Celebrating the Preppy Lifestyle and it's sensibilities


Right, so we all know that preps love to monogram almost anything.
Though women tend to corner the market on such matters today's post is for the gents, more specifically how to wear monograms on a dress shirt with style.
There are three schools of thought pertaining to monograms on shirts.
1. Don't do it
2. Keep it hidden
3. Show it but be tasteful.
Originally monograms were used in our grandfathers' day during a time when men would never go jacket-less in public. It was never intended to be seen. It was simply an identification whenever a gentleman sent his shirts out for laundering.
Since this practice has now become outdated men now monogram as a personal choice. I tend to fall in school of thought 3. I personally believe it is not necessary to monogram every shirt in your drawer, but having a few on hand at your disposal can add that special little touch.
The first rule of wearing a monogram is to relax. This isn't brain surgery. A monogram is meant to add a bit of your personality to the shirt without calling too much attention to it. But if you're uncomfortable or staring at it as if you've developed a growth, then perhaps a monogram is not your cup of tea.
Next, decide the shirt.  Monograms word best on shirts of higher quality so shop around.  In my personal opinion monograms on a patterned shirt with different colors is a bit too busy and a monogram will disagree with the fabric.  It's best to stick to solid colored shirts or even solid colored shirts with texture to keep your look clean.
Now it's time to select thread color and stitching style.  As a rule preppy men stick to simple and basic stitching.  Numbers 1, 2, and 8 are the classic way to go.  If however you're a man who likes a bit of pizzazz then number 3 would be a great choice.  All other styles are good for women.  
As far as thread goes keep the gauge small.  Any tailor worth their grain in salt will know what thread to use.  Remember this is a monogram not a billboard.  The length should be within a half inch width and height.  Some would say 1/4 inch will suffice. 

Monogram Font Style Examples

In terms of thread color the classic way would be a dark blue or black.  Note: A very elegant way to go would be tone on tone. 

Tone on Tone Monogram
For placement, there are three old school positions to put a monogram on men's dress shirts.  The first position is on the shirt pocket or directly on the shirt base fabric where the pocket would have been on pocket-less shirts.  The next position is on the hem at the bottom of the shirt front.  The third is on the left shirt cuff directly in center lining up with button holes.

Monogram on Textured shirt

How you will have the monogram stitched is a personal matter.  There are many businesses that specialize in shirt monograms.  Personally, I prefer the hand stitched.  I've even sewn a monogram or two on my shirts.  (Don't laugh I have skills and it's surprisingly meditative).  Note:  If you're one who is very fussy about precision, stick to machine embroidery monograms.  Hand stitched monograms have imperfections and are meant to be that way.  They are the most elegant to me and it's also these imperfections that are prized by Preps.
An Example of my monogram

Lastly, to monogram pays homage to a time gone by.  It was a simpler time of our grandads and fathers when men presented themselves as men.  To me it is a time honored tradition.  Also monograms are great heirlooms to pass down.  Instead of your initials try your family name.  Think of how proud you'll be when you see your son or daughter raiding your closet for that special shirt that you labeled twenty years ago.

O.C. Cavanaugh Jr.
The Preppy Times

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