Extreme Prep, the Preppy Pack Rat + Bits & Bytes

Hello-Hello, welcome to a busy Friday here at The Prepatorium.

We merely share a few Bits & Bytes today, business pressures and other commitments mandate brevity. We begin with what might be considered a follow-up to Wednesday’s updates on how several preppish brands are doing, including Talbots (not great) and Lilly Pulitzer (quite well); it turns out that J. Crew is also struggling. Women’s Wear Daily reported the story in yesterday’s paper:

J. Crew Group Inc. continued to struggle in the first quarter with increased markdowns and promotions contributing to net losses and a comparable-store sales drop of 3 percent.”

WWD (subscription required) had more on the story today, including comments from the company’s CEO, Mickey Drexler:

“Drexler acknowledged not being “well balanced in the agelessness and timelessness of our assortments” and cited a lack of full-length sleeves, too many at three-quarter length, and skirts that were “a little too short.…They’re not anymore,” he assured.

The quarter wasn’t without some upsides. “We continued to strengthen our franchise businesses — cashmere, pencil skirts, blazers, ballet flats — those categories where we have leadership and customers come back to us day in, day out,” Drexler said.”

Those who regularly shop Crew have noticed the additional discounts and markdowns, hopefully things will perk up for the retailer heading into the back-to-school season.


Next, we meet a gentleman referred to as the “preppy pack rat,” Thomas Cary, a fascinating individual.  Mr. Cary has been profiled previously in many publications, online and in print, (last fall in the Yale Daily News here) but we never seemed to have the time to share any of that coverage.

PHOTO: Jeffrey Hirsch/NY Social Diary

Mr. Cary is a book collector, among other things, he counts Kate Spade and Ralph Lauren among his clients, his finds have helped decorate stores for both.  The collection of books in Mr. Cary’s apartment is amazing. When you see some of the other treasures under that roof it is eye-popping.

PHOTO: Jeffrey Hirsch/NY Social Diary

There is no way we can adequately describe the scene in the apartment, we strongly urge you to pop over and visit New York Social Diary‘s post here, see for yourself.


We also have a quick fashion update for Kate Middleton fans, last night was the big (really big, like GTH big, oh my!) formal dinner for the Duke & Duchess.

PHOTOS: Getty Images

Kate went with a gorgeous gown by bridal and party frock designer Jenny Packham, for more visit our sister blog, What Kate Wore.


We have done a sizable amount of coverage on the Lisa Birnbach/Tommy Hilfiger collaboration, “Prep World.”  This weekend marks the final appearance of the portable Prep World store, it will be at The Grove in Los Angeles.

Via All The Rage blog

Last night’s launch party for the pop-up brought out a number of celebrities, including Hailee Stanfield, she looks darling in pieces from the limited-edition collection.

Via Pop Sugar Australia

Tommy Hilfiger continues its online contest, you can enter your ‘preppiest style’ photos (ahem) to win the “ultimate preppy getaway” vacation. (Don’t ask, I’ve nary a clue.)


Here’s one we hadn’t expected to be writing about, “Extreme Prep,” from MTV’s Clutch blog.

“…we’ve noticed a recent trend in band-naming: extreme prep.”

This may surprise you, but this train of thought hadn’t previously crossed my mind. (We can’t speak for The Consort.) Here is the image that illustrates the piece, we’re thinking there might be a little Photoshopping involved, just guessing that is the case.

Getty Images via MTV

Back to the MTV blog:

“So if you’re considering calling your baroque pop three-piece something tongue-in-cheeky like, oh, we don’t know, Highball or Country Club, make sure it’s not already spoken for. Check out this list of groups that have already hopped on the jitney to Prep Island.”

1) Tennis
2) Public Radio
4) How to Dress Well (Dressing well: very preppy.)
5) The War on Drugs (Reagan-y ,no?)
6) Clams Casino
7) Boat People (see also: YACHT)
8) Botany (And really, anything that sounds like a college major or Victorian hobby. See also: Social Studies, Archaelogy, Art vs. Science, etc.)
9) English Teeth
10) Football
11) Hull (It’s part of a ship. Look it up.)
12) French Horn Rebellion (The edgiest thing the french horn ever did was represent the wolf in “Peter and the Wolf.” Preppy. NEXT!)
13) Ladies Gun Club (Tinged with an intriguing threat of violence, perhaps! But “Ladies + [anything] + Club” = repping prepping.)
14) Madras
15) Nouveau Riche
16) Summer Camp
17) Taddy Porter (OK, Taddy Porter is a Southern rock band, but don’t they sound like an entitled young country clubber who would be an a**hole to Rodney Dangerfield. )
18) White Denim
19) Tom Collins
20) The Vespas (Hey, Vespas are still preppy, right?)
21) Yearbook Committee
22) The Debutante Hour

There you have it.  Any names missing from the list that you can think of?

On that wacky note, we hope the sun shines on our weekend, wherever you may be. 🙂


Filed under Collaborations, Friday Fun, preppy, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People, True Prep & TOPH

12 responses to “Extreme Prep, the Preppy Pack Rat + Bits & Bytes

  1. Another very entertaining post. Somehow the reports on J Crew don’t surprise me, as a longtime shopper there I feel its gone increasingly more junior and has somewhat alienate their ahem…slightly older customer. Hope things pick up because when retail is booming, chances are that our economy will start too. Kate looked amazing in that dress, so svelte and that color was gorgeous on her, William looked quite dapper too. Thomas looks like a real flamboyant and interesting character….so much stuff in that apartment! That would make me crazy. Hailey is so adorable and has such great style….way more than many “hollywood veterans” she could teach them a thing or two! Enjoy your Friday!

  2. J Crew, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie .. tired same store sales and product. Saks, Macys (of course Hermes but that’s not a usual place) .. doing quite well, leaner, trimmer, less inventory, better technology.


  3. Anonymous

    Not a big commenter these days (I blame twitter) but felt compelled to comment on the ridiculous Mr. Cary. No one with a business, or at least a serious business would still be using AOL for your “business” e-mail (sorry AOL users!). His books, even of the rare and vintage nature are extremely overpriced but I guess if he has highbrow clients that will pay then good for him. Then he comments that he doesn’t read?!?

    Looking at the photos of his apartment make me gasp – it’s like an episode of Hoarders. I feel claustrophobic just looking at all that clutter. I also own the book from the Kyoto Museum that he mentions in the NYSD interview.

  4. Wonderful post as always! Not surprised about J. Crew. As much as I have always loved them (I got my first catalog in 7th grade). Their clothes have been so bland recently and overpriced as usual. If its not on sale, I can’t afford to buy it.

  5. It IS like an episode of Hoarders! Just because it purports to be delightful and eclectic and pink and green and horse-bit-ty doesn’t make it any less awful.

  6. Ah, so many fun places to click over to, can’t wait to see Mr. Cary’s surely bonkers apartment and WKW’s Kate coverage.

    Also, it must be the southern Californian in me, but I dearly want to see the Nouveau Riche play, perhaps with the French Horn Revolution opening. Love it.

  7. Amy

    Sadly I’m not surprised about JCrew. They got way too pricey and lost their classic edge. I really hope they return to the classic, sophisticated looks!

  8. I am surprised about Lilly. I had read a lot of bloggers saying the thrill was gone. Good for LP!

  9. Anonymous

    Haha! “when men decided it was OK to turn up the necks of their magenta shirts like fancy nautical draculas” (Clutch blog)

  10. I just went to the Grove this morning. I wish prep world was here permanently!

  11. Forgive me if this comment refers back a post or 2. Thank you for the invite to Rue La La. I was so enchanted, I linked directly to the site without reading furtther and knowing of their invite-only policy, e-mailed them a note of my quallfications referring specifically to my former (as of 3 wks. ago) obsessive relationship w/ One Kings Lane (OKL) even giving them as referrals the owners e-mail & the fab head of Cust. Relations’ Lori Sartori’s addy as evidence. I was so brash (turning pink and then purple from embarrassment telling on myself now…but we’re all friends, right?), I even pointed out that I had introduced an international interior decorator to them who was granted his own spot as a Tastemaker Tag Sale. His Sale was in May and I am pleased to say both companies profited handsomely. I almost died when I kept reading HRH the Princess’ post only to find the invite embedded from her secretary (or is it the Royal Dresser?), Susan Kelley and realized what an a** I had just made of myself. Mummy would not approve!
    Sometimes one just has to laugh at the extent we will go for the discount in these Post-Boom Days. I’ll always be a Prep because that will never go out if style. It actually saves you quite a bit of $$$ over time. Now if I could only stop changing my dress size……

  12. J.Crew has it good and bad seasons. I think the most important thing is that price and quality will have to match or buyers will be turned off. I do not mind spending money on a quality item that will last for yrs, not one season.

    Love Mr. Carey’s place! The only reason I didn’t lump him in with all the other hoarders is because I actually like that stuff he has. You can roam through his house like a museum. However, it is time to purge.

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