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Aug 20, 201411:33 AM
Bon Vivant

Design, entertaining and good living with New Orleans Bride and Homes & Lifestyles editor Melanie Warner Spencer

Monogram Everything

The Southern woman's stylish piece de resistance

After much patience and planning, I’ve finally reached a long-term design goal: Nearly every room in our house features an item with a monogram on it. The platform bed in the bright, airy bedroom is draped in white bedding, which is topped with two red striped, grain sack covered toss pillows: one plain and one with our monogram in navy blue. In the bathroom, gray towels are embellished with white lettering. A glass decanter in the kitchen also sports an etched personalization.


Next, I’m scoping out items in the dining room and living room upon which I will  affix our initials. My stationery, planner and business card holder are all of course  personalized and a few items of clothing also are emblazoned with my initials. If  you must know, there also are a few vintage linen cocktail napkins and table  cloths in the house with other people’s monograms on them and frankly, I’ve  decided not to count the number of monogrammed tote bags I own, because then  I might have to admit to a problem I’m not ready to face.

On second thought, I’m a Southerner dammit — I’ll stop monogramming things  when I’m dead. 

If I had to make an argument for it, I’d say I’m in good company with my obsession to take the branding iron, so to speak, to every item I own. To summarize myself from a 2011 piece for the Houston Chronicle, monogramming is a centuries old practice. Royals would (and still do) affix initials on everything from teacups and tiaras to flasks and flags. Some fashion houses have used a monogram as a logo for so long, the initials have become iconic. Just think Louis Vuitton and Chanel.

In an age when personal branding is de rigueur, monograms are more relevant and fashionable than ever. Also, for those of us with an aversion to conspicuous labels, it feels better to eschew Tory Burch’s stacked double Ts, in favor of our own little logo.

Knowing my affinity both for monograms and etiquette, a recently betrothed friend and fellow monogramming enthusiast asked the rule of thumb for the combined initials of married couples with different last names.  Modern times call for modern takes, so in that instance as well as for same sex couples with different last names, use the first initial of each person’s last name. For example, in the case of my friends Stacy Wellborn and Johnny Gwin, there are a few options.

The casual and fun:

G + W


This very modern look:




And finally a simple and sophisticated look (G|W) that I like so much, that I made a screensaver for Stacy using the “Monogram Lite” app.

While traditionally the man’s initial goes on the left, these days it’s fine to switch it up. Why not go with ladies first? How equalitarian and chivalrous!

Over the years, I’ve received monogrammed tea towels and other items as gifts. As a brides matron gift, Stacy gifted me and my co-matron monogrammed bracelets and totebags.

Each of those gifts is lovely on its own, but with my initials on the items, they are made all the more special. I feel much the same about the things I’ve had monogrammed around our home. The pieces with our shared monogram are a lovely reminder of our bond as a couple. Those with my maiden or married monogram are an expression of me as an individual and as such are usually some flavor of my favorite color in all of its girly glory, pink.

As you may have guessed by now, my personal philosophy on the subject is if it’s not moving monogram it. With all of the mass-produced “stuff” in the world today, I think a little individuality, distinctiveness and personality goes a long way. 

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Bon Vivant

Design, entertaining and good living with New Orleans Bride and Homes & Lifestyles editor Melanie Warner Spencer


Melanie Warner Spencer is a native Kentuckian, but says she got to New Orleans as fast as she could. For more than 16 years, Melanie has covered lifestyle, design and entertainment at various publications, serving as the design columnist at The Austin American-Statesman, a senior staff reporter at the Houston Chronicle and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Houston Brides magazine. Her work also has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post and Reuters in the United States and across the globe. In her spare time, Melanie is an award-winning fine art photographer and has been honored by the Texas Press Association for her editorial photography. She also has been honored by the Press Club of New Orleans for its Excellence in Journalism Awards and is currently serving as a media member of the board of directors. Cooking and eating fabulous food and taking road trips with her spouse of 16 years, fellow writer and filmmaker Mark Patrick Spencer however, is at the top of her list of favorite pastimes. Click here to like Spencer's Facebook page and follow her on Twitter @MelanieSpencer. 


You can reach her at melanie@myneworleans.com.




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