Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

When you embroider your initials do you put your last name in the middle?

Asked by JLeslie (55251points) July 10th, 2014

If you use the set up where the middle of three initials is the largest one; do you put your last name in the middle? Here is a photo.

If you live in a place where you use two last names (your mother and father, or father and spouse for a woman) how do you places the initials? Does it differ from how you write out your full name?

What if you hyphenate your last names? What would you put if you were embroidering your initials?

I’m curious about both the proper etiquette and simply what you prefer.

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11 Answers

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

A traditional monogram isn’t the same thing as initials.

A monogram has the first letter of the individual’s surname set larger in the middle and flanked by those of the first and second names. With initials, the letters follow sequence and are all the same size.

I don’t know how a hyphenated surname is handled. Maybe the two letters are intertwined? What about surnames that begin with O’, Mc, or Mac?

And, what about people, such as me, who don’t have middle names? I had to get married before I could do a proper monogram!

JLeslie's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul Which do you prefer? The traditional monogram, or just the initials in a row?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@JLeslie I have to vote for traditional monograms, because they can be very artistic. They’re often done in circular, oval, and diamond patterns.

Also, there’s no such a thing as “married initials,” but couples can share monograms: spouse #1’s first name/MARRIED SURNAME/spouse #2’s first name.

How about you? What’s your preference?

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’ve never had my initials embroidered on anything. I also never knew that about the surname going in the middle. You really do learn something new every day.

JLeslie's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul The way I learned it was the surname was in the middle, and I only recently realized sometimes people do three initials in “regular” order with all initials the same size. I have seen people just put their name on things, like Sally or Jane, but I had not noticed three initials first name, middle name, last name.

I think a lot of people have no idea the middle letter of the monogram is the surname letter. I was talking about it with my husband recently and asked if I monogrammed something for him if he wants me to do the intials of his actual birth name, which is first name, father’s surname, mother’s surname. The names would actually be in the same order for the monogram and his legal documents in his home country. In America he dropped his mother’s name.

Some areas of the country monogram more, like the south, and then I also think maybe an older generation all over the country uses monograms. People my age and younger I’m not sure how often they do it, and maybe they more likely just put a first name? I’m not sure really. I see monograms or embroidered robes at very nice hotels also.

I don’t know my preference. I think I like the old fashioned monogram or a first name. Either very formal or very casual. That’s how I tend to be in general.

Blueroses's avatar

@JLeslie Do you think, perhaps, the movement away from the formal monogram (and I do know exactly what you mean) could be because of changes in gender equality?

The formal surname initial writ large was usually handkerchiefs and guest towels. Women (married or single) have to initial as many legal documents as men do in this day, so the large surname initial no longer caries the social implications that it once did?

Just a theory.

Unbroken's avatar

I would do whatever looks prettier. However I am not a big on convention. The last time I embroidered anything I was a child.

ibstubro's avatar

I think a monogram is first name, surname, middle name.

Personalization is your 3 initials, in natural order.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blueroses I don’t know if it is gender equality. It’s a reasonable theory. However, the majority of Americans do have three names. I think a lot of formalities have been dropped and maybe that cultural shift is why the monogramming fell out of favor. People in general I think identify a lot with their first name. I’m 46 and most everyone addresses me by my first name. I think 40 years ago I would have been called Mrs. or Ms. Lastname more often by strangers and even people, young people, I know.

I dropped my maiden name, and now I kind of wish I had kept it as my middle name, I go back and forth. I kept my given middle name instead. I like having the same name as my husband, because I feel like we are the primary unit, but as I get older I feel a stronger identiy with my maiden name. It’s weird. I feel like both my last names are almost interchangeable.

My sister had some towels embroidered with “guest” and I really liked that. It was cute. I might do the same. I like guest towels to be white so the guests don’t screw them up with peroxide toothpaste, and I think it is nice to be able to bleach towels sometimes. If I embroider them I won’t be able to put bleach in the water.

Blueroses's avatar

@JLeslie You do know that nobody ever uses the towels embroidered as “guest”?

They’ll wipe their hands on their pants/skirts or do calisthenics to dry themselves before using a pristine embroidered towel.

How about, a display of ’‘guest“embroidered towel hung over a stack of neatly folded hand towels with a nearby wicker basket for the used ones.

JLeslie's avatar

You just made me remember I want a space for disposable paper towels in my bathroom in the hall. I think I screwed that up.

When a guest stays with me overnight I don’t make pretty displays of towels. I leave the guest a stack of bath towels, hand towels, washcloths and a robe and I let them use what they want and hang up the towels as they want. All towels are to be used, nothing for show.

In Florida we are obsessed with not letting towels lay around damp. Or, at least if you are smart you do that. If I have a basket for used towels I will be forced to have to tend to them within a few hours of them getting wet and I don’t like to have to clean.

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