Tag Archives: betty draper

Lisa Birnbach Wishes She Was Betty Draper Sometimes

Hello-Hello, what a delightful Tuesday it has turned out to be, we hope yours is the same, filled with sunshine and lots of laughter.

It seems like a good time for an update on True Prep, there have been oodles of articles on the book, as well as loads of parties and book signing events, like this one at the Sperry Top-sider store in Kansas City.

Tim Umphrey/Getty Images

And this one at the Lilly Mother Ship store in King of Prussia.

Michael S. Wirtz/Philadelphia Inquirer

There has also been a significant amount of news coverage for many of the goings-on as well. We adore the way this Palm Beach Daily News story begins:

“In the beginning, there was pink and there was green. They mixed, quietly, beyond the fray of fashion magazines and designer mandates.”

Fortunately, the always-gracious Lisa Birnbach us fit into her more-than-busy schedule, we were able to catch up for a chat about the book’s progress and reader reactions.  We started out discussing the book’s popularity, something the author calls “humbling,” sharing that she has been “… surprised at how many people show up at things!”

She has also been taken aback by the intense affection people still have for The Official Preppy Handbook, saying she didn’t realize how much it meant to people, let alone the impact some readers say it had on their lives.

“The number of ‘you’ve changed my life’ stories people are telling me is amazing, I never expected that.”

Reading about the antics of preps getting together in other parts of the country is always fun, below we see two of our faves, Hopsy (aka Monograms & Manicures/Kappa Prep) as well as Miss Tickled Pink & Green at the Dallas event in October.

Photo via Kappa Prep

Discussion about the “commercialization of prep” as it relates to the book prompted us to ask Ms. Birnbach about products and brands heavily showcased in the new book and/or at events on the book tour.
“Is there some sort of quid pro quo with Brooks Brothers? Absolutely not. Not at all, there’s no cash exchanged for events being held at their stores, no. It’s very simple how this all happened, we were very late calling merchants to provide things to photograph for the book, and when I called Brooks brothers they decided they really wanted to get involved.”
The conversation digressed (at length) with chatter about some of the natty Brooks apparel Ms. Birnbach has been sporting at B2 book functions.  Your trusty correspondent has been a little gaga about several dresses worn by the author, especially the one seen below left in Adam Tschorn’s photo.  We think it is the Black Fleece Silk Button Back Dress shown below right. (For more on the Brooks Brothers launch party, click here.)
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Back to that nasty and oh-so-not-done conversation about True Prep and merchandising, there are products being marketed for which Ms. Birnbach does receive some compensation. The licensing agreement with Vineyard Vines is a good example of such an arrangement.

Vineyard Vines

The collection includes a True Prep Polo, a tie and Beach Bag.
We then moved on to the next topic, asking Ms. Birnbach about reader reactions to the book.
“Some people want more rules, there are people who are really not happy about the inclusiveness, this is the area that seems to provide the most controversy.  I don’t think it’s nice, it’s not appropriate.”
As an FYI, the harshest criticism the author can level at someone or something is that it “isn’t nice.”  And when discussing the “too inclusive” crowd, she is understandably emphatic.
“They are old school and they don’t like the way the world is shaping up, and the worst thing is, they spew and use new media and its anonymity to post their rage online, where they can say anything and be safe from other points of view. We have to draw a line in the sand.”
It is at this point where both Ms. Birnbach and TP commiserate about “how things used to be”.
“Life was much more pleasant, I did have to dress up to fly, I miss the soft-spoken courtesy in the world I grew up in. Now my kids know more about plastic surgery and violence and other things that I never knew about at that age.”

“But then, we didn’t have access to so many things that we do now as far as careers and other things go… am I grateful for the opportunities I have had because of the way the world has changed? Of course I am, there is a part of me that is very pro First Amendment, and very independent as a woman, but there is a part of me that wishes for that world where we were polite, and people were admired for actually accomplishing something… sometimes it all makes me wish I was Betty Draper.”

Makeover by The Consort

Amen to that sentiment.

One nice thing about the book parties has to be the food, where else would one see Sperry cupcakes? (Thank you for the photo Miss Wendy!)

Wendy's Picture

And since we are talking about cupcakes we simply had to share these darling pink whales from the big party celebrating Vineyard Vines’ grand opening of its new store in Palm Beach Gardens.

Vineyard Vines Blog

We’ll have a look at some of the reviews for True Prep later this week.

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A quick note geared more toward the MOTH (Man of the House) in your life, the first involving a Princess fave, Bill’s Khakis.  In honor of its twentieth year in business, Bill’s is launching a special pair of khakis, the Camerton Twills.

Bill’s Khakis

A portion of proceeds will benefit the USO, another reason we adore Bill’s.  Our thanks to The Trad for the tip.

On that note we say g’bye until next time!

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Filed under Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People, True Prep & TOPH

Is It a “Faux Clearance” at Those Outlet Stores?

Hello, happy beginning of a new week, hopefully everyone was able to garner a little bit of rest and rejuvenation over the weekend.

We begin with a closer look at what is actually being sold at factory outlet stores, a timely topic in light of These Challenging Times. This story from Bloomberg points out the majority of what is being sold at the discount stores no longer comes directly from the retailers.  Some may recall that 30 years ago when such stores were becoming part of the retail landscape that almost all of the wares came right from the regular-priced version of the company.

As savvy shoppers are aware, this is no longer the case.

“Increasingly, merchandise is made specifically for the outlets and sold nowhere else at full price (even though it may be made by a top brand like Calvin Klein), says retail consultant Steven Dennis, who dubs the phenomenon “faux clearance.”

The story notes there is now a shortage of luxury goods available at many outlet stores, in part because retailers are manufacturing less, but also because of the abundance of online ‘flash sales’ sites like RueLaLa and Gilt Groupe.  The quality of the goods offered is also a topic of discussion:

“”You don’t have nearly the quality you had in the recent past and you don’t have the degree of discounts,” says Dennis, founder of Sageberry Consulting and a former Neiman Marcus senior vice-president. “It’s hard to believe all of these players can operate 50 to 100 outlets successfully. There’s going to be a shakeout.”

In some cases only 10-20% of the merchandise being sold at the off-price store actually comes from the full-price retailer:

“At Saks’ Off 5th stores, 10 percent to 20 percent of the merchandise is clearance from Saks’ full-priced stores, about 20 percent is Off 5th store-label goods, and most of the rest is made for the chain by vendors, says spokeswoman Julia Bentley.”

J. Crew recently opened its Online Factory store; the retailer makes it clear to shoppers that everything is “…designed exclusively for Factory at J. Crew.com”.

The company is attempting a sense of urgency, a “buy now, time is running out!” mentality, with messages like this weekend’s:

“Pssst… this is a limited assortment, so hurry – you only have three days to shop”

Crew also reinforces the ‘limited time and merchandise’ message by keeping the site active only on weekends.  From the Journal’s story announcing the outlet plans:

“The New York-based clothing retailer is gambling that it can expand sales without cannibalizing demand for more expensive merchandise at its mainline stores. J. Crew is among the first to risk selling outlet gear over the Internet.

Anne Kadet at the Journal recently wrote about her expedition to a factory outlet mall in a piece titled “High Price for a Bargain,” here are her thoughts on J. Crew’s offerings:

“But it all felt a little confusing. When I asked a J. Crew clerk how to tell the factory lines from the discounted overstock, she cheerfully replied, “You don’t!” And to my eye, the construction on some merchandise didn’t look so hot. These stores might make sense for folks seeking the mall look for less. But if it’s not as well made, it’ll wear out faster, and that means another trip to the store. No thanks!”

The trend is confirmed by this column from Australia’s Inside Retailing:

“These stores serve not just to clear merchandise from their full price stores, but also to access a more thrifty but aspirational consumer with branded merchandise made specifically for the outlet itself.”

As noted in this post two weeks back, Neiman Marcus has opened a dedicated Last Call site.  And the company has opened a store near Dallas featuring only goods made specifically for its Last Call stores.  Neiman’s Last Call wares are described this way on a mall owner’s site:

“Last Call from Neiman Marcus offers a consolidation of marked down merchandise from the upscale retailer’s 32 stores nationwide, as well as Bergdorf Goodman. Last Call offers quality merchandise that shoppers expect from Neiman Marcus at significant savings. Prices at Last Call are typically 40%-80% off the original selling price.”

Back to Anne Kadet’s tale of her trip to an outlet mall:

“… I started with the more affordable retailers I’d typically shop in the city, like Gap, Coach and Ann Taylor. These mid-price shops, it turns out, mainly stock “factory” merchandise specially made for the outlet stores. Spokespeople for Coach and Ann Taylor later told me there’s no difference in quality, and that the factory lines include classic designs that originally sold at the retail stores.”

The company is wise to exploit the online channel, expenses are much lower when compared to a physical stores, the issue remains cannibalizing its existing stores, begging the question: will the off-price business move to a model more driven by online sales as opposed to brick and mortar stores?

If shopping at off-price venues do you care if the merchandise comes from a full-price store, or if it is something made only for sale at the outlet store?  Have you noticed a degradation in quality at off-price shops?

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With last night’s finale of Mad Men we say goodbye to Don and Betty for another season. Sadly, there really wasn’t much of Betty this year, and when we did see the former Mrs. Draper, she was less of a stunning, stylish mid-century mom and more of a neurotic shrew, certainly not anyone you would want on your Junior League committee, to be sure.

Betty was ‘replaced’ by a number of women, below we see Don with Megan.

A number of friends have asked if we enjoyed the finale.  Yes, we liked the show, but we were also a wee bit disappointed, hoping for more of the dramatic tension we saw in last year’s final episode.  Below we see Don making The Call, he really is the poster boy for “What is a Cad?”.

Meredith Blake’s piece on Show Tracker is outstanding, this may well be our favorite portion:

“It’s a scenario that I think will be familiar to many women: You do the hard work of making someone into a good boyfriend, then your new-and-improved boyfriend moves on to someone else. It’s like you found this great fixer-upper, you gutted the whole place, pulled out all the ugly vinyl siding to reveal the original moldings underneath. Then all of a sudden someone else is moving her furniture into your exquisitely remodeled home. So not fair!”

The Journal’s Speakeasy blog offers this:

“It will obviously have a profound effect on future seasons of the show. But in the eyes of this longtime fan, that’s not exactly a good thing. The engagement is an enormous misfire—a baffling plot twist that’s surprising but not at all logical.”

The episode does have us thinking we may have misread CreepyGlen, perhaps his name should be JustPlainGlen; his goodbye to LittleSallyDraper was actually rather sweet.  As was the wistful tone in Betty’s voice in one of the final scenes.

 

Jordin Althaus/AMC-TV

 

In reality, that wistful tone may be emanating here in the corner condo at Princess InterGalactic HQ, we liked those characters together, more of a DonandBetty. But that is forever gone, and it is time to move on. Sniff.

With that we say g’bye until next time!

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Updates on Lilly Furniture & an Anti-Prep, + a Mad Men Spoiler….?

Hello, and greetings from The Prepatorium, where we seem to be having a bit of the “Monday-on-a-Tuesday” syndrome, making today’s post somewhat brief.  Is anyone else encountering similar challenges, or are we the only one with our whiskers in a wad not feeling like we received all the french fries in today’s Happy Meal?

We begin with a quick peek at a few pieces from the upcoming Lilly Pulitzer Furniture Collection.

 

Courtesy Photo via Home Accents Today

 

The 200-piece Collection debuts later this week at the biannual High Point Furniture Market; the company partnering with Lilly on the undertaking is HFI Brands.

 

Courtesy Photo via Home Accents Today

 

For anyone wondering about a color palette, the Home Accents story features this quote from a company executive:

“”The Lilly Pulitzer Home collection promises to deliver Lilly’s same style, inspired color palette and unique sense of fun to consumers’ everyday lives.”

This photo also provides ample proof of the vibrant hues we’ll see in the line.

 

Courtesy Photo via Home Accents Today

 

(We do apologize to our FB Fans for the repetition of photos.)

Lilly Pulitzer isn’t the only fashion designer to announce a new furniture line, Jean-Paul Gaultier (he just showed his last  collection for Hermès and is taking over Lacoste design duties) is also planning a home collection.

 

Via MoCo Loco

 

Sometimes referred to as “the French fashion enfant terrible,” Mr. Gaultier has done furniture previously; this time he is partnering with upscale brand Roche-Bobois.  As MoCo Loco reports, many pieces will feature the designer’s nautical stripes.

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Next, an update on one of our original AntiPreps, Kim Kardashian.

 

W Magazine via WSJ Speakeasy

 

The latest involves Ms. Kardashian’s sartorial selections for the W Magazine November cover photo. As in none. The Journal’s Speakeasy blog offers more:

“Of course having a naked reality star on the front of a publication has little to do with art–but it has everything to do with selling copies.”

Clearly the real issue isn’t the discreetly cropped image seen in the Speakeasy blog post, but this picture, also cropped (we are not posting the entire cover photo):

 

W Magazine

 

We let our subscription to W lapse for a variety of reasons: too many magazines but too little time, the ease of scanning portions of it online, the increasing lack of relevance to our lives.  All reasons impacting circulation and profits at most print publications. Back to Christopher John Farley’s post, it addresses the bigger picture:

“Kardashian, or one of her sisters, are safe bets to somehow be a part of more such endeavors in the future. Many other reality stars will no doubt remove every stitch if they so much as get a call from Cat Fancy magazine. But every time a star bares all, it will likely move fewer issues than the time before.”

Indeed.

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Finally today, at least one online theory exists about what could happen in this Sunday’s final episode of Mad Men. (Sniff.) Below, an image from the upcoming show, Don Draper (okay, Jon Hamm) certainly looks troubled.

Michael Yarish/AMC-TV

We adore the way LittleSallyDraper (it really is all one word) is growing up, but fear her involvement with CreepyGlen (also all one word) is headed nowhere good. (For those who might not share our insane addiction watch the show, don’t be fooled by CreepyGlen’s uniform, he most assuredly *is not* your classic football hero.)

 

Michael Yarish/AMC-TV

 

One of our favorite aspects of the show is reveling in the vintage styles, like those seen on LittleSallyDraper and her mother, Betty Draper Francis.

Michael Yarish/AMC-TV

At any rate, the possible spoiler comes via Ben Cohen in his column “Mad Men Conspiracy Theories: Will Conrad Hilton Return?” Mr. Cohen puts forth some interesting possibilities, not the least of which is the episode’s title: “Tomorrowland”.  For more, visit the post, we couldn’t possibly risk ruining the end for anyone.

With that we’re out the door, hoping everyone has a sunny afternoon and an evening filled with moonbeams, both literal and magical.

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Filed under preppy, Pretty in Pink, The AntiPrep

New Collection for Kiel James Patrick Giveaway & Now You Can Have Don Draper

Hello-Hello, welcome to a crazy Tuesday here at the Prepatorium.

We have just a few brief items before moving to our primary topic, Kiel’s fabulous new line of belts. But first, a quick glance at the Mad Men premiere party in New York Sunday night. Below, Betty & Peggy January Jones and Elizabeth Moss at the party.

Evan Angostini/Chase Sapphire/AP

There was quite a crowd on hand in Times Square for the festivities.

Evan Angostini/Chase Sapphire/AP

In related news…

Courtesy BarbieCollector.com

Yes indeedy, the official Barbie Mad Men dolls are now available. We are a tad confused about the target audience for these, as most girls enjoying their Barbies are not old enough to be watching the show, so how would they know who Betty and Don are …? Are adults expected to buy them?

As well as Roger and Joan.

Unlikely to be seen here at Princess InterGalactic HQ.

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We are ever-so-excited to share a new product launch with our friend Kiel James Patrick.  Behold the designer’s new Croffix Sailing Belts!

Kiel James Patrick

Kiel launched these in the wee hours of Monday morning after months of hard work, and we are delighted to share them with you.  Princess readers won’t be surprised to see that one of our faves is the Arabella Brayton Fellix (L), we also like the Gigi Tripler in a classic combination, pink and navy.

To see them in person is to marvel at the craftsmanship and attention to detail.  As with all KJP products, the belts are created from hand-knotted rope, finished with the finest Italian pebbled leather and lined with the firm’s trademark madras fabric.

Of course they coordinate perfectly with the bracelets we carry at the Princess.

Including our exclusive pink and green KJP Princess Bracelet seen sandwiched below between Kiel’s solid green and white belts.

Below, more styles from the new collection.

Kiel James Patrick

How excited are all of us about the belts? Enough that Kiel has asked us to help kick-off the Croffix Belt launch with a giveaway! The winner receives one of the new Sailing Belts in the pattern  and size of their choosing.  How fun is that? Here’s how to enter:

  • For one entry leave a comment telling us your favorite KJP belt
  • For a 2nd entry leave a comment telling us your favorite KJP product at The Princess
  • For a 3rd entry fan The Princess on Facebook & leave a comment telling us you did (If already a fan just let us know)
  • For a 4th entry blog about this giveaway (please leave a link to your post in your comment)
  • For a 5th entry Tweet about the Giveaway and let us know you did
  • Receive 3 additional entries for sending friends/readers to the contest, just have them tell us you sent them here in their comment

Entries will be taken until Noon next Monday, August 2 and we will announce the winner in Tuesday’s post.

Until next, thank you for popping in to visit!

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Filed under preppy, The AntiPrep

Deeper & Differing Looks at Preppy Style & Mad Men Cookies

Hello-Hello, we hope everyone is enjoying a splendid start to the week.

Many readers may have already seen the story we reference below, but with apologies to our Facebook fans, today we look at yesterday’s Fashion Diary column in the Times “Prep, Forward and Back“.  In his story, Guy Trebay looks at the return to heritage brands and styles:

“Ray-Bans were suddenly on a list of Old School must-haves and so were wool vests from the Filson, and Red Wing boots and Alden loafers and Gitman oxford cloth shirts and Sperry Top-Siders and Quoddy moccasins. Designers as varied as Thom Browne, Scott Sternberg of Band of Outsiders, Billy Reid and Frank Muytjens of J. Crew all made hay with the conservative classics. The style became so ubiquitous that, the designer Michael Bastian said, “The whole preppy machine requires a recalibration.”

If Mr. Trebay’s name sounds familiar, it is because we just featured the writer and his column on the needlepoint belt phenomenon, actually declaring him our hero for his comment about “…the sartorial horrors visited on us lately under the guise of a preppy revival,”. (Click here for that post.)

Back to the story in Sunday’s Times, “Studying the Preppy Look and its Reference Points“. Much of the piece looks at Take Ivy, the literary cult favorite we most recently chatted about here.

powerHouse Books

From Mr. Trebay’s story:

“Time, it develops, has done little to dim the allure of “Take Ivy,” with its guileless snapshots of handsome, fit and presumably bright young lugs disporting themselves in dining halls, on the College Green at Dartmouth, along Nassau Street in Princeton and in Harvard Yard.”

Teruyoshi Hayashida/powerHouse Books

The piece references another soon-to-be-released volume, True Prep.

““The reality is the people in that book at that time went to schools and belonged to clubs that most ordinary people couldn’t get into,” said Lisa Birnbach, an author of “The Official Preppy Handbook” and “True Prep.” ‘“Take Ivy,” Ms. Birnbach said, is a ruling class “look book,” a template for any budding Jay Gatsby.”

A slideshow accompanies the story, both are excellent reads.

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In a similar vein, The Gloss carried a post last week, Fashion 101: The New Preppy; the author approaches the topic from an entirely different perspective.

“I have never been preppy. When I was growing up, being labeled a ‘prep’ was almost as bad as being referred to as a ‘poser’, i.e. the uncoolest thing that could happen to you.  I avoided being preppy at all costs.”

“However, as we grow up and enter the business world, perhaps we have something to gain from tapping into the inner preppy.”

In her piece, Brooke Moreland visits the Puritan store on the Cape, long a staple in Chatham (and several other communities).

Brooke Moreland/The Gloss

The store’s manager, Michelle Wilson Blaze shared her perceptions on customers:

“Blaze explained to me that the men wear Polo. The old men wear the small horses and the youngs wear the big horses. They all wear khakis and if they are over 50, well, then it’s time to bust out the Tommy Bahama.

As well as impressions of those visiting the Cape: .

“Brands like Tory Burch and Burberry pop up in the store, adding a contemporary preppy twist on the classics. Ginghams, tunics and embroidered tops peer out from among the plaid and Bermuda shorts.”

And while most preps don’t pay attention to what is “in” or “out” at any given time, here is one last tidbit from Ms. Moreland’s story:

“The ‘it’ preppy shoe happens to coincide with the ‘it’ shoe of the rest of the world at the moment: the Sperry Top-Sider.”

To see Ms. Moreland’s entire story and learn her ultimate verdict on the merits of the style, click here.

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Our final item of note today deals with last night’s Mad Men season 4 premiere.

Michael Yarish/AMC-TV

It was divine.

Don’s still smoking, Pete remains sycophantic and clients don’t always concur with Don’s vision.

Michael Yarish/AMC-TV

There is continued recognition of the way women were treated in the early 1960’s.

AMC-TV

Betty seemed particularly petulant last night, and we remain concerned about little Sally Draper.  We love this shot of Betty, it seems to perfectly capture her simmering rage while also betraying her vulnerable and forlorn side.

Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC-TV

A quick rundown of stories fans might enjoy:

How popular is the show? Enough that star Jon Hamm will be in an upcoming episode of the Simpsons, portraying an FBI agent.  The Toronto Sun has details.

We leave you with pictures of these amazing cookies created by our friend Pink Martini & Pearls, part of her Mad Men Quiz Giveaway post!

Courtesy Pink Martini & Pearls

Look at Joan and Betty’s dress cookies!

One of our favorites? The snappy argyle socks, surely not anything Don would wear, perhaps Harry?

Courtesy Pink Martini & Pearls

Until tomorrow!

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Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, True Prep & TOPH