Category Archives: When Preppy Goes Wrong

Preppy is Back. Again. Also, Brands You’ll See in True Prep

Hello-Hello, happy new week!

We must begin with an enormous “Thank You” to everyone who left such kind and lovely comments following Friday’s post, not to mention the Tweets and Facebook comments.  There is no adequate way to explain how touched we were by the sentiments, it made our day extra special.

Today we have breaking news just in to the Prepatorium: there is another preppy resurgence! Oh my!

Umm… not exactly. We apologize for our poor step into hyperbole, we were unable to resist the temptation. The not-breaking-news comes via our friends on the far side of the pond.  In yet another look at ‘preppy style’ this story from Sunday’s Independent asks: “Are you Ready to get Preppy?” with the following as a subheadline:

“After 30 years in the doldrums, the relaxed East Coast look is back – along with a new handbook to help you wear it with elan”

The story is pegged to this fall’s release of “True Prep” from Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd, a topic covered previously in this space. Here is the story’s opening paragraph from writer Susie Mesure:

“Can’t tell your Top-Siders from your Sebagos? Unsure how high to roll your chinos? After some preppy shopping primers? Well, unfurrow your brows and raise a gin and tonic because help is at hand from a new book out this autumn that will exploit the current clamour for East Coast style.”

We doubt Princess readers are struggling with the issues mentioned above, but we could be wrong.  The photo accompanying the story shows looks from the spring 2010 Ralph Lauren collection (our post on the collection may be found here.)

Courtesy Polo Ralph Lauren

If given a choice of designers to illustrate the Independent story, we lean more toward these Brook Brothers promotional pieces…

Brooks Brothers

They promote the Summer at the Cape collections.

BrooksBrothers.com

An editor from Gentleman’s Quarterly is quoted in the Independent story:

“Robert Johnson, associate editor of the fashion magazine GQ, said: “Preppy is back. Every season, particularly summer, there is always a nod to classic Americana but preppy is a big trend this year.” He partly attributed its popularity to the fact that people are “bored” with denim.”

To read the story in its entirety, click here.

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One of our favorite blogs, All the Rage, also previews the upcoming book in this piece by Adam Tschorn.  This photo collage is used to illustrate his story.

Brooks Brothers & Tory Burch via All the Rage

Mr. Tschorn (aka ‘Cuffy’) offers the perspective of someone who actually attended prep school.  In today’s post his interview with Ms. Birnbach offers insight on what brands readers can expect to see in the upcoming book:

“…familiar favorites are revisited. Among them are Lacoste, Sperry Top-Sider, Brooks Brothers, and Ralph Lauren. “I was very, very stingy with [Ralph] in 1980. I think he’s referred to maybe once,” she said. “But this time he gets a lot of play.”

She said that some additions are labels that actually pre-date the first book, including Burberry, Barbour, Hermès, Verdura, Kenneth Jay Lane, Hunter Wellies, and J.M. Weston (“They have these beautiful loafers from France,” she explains).”

Many brands included in the upcoming volume did not even exist when TOPH (The Official Preppy Handbook) was published. More from Mr. Tschorn’s story with Lisa Birnbach:

““We’ve got Vineyard Vines – they started in 1998, and of course J. Crew — which wasn’t around then either [it launched in 1983 as a mail-order company]. And we’ve got some Kenneth Cole [1982] and a little bit of Robert Graham [2001].”

Below, two shirts from Robert Graham.

Ms. Birnbach also chats at length about Tory Burch in the story.  We recommend popping over for a read, it is a fun piece.

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Perhaps the most amazing thing we’ve seen yet on the book was in today’s Book Bench from the New Yorker site.  In a post titled, “Prep is Dead, Long Live Prep” Meredith Blake mentions yours truly (prompting a most unPrincess-like shriek):

“While the original handbook advised that “you should appear in print only three times in your life—upon birth, marriage, and death,” today’s prep is virtually screaming for a little attention; the wasp mystique, it seems, has faded. Like everything else, we can blame it on the Internet, where there’s a thriving community of bloggers dedicated to all things prep-related. At the pink-and-green themed The Preppy Princess, Susan Kelly defends her love for Lilly Pulitzer, while Melissa Morris’s May December has such an impassioned following that its author was the subject of a profile in the newspaper of record. There’s also The Trad, a slightly more idiosyncratic blog dedicated to classic American-made garments.”

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We conclude all this blather with a cautionary note: it is likely we shall encounter an increasing volume in the mainstream media about the preppy aesthetic being raised from the dead (ahem), in sync with the calendar’s movement toward True Prep’s September release date.
And with visions of books dancing in our head we say, g’bye!

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Filed under Prepalicious, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, True Prep & TOPH, When Preppy Goes Wrong

When Preppy Goes Bad: Amy Winehouse Argyle & Twin Sets

Hello-Hello and Happy Friday!

Generally we like to do a bit of Friday Fun in this space on this day of the week, but we’re not clear if it is appropriate under the circumstances. The circumstances being this:

Amy Winehouse Fred Perry Argyle Dress

Courtesy Photo via WWD

You are looking at a sketch from the upcoming Amy Winehouse/Fred Perry collaboration, more specifically, the pink and black argyle dress. No, we did not start the day with a Bloody, nor did we ingest a handful of pharmaceuticals, these four words actually belong together.  Amy Winehouse Fred Perry.

The two entities have collaborated on a new collection to be launched this fall.

Word initially came in this Women’s Wear Daily story:

““Amy has been wearing Fred Perry for years, so we were aware she was a genuine fan of the brand,” said Richard Martin, Fred Perry’s marketing director…”

Here are two more sketches, including one look with the Perry polo shirt. In pink.

More from WWD’s story:

“In a palette of mostly black and pink, the 17-piece collection includes a girlish twinset; slim, thigh-skimming pencil skirts; capri pants, a mini bowling dress, and Fred Perry’s signature polo shirts (“collars are most definitely raised,” the press release effused).”

We would have put this in our “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” category until we read all of the Women’s Wear Daily story, including this portion:

“Started 58 years ago as a sportswear collection by tennis icon Fred Perry, the company also has a history of aligning with music stars — such as Paul Weller and Damon Albarn — which has helped grow the label into a more mainstream, musician-favored streetwear brand.”

As is said these days: duh. Our old Fred Perrys are comfy in the closet (as they have been for years), and we are so out of touch we had nary a clue the brand was thought of as streetwear or hip in some quarters.  It matters not, we shall continue to wear the shoes until they have absolutely disintegrated, but we do feel woefully, tragically out of step.

As one might anticipate, the snark-o-meter is peaking in the red zone with this particular partnership. From Entertainment Weekly’s story:

“Preppy fashion company Fred Perry is sullying its tennis whites by doing a fashion line with Amy Winehouse. You read that right…Amy Winehouse.”

For the record, we do think Ms. Winehouse is an extremely talented young woman, we are simply surprised at the turn of events in the fashion world. (The Consort’s reaction to the news? “Tattoos extra.”)

Yesterday’s announcement comes just prior to the Perry collaboration with Liberty of London, launching in April.

Courtesy Photo via HypeBeast

While not exemplifying a preppy aesthetic, this is more of what springs to mind when thinking of a Fred Perry collaboration.

Courtesy Image via Selectism

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As we are speaking of Liberty, a reminder:

The Liberty of London for Targét collection launches Sunday (3.14.10), some items are now available online at the Liberty Mother Ship on the far side of the pond. We like the notion of Liberty/Target candles, like this Black Tea scented example; we also like the Dunclare Cereal Bowl, and believe both items qualify for our Pretty in Pink designation.

For more background on the partnership click here.

We would feel we were doing a lackluster job of things here if we did not also mention the cosmetic collaboration recently debuted by Liberty and M·A·C cosmetics. Below, selections from their Give Me Liberty line, now available at many outlets, including Nordstrom.

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Speaking of launches, the LL Bean Signature collection debuts Monday.

Courtesy Image

This is Bean’s highly anticipated line featuring more contemporary clothing and accessories. Below we show two looks originally featured in this post.

From Eric Wilson’s Times story on the new endeavor:

“…it’s not exactly as if Leon Leonwood Bean is trading his mocs for stilettos.”

In addition to the dedicated website one may also visit the Signature Facebook page.

LL Bean Signature

The Facebook site offers images from the new collection for both men…

Courtesy LL Bean Signature

And women.

Courtesy LL Bean

For those fortunate enough to be near the Tysons Corner store, the collection is already available.  We hope this does well for Bean, we do adore so many of their offerings.

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We leave you with a look at yet one more collaborative effort, this one involving Lilly Pulitzer.  The retailer has joined with one of our favorite products Barnum’s Animal Crackers to create a million specially decorated boxes of the tasty treats.

Courtesy Image

This is part of the Lilly Goes Green effort with a portion of sales proceeds going to the World Wildlife Fund.  It’s a fun play on words, as there is a Lilly Animal Crackers print, currently a popular choice for many of the Lilly Stationery items.

From all of us here at the Prepatorium, happy weekend!

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Filed under Argyle, Friday Fun, Lilly Pulitzer Paper & Gifts, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, preppy stationery, Pretty in Pink, The AntiPrep, When Preppy Goes Wrong, You Can't Make This Stuff Up

“Desperate Preppy Makeover” Opportunity. Seriously.

Hello-Hello and Happy Friday!

We are über-busy today, with lots of tidbits that caught our eye, beginning with the open casting call:

“Are You Preppy and Need a Makeover? Casting Now”

This is posted on the Reality Wanted website, a fascinating place to peruse and pursue all manner of… all manner of, well… ahhhhh, we’ll just say ‘opportunities in reality tv’ abound at this site.

RealityWanted.com

The rest of the ad reads as follows:

“Do you and your friends dress preppy and want a Jersey-style makeover? Do you dress very preppy and are desperate for a bold new look? If you or someone you know dresses ultra conservative and want a completely different look PLEASE RESPOND ASAP  – the show is next week!”

We do not foresee readers partaking of the “opportunity” to go from conservative to Jersey-style, but we have been wrong before. (Heh-heh-heh.)

If interested in looking at the current applicants for the show offering salvation from prepdom, click here. Perhaps this should be filed in our You Can’t Make this Stuff Up category….?

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We also have an update on Preppy Glam style (ahem), this one via the folks at FlyPaper, the blog by online discounter Bluefly.

Now you may be asking yourself: “What exactly is ‘preppy glam’ style?” In a NY minute, it’s simply the place where your inner nerd intersects with your inner diva — think Bill Gates and Sasha Fierce standing side by side and not looking awkward (roll with me here.)

And it’s so Spring 2010.”

There is a Polyvore illustrating the look.

Courtesy Bluefly.com on Polyvore

Definitely not for us, nor many readers, but we do enjoy seeing the continual stream of different interpretations of “preppy styles.”

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We also have an early look at the new Kate Moss for Longchamps collection.  Those  unfamiliar with the storied brand’s advertising campaigns may wonder about the collaborative effort; Ms. Moss has been the face of Longchamps for several years. Below, an ad from this winter’s marketing campaign.

The new collection was revealed this week at the Paris Ritz. We have a few looks via The Daily Mail, with the Soho Clutch (L) and the Ladbroke R).

Fashionologie also has images, in this instance from Vogue Paris (the February issue).

Vogue Paris via Fashionologie

One of the  more interesting facts from the launch involves the Valentino dress worn by Ms. Moss.

Photo: Dominique Maitre

WWD reports:

“…the supermodel also did some handiwork for her party outfit and took scissors to a black Valentino number. Moss lopped off eight inches, making the dress into a micro-mini and matched it with a vintage white couture Valentino jacket she bought in Rome.”

Eek!

Fashionologie has more on the upcoming advertising campaign for the line:

“The ads will run with taglines like “Don’t You Wish Your Bag Was Hot As Kate’s?,” “An Absolute Moss-have,” “Kate Is Not A Plastic Bag,” and “My Moss Bag Brings All The Boys To The Yard.”

We are clearly not hip enough, several of these strike us as a little off the mark, particularly the yard example.

We remain obsessed with interested in the Le Cabas bags.

Courtesy Photo Via LeSacaMain.fr

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Our next item involves that Polo Ralph Lauren Haiti relief shirt we first told you about on Wednesday.  Some readers may be surprised to hear TP defending the company responsible for the wretched logo-ing of America designer and company bringing the world logos the size of canned hams, but we are doing just that today.

First, the shirts in question:

Polo Ralph Lauren

The reason we feel the need to defend PRL? This post on the topic at Newsweek’s The Gaggle blog:

“Gosh, what’s a preppy with a big wallet and a big heart to do to prove to his buddies down at the club that he’s doing his part to stop the suffering in Haiti? Maybe pop the collar on his new Ralph Lauren Haiti Relief Polo Shirt. Pick your color, only 98 bucks. All proceeds to charity. Thanks, Ralph. Helping the needy never looked so chic.”

Is it us, or does this seem like snarky crossing over the line into downright nasty? We have read and re-read the post multiple times since it first appeared on Wednesday; it remains rather churlish IOHO.

We elected not to leave a comment on the post, doing so requires registration and we are loath to do that.  So we emailed the post’s author, Daniel Stone, asking about additional perspective on the situation. We recognize many may find $98 pricy for a knit shirt, but as other Ralph Lauren polo shirts run $75 – $115, the pricepoint seemed in line with the brand’s merchandise and image.  Surely no one proposes the retailer do nothing?

The obvious suggestion might be that the company make a private donation (keeping in mind we have nary a clue what else, if anything, they are doing), but that does not keep Haiti in the public eye and dialogue, something the shirt does accomplish, one can’t miss the message whether looking at it from the front or back.

Others might argue that PRL should be doing the same thing with a less costly product; this would be foolhardy on their part, “cheapening” the brand’s accomplishes nothing in the long run.

We can’t say why the post remained so troublesome. Perhaps it merely struck us as mean-spirited at a time when such sentiments do little to help a critical situation.  We shall alert readers if we hear back from Mr. Stone.

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We move on. It is Friday and we cannot possibly close the week on such a cranky note. (The horror. Gasp! Heh-heh-heh.)

To avoid such a dreary circumstance, we leave you with a little Pretty in Pink, the Light Fuchsia Shirt by Gant.

Gant

One caveat, the shirt is at Rue La La, one of those ‘registration-only’ online sale sites. (We can’t bring ourself to refer to them as “members only” sites as it seems everyone and anyone with an email address can become a ‘member’.)

Also PIP, the Nautica Girls’ Rugby (50% off!)and the Ladies’ V-Neck Sweater, only $13.99.

And finally, the Paul Smith Jackie flat at Zappos, featuring pink hearts.

There. We feel better looking at a little pink. Thank you for indulging us.

And may everyone enjoy simply splendid weekends filled with love and laughter!

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Filed under Help Me Understand, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink, Sales & Savings, When Preppy Goes Wrong

Meet the Crillon Debs, More Preppish Black Friday Updates

Hello-Hello and greetings from a rather frenzied Prepatorium!

We jump right in today with a look at some of the young ladies making their debut this weekend at the Bal Crillon in Paris, always a fascinating event filled with pretty people and stunning party frocks. (Previous participants include Lauren Bush, Scout Willis, Victoria and Vanessa Traina, and Lily Collins.)

This year’s group includes Francesca Eastwood, daughter of Clint Eastwood, seen on the right in the photo below; younger sister Morgan is on the left.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Also entering society, Lady Kitty Spencer, seen below on the cover of Tatler, (she was named the magazine’s ‘Girl of the Year’).  The young Lady is the daughter of Earl Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother.

Seen in a more casual photo, this debutante will be wearing British couturier Bruce Oldfield, a favorite designer of Princess Diana’s.

Frederic Nebinger/ABACAPRESS.COM

Also making her official entry into society, Autumn Whitaker, daughter of Forest Whitaker and actress/model Keisha Whitaker.

Christophe Guibbaud/ABACAPRESS.COM

Today’s story in WWD about the Bal notes that Miss Whitaker will be wearing Jason Wu and shares a bit more on her escort:

“Friend William Bellingham, who can trace his ancestry back to Sir Anthony of Bellingham, 8th Baronet of Castlebellingham.”

A young lady who happens to be a delightful blogger is also part of this year’s class, Jane Aldridge.

Frederic Nebinger/ABACAPRESS.COM

Miss Aldridge writes the Sea of Shoes blog and has also designed two capsule shoe collections for Urban Outfitters. We are guessing the teen is probably more concerned about her hair than she is about shoes at this time; here is part of Saturday’s post from her blog:

Courtesy Sea of Shoes

Miss Aldridge will be wearing Chanel Haute Couture.  We can only hope the poor child’s hair turns out as she hopes.

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The holiday season increases the amount of merchandise described as ‘preppy’, with most merchandise labeled this way resembling nothing most readers would own, but it is that time of year.  We were pleasantly surprised when perusing the Prepster gift guide at PlazaToo suggesting this Shearwater Boot from Sperry.

On the flip side of the coin, a new boot debuting this Friday, created jointly by Ralph Lauren and Ronnie Fieg.

PHOTO: Pj Monte via High Snobiety

The new Ranger “Cookie” boot will only be available at hip shoe emporium David Z and its online site.  Clearly not for us, but the David Z site does have some fabulous markdowns on footwear for those in the mood for a little harmless shoe surfing. (Ahem.)

We move to another Ralph Lauren-related item, one of today’s updates to our Black Friday listings.  The Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Outlet Stores offer a 20% discount on purchases of $150+ after midnight Thanksgiving night/Friday morning.

Courtesy Polo Ralph Lauren

We enjoyed the helpful suggestions included with a portion of the copy detailing this year’s Midnight Madness event, tips on how a “well-planned excursion creates a more enjoyable environment” and remembering the “generous spirit of the season”.

Courtesy Polo Ralph Lauren

Ah, an effort at bringing civility to a rather uncivil occasion, laudable on PLR’s part.

We also have an update on Lacoste; this retailer is not waiting until after Thanksgiving to start its sale.

Lacoste is offering 30% off all merchandise as of now; use promo code THANKS09 at checkout to receive the discount.

Eddie Bauer is promoting its Thanksgiving Weekend sale; like Lacoste’s promotion, the Bauer sale is also in progress.  Yesterday’s post offers more Preppish Sales and Savings information.

Finally, we close with a look at our “9 Under $10“.

This was actually supposed to be “10 Gifts Under $10,” but someone here at the Prepatorium is clearly incapable of performing the most rudimentary math functions. (That would be yours truly, most assuredly not The Consort.)

At any rate, our idea was to make a quick and easy list of preptastic gift ideas for Christmas, Hanukkah, whatnot, all of them under $10. Friends who visit us on Polyvore may have already seen this little effort, but we want to blanket the Planet (heh-heh) as part of our ongoing efforts to Protect Your Pocketbook. The Seaside-themed Notecards, Custom Key Fobs, Magnet Packs and everything else you see is fiscally friendly, $10 or less.

With that shameless self-promotion, we say G’Bye until next time, may everyone enjoy a perfectly splendid evening!

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Filed under Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, Sales & Savings, When Preppy Goes Wrong

Brooks Brothers Sneak Peek & Maritime Prep?

Hello-Hello!

Before we jump right back into the fun and frenzy that is Fashion Week, a quick look at the styles seen on a few of the celebrities we frequently track here at the Prepatorium. Below, Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday.

PHOTO: Peter Kramer/AP

PHOTO: Peter Kramer/AP

Costar Chace Crawford gets more than a little edgy for this fashion shoot in Wonderland magazine.

PHOTO: ALEXI LUBOMIRSKI/Wonderland Magazine

Alexi Lubomirski/Wonderland Magazine

The looks seen in the magazine spread are really quite a departure from Mr. Crawford’s clean-cut appearance in G2. (That shot above is ideal for “Excedrin Headache #273, and the spitting image of how we’re feeling at the moment, read on to understand the cause of our exploding brain.)

Alexi Lum

Alexi Lubomirski/Wonderland Magazine

Blake Lively helps us segue to the topic of Fashion Week; below, she is seen at the Diane von Furstenberg show.

Bryan Bedder/Getty

Bryan Bedder/Getty

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In yesterday’s post we looked at the insanity of Thom Browne’s Spring 2010 Collection, and Monday we did the Lacoste Collection. This brings us to the Brook Brothers offerings for next spring.

PHOTO: Adam Tschorn/Los Angeles Times

PHOTO: Adam Tschorn/Los Angeles Times

The line is full of promise, with regatta stripes, madras and the classic combination of all-American red, white and blue.

PHOTO: George Chinsee/WWD

PHOTO: George Chinsee/WWD

From reading the LA Times review it would seem this collection has something to set every little prepster’s heart aflutter:

“…the storied American clothier  jaunting off to the Hamptons… Palm Beach (in a Lily Pulitzer-worthy color scheme and motifs that included embroidered pink seahorses and green palm trees), San Francisco… the back nine (martini glass and golf flag embroidery) and the backyard.”

PHOTO: George Chinsee/WWD

PHOTO: George Chinsee/WWD

We found a statement from the retailer’s CEO astonishing in this WWD review (Women’s Wear Daily, subscription req’d.):

““This is the first time everything is wearable,” Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman and chief executive officer of Brooks Bros., said of the Thom Browne-designed Black Fleece. “Even the statement pieces.”

It is here that we stray deeply into Help Me Understand territory. Because we are incapable of grasping the concept of previous collections being sanctioned if they included clothes that were not wearable.

TP is confused, positively addled by this notion. As fine as their apparel and accessories are, Brooks Brothers is not engaged in the business of haute couture. The firm designs, manufactures and markets Ready To Wear.  Ready. To. Wear.  Why would any responsible businessperson allow valuable resources to be expended in the creation of merchandise that was anything but wearable?!?

Ohmyohmyohmy, TP is more-than-flummoxed. (We’re thinking we might need to take serious action, joining hands across the internet to sing kumbaya or something, honestly, this may be the only way to keep us from burning our 1978 navy men’s B2 polo in effigy, using this fall’s catalogs as an accelerant.) Thoughts dollfaces? What’s a Princess to do to combat such insanity?

Rather than wallow in this confused state we’ll turn our attention back to the company’s 2010 Collection as seen at the firm’s flagship store this week. Nautical things tend to cheer us up, as the inimitable Nautical by Nature knows.  More from the LA Times:

“The predominant nautical/beachy theme pulling into port all over town this week was also in evidence, including patchwork madras, jackets with white accent stripes that recall naval uniforms and a Black Fleece collection tailor-made for Fleet Week, complete with a tone-on-tone all-over anchor embroidery on seersucker pieces…..”

PHOTO: Adam Tschorn/LA Times

PHOTO: Adam Tschorn/LA Times

The jury is out on the oversized nautical print; we like it on the skirt, but in men’s separates or suiting? We think not – it looks seriously wrong on the inner leg of the trousers seen above.

However, much more works with the collection than in previous years, and we have hopes B-squared will lead the recovery in this sector of the retail market.

On a different ‘maritime fashion’ note, we offer this from an AP story about another menswear collection:

“Think Ivy League yacht club on a stevedore’s budget.
John Bartlett calls it “Maritime/Prep” and presented it as his spring 2010 line for Liz Claiborne.

PHOTO: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

PHOTO: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

In photos from the presentation we see lots to like, but did not notice loads of nautically inclined pieces. It does appear there are many casual alternatives to Brooks or J. Press or other retailers.

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We close with a few looks from the Dennis Basso show, because we need some cheering up after the Brooks Brothers debacle. Also because they are just yummy!

What better way to perk up an afternoon than a little pouf in a party frock?

PHOTO: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

PHOTO: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

The word ‘confection’ comes to mind.

PHOTO: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

PHOTO: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

These lift one’s spirits considerably, making it impossible to be a Grumpenstein.

PHOTO:

PHOTO: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

So we close with a smile for each and every reader, grateful for  your kind tolerance of our little tirades. We promise to be a happier Princess tomorrow.

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Filed under Help Me Understand, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, When Preppy Goes Wrong