Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Propriety of a Monogram

Some men choose to stylishly personalize their bespoke dress shirts with a monogram; however, one must be careful when displaying a monogram to avoid looking pretentious.  Alan Flusser wrote in Dressing the Man that "discretion is paramount to good taste, and large or conspicuously placed initials are indiscreet." 

The monogram should be in small block letters.  To maintain discretion, some men request that the monogram be sewn from thread that matches the shirt so the monogram nearly disappears.  Others may choose a coordinating color, or even a signature color, as an exercise of personal style. 

The most discrete locations for a monogram are inside the yoke or on the tail.  The only person likely to see the monogram is the one who launders the shirt; keep in mind that monograms originally developed as a means of identifying shirts at the laundry.  The most discrete, yet visble, location for a monogram is about five inches above the waist and to the left of the placket.  The location is discrete because a buttoned jacket completely obscures the monogram.  This is the location where I choose to place my monogram.  My personal opinion is that other locations (i.e., breast pocket, collar, and cuff) are stylistically dangerous territory.  Unless you are an auto mechanic, do you really want your name emblazoned across your chest for the whole world to see?  Keep it discrete.  When it comes to monograms, less is definitely more.

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