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How to Give A Monogram Gift That They’ll Actually Like

How to Give A Monogram Gift That They’ll Actually Like
Mark & Graham key chains ($49) are great personalized gifts.

The monogram makes sense for Washington. In this meeting place of Southern prepsters and Northeastern Ivy Leaguers (neither group shy about initialing its personal items), where a last name still opens many doors, monograms nod to lineage without shouting it.

And they’re having a moment. In Georgetown, Cuyana just wrapped a two-month pop-up that featured instant monogramming on its leather bags. Farther down Wisconsin Avenue, local e-tailer Tuckernuck will offer a monogram bar when its first brick-and-mortar space opens in July.

Monogramming makes sense for the season. As we celebrate grads, dads, and newlyweds, it remains one of the most thoughtful ways to commemorate a special occasion.

“When you monogram something, the recipient knows you put extra time into your gift,” says Debbie Whyte, the Chevy Chase monogrammer behind the robe that Joe Biden gave Ellen DeGeneres for her 57th birthday. “It means so much more that way.”

These days, there are more options for what we affix our initials to—Nick Somers of Del Ray Monograms inscribes everything from disposable party cups to metal wreath hangers. Personalized barware especially is booming in sales.

When it comes to design, possibilities also abound. Tuckernuck cofounder Jocelyn Gailliot suggests smaller sizing and unexpected positioning for a more current look. Try a monogram on the edge of a pillowcase, tiny initials on the inner arm of a button-up, or a last name along the bottom edge of a tie.

How To Monogram It

monograms_example-cma A married woman who has taken her husband’s last name. Example: Catherine Alden Morris.

monograms_example-hp Same-sex couples and those who won’t have the same last name. Example: James Halden and Amit Patel. Follow the order of names as listed on the wedding invitation.

monograms_example-tdf Engaged couples who will take the same last name. Example: Teresa Cassano and Fabian Dominguez. In a heterosexual couple, the woman is listed first.

monograms_example-ser-ve A name with a nobiliary particle. Example: Sylvia Rachel Von Elm.

Gifts To Give

 

For the Newlyweds

Linen Hemstitch guest towels, $19 each (plus monogram) at Pottery Barn.
Linen Hemstitch guest towels, $19 each (plus monogram) at Pottery Barn.

Your parents once gave: Hand Towels (Linen Hemstitch guest towels, $19 each–plus monogram–at Pottery Barn)

Carved Solutions cutting board, $55 at Tuckernuck.
Carved Solutions cutting board, $55 at Tuckernuck.

You’ll give: Wooden cutting board (Carved Solutions cutting board, $55 at Tuckernuck)

For the New Baby

Monogram Baby Pillow, at Del Ray Monograms
Monogram Baby Pillow, at Del Ray Monograms.

Your parents once gave: Blankets and pillows (Monogram Baby Pillow, at Del Ray Monograms)

Striped sleeper, $25–additional $10 for monogram–at Things Remembered
Striped sleeper, $25 (additional $10 for monogram) at Things Remembered.

You’ll give: Wearables such as onesies that later become keepsakes (Striped sleeper, $25–additional $10 for monogram–at Things Remembered)

For Dad

Tiffany 1837 money clip, $185–plus $15 to $50 for engraving–at Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany 1837 money clip, $185 (plus $15 to $50 for engraving) at Tiffany & Co.

Your parents once gave: Sterling-silver money clip (Tiffany 1837 money clip, $185–plus $15 to $50 for engraving–at Tiffany & Co.)

Monogrammed card wallet, $90 at Smathers & Branson
Monogrammed card wallet, $90 at Smathers & Branson.

You’ll give: Needlepoint credit-card wallet (Monogrammed card wallet, $90 at Smathers & Branson)

For Mom

“The transport tote”, $168 at Madewell.
“The transport tote”, $168 at Madewell.

Your parents once gave: Oversize tote (“The transport tote”, $168 at Madewell)

Travel jewelry case, $65 at Mark & Graham.
Travel jewelry case, $65 at Mark & Graham.

You’ll give: Travel jewelry roll (Travel jewelry case, $65 at Mark & Graham)

For Groomsmen

Smathers & Branson monogrammed needlepoint flask, $100 at Tuckernuck.
Smathers & Branson monogrammed needlepoint flask, $100 at Tuckernuck.

Your parents once gave: Flask (Smathers & Branson monogrammed needlepoint flask, $100 at Tuckernuck)

Harwick travel kit, $35 (plus $10 for monogram) at J. Crew.
Harwick travel kit, $35 (plus $10 for monogram) at J. Crew.

You’ll give: Dopp kit (Harwick travel kit, $35–plus $10 for monogram–at J. Crew)

For Bridesmaids

Floral cotton monogram robes, from $50 each lovemeetscraft.etsy.com.
Floral cotton monogram robes, from $50 each lovemeetscraft.etsy.com.

Your parents once gave: Robe (Floral cotton monogram robes, from $50 each lovemeetscraft.etsy.com)

Striped men’s oxford with monogram, $35 at monkeyseeboutique.etsy.com.
Striped men’s oxford with monogram, $35 at monkeyseeboutique.etsy.com.

You’ll give: Oversize oxford shirt (Striped men’s oxford with monogram, $35 at monkeyseeboutique.etsy.com)

For the Just-Engaged

Flora toasting champagne flutes, $50 for set of two at Williams-Sonoma.
Flora toasting champagne flutes, $50 for set of two at Williams-Sonoma.

Your parents once gave: Toasting flutes (Flora toasting champagne flutes, $50 for set of two at Williams-Sonoma)

$30 each at markandgraham.com.
$30 each at Mark & Graham.

You’ll give: Copper mugs for Moscow mules ($30 each at Mark & Graham)

For High-School Grad

Heart Tag Charm Bracelet, $300 (plus $15 for engraving) at Tiffany & Co.
Heart Tag Charm Bracelet, $300 (plus $15 for engraving) at Tiffany & Co.

Your parents once gave: Tiffany bracelet (Heart Tag Charm Bracelet, $300–plus $15 for engraving–at Tiffany & Co.)

Moon & Lola acrylic necklace, $48 at Del Ray Monograms.
Moon & Lola acrylic necklace, $48 at Del Ray Monograms.

You’ll give: State charm necklace (Moon & Lola acrylic necklace, $48 at Del Ray Monograms)

For Literally Anyone

Peony dip dye card set, $18 for 6 at Fig. 2 Design.
Peony dip dye card set, $18 for 6 at Fig. 2 Design.

Your parents once gave: Stationery set (Peony dip dye card set, $18 for 6 at Fig. 2 Design)

Personalized notepads, $25 each at Haute Papier.
Personalized notepads, $25 each at Haute Papier.

You’ll give: Notepads; memo cubes (Personalized notepads, $25 each at Haute Papier)

This gift list was compiled with the help of Jocelyn Gailliot, Nick Somers, and Debbie Whyte.

Where To Get It Done

Acrylic key chain, $38 at <a href="http://www.baublebar.com">baublebar.com</a>.
Acrylic key chain, $38 at baublebar.com.

Del Ray Monograms

2005 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 301-751-8281.

Ivy Lane Living

309 Cameron St., Alexandria; 703-566-6582.

Tuckernuck

Georgetown store opening in July

Whyte House Monograms

5801 Hillburne Way, Chevy Chase; 301- 657-5073.

This article appears in our June 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.