Tag Archives: J Crew style

More on J. Crew’s Disdain for Preppy & a True Prep Update

Hello-Hello, welcome to another wild and wacky day here at the Prepatorium

We have follow-ups to two topics we initially covered last week, J. Crew’s fall line and True Prep, the new book from one of the TOPH (The Original Preppy Handbook) authors, Lisa Birnbach.

Friday’s post on Crew’s fall line offered a number of photos but little editorial blather from either the professionals in the trade, or your utterly unprofessional hostess here at Princess InterGalactic HQ.

Courtesy Photo

As AOL’s Stylelist noted:

“”This is all about Edie Beale-goes-to-Girl Scout camp,” J.Crew Creative Director Jenna Lyons tells StyleList. “There’s a bit of that grandma-chic that we always draw from. There are elements borrowed from the boys, but we decided she’s at Girl Scout camp.”

Here are more detailed looks shot by WWD’s Kyle Ericksen:

And two more:

The review with the most telling perspective on Crew’s path may be this brief story in today’s Women’s Wear Daily (subscription req’d.). While many perceive the company to have preppy roots and/or preppish products even now, this quote from design director Jenna Lyons suggests a different direction:

“Classic outerwear with a military feel was worn over girly sequined pieces, creating an eclectic layered look intended to further shed J. Crew’s preppy image, which makes Lyons cringe. “We had a story in The Guardian recently, and the opening line was ‘the preppy retailer,’ and I was like, really? Still?”

Some may remember this post where we highlighted a quote from a lengthy interview Style did with Ms. Lyons:

“Preppy” style is often mentioned in the same breath as J.Crew. Is today’s preppy different from yesterday’s?

I have a hard time with the word “preppy.” To me, it’s a way of styling. Classic things mixed a certain way—especially special color combinations—look very preppy. We still have the same pieces: polo shirts, khakis, a great classic blazer, a beautiful white shirt. But what we’ve been trying to do is change the way things are presented. Maybe that little cargo jacket that we would have shown ten years ago with a polo shirt we’re now showing with a little sequin top and high heels. And the thing about preppy is it can be alienating to some people. It’s very coastal and it leaves out a lot of Americans who aren’t yachting or going to the beach club.”

It remains to be seen if Ms. Lyons will continue the move away from ‘preppy’ toward trendier pieces, or if the brand will retain some of its more traditional styles.

Another tableau from the presentation:

Courtesy Image

From The Cut’s review:

“… models wore rugged tweeds, textured tights, and outerwear with Mongolian lamb accents. J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons described the look as “Edie Beale goes to Girl Scout camp.” The saucer-sized jewelry and homemade headpieces would definitely be at home in Grey Gardens, and Lyons suggested “slapping brooches all over everything” to achieve this eccentric, layered look.

More looks:

More from StyleList:

“The predominant tone in the presentation was olive. “I’m olive obsessed,” Lyons says. “My olive fixation goes back to wanting to touch on the military moment.”

We don’t do olive.

The following thoughts on the men’s styles are also from WWD:

“As for men’s wear, shown before the women’s presentation, J. Crew brought its American heritage to a new level with sophisticated and clean looks.”

Most of the men’s styles we saw looked quite stylish.


Our other topic with some life to it, True Prep, first discussed here.  An interesting connection to the story above: the new book has multiple references to Crew: in just one diagram the man is described as wearing “J. Crew Head-to-Ankle,” the woman’s striped shirt and khakis are by Crew, and she is carrying a J. Crew handbag.

More to the point today, news about the upcoming publication hit the Times.  On the front page.  On Sunday.  “Rejoice, Muffy and Biff: A Preppy Primer Revisited” looks at the upcoming release while also briefly meandering back to TOPH:

“The original volume, a slim, plaid-covered paperback that poked fun at the gin-soaked polo-shirt and loafer-wearing set, started out as a piquant bit of mockery but…  it ended up being adopted as a kind of guidebook for those who wanted in.”

Why do another book? Perhaps this sentence from writer Motoko Rich says it best:

“But even for prepsters, it turns out, the world has changed.”

As previously mentioned, a good portion of the new book deals with the impact of technology and things like cell phones, while also updating style trends.

“And while “True Prep” dispenses a dollop of the upper-class frugality, many of its featured items are a bit more upmarket than the duck shoes and other L.L. Bean duds that dominated the first volume. Think Tory Burch, E. Goyard bags and the luxury jewelry brand Verdura.”

We simply adored seeing quotes  in the story from other preptastic bloggers:

“The blogosphere is filled with fans eagerly awaiting the new book. The first handbook “was like a bible to us,” said Alice Richardson, 44, who blogs about preppy things at “Summer Is a Verb” (summerisaverb.blogspot.com).”

Along with Hopsy:

“Helen “Hopsy” Goblirsch, a 25-year-old event planner for a real estate developer in Dallas who blogs at “Monograms and Manicures” (kappaprep.com), said she discovered the original handbook when she was a sophomore at the Taft School in Watertown, Conn.”

While reading the story was a delight, looking at the online comments is always an eye-opener.  BTW, True Prep is no longer slated for an August release, it is due out mid-September.  To see an interview with Ms. Birnbach and co-author Chip Kidd (and to also see what brand of loafers the hypothetical preppy male is wearing in the new book), click on the link in the video:

Sunday’s Easter dinner was quite a gala, TQM graced us with her presence and we were off to the Consort’s ancestral home to visit with scads of other relatives.  We close with an Adventure in Argyle, compliments of our hostess for the dinner extravaganza, the Consort’s mother. Not only is she an amazing cook, look at the place cards she created for everyone!


Additional J. Crew images: Kyle Ericksen/WWD


Filed under preppy

A Gossip Girl is Pretty in Pink, J. Crew Sneak Peek

Hello-Hello everyone, and happy rainy day!

Yes, it is raining cats & dogs, but for many reasons, we are in happy mode here at the Prepatorium. One reason could be our gratitude for so many things, some of them seemingly insignificant, but special little markers in the ebb and flow of a day. Seeing darling photos on Facebook from a friend’s daughter in her finest pink & green tennis apparel, the chance to be a conduit in helping someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one, making plans for an evening with the ladies for Club Mom tonight. (Despite our status as a non-Mom, at least of human children, which is generally the standard for determining such things.)

We start with a thank to our new bloggy friend, Kebi, at Hanging by a Thread.

She hosted a giveaway and look what The Princess won! How fabulous are these?! Thank you Miss Kebi!

Next, a sneak peek at some of the pieces in J. Crew’s Fall 2009 collection.

Courtesy J. Crew via WWD

Courtesy J. Crew via WWD.com

The photos accompany this story in Women’s Wear Daily online (subscription required).

Courtesy J. Crew via WWD.com

Courtesy J. Crew via WWD.com

In the story J. Crew execs share some of the theory behind this Fall’s collection:

“We paid attention to things we know make people happy,” said creative director Jenna Lyons Mazeau of the T-shirts sporting giant jewel-encrusted necks and dog prints. “Everyone needs a little levity right now.”

J. Crew Courtesy Photo via WWD.com

J. Crew Courtesy Photo via WWD.com

Hhhhmmm… what do you think? Recognizing that more earth tones are seen in fall collections, we still hoped for some brighter pops of color. Perhaps WWD just didn’t select any of those photos for their story, or they weren’t provided. We’ll cross our fingers.

As far as the Men’s styles are concerned:

“…it was all about the unexpected. Classic pieces such as chunky cardigans, chalk-striped suits, buffalo-plaid sport shirts and trenchcoats sported unique touches such as leather buttons or lighter-weight fabrics that updated the trends and made them modern.”

J. Crew Courtesy Photo via WWD.com

J. Crew Courtesy Photo via WWD.com

For those interested in more in-depth background on Crew’s thoughts about spring fashion, pop over to visit J. Crewaholics for a great article she has on her site.


Banana Republic is pursuing a new concept store featuring accessories only. “Edition by Banana Republic” is slated to open at Westfield Mall in San Francisco in mid-May.  The store will carry limited edition items that will not be available online or at Banana Republic stores, an interesting tactic from a strategic standpoint.

In a Monday story, WWD explains most everything in the shop will be priced at less than $100, another wise move on the retailer’s part.  Below, the ‘Luxe jasmine chandelier earrings in semi-precious green onyx for $79.’

Banana Republic Courtesy Photo via WWD

Banana Republic Courtesy Photo via WWD

This one will be fun to watch; hopefully we’ll have some ‘on-the-scene-reports’ from our west coast bloggers!


For today’s Pretty in Pink we feature a face familiar to many readers, the lovely Blake Lively from TV’s Gossip Girl.  Ms. Lively is seen in a fun frock after her appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday evening.

Courtesy Flynet

Courtesy Fly Net

Earlier this week Ms. Lively and co-star Penn Badgley (also her real-life love) were seen out to dinner with a Hollywood heavy hitter, Harvey Weinstein.

Mr. Weinstein’s wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman made it a foursome. Naturally everyone is all abuzz, wondering if a Gossip Girl film is in the works.

We can’t help ourselves, and simply must share another Pretty in Pink. Meet Millie, the spoilt red-headed child.


'Milly the Spoilt Red-haired Child'

Milly is the creation of Yali, a gifted artisan with a remarkable shop on etsy.

Is Milly preppy? We think not. Do we have red hair? No, we do not. But we don’t care about these dreary facts, as Milly just epitomizes perfectly how The Princess has felt at times, and we find her altogether loveable.  There are loads of other treasures at this shop, including magnets, prints, more dolls, and all of them are just fun-fun-fun!

That’s it for us dollfaces, we are frantic for time!


Filed under Gossip Girl, nautical, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink