit, even if the letters are not joined. Following old-school rules of traditional points of view exudes integrity, while using some color adds a touch of modernity. If you want something unique, play with size and placement.
There are simple rules of etiquette for monogram designs. For three-letter monograms, a married couple’s should read: wife’s first initial, married last initial as the predominant letter, and husband’s first initial. A modern touch for married couples is a duogram featuring just first initials, wife then husband, of the same size. For a single male, the initials are ordered first, last and middle, all of the same size. For a single female, they should read first, last and middle, with the last initial larger. There are further etiquette guidelines suggesting that barware bear the gentleman’s monogram and table linens don the lady’s monogram. While this decorum may seem outdated, knowing when and where to properly use a monogram is a beautiful layer of polish.
Pick a monogram that speaks to you; you cannot go wrong. Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, have broken with centuries of royal tradition by separating the letters in their duogram, as “WC” is the standard for water closet in many European countries. Have fun with it and add a personal touch to your home that only a monogram can bring.