Tag Archives: Brooks Brothers Black Fleece

Inauguration Showcases All-American Prep Brands: Kate Spade, J. Crew, Reed Krakoff, Thom Browne & More

Hello-Hello, welcome to one of those quasi-holidays, here at the Prepatorium we are in the “of course it’s a work day” mode, but hope those with the day off are enjoying their time away from the workplace.

Today we talk Inauguration fashions, a politics-free look at what the First Family wore for official events in our nation’s Capital. We begin with the fashions seen on Mrs. Obama, Malia and Sasha at yesterday’s official swearing-in ceremony.

Via Mrs. O

Via Mrs. O

The First Lady wore Reed Krakoff, a custom silk dress in ultramarine blue with matching ultramarine cardigan. The designer is the longtime creative director at Coach and the brand’s president, he started his own womenswear line in 2010.  This image gives you a better look at Sasha Obama’s dress.

Official White House Facebook Page

Official White House Facebook Page

Mr. Krakoff spoke with Women’s Wear Daily:

He said he started working on the concept for the First Lady’s ultramarine abstract wash print silk shift more than three months ago. Krakoff has never met the First Lady but she wore one of his gowns to the Pritzker Awards ceremony last year.

He declined to elaborate about “the process” that went into the ultramarine shift dress out of respect to the White House. Krakoff did say the design idea stemmed from Michelle Obama’s sense of style more than the ceremony’s Blue Room location  – “the color of the room was a happy coincidence.”

Sasha wore the Mariposa Lace Dress in Plum from Plenty by Tracy Reese, the piece was made exclusively for Anthropologie.  The cotton/nylon frock has a navy underslip, it originally sold at $248 but is now on sale for $69.95.

Sasha Obama Tracy Reese Mariposa Dress

Mrs. Obama also wore Tracy Reese while volunteering for Saturday’s National Day of Service. I don’t yet know who designed the electric blue dress worn by Malia Obama at yesterday’s ceremony.

For this morning’s church service at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church the First Lady repeated the Reed Krakoff cardigan from yesterday atop a different dress.

Official White House Flickr

Official White House Flickr

For the church service and public swearing-in ceremonies at the Capitol Mrs. Obama wore a dress and coat by Thom Browne. Mr. Browne is a designer many Princess readers have heard about, among other things, he does the Black Fleece line for Brooks Brothers.  (He is also responsible for some of the wackiest runway shows in history, but we’ll stay away from that topic for the day.) This is not the first time the First Lady has worn Mr. Browne’s designs, she wore a dress by him for the third debate during the election.

Mrs. O

Mrs. O

More on how process of creating the ensemble via the On the Runway blog:

Mr. Browne designed the outfit specifically for Mrs. Obama after her office invited him to submit an idea several months ago, but he was not told in advance whether she would wear it. The coat and dress each have a fitted bodice and a slight flare below the waist.

The material is a jacquard weave based on the fabric used in men’s silk ties.  The fabric and lines of Mrs. Obama’s coat are similar to this dress from Mr. Browne’s pre-fall 2013 collection.

Thom Browne Facebook Page

Thom Browne Facebook Page

Mrs. Obama accessorized with J. Crew: the shoes she wore to church this morning were the low-heeled Valentina pump in the ‘aluminum’ color.

J. Crew 'Valentina' Pumps

J. Crew ‘Valentina’ Pumps

Crew also did her Portolano leather gloves (although Mrs. Obama’s color is no longer available) and the bejeweled belt worn atop her coat for the swearing-in portion of the day’s events was by J. Crew. She changed out of the Valentina shoes into Reed Krakoff boots for the Capitol Hill ceremony and parade. Mrs. Obama also wore earrings by Cathy Waterman.

Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert/White House Blog

Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert/White House Blog

The Obama girls were in brightly colored coats and scarves.

Via Mrs. O

Via Mrs. O

Malia Obama wore J. Crew, the label’s Double Cloth Lady Coat in plum.

J. Crew Double-cloth Lady Coat with Thinsulate®

J. Crew Double-cloth Lady Coat with Thinsulate®

The coat is an Italian wool and nylon blend, it features a high waist with inset waistband, rounded collar, on-seam pockets. With today’s nippy temps in Washington, perhaps the best part of the coat is its lining: Thinsulate®. It looked like her dress is Crew’s Teddie in Byzantine Blue.

J. Crew "Teddie" Dress

J. Crew “Teddie” Dress

The Teddie is a wool crepe with distinctive darts and shirring at the waist, three-quarter sleeves and an exposed back zipper. The dress is available at J. Crew as of this writing (5pm EST) in three colors, it is priced at $198.

Win McNamee/Pool

Win McNamee/Pool

Sasha wore a Kate Spade coat with a striped purple dress underneath. From what I could tell it appeared to be the label’s ‘Patrice’ coat and Carolyn dress. We show the Patrice in black at Neimans (where it is sold out) and the Carolyn in another colorway at Kate Spade. Both pieces showcase a fit and flare silhouette, the sleeveless dress is a silk/cotton blend while the coat is all wool.

Neiman Marcus/Kate Spade

Neiman Marcus/Kate Spade

Both girls were in flats.

It is amazing to see how the Obama girls have grown in four years, on the left we see them in 2009, on the right, today’s young ladies. Some may recall that both Obama girls wore Crewcuts for the first Inauguration.

Justin Karp Twitter Feed

Justin Karp Twitter Feed

Dr. Jill Biden was in Lela Rose, the designer’s Silk Bow Coat.

Pool photo by Win Mcnamee via The NY Times

Pool photo by Win McNamee via The NY Times

Eric Wilson from the Times has more:

Lela Rose…said Mrs. Biden came to her in an unexpected way. Mrs. Biden bought her dress at Neiman Marcus, and the store called Ms. Rose about a week and a half ago, looking for a matching coat.

“I wanted to create a coat that looked good with the dress without being exactly a matching look,” Ms. Rose said in a telephone interview from her home in Sullivan County, N.Y.

Here we see the coat in another color.

Lela Rose 'Silk Bow Coat'

Lela Rose ‘Silk Bow Coat’

The piece is lovely but not terribly warm, back to Eric Wilson’s post:

The coat is made of a shimmering silk and wool fabric, but, Ms. Rose said, “I’m sure she’s cold. The coat is not all that warm.”

A quasi-similar and much less expensive version of the coat is sold via HSN.

HSN

HSN

Keep in mind this is not the same as Jill Biden’s, it merely shows similar lines. When we say less expensive, we mean it: $14.98.

HSN

HSN

Be advised the piece is similar in design only, the quality cannot be anywhere near that of the coat worn by Jill Biden.

As for the man of the hour, President Obama was in the same Brooks Brothers coat he wore four years ago.

That’s it for today, we’ll have an update on the Inaugural Ball party frocks tomorrow!

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“Tiny, Preppy Frankensteins” or, When Pink & Green Is Not Preppy

Hello-Hello, and Happy Wednesday.

Today we are brief, focusing primarily on a topic we have chatted about before, it’s something that rolls around every 6 months or so. It has to do with Fashion Week and it’s more-than-silly. Any ideas yet? Could it be a certain menswear designer? Who also does the Black Fleece line for Brooks Brothers? Does this help?

Jacques Brinon/AP via Washington Post

Yes indeedy, it is time once again for the Princess to pounce, Thom Browne’s runway show closed out men’s fashion week in Paris.

Not everyone thought highly of the presentation, as seen in this story by Jeffrey Felner:

There comes a point when a designer pushes the envelope too far and sends out a collection that is so absurd and so outrageous that it might be called an insult to the intelligence of those in the audience and maybe even just a colossal waste of time.  Mr. Browne who has never been known for anything other than shock for shock value may have outdone himself this time.

Perhaps the nautical styles will be more appealing.

Thom Browne Facebook Page

Or not.

More from Mr. Felner’s story.

…this is not theater, this is not pushing the envelope, this is completely and patently absurd and which would have qualified for a circus side-show rather than a runway presentation.

Here is a different perspective from Maura Judkis in the Washington Post Style blog:

Browne, who is known for playing with the proportion on men’s suits, sent models lurching down the runway like tiny, preppy Frankensteins in oversized, shoulder-padded suits. The show called to mind several influences, among them Herman Munster, “Beetlejuice,” varsity football, WASPs, S&M and golf.

“Tiny, preppy Frankensteins.” Somehow that phrase is troubling.

Maybe if we take a look at some of the pink and green in the collection we’ll see something to like.

Thom Browne Facebook Page

Maybe not.

The WaPo blog points out that “preppy patterns adorned Browne’s oversized suits.”

Thom Browne FB Page/Jacques Brinon/AP via The Washington Post

Technically, there are some motifs one might find at actual prep retailers. Here is what really had me howling, a caption from one of the photos accompanying the Washington Post blog:

Browne was also inspired by S&M culture. Here, a model walks the runway in a preppy-patterned studded bondage hood.

Seeing the words “preppy-patterned studded bondage hood” made my eyes bleed, while I was simultaneously reaching for the whiskey bottle for a quick nip to kill the pain antacids.

The Times review of mens’ fashion week included this about the show.

Everybody had a laugh at Thom Browne’s “Jocks and Punks” show, with mounds and mounds of shoulder padding that nearly ate the models’ heads.

We do love a little argyle every now and again, perhaps a spot of that will diminish our critical reaction.

Jacques Brinon/AP via The Washington Post

Then again, it might not.

Back to Mr. Felner’s story in the Examiner:

As far as I am concerned, this is a collection that should be mocked and held up as an example of what is wrong with fashion today.  20 and 30 something editors and fashion victims who declare this as fabulous deserve to be fired and magazines that show this as editorial deserve to be boycotted by the fashion cognoscenti.”

Delphine Achard/Women's Wear Daily

I doubt “silly” was meant in a complimentary or lighthearted way in WWD‘s review:

In yet another silly show, the American fashion prankster paraded two breeds of tough guy: the S&M punk and the bulked-up American sportsman.

To be fair, yours truly is absolutely the last person on the planet Mr. Browne would target as a potential customer, we’re not at all the person he is designing for, nor is The Consort, far from it. But this one was just so ridiculously overdone I couldn’t resist sharing it with our treasured readers, after all, we have suffered through more than one collection by Mr. Browne together.

There is a related story that is very funny, a reporter for The Mirror (UK) decided to do his own version of the look for a story on how appealing the styles would be in London.

Purely in the interest of scientific research, I created my own monstrous version of the outfits seen at Thom Browne’s Paris Fashion Week show– all oversized shoulder pads like something from 60s TV show The Munsters.

The Mirror UK

He looks very chic, no?

The Mirror UK

You can read Steve Myall’s story and see more photos by clicking here.

One other quick note: in our preview of new and cool things coming to the Princess we shared a new bracelet Kiel James Patrick designed exclusively for the Preppy Princess. It is from Kiel’s just-launched Triton Collection.

Kiel James Patrick Exclusive Preppy Princess Bracelet

We promised to let people know the price and availability; they bracelets are $38, we expect to start shipping them around the 8th of February. You can pre-order yours by clicking here.

G’bye until next time!

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Filed under Argyle, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion

About That Fashion’s Night Out Celebration

Isn’t it nice how quickly Friday rolled around this week?

Today we focus on only one topic, Fashion’s Night Out, last night was the third year for the event, and we’re curious about your thoughts on the celebration. Below we share the official description of FNO.

Fashion’s Night Out (FNO) is an unprecedented global initiative originally created in 2009 to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, and boost the industry’s economy during the recession.

On September 8, 2011, in response to overwhelming demand, Fashion’s Night Out will return to New York City and over 250 cities nationwide to highlight fashion and support retail with exciting events that include designer appearances, celebrity guests, fashion shows and musical performances.

The event was started by Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, she was a busy lady last night; below we see her with Lea Michele at Saks and with Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein.

Getty Images

Here is another perspective from the City of Light via a Reuters story:

“What I love is to see youngsters,” Dior Chief Executive Sidney Toledano told Reuters in Paris, where thousands thronged the fashion mecca of Avenue Montaigne, home to Dior and to flagships for other luxury brands such as Chanel and Gucci.

“All (these young people) will not become clients, but we need to seduce them today to have them tomorrow,” he said.

In Soho Victoria’s Secret hosted a bevy of beauties: models Alessandra Ambrosio, Erin Heatherton, Adriana Lima and Lily Aldridge.

John Parra/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret

There were parties all over the world, including the UK, where we see Samantha Cameron, Asprey managing director Paddy Byng and Vogue UK editor Alexandra Shulman (L) and über-prep Gwyneth Paltrow wearing Stella McCartney at Stella McCartney.

AP via Vogue UK

Back in the States Brooks Brothers Black Fleece designer Thom Browne was at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street Store, while candy store owner Dylan Lauren and pal Olivia Munn were at Dylan’s Candy Bar.

Getty Images

From a story in yesterday’s Times, before the parties got underway.

Fashion’s Night Out, the annual retail bacchanal, is back tonight. The city’s fanciest retail corridors will teem with celebrities, designers and the tipsy shoppers who love them until long after posted store hours say they should.

From another Times story about FNO from today’s paper.

As an attempt at crowd control, many stores kept their guest lists secret until the last minute on Thursday, when word was sent out through Twitter and Facebook.

But just as suddenly as those announcements were made, almost frightening scenes seemed to materialize outside and inside stores like Yves Saint Laurent (for Nicki Minaj), Dolce & Gabbana (Justin Bieber and Beyoncé), Moschino (Cyndi Lauper), Michael Kors (Michael Kors) and Saks (Joe Jonas, plus a cast member from “Glee”).

At the Soho Bloomies there were bunnies.

Craig Barritt/Getty Images for GQ

Oscar de la Renta serenaded Sarah Jessica Parker.

Jenna Greene via WWD

The Dolce and Gabbana store was almost overrun by shrieking, weeping teenage girls on hand to see Justin Bieber.

Women's Wear Daily L)/Associated Press (R)

After all was said and done, did cash registers ring up big sales? Was the economy helped? Did people get to interact more personally with brands and designers?  We’ve nary a clue, although we do know some charities will benefit, as varying stores used the event as a fundraiser., and that is a very good thing.

So here’s the question: is Fashion’s Night Out an event that is still needed? Is it necessary, or appropriate to say “Let’s go shopping!” when faced with the current unpleasant economic realities? Does FNO offer a fun (and free if you don’t purchase anything!) and frivolous celebration that at the least can’t hurt the industry? Or has it become simply another celebrity-laden marketing tool?

As we clearly don’t have the answers we’re asking for your insight and gracious assistance, hoping you will take part in our utterly non-scientific poll. You can pick one or two answers (no more than that) and even add a suggested answer of your own.  It will be wonderful to see your thoughts, thank you!

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Brooks Brothers & Kate Spade Fall 2011 & “Swaddler of the Preppy Classes”

Hello-Hello!

We wrap up the majority of our Fall Fashion Week coverage with a look at two lines we love. We begin with the Brooks Brothers presentation for next fall.

PHOTO: John Aquino/WWD

There are some wonderful looks.  From the Women’s Wear Daily review (subscription required):

“Brooks Brothers wants to embrace another generation of shoppers and it’s quite evident in the fall collection…. refining the classics across men’s, women’s and children’s wear to broaden the audience without taking a 180-degree fashion turn.”

Part of the presentation was set against the backdrop of an autumn tailgate party.

(Love that argyle sweater.) Other pieces were styled in a clubby library atmosphere.

Our friend Christian at Ivy Style was on hand for the showing and has a outstanding look at the line.

Courtesy Ivy Style

A women’s shirt and sweater from the group.

Courtesy Ivy Style

From the retailer’s still-new Fleece line for children.

More styles for the Young Miss or Master of your palace.

Many of the accessories exude the timeless elegance Brooks is known for.

Black Fleece also continues its far “hipper” and trendier styles.

Via Black Fleece Facebook Page

The palette is primarily gray, brown and black.

Although there are a few spots of color.

Overall it looks like a splendid collection, there is a great deal we like. However… (cue the tedious whining) regular readers won’t be surprised to know that we will always take issue with this sort of thing:

Courtesy Ivy Style

It is just so unnecessary, particularly for a company with Brooks’ heritage and pedigree, and especially so when considering the quality of this collection. (Insert sad shake of the head here.)

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Next on our Fashion Week update agenda, Kate Spade for Fall.

Via ShopStyle

The bright colors that are such a signature for this line were evident from the start.  We are presuming the hemlines on both suits will be dropped by several inches once the skirts go into production.

PHOTOS: Kevin Tachman/WWD

Shoes sure to evoke cries of “Those are daaaaaarling!” could be seen in abundance.

Via ShopStyle.com

As always, the accessories looked superb.

Via ShopStyle.com

There were pieces in more muted tones.

PHOTOS: Kevin Tachman/WWD

And there are party styles, something this retailer does so well.

PHOTOS: Kevin Tachman/WWD

No one will be surprised that today’s Pretty in Pink comes via the company’s fall presentation.

PHOTOS: Kevin Tachman/WWD

More angles.

Some fabulous photos come via the Audrey Hepburn Complex blog.

Via Audrey Hepburn Complex

Audrey Hepburn Complex is also where we found some great detail shots.

We aren’t the only ones who love this retailer, here is a snippet from today’s WWD story about the woes that Liz Claiborne continues to face and Kate Spade’s role in the company’s future:

“…often painful effort to reinvent Liz Claiborne Inc. has produced a series of businesses that are bleeding money and struggling through turnarounds, and one breakout star that just might be the company’s saving grace: Kate Spade.”

And one more tidbit from Evan Hughes’ story about the company, with a quote from the CEO:

““Kate Spade can no longer be viewed as too small to matter for our company,” McComb told WWD. “The business is very profitable and strong across all channels, all product categories and in all geographies.”

He described it as a “very Web-savvy” brand striving to connect retail and e-commerce.”

We concur wholeheartedly with the assessment of Spade’s web prowess.

BTW, Kate Spade and Tretorn are on sale next week at discounting site RueLaLa, both sales begin on Monday.  (If anyone is in need of an invitation, just click here.)

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A few quick hits from lines we simply don’t have the time to review, beginning with the Marc by Marc Jacobs show.

Kathy Willens/AP via The Guardian

Mr. Jacobs created so many divine styles, we highly recommend looking at them over at Fashionologie or Style.com

Carolina Herrera staged a beautiful show.

Via The NY Times.com

Again, so much to see, so little time, visit Vogue or StyleList to see much more from the show.

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We leave you with a headline from The Observer that made us both chuckle:

Swaddler of the Preppy Classes Picks Flagship

Of course the ensuing conversation went something like this:

TC: Ummm, are you swaddled?

TPP: Evidently not, and from all appearances, neither are you.  Oh, the horror.

The story is about the new Lacoste flagship store, here is a teeny bit from the story just so you don’t think we made this up:

“Popped colors and lavender pants are already the uniform of choice on upper Fifth Avenue. It seems only fitting that preppy designer Lacoste has chosen 608 Fifth Avenue for its national flagship.”

(Do you think they meant “popped” collars?)

Because we are chatting about Lacoste & because we need to revel in spring fashions as opposed to fall (desperately so), here are a few images of the spring Lacoste children’s collection.

Lacoste

The entire group is shown on the company’s Facebook page.

Lacoste

One more scenic shot.

Lacoste

We hope we haven’t disappointed anyone by not having the Ralph Lauren fall collection in today’s post, we will carry that in Monday’s column. Tomorrow we have a special treat, an update from our Royal Correspondent, Queen Bee Swain.

Until next time, may the sun be shining on your corner of the globe!

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Filed under Argyle, Friday Fun, Logos, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink, Sales & Savings

William Rast for Target, Lilly Pulitzer Personalized Acrylic Collection

Hello-Hello, happy Friday for those looking forward to a restful, restorative weekend. (Um… is this on tap for anybody? “Hello, earth to Princess, come in Princess, it’s time for a reality check.”)

We begin today with the latest collaborative line offered to be offered by Le Boutique Targét, this one from William Rast, Justin Timberlake’s label.

Courtesy Target via Nitrolicious

The line launches December 19, prices will run $16.99 to $199.99, that latter amount being a hefty price tag for Target clothing items.

We do like the woven silk shirt seen above left ($34.99), but the majority of the collection is perhaps aimed at a younger audience (cough-cough), methinks we’re just too old for the hipper styles embodied by the soon-to-be-released line.  To see the entire lookbook, scoot over here to visit Nitrolicious, she has images and prices for all of the styles.

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Next, something with minimal real-world relevance, at least not here at the Prepatorium, and a chance to play Guess the Designer.

Via FashionLvr.com

We expect most everyone will figure out who it is straight off, as we have previously featured a few of these pieces (albeit in a different setting), and the creator’s signature touches are abundant.

Via FashionLvr.com

Of course you guessed correctly, it is Thom Browne, of Brooks BrothersBlack Fleece renown. The exaggerated hemlines, grosgrain accents and menswear-style fabrics are just a few of the designer’s more recognizable trademarks.  As described in crossover magazine Sang Bleu:

“Built on the back of blue blood love of quality and educated nuances of subtle style statements, the house of Browne has single handedly provided the resounding laugh track for a nation on its own fast track to success without digressing from the craftsmanship revered by the conservative class.”

As always with Mr. Browne, there are individual items sure to be perfect for almost any wardrobe. The pieces are impeccably tailored, and when seen individually without the distraction of patterns upon patterns the look is far more manageable and frequently elegant. (Although nothing will change those extreme front-to-back drops on the hemlines.)

To see the full review and all of the styles from next spring’s collection, visit Sang Bleu.

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We have two quick Sales and Savings opportunities, both are of the online limited-time, “members-only” genre, cough-cough. (Do forgive TP’s sarcasm, it is just that the faux aura of exclusivity is irksome.)  The first is Jack Rogers Shoes, Apparel and Accessories at Gilt Groupe. (If in need of an invitation, just click here.) Below we show two of the boot styles being offered, the Hi Nell on the left is $179 and the Greenwich on the right is offered at$149.

We do like the Windsor Flat ($99) and the Beth’s Boatneck Taffeta dress ($139).  We’ve no idea how the still fairly new women’s clothing line has performed for the company, nor actually seen any of the pieces in person. Have any readers tried on or purchased from the new apparel line?

The Gilt Jack Rogers sale ends at noon on December 6, as of this writing the selection remains good.

The second sale referenced is for Brooks Brothers Men’s merchandise, this one at Rue La La. (Click here for a shortcut to an invite.)  This one seems a mixed bag, with silk ties approximately 30-45% off, dress shirts discounted by roughly 41%, and the company’s classic leather belt with engine-turned buckle half-off its original price at $98, a good deal IOHO.

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One tidbit for your social secretary to consider adding to the calendar, if anywhere near the greater Baltimore area next Saturday (the 11th): Tartan & Tidings.

Sky Blue Events

The soiree runs from 7-11pm at Evergreen House, one stylish locale and perfect for a party.  Cocktails, yummies, live music and more are the backdrop for this fundraiser, click here for more information.

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An update on our Lilly Pulitzer Personalized Collection, we now have most of the pieces online!

PreppyPrincess.com

Above we show the Large Tray, measuring 11″ x 17″;  you can see how easily it holds our Lilly Tumblers and a Lilly Water Bottle. Below is the Small Tray, still good-sized at 11″ x 9″. (We do apologize for the somewhat dark photos.)

PreppyPrincess.com

Also available as of today….

PreppyPrincess.com

The Lilly Acrylic Picture Frame.

PreppyPrincess.com

Above, the back of a frame; below we see the front and back separated, which is how the photos are inserted.

PreppyPrincess.com

There is an outstanding selection of your favorite Lilly patterns, and a great range of personalization styles.

PreppyPrincess.com

One of the nice things about these goodies? Our cutoff date to have any of these items in time for Christmas delivery is 12/6, still allowing a bit of time to consider the options.  We’ll let you know when we have the ice buckets and recipe boxes.

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We leave you with our annual peek at a White House tradition.

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty

As always, the creation gives new meaning to the phrase “gingerbread house,” all 350 pounds of it. We do think Bo looks mighty cute in this rendering. He is done in condensed milk and marzipan, and this year he is actually larger-than-scale.

Larry Downing/Reuters

As many may already know, the House isn’t really edible; but this year the White House Chef shared his recipe for gingerbread, and it looks like it might be time to break out the cookie cutters here at the Prepatorium.

With that happy thought, we hope everyone enjoys a simply splendid weekend!

 

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Filed under Collaborations, Friday Fun, Lilly Pulitzer Paper & Gifts, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy stationery, Sales & Savings

Two New Prep-Influenced Lines, Pink & Green Gifts

Hello-Hello, welcome to a new week, and yet another of our annoying this-will-have-to-do-for-two-days posts, with apologies.  (Yes, the mayhem has commenced, heaven help us all.)

We have looks at two soon-to-debut lines.

Via Jak and Jil

These styles are from the upcoming Thom Browne women’s collection.

Via Jak and Jil

(This may surprise readers, but we don’t recall ever seeing sequined madras before.)

Many of the styles echo pieces in Mr. Browne’s men’s line for spring.

Replication in theme and fabric can be seen throughout the collections.

Via Jak and Jil

The Brooks Brothers Black Fleece designer has previously done small collections for women, but this is Mr. Browne’s first step into a mass produced line.  Pearls and grosgrain are used generously.

Via Jak and Jil

We are guessing that taken alone, several of the pieces are stunning in person; the detailing on Mr. Browne’s designs is always exquisite.

While TP is *nowhere* near stylish enough to sport pieces this cutting-edge, it will be interesting to see the line in its entirety.  (Umm, TP and cutting edge in the same sentence? Hee-hee-hee.) As far as the collection falling into a ‘preppy’ category..? Non, non, non. Grosgrain ribbon accents and piped lapels do not make it thus.

The new line launches in the spring; the Jak and Jil blog has more photos, just click here to be transported there.

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Next, a new line from designer Tommy Hilfiger.

The new line is simply called “Tommy,” these styles are from the spring 2011 debut collection.

Women’s Wear Daily has more:

“Comprised of preppy-with-a-twist women’s and men’s wear, the youthful lineup included casual separates.”

“The styles, which Hilfiger describes as playful, are priced from $29 for a knit top to $119 for a short trenchcoat, while handbags and footwear begin at $49 and $59, respectively.”

Many pieces show a classic influence, but the more closely fitting and shrunken silhouettes belie a prep heritage.

On another note, the company is making a return to television advertising, beginning this evening, something that can only be deemed a positive SOTT (Sign of the Times).

Courtesy Image via WWD

The spots will feature the fictional Hilfigers, wackiness personified.

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It has been a few weeks since we shared any Gossip Girl fashion news. The LA Times has an interesting story about fashion on the show.

From the article:

“Leighton Meester and Blake Lively, the actresses who portray Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen, respectively, have been fêted and flung under the wing of Vogue’s Anna Wintour faster than either of them could utter an “OMG.”

The piece is accompanied by a slide show with images showing some of this year’s fabulous styles.

This brings us to a “Help Me Understand” moment:

Giovanni Rufino/The CW

Does the little ferret-faced Ed Westwick character (Chuck Bass) frequently receive pedicures on the show? Really?

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We wanted to share a smattering of pink and green gift ideas, starting with an item from Lands’ End that works for just about anyone, the Antistatic Fleece Throw.

If seeking something for the ladies on your list, Lands’ End offers its Half-zip Pullover comes in a variety of pink and kinda-sorta-green shades.

If shopping Lands’ End, a quick Sales & Savings note: their 30% off everything promotion ends tonight (Monday, 11/15/10) at midnight.

Lands' End

(Use promo code LESHARE and PIN 7785 to receive the discounts.)

We have a few more quick  ideas, the first is the Grosgrain Ribbon ornament, $2.79 online at Sears.  On the right, the Pink Flamingo Double-Walled Tumbler, at Le Boutique Targét.

The set of Tinsel Alpine Trees is also from Targét; they run $79.99 and also come in the bright lime color shown on the right, as seen in the chartreuse Pre-lit Fantasy Tree.

Le Boutique also has energy efficient LED lights in our favorite color (well, close enough); put those on the Lime Cashmere Tree, and you would have quite the look. Quite. The. Look.

But the favorite item seen online in today’s colossal waste of time research comes from LL Bean, and shows nary a hint of pink or lime green.

LL Bean

The Deluxe Edition Scrabble Game looks like loads of fun, we wouldn’t turn Santa away if he appeared with this in hand.

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We leave you with a word about two delightful bloggers, we are flattered both are offering giveaways showcasing Princess products.  Amid Privilege is celebrating her newly overhauled (and ever-so-chic) blog design, and the inimitable Nautical by Nature is commemorating her three year Blogiversary. Do pop in and say hello to both charming ladies if so inclined, we are grateful they to call them friends; they represent our favorite result of having an online presence: friendship. 

With that, g’bye until Wednesday!

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Giovanni Giannoni/WWD:
  • Thomas Ianaconne/WWD

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Filed under Gossip Girl, Help Me Understand, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Sales & Savings, Sign of the Times

Is Prep Dead? (More Importantly, How Did We Miss This?)

Hello-Hello, is everyone ready for a weekend?

We thought it was time for another True Prep update, the volume of media surrounding the book is significant, including multiple declarations that ‘prep is dead’; in at least one instance responsibility for this hypothetical occurrence is linked directly to the book.

We begin with this headline from a September NPR story:

We haven’t heard the entire NPR story, but did read what is posted online and were unable to decipher exactly how the book’s existence translated into a sign that prep was dead.  The NPR story does carry a lengthy quote from this story in The Atlantic:

As always, the Atlantic review is very well done, essentially positing that ‘prep’ has  been absorbed by a larger, international class.  From the piece by Benjamin Schwarz:

“Whereas OPH was crammed with fine-grained analysis— defining, say, the subtle distinctions between Brooks Brothers (mainstream), J. Press (old guard), and Paul Stuart (urbane)—True Prep’s analysis seems vague and flabby. Whereas OPH’s preppies belonged to a distinct and inward-looking subculture, the preppies of True Prep, defined largely by what they buy and wear, are in many ways indistinguishable from fancily educated professionals.”

The writer doesn’t fault the skill set of authors Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd, looking instead at the consumption habits of the era, particularly those of the conspicuous kind.

“Cracked heirlooms, threadbare antique rugs, sturdy L.L. Bean boots, duct-taped Blucher moccasins, and workhorse Volvo station wagons defined OPH’s aesthetic. True Prep’s preppies, armed with BlackBerrys and iPods, wear Verdura jewelry and Prada and vintage Gucci loafers, tote Goyard and Tory Burch bags, and adorn their desks with tchotchkes from Smythson (a firm whose success, Ian Jack notes in The Guardian, has been built “on selling baubles to the impressionable rich”).

It’s no secret we whined struggled with some of the brands featured in True Prep. (For Ms. Birnbach’s comments regarding the J. Crew metallic Top-siders at J. Crew, simply click here.) We have been vocal about the volume of J. Crew & Burberry products showcased in the book.  Frequent readers know the tragic truth: TP and The Consort are two boring, old-school preps.  Our style is basically no style.

However, we do take issue with this claim from a column in the Journal, the headline reads “Preppy Pitfall: All That Madras, Not Enough Effort.” It is the subhead that is irksome:

Did Lisa Birnbach’s original ‘Handbook’ drive people lazy?”

Eric Felten cites TOPH (The Official Preppy Handbook) as a factor.

“One simply mustn’t try too hard. A key principle of what Ms. Birnbach called the Preppy Value System was Effortlessness: “If life is a country club, then all functions should be free from strain.”

The notion that Ms. Birnbach is responsible for the work ethic of a generation is ludicrous.

“Unless you actually have a fat trust fund to underwrite your nonchalance, an aversion to effort is hardly a strategy for success. Which may explain some of our national woes.”

We like Ms. Birnbach; she is talented, witty and loads of fun, but while wielding significant influence, she is not quite so powerful as to be responsible for this:

“Over the last couple of decades we’ve seen the contempt for effort spread far beyond the original preppy demographic. Now it’s commonplace for middle-class kids to go to college and behave as though they are scions of the gentry—abjuring studies and indulging in the bottomless kegger that a recent book dubbed “The Five Year Party.”

Blaming These Challenging Times on any single author just doesn’t work for us.

Next on the review list, AOL’s Daily Finance offers this:

Bruce Watson’s story takes a more reasoned approach:

“…she attached a philosophical component to the look, explicitly wedding the preppy style to a hodgepodge of social values, including traditionalism, thrift, and brand loyalty. In Birnbach’s analysis, preppies buy Brooks Brothers and Orvis because these companies have been in business for over a hundred years and have proven reliability.”

As the monolithic 1980’s preppy culture has fractured into a variety of brands and styles, from Gossip Girl to hip-hop Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren to Vineyard Vines, it’s worth wondering if this explosion of prep may also signal its demise.”

Mr. Watson points to the efforts at updating the fashions offered by some of the stalwarts, like LL Bean’s Signature and Black Fleece at Brooks Brothers, a necessity if such establishments are to compete against trendier, “hipper” (ahem) offerings at retailers like J. Crew. Unfortunately the writer misses an important point in this portion of his story:
“In True Prep, however, conversation positively drips with references to the signs of wealth, as Birnbach instructs readers: “Your car wasn’t in the shop; your Mercedes was getting fixed. You didn’t wear shoes; you wore Manolos.”
The book isn’t instructing readers to converse in this fashion. To the contrary, this specific segment laments the way people speak these days, bemoaning the ostentation and name-dropping and label flashing.  Melanie Spencer’s story in the Austin Statesman illustrates this distinction with a quote from the author:
“”People are oft misbehaving and name-dropping and talking about money,” she says. “It is vulgar. It’s becoming normal. I’m here to help correct. Something as benign as ‘Sex in the City’ sort of sanctioned gross materialism. Instead of saying, ‘Oh, my shoes hurt,’ it’s, ‘My Manolos hurt.’ You are sending all kinds of messages. You can say ‘My car is in the shop.’ You don’t have to say, ‘My Jaguar is in the shop.’ It would be so refreshing for people to go back to those basics.”

We had to laugh aloud at this part of the story, it seems not everyone in Austin was fond of the prep aesthetic. (Gasp!)

“”Preppy fashion was the lowest point in the history of women’s attire,” says longtime Austinite, style and design writer and Austin Monthly Home editor Helen Thompson.”
Oops.  Hopefully Melanie, I Pick Pretty and other notable Austin denizens won’t tell Ms. Thompson next time we visit.
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Enough of the deep thinking, we have an eye-popping Pretty in Pink & Green to share:
The Argyle Pullover is available at Elegant Baby, and there is also a version in blues if looking for something a little more sedate.
With that, we are off to enjoy the weekend, and hope you are able to do the same!

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