I once believed monograms were for the bold. I believed they were for people who wanted to shout at the world: ‘Behold! This is my shirt! It is nice! It is mine! I didn’t borrow it!’ all without moving their lips.
You might argue that because monograms date back to antiquity that this somehow legitimises their use. But let’s call a spade a spade: sticking your initials on an item can come across as teensy bit obnoxious/tacky/kitsch.
After all, monograms are hardly necessary. Quelle surprise! The napkin on your dining room table, in your dining room, in your house is yours!
However, the other part of me feels like although embossing initials onto your possessions is probably not necessary, it is cool. It’s nice to have something which is uniquely yours and a monogram, like a graffiti tag, is a confident statement.
It’s also a deterrent for would-be thieves because the probability that the thief who covets your shirt also has the same initials and build as you would be pretty low (I'm guessing).
It should go without saying - I'm going to say it anyway - that there is a right way to do monograms. Be subtle if you're wearing a monogram on clothing or accessories. Consider a single initial rather than all of your initials. In regard to décor, consider limiting yourself to monogramming one item in a room. Go for small quirky addition rather than a stockroom full of branded items.
Here are my top monogram gifts.
JOHNSONS OF ELGIN
I bought the scarf below for my husband's birthday. I went for grey stitching on grey cashmere to keep things low-key as he tends to err on the side of caution sartorially-speaking. I can confirm that the quality, service and delivery were all excellent. There are 14 colour options in the plain cashmere scarf range. His grandfather's key-ring also appears in the picture. It was a gift. On the back there is a mysterious engraving which reads 'Third time lucky?'
It's pretty hard to find a candle made without paraffin with an initial on it but Letteroom ticket both boxes. These would make a nice addition to the bathroom in new home. I like the idea of a mantle piece with candles featuring the initials of each family member.
OLIVIA VON HALLE
Last night, I wore my husband's Long Johns and a sports bra to bed. If I had my life in better order, I'd own a monogrammed silk pyjamas (matching top and bottoms) that I'd slip into every night, preferably by Olivia Von Halle. I'd also like to rest my head on a silk pillow because apparently it's better for your skin (anyone tried that?)
Simple and lovely, a monogrammed card holder from Noble Macmillan would make a sweet gift for a friend, family member or colleague.
I feel like it was Tracey Emin and her 'I Promise to Love You' collection that transformed neon from a medium typically associated with vice to a medium which can convey messages of value. An original neon installation by Emin is valued at between £38,000 and £51,000. An initial letter by Seletti costs around £27. The letter below is actually on sale for £17.
As I was waiting for the tube to go to work, I stood next to a woman with a bag that I thought said ‘COTURD’ in really small lettering. On closer inspection, I discovered that it said ‘GOYARD’. Anyway, the bag had the woman’s painted initials on it which looked pretty. As an everyday bag, I probably wouldn’t select it because it doesn’t have zip, but it would make a great beach bag or bag to carry files in. You can’t buy Maison Goyard online. The only UK store can be found at 116 Mount Street, Mayfair London W1K 3NH.
Can you recommend any other initial/monogramming services? Comment below! And visit my pinterest board!