The (Modern) Rules of Monogramming: 10 Things to Know Before Registering

By Alexandra Macon
Photo: @taylorswift

Nothing in fashion and interior design has stood the test of time quite like a monogram—Meghan Markle’s Hermes blanket with the fashion house’s signature monogram, “H,” led to a surge in searches for the luxe home item after it was spotted in the Harry & Meghan Netlifx docuseries trailer. The first monograms were developed in ancient Greece, where each city would issue coins containing its first two letters, combined to form a symbol. They rapidly caught on as a highly designed indication of ownership, status, and power.

The contemporary usage of monograms as we know it, however, finds origins in the Victorian era. Society women used monograms to distinguish their shawls in coat rooms and men in the military used them to identify their belongings among several identical items, especially uniforms. The monogram soon became a stylish trend that adorned everything from umbrellas to prams. From this point onwards, monograms were the preferred way to amp up the appeal and aesthetic of even the most utilitarian of daily objects.

Charlotte York Goldenblatt’s Louis Vuitton luggage.

“In the nineteenth century, monograms were a sign of wealth,” writes Kimberly Schlegel Whitman in her book, Monograms for the Home. In 1858, the first Louis Vuitton trunk was introduced—and it’s certainly stood the test of time; even Charlotte York had her own set of monogrammed trunks. “Fast-forward to the fifties, and technology and the sewing machine increased the popularity of monograms, as it was easy to add a mark of personalization to everything. In a time when so much of what we have is mass-produced, a monogram can make something unique while adding a touch of artistry.”

OTM Bride Rainey Lancaster’s customized bachelorette party sweater, cup, and cocktail napkin bundle from Thistle & Briar Studio.

At Over The Moon, we often cite Reese Witherspoon’s quote: “If it’s not moving, monogram it!” So much so that we created a Monogram Shop on the site. Here, we’ve culled together everything across all of the categories on Over The Moon that we think warrants a monogram so you can shop these items easily and also add them to your OTM Registry. From personalized luxe bachelorette party “merch” to wedding favors and customizable honeymoon-ready trinkets and even monogrammable options for the little ones, the options are truly limitless.

When considering what to monogram and how to monogram it (especially as a bride-to-be), it can sometimes feel the potential combinations are endless—so in addition to giving you a grouping of our favorite products, we’ve put together a list of the modern rules to keep in mind when monograming all of your favorite things.

1: While Reese Witherspoon’s words might as well as be taken as gospel, it’s also important to remember moderation. Personal brands have never been bigger, but less is often more as well! We promise.

2: Forget your spouse. (Sometimes.) In a lot of cases, you may have already taken your S.O.’s last name—isn’t that enough?—so don’t shy away from using only yours in some cases when it comes to monogramming! On bed linens especially. Keep it classic and kick it old school: Use your first, last, and maiden name.


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3: Be uber modern and create symmetry by using only two initials. Combine your first name with your spouse’s first name, or your first name and your new last name. Ciphers are cool and very Old World.

4: Don’t be hesitant to only use your last name initial. Again, be bold and duplicate your last name initials by creating a cipher. This is a very David Hicks–ish approach to monogramming.

5: Monochromatic monograms are always chic. Embroidering in different tones of taupes, ivories, and silver is subtle, and it allows you to do an over the top design without it being “a bit too much.”

6: Mix your styles. It’s nice to have a variety. Make some traditional and others more modern. It looks collected, and it’s a great way to create a “traveled” look at the table. It’s also funky to mix and match on your bedding.

7: Placement—not everything has to be in the center! Instead of monogramming a sham dead center, drop your initials down to the lower left and right hand corners. Put the monogram on a tablecloth in the corner. If you choose a busy monogram, put it in the corner of a cocktail napkin. It’s a little hard to balance a drink on a napkin with a mountain of thread in the center anyway.


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8. Reinvent the past. Take an old family crest and re-imagine it as something more modern. Don’t have a crest in your family tree? Fear not—neither do we. Enlist an illustrator and invent one. It’s very Jay Gatsby, Tom Ripley, you get the drill . . .

9: When getting married, register for a few monogrammed items that have just your spouse’s initials on them so they also feel special.


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10. Finally, don’t let your initials scare you. We have seen some really bad ones. (We’ve seen “PMS” for example.) It’s a great conversation piece. And, there are so many ways to arrange your letters—the problem can always be masked, so throw caution to the wind, and monogram away!

To get the look, visit the Over The Moon Monogram Shop