the monogram

“Preppies have known it for years: who needs LV or YSL when you can lay claim to a discreet EBW III? In fact, most Preppies are so proud of their monograms that they put it on virtually everything in sight.” -The Official Preppy Handbook

In the South, monograms abound. One can look almost anywhere and find a monogram. What many people do not know is how the monogram came to be used and the proper way to create or read one.

Historically, a monogram was used as a royal signature.  Romans and Greeks used them on coins to identify their rulers. Then, in the Middle Ages, artisans began to use them to sign their work.  Victorian-period high-class persons adapted the monogram for personal use as a symbol of their place in society.  Now, monograms can be seen on just about anything.

In the Victorian era, rules for monograms were quite simple and few.  Female monograms had the first initial on the left, middle initial on the right, and last initial embroidered larger in the middle.  But the rules are hardly simple anymore.  A monogram can be playful, whimsical, flamboyant, traditional, elegant, or understated;   the number of choices today is almost infinite.  Many still choose to use the traditional Victorian female model.

Rules are now flexible, but for the purist, there are a few standards:

The Traditional (Victorian Female) Monogram: A three letter monogram with the middle letter largest and the two side letters the same size should be written in the following order: first name initial, last name initial, middle name initial.
Example: Elizabeth Hosftadt Draper  should be EDH (with D in the center & largest)

The Victorian Male Monogram : A three letter monogram with all letters the exact same size should be written in the following order: first name initial, middle name initial, last name initial.
Example: Donald Francis Draper should be DFD.

The Married Monogram: A married monogram is a modern design in which a husband and wife combine their monograms into one. This should only be used when a couple is married, not engaged. The order of initials should be as follows: wife’s first name, last name of couple, husband’s first name.
Example: Elizabeth Draper who is married to Donald Draper should be EDD (with D in the center & largest)

What is your favorite or least favorite use of the monogram?