Your Definitive Guide to Personalizing, Customizing, and Monogramming Your Clothes

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Your Definitive Guide to Personalizing, Customizing, and Monogramming Your Clothes
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Photo: Getty Images/STYLECASTER

Monograms used to be the kind of thing you’d see on the towels in your rich friend’s parents’ bathroom—but nowadays, they’re just as likely to pop up on the back of your favorite street-style star’s leather jacket or the pocket of your coolest coworker’s chambray shirt. Jean jackets seem a little plain Jane without personalized patches or pins, and a sneaker purchase can almost always be improved with a little customization.

The age of all about me is upon us, and right now, you can find a way to add a touch of individuality to just about anything: jeans, jewelry, swimsuits, silk collared shirts, shampoo, workout leggings—even a bottle of Sriracha. (Because in 2016, if you’re going to carry hot sauce in your bag, the “swag” is kind of expected.)

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Just as logo-centric designs have gone from gauche to ubiquitous in the past few seasons (see: Calvin Klein, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY), the trend of branding yourself with something a little more personal—say, your initials or your favorite Drake lyric—has become an Instagram mainstay, with Gigi Hadid ’Gramming her custom “Hadidas” jacket by the Mighty Company, Karlie Kloss racking up the “likes” in her monogrammed PJs, and Fashion Week attendees guaranteeing themselves a moment of street-style fame with some loud ’n’ proud denim.

Fortunately, it’s becoming more and more affordable to buy something with your name on it—especially rather than, say, Chanel’s—and if you know where to look, you can find options for almost any price point. Of course, for something like a hand-painted leather jacket, DIYing will still save you a ton—but, um, sometimes we just want to leave it to the professionals (and other times, we’re just lazy! That’s fine, too.)

Ahead, shop the best personalized, customized, and monogrammed pieces you can buy right now.

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Madewell's denim monogramming may just be the most accessible customization service you'll find—and bless ’em for it. For a flat fee of $10, you can get your name—or whatever poetic brilliance crosses your mind—embroidered on your new skinny jeans, chambray shirt, denim jacket, or anything else you choose from the brand's extensive Denim Bar. With 18 color options and up to nine letters allowed, you might actually be able to say your piece is one-of-a-kind.

Custom 9" High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Surfside Wash, $138 including monogramming; at Madewell

Stepping into 3x1’s Soho boutique in New York holds the same kind of thrill as seeing bakers or sushi chefs at work—except instead of bagels or salmon sashimi, they're making jeans. The brand prides itself on its bespoke denim services, in which it guides customers through every step of the design process from fit to finish to hardware—but for those of you who can't make the trip to the brick-and-mortar location (or don't want to shell out that much cash), the label also offers patches for you to DIY your denim at home.

Limited Edition Patch Set Vacation Forever, $30; at 3x1

The go-to canvas for everyone from preteen girls to crust punks and aging rock ’n’ roll fans, Levi’s denim jackets and jeans will be classics no matter how much you mess with them—something the brand has clearly caught on to, since they're opening up customization stations in several of their stores across the country. With on-demand embroidery, tailoring, and repairs, naturally, Instagram fans are eating it up.

501 CT Light Weight Jeans, $98; at Levi's

Choose from one of a handful of jacket concepts—the single-initial Collegiate, the full-name Classic—and let Odessa Rae be your patch maestro. While you could dictate the full design, we think the surprise is part of the fun.

The Classic, $147.99; at Odessa Rae

If these look familiar, you're probably one of the millions who follow Emrata, Bella, Gigi, and/or Hailey Baldwin. The girls picked up the patch-adorned Jacquie Aiche x Mother Denim shirts for Coachella and have all been spotted wearing them in the past few months, but the collab is available for purchase for the rest of us plebes, too. 

JA x Mother Denim Shirts, price upon request; at Jacquie Aiche

The Mighty Company makes hand-painted leather jackets, designed by artist Jessie Willner and beloved by Instagram cool-girls, that have become instant collectors' items. The jackets range from $695 to $995 for top-quality leather (as in, the kind that would usually cost double that), and custom painting costs an additional $150.

Custom Vienne Jacket, $1,045; at The Mighty Company

We can't get enough of chain-stitch script—especially when it's on the back of an oversized bomber like this. Guizio also offers a version with a more discreet front monogram for $110 if you're so inclined—either way, you'll be in good company: her clientele includes the Hadids and at least seven Victoria's Secret Angels.

Got Your Back Custom Personalized Bomber Jacket, $210; at Danielle Guizio

You know what would make our silk bombers from last fall even better? If they had our names on them. Thankfully, actor/screenwriter/designer Katie Nehra is here to help with a just-launched line of customizable varsity jackets.

Silk Varsity Jacket, $589 ($609 with custom lettering); at Simone by Katie Nehra

The “Go Zhang Yourself” shearling leather jacket that photographer/blogger/street-style regular Margaret Zhang wore around New York Fashion Week a few seasons back was one of the more clever takes we’ve seen yet on the personalization trend—and the designers of Understated Leather have more where that came from. In addition to their ready-to-wear supply of denim and leather jackets with slogans like "This Ain't My First Rodeo" and "Babe with the Power," you can order your own version of Zhang's custom jacket with whatever phrase you choose; the letters are laser-cut and sewn on one at a time.

Your Custom Zhang Jacket, $675; at Understated Leather

The year's It–bomber jacket is back and better than ever thanks to Los Angeles–based line Departure, which offers customizable script on the front ($120), back ($220), or both ($250), depending on how much you have to say, we presume.

Personalized Custom Bomber Jacket, $120; at Departure

For a more wallet-friendly take on the leather-jacket look, a peruse around JayDee's wares is essential. The designer makes custom jackets you might recognize from the oft-photographed backs of Chiara Ferragni, Caroline Vreeland, and Shea Marie, and only the most heavily embellished top $300.

Custom Heart Vegan Leather Jacket, $289; at JayDee

Gucci knew just what it was doing when it launched its DIY service earlier this summer—by which we mean driving every fashion girl bonkers with need-it-now desire. The initial rollout allows fans to customize the brand's Dionysus handbag with silk and Swarovski patches, specialized trims, hardware, and lettering; and soon the program will extend to sneakers, shoes, and ready-to-wear. So far at least, it's in-store only, so you'll also need a plane ticket to Milan to partake, but Gucci seems to be going all-in on the concept, so we imagine it'll be expanding stateside soon enough.

Dionysus GG Supreme Embroidered Handbag, $3,800 for similar; at Gucci

J.Crew just found a way to make the personalization trend its own with its latest launch, a line of monogrammable crossbody bags with interchangeable tags, key fobs, and mini coin purses that give them a colorful, individualized spin.

Signet Bag in Italian Leather, $128; at J.Crew

One of the brands on the forefront of luggage's current innovation wave, Away has partnered with NYC lettering artist Jen Mussari on limited-edition monogrammed carry-ons, which retail for $40 more than their standard suitcases and are probably the chicest way we've seen to breeze through baggage claim.

Carry On: Artist Monogram, $265; at Away

Photo: Nate Poekert/Away

Cuyana’s philosophy of “fewer, better" things is more or less the perfect justification for opting for the extra indulgence of a monogram (although the flat fee of $10 doesn't hurt either). Your initials—which can be embossed on totes, wallets, crossbody bags, and more—give the leather goods a special touch that’ll make you want to treasure them even more.

Classic Leather Tote, $205 including monogram; at Cuyana

If you've ever saved up for a designer handbag, you probably know the dilemma: Should you buy the "sensible" investment bag that you'll wear forever or the kinda-crazy one that you really love right now? With Furla's My Play program, you can do both: Buy one of the brand's Metropolis bags in black, white, or rose, and use the snap-on, snap-off flaps to change up the look from classic to, well, you.

Metropolis Flaps, $78–178; at Furla

Monograms make perfect sense for Vivier, whose designs blend classic shapes—top-handle totes, zip pouches—with modern details like neon racer stripes and arty graphics. The service is fairly straightforward: $50 per item, and up to three initials apiece, though certain styles can accommodate a full name.

Flat Clutch, $265; at Clare V

This Paris-based jeweler turns wire into elegant script, spelling out up to 10 letters on either a delicate bracelet or a unisex fibula (read: fancy pin).

Custom Bracelet, $145–$1,400; at Atelier Paulin

Topshop has a solid cache of initial jewelry in stock right now—bracelets, pendants, stud earrings—but our favorite is this very 2016-by-way-of-1993 velvet choker.

Velvet 'E' Initial Choker, $20; at Topshop

A perennial Hollywood favorite, Gordon makes a collection of customizable jewelry starting at $95 on which you can spell out your whole name or choose a single dangling initial.

Name It Stud, $695; at Ariel Gordon

Lulu Frost's custom pieces don't blare out your name; they sneakily spell out a code word that only you (and anyone who speaks fluent gemstone) will be able to read.

Custom Code Words Bracelet, from $198; at Lulu Frost

Feeling fancy? Nouvel Heritage's made-in-Paris custom jewelry features diamonds, pink and blue sapphires, and 18-karat gold. Other pieces in the collection—cotton and gold chain bracelets—are a little less spendy, but the signet ring (engravable with up to four initials) is our fave.

Personalized Gold Signet Ring, $2,200; at Nouvel Heritage

Wear your initials—or your full name, if that's more your jam—around your neck with one of these acrylic pendants. They come in a few dozen colors, so you're spoiled for choice.

Acrylic Block Monogram Necklace, $48–78; at BaubleBar

Annabee offers a few dozen personalized pendant options, plus a few bangles, bracelets, and rings—all of which would make solid bridesmaid or birthday gifts.

Hexagon Bangle, from $85; at Annabee

It's hard to resist going a little custom-crazy on Bow & Drape's website—you can add lettering and sequin emojis (pink pretzel? Yes, please!) and change up the color and design to suit your personal preferences. Plus, choices include cashmere crews and an artist collab with illustrator Donald Robertson on top of the usual heathered tees and sweatshirts.

The Boyfriend Sweatshirt, $58; at Bow & Drape

This cozy crewneck can be customized with two initial patches of your choice; choose from a range of fonts and red, yellow, or a mix of the two.

Sukishufu x Sweat NSK Bespoke Sweatshirt, $200; at Sweat NSK

For a more office-friendly monogram, designer Marieclaire St. John has you covered. Her three-year-old  made-in-NY line specializes in menswear-inspired pieces like silk button-downs, shawl-collar blazers, and skinny scarves—all of which can be customized with the "My Way" feature. Check out the brand's Instagram for some inspo, or spell out your last name, sports-jersey-style.

DS1 Navy, $345; at Dress Shirt by Marieclaire St. John

Nearly every major sneaker brand offers customization these days, allowing you to change up the outsole, insole, laces, eyelets, stitching, and other details. Converse's online tool also gives you the option of adding an "ID" to the outside low rear of the shoe or heel stripe.

Custom Chuck Taylor All-Star Low-Top, $75; at Converse

Using Nike’s customization tool, NikeiD, can be an overwhelming experience to say the least—Do I want a reflective underlay? What exactly is a "flywire"? Will sneakerheads judge me if monogram the tongues?—but getting a pair of sneakers in the mail that you designed is a very satisfying feeling. So satisfying, in fact, that you’ll probably be inclined to work out just to show them off. (Hey, we’ll take motivation wherever we can get it.)

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33 iD, $160; at
Nike

Keds allows you to customize either the slip-on Crashback or lace-up Champion sneaker. Whether you choose clashing patterns or coordinating colors is up to you.

Custom Champion, $60; at Keds

See? Told you there was Sriracha on the list. Bow & Drape partnered with Huy Fong on customizable labels, so even your fridge can have a little bit of personality. (More than just "I really like rosé," that is.)

Customizable Sriracha, $12; at Bow & Drape

Customizable hats are a dime a dozen on Etsy, but none of them have quite the swag of this pale-pink silk ball cap, which the designer embroiders to order.

Hat1 Dove, $195; at Dress Shirt by Marieclaire St. John

Ok, we aren't suggesting you wear these to work, but for a bachelorette weekend, birthday party, or, yes, music festival, sunglasses adorned with interchangeable flash tattoos may be just what the occasion calls for.

Slacker Sunnies, $48; at FlashTat

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