Monogramming out of date or in style?

Everywhere I go here in Oklahoma I see monogrammed items. Cups, earrings, necklaces, koozies, beach cup stakes, car decals, purses, keychains, pajamas, lawn chairs, makeup bags, etc.. Just did a search on Etsy.com there are 592, 855 results. Searched on Pinterest and there are thousands on there. 

So what is a monogram? I remember as a child going to a business dinner in a fancy restaurant with my dad. A man was wearing a shirt with these three letters on it JBL. I had never been to a business dinner before so wasn't sure what this was all about. What did JBL mean? Was it a code name, was he an undercover spy? Oh, sorry, I was really into Man From Uncle and Mission Impossible. Finally I whispered to my Dad and asked him what it meant. He said, "It's a monogram". Well Dad what does that mean? He said his name is John Lewis Brown. So if his name is John Lewis Brown why didn't it read JLB? My dad said I don't know and went on talking with Mr. JBL. I sat with a quizzical look on my face. Mr. JBL said, a person’s last name always is the most important and that is why it received the center stage position in a monogram.  To a 12 year old that seemed logical. So now all these many years later as I am writing about the monogram, I wonder if he is right. 

Wikipedia says it is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol. Monograms are often made by combining the initials of an individual or a company, used as recognizable symbols or logos. A series of uncombined initials is properly referred to as a cypher and is not a monogram. Monograms first appeared on coins, as early as 350BC. An individual's monogram is often a very fancy piece of art used for stationery, for adorning luggage, for embroidery on clothing, and so forth. These monograms may have two or three letters. A traditional 3-letter monogram has the initial of the individual's last name (surname) set larger, or with some special treatment in the center, while the first name initial appears to the left of it and the middle name initial appears to the right of it. 

But there is also monogram etiquette, I didn't know that!  Married or engaged couples may use two-letter monograms of their entwined initials, for example on wedding invitations. Married couples may also create three-letter monograms incorporating the initial of their shared surname. For example, the monogram JBA might be used for John and Alice Brown. However, monogramming etiquette for the married couple varies according to the item being monogrammed. Linens, for example, typically list the woman's given initial first, followed by the couple's shared surname initial and then the man's given initial ABJ.

So it was a fashion style during the 1950's and early 1960's and now it has come back around. 

We now offer wine glasses and beer mugs for your wedding party gifts. Each one can be monogrammed with your bridesmaids and groomsmen’s monograms. Please call for details.

 

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