Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mulling About Monograms

Lately I've noticed a growing trend around town- monograms on cars! No, not those initials on car licence plates which have been done throughout the decades since I was a child as well as those small nautical sticker flags for the jaunty sailboat set but actual swirly, girly monogram stickers placed up high on the back window of vehicles where you'd normally expect a collegiate referencing or two to be found instead.
I'm not sure what to think of this... it's kinda' cute in a way and of course highly personal. One can certainly find their automobile in a parking lot now that's for sure. But on the other hand, it seems a bit um, "over the top" monogram-wise. Like anything involved with living a life-of-style, there's tasteful and then there's tacky and its close cousin, bordering tacky. The verdict's still out in my opinion where to exactly relegate this trend unless the car window monogram is unusually large or swirly which then sends it directly on into the tacky category.
This is a time, among many times, when I REALLY WISH that an updated version of The Official Preppy Handbook would come out and address what all's come about since its 1980 initial publication.
As for monogramming in general...I adore it in tasteful, discreet doses. Having grown up with many a monogrammed item of my own, it is a nice way to designate and personalize one's things especially when they are daily, publicly used as in the case of tote bags, eyeglass cases and key chains. I also enjoy quiet touches of monograms on silver around the house such as napkin rings, flatware, picture frames and so forth. Of course monogrammed stationary tops the list of must-haves for me and I keep stocked informals, formals and calling cards just like my mother did. I also have my mother's large silver monogrammed cuff bracelet from the Savannah Cotillion Club as well as my own. We used to smile at wearing these together- sharing our rite of passage experience with her debut' in the 1960's and mine occurring two decades later. I still wear my deb bracelet whenever I'm "wearing silver" for the day. If I happen to be in Savannah while having it adorning my wrist, it's amazing how many glances it gets. I've been tempted to wear both mother's and mine one time for a lark and really cause a stare or two with the Wonder Woman wristlet costuming- hilarious! In other parts of the country undoubtedly no one would take a second glance at a silver monogrammed cuff bracelet but in Savannah, it's par for the course for some folks to glimpse and wonder... yeah, this is a place where pictures of the current debut' season's girls were, and probably still are, put up in local boutique's offices so that they'd be recognized if they dropped by the store. I'll never forget my own frankly-amazed experience with that but....anyway, that's a story for another day and well off the monogram mulling I'm doing tonight.
Back to the subject at hand! In my handy dandy, and I do mean dandy, copy of The Official Preppy Handbook, there's a wonderful and very detailed section on, "The Politics of Monogramming" which I'd like to quote some here: "...most Preppies are so proud of their monograms that they put them on virtually everything in sight. The monogram itself must be tasteful. Women may occasionally choose a rather loopy script, but its use should be confined to writing paper and- at the outside- sheets and guest towels." The huge list of "Things To Monogram" has the usual suspects like, "address books, tablecloths, ice buckets, door knockers" and the like but the "Things NOT To Monogram" is where the proverbial rubber meets the road (to use an auto metaphor) stating that, "your dog's collar ([is] ostentatious), your china (it will look like a hotel)" and, AND..."your car, unless you use nautical flags to signal your initials on the door." Hmmm, quite interesting isn't it?! I'm dyin' to know what Lisa Birnbach would say about this current trend of loopy, mostly all-white monogram stickers at the top of a car's rear window?
I'm tempted, really tempted, to go and get one of these bright white sticker groups in my own monogram for the back window of our 19-year-old, rusty, dented dark green and tan ole' Ford F-150 work truck which we used to haul horse hay in the bed of and now use for hauling our kayaks around every so often. I LOVE to laugh at myself and poke some fun at conventionality every now and then and this would certainly be doing just that! I'd place it over the car sticker I put onto our truck's window as a gag-laugh so many years ago...I think I was, and still would be no doubt, the only Junior Leaguer around Charlotte with an official JLC logo sticker sported on a work truck! Back then, I drove around in a Corvette convertible but chose to put this sticker on our work truck and it's still there to this day, fun! Now I drive a "jeep Jeep", aka a real jeep complete with its bumpy ride and limited space, and can't really picture one a' these cutsey new car monograms on its back window. But I may some day in the near future put one on our old truck and if I do, I'll post a picture of that here on the blog so that you can enjoy a good laugh too!
Monogramming's so much fun...whether taken seriously, taken as matter of fact or taken for a wild ride on the back window of a car...


  1. Sorry about the tight paragraph non-spacing of this post... I've tried to correct it but so far, no success with that. Oh well...

  2. Lac...you MUST write the updated version of The Preppy Handbook...and call it The (Un)official Preppy Handbook. Seriously. This is your calling! Please, please...even though I'm not a preppy, I was a preppy wannabe in my time, and I'd still so love this book! You can do it. Seriously.

  3. Thanks V! :) I really appreciate the idea and enthusiasm behind this... ya' know, I've mulled it over from time to time and who knows eh? Maybe in between this MA which I finish in December and the PhD program I'm looking into, hmm, there'd be time to work-up something? It'd be cool if these posts I do as mind-relief fun-times turned into a book. Maybe something like "Postmodern Prep- the Deep South edition"

  4. Go for it, Lac!

    P.S.: I saw a pink scrolly monogram on a big black SUV today and thought of you! Because of your post, that is. But I totally agree...if you're going to do it...put it on the truck!!! That would be brilliant.

    P.P.S. A big hug to K for me.

  5. Don't they just seem "everywhere" lately? Yeah, a big ole' pink one would be a riot on the old truck ;) Just gave K a hug for ya'! He's been running and running all over the place here lately lovin' the cooler-ish weather no doubt. Me too- I LOVE autumn's crispness, ahh... Best, Lac

  6. ticky, ticky, tacky

  7. Check out my fashion blog and follow for updates

  8. I think that the more I'm seeing of them around town...monogram stickers on cars...the more I am leaning towards the "it's tacky" verdict.

    This begs the question of: are we heading again into the excess-of-the-80's style trending? Women's fashions are seeing an 1980's redux and it's looking like chintz n' tartan is trending slightly within the home decor' realm so, hmm, we'll see if everything starts getting "out of hand monogrammed" once again.

    I hope not. I'm all for discreet elegance rather than in-one's-face excessive trends.