Tag Archives: Lilly Pulitzer Furniture Collection

That Preppiest Schools List Is a Little Different This Year & Lilly Pulitzer Fabric Update

Once again, it is time to chat about HuffPo‘s (Huffington Post) annual list of “The Preppiest Schools“. Be advised however, that this year’s list is a bit different from previous compilations. From the story accompanying the list:

“Once upon a time, the prep was a variation of a traditionalist, East Coast-born, equestrian-riding, upper class WASP that attended a northeastern private university and boarding school before that. But the elusive noun is ever-changing, and nowadays members of this subculture are more defined by their attitudes than their creeds: If they play lacrosse, wear boat shoes, and bring a date to a football game, they’re preppy.”

Here is the portion that most directly explains the somewhat different makeup of this year’s schools:

“The attachment to traditional “old school” beliefs and attitudes isn’t necessarily there, just an outfit that makes ’em look like their parents own several yachts and a place on the Vineyard. We’re ringing in an age of the “New Prep.”

In other words, the parameters used to determine the schools have changed a bit. Here is a partial list from Lindsay Dittman’s story, along with selected portions of her writeups on each school (I don’t want anyone to think it is my writing, that is why I am underlining that):

#1) University of Virginia:  “At a school that refers to the quad as “the Lawn,” it’s no surprise that many of the frat and sorority houses are situated along “Rugby Road.”

#2) University of the South (Sewanee):  “There’s no denying that Sewanee is a school founded on tradition… According to the school’s website, “You can’t be on campus longer than a few minutes before you notice that Sewanee students are dressed up for class…””

#3) Miami University (Ohio):  “Referred to as “J. Crew U…”

#4) College of Charleston: “Name-checked in the original “Preppy Handbook,” this Charleston, South Carolina school contains a lot of pink and green and a lotof monograms. The Spring graduation tradition? Women wear white dresses and descend from the steps of Randolph Hall, the college’s oldest building, while the men wear white dinner jackets and wait in the Cistern yard.”

The College of Charleston photo via The Huffington Post

#9) Claremont McKenna: The description of this school explains ” The CEO of Abercrombie, Michael S. Jeffries, graduated from the school in 1966.” Our thought? Clearly Mr. Jeffries has a short memory, nothing Abercrombie sells could even remotely be referred to as preppy.

There are a few more surprises on the list this year (including a university picked as the “Preppiest College” in a Social Primer list), we recommend a visit to the Huffington Post to read the story in its entirety.

As you might imagine, the story has generated quite a few comments.  Many wonder about schools not on the list (i’m not sure *any* of the 2010 schools made the list), asking about Elon, Middlebury, Colgate, Vassar, etc., others talk about what is/isn’t preppy and unsurprisingly, there are a few comments about Abercrombie.


Also today, another update on the new Lilly Pulitzer for Lee Jofa fabric collection.  High Street Market has a lovely post about the collection, showcasing some of the just-released patterns.

Lilly Pulitzer for Lee Jofa via High Street Market

The Lee Jofa site now has images online, including some of the trims that go with the collection, we’ll call these today’s Pretty in Pink.

Although The Prepatorium isn’t currently slated for any kind of interior design redo, we do enjoy looking at all of the pictures.

Lilly Pulitzer for Lee Jofa

Lee Jofa has a scaled down version of the catalog available for online viewing as well.

On that vibrant note, we say goodbye until next time!


Filed under Collaborations, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink

Lilly Furniture Lands at Neimans, It’s Ralph Lauren for the First Lady

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a Thursday, water-logged and sodden as it is. Yet again, there are brutal reminders we have nothing to whine about. If there is one story today that paints the harsh reality very well, it is the Journal‘s “Hospital Strains to Cope with Battered Survivors.”

We move to a brighter topic with word that the much ballyhooed Lilly Pulitzer Home Collection is now available for ordering through Neiman Marcus.

Neiman Marcus

To be clear, shoppers won’t find the entire 200+ piece collection at Neimans.  But there is an interesting selection that provides a look at many styles as well as giving a sense of pricing for the line.  Below, several items qualifying as Pretty in Pink, the Boulevard Armchair, Aster Mirror and Mizner Bench.

Lilly Pulitzer / Neiman Marcus

Bright and sunny, the Boulevard and Breakers Barstools.

Lilly Pulitzer / Neiman Marcus

The Carrie Loveseat is seen below left, and on the right, the Paramount Daybed.

Lilly Pulitzer/Neiman Marcus

And pieces from the Classic White Dining Furniture group, note the lining inside the drawer.

Lilly Pulitzer / Neiman Marcus

A significant component in the new collection is the Lee Jofa fabric line that is just launching. Lonny Magazine shares some fabulous photos of the vibrant textiles here in their blog, we show just a few of those images below.

Lonny Magazine Blog


Also today, we have seen some very serious tiaras the last few days, as the President and Mrs. Obama continue their official visit to Britain.  At Tuesday night’s state dinner at Buckingham Palace we see both Camilla Parker Bowles and Queen Elizabeth in glittering headwear.

Lewis Whyld/PA Wire/Pool/Reuters

The Queen wore the Lovers Knot Tiara.

Lewis Whyld / PA Pool

Mrs. Obama was elegant in Tom Ford for that event, the ruched silk georgette gown had a darling bow at the waist. Politically it was a wise choice, Mr. Ford shows his collections at NY Fashion Week but has his offices in London.  The designer recently re-launched his women’s line, this is a big boost for his work.

Larry Downing/Reuters

Last night it was our turn to host the party, for that event the First Lady opted for an American fashion house, wearing Ralph Lauren and she looked simply beautiful.

AP Photo/Getty Images/Reuters

The floor length dress is a modified version of one shown in Mr. Lauren’s Fall 2011 collection,

Via Styleite

Mrs. Obama chose striking jewelry from Tom Binns to finish off the look, the designer’s Dumont necklace and cuff nicely accenting the dress as they sparkled brightly.

Via Styleite

The dinner was at Winfield House, the US Ambassador’s official residence.  Originally built and donated to the United States by socialite Barbara Hutton, the house was named after her father, Frank Winfield Woolworth, he founded the stores bearing his name. For more on the building, click here.

Dressing for international events as the First Lady is not an easy task, there are sensitivities of both a cultural and political nature to be considered with each and every wardrobe choice.  Mrs. Obama made some outstanding choices on the British leg of the couple’s 8-day European trip, although it’s no secret your trusty scribe wasn’t overly fond of the floral Barbara Tfank worn Tuesday when meeting the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge (aka Wills & Kate).

Both formal dresses were lovely on the First Lady, but we really prefer the Ralph Lauren to the Tom Ford. At the risk of incurring the wrath of fashionistas far more sophisticated than I, the Lauren seems a much prettier and more elegant look for the First Lady.  While most fashion writers raved about the Grecian-style Tom Ford, we think the Lauren is more flattering on Mrs. Obama.

AP Photo (L) / Getty Images (R)

Fortunately, no one was forced to choose, as formal frocks were required for multiple occasions, and we do love looking at party pictures. :)


We leave you with something rather out of the norm for this space, a museum visit by two NBA players.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

There is nothing profound about the picture, it merely shows Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks and Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder visiting the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum earlier this week. The Mavericks were in town for the playoffs and the players visited the museum.  It wasn’t the first time Mr. Westbrook had been to the Museum, the Thunder’s head coach, Scott Brooks, has every player that joins the team visit the site.

But at a time when so much of professional sports seems broken and the day’s news is difficult to digest, we thought it nice to end on a note about something unremarkable, something simple, something nice.


Filed under Obama Fashion & Politics, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Pretty in Pink, Royal Wedding

More Lilly Pulitzer Furniture Pix, Priscilla & Marchesa’s New Bridal Line,

Hello-Hello, welcome to a Wednesday Thursday.

There are things happening all over the Preppy Planet today, and with apologies, we have a hodge-podge of bits & bytes. We begin with an update on that much-discussed Lilly Pulitzer Furniture collection.

Sophie Pyle Style blog

The company marketing the new line, HFI Brands, shared more from the collection at the spring furniture market in High Point.

Via Sophie Pyle Style

You can see some of the new Lilly Pulitzer for Lee Jofa fabric line in the photos. Below, the Lauren chair.

Via Sophie Pyle Style blog

Lee Jofa now says the fabrics should be in showrooms in June. (A reminder that the fabric will only be available to the interior design trade.)

Via Sophie Pyle Style blog

Our thanks to the always-generous Sophie Pyle for sharing her wonderful photos.

Via Sophie Pyle Style blog

The images show a broader color palette than what was seen at the fall market, we like the additional color schemes.

Via Sophie Pyle Style blog

To see all of Sophie’s images from spring market, click here. Or, visit the HFI Brands Facebook page and look at their album of photos.

The folks at Real Simple have discovered the line, they are fans of that Lilly shoe storage ottoman we have previously shared.

Via Christina Lee Design

The magazine’s May issue features a look at the ottoman, it will be priced at $599 once the line launches.


Next, more news from Bridal Week, Women’s Wear Daily reports that Priscilla of Boston is partnering with Marchesa on a lower price-point collection. The new group launches in the 19 Priscilla stores this September, with prices beginning at $1,500.

Additionally, the Vera Wang collection at David’s Bridal is expanding to include bridesmaid dresses.

Courtesy Image via WWD.com

We promised to share a more styles from Bridal Week, below we have three stunners from Reem Acra.

PHOTOS: Jason Riffe/FashionWirePress.com

Oh gosh, look, they all have sleeves. Two more gowns from Reem Acra.

PHOTOS: Jason Riffe/FashionWirePress.com

Very pretty, all of them.

We also have a brief update on that “exclusive report” about Kate Middleton’s wedding gown being designed (we mention it here) by Sophie Cranston of Libélula, WWD shares the label’s response to the rumors.

“Libelula has a company policy of not commenting on any of the work they do for private clients, however due to the unprecedented media attention they would like to make the following statement: We are not designing Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. We, like everyone else, can’t wait to find out who is!”

Because The Consort is so concerned about the issue (cough-cough), he felt the need to set the record straight:

The Consort Responds

There you have it.


Careening on to our next topic, a look at some of the new goodies from this spring’s Social Primer for Brooks Brothers reversible bowtie collection. Below, some of the ties as seen in the catalog.

Social Primer for Brooks Brothers

In addition to the fresh crop of ties, now there are key fobs in the line as well.

Social Primer

Those in (or near) Charleston can see the line’s designer, K. Cooper Ray, at the Charleston Billy Reid next Wednesday. Click here for more information on that event.


We have a very quick mention on behalf of a friend, the Fresh Air Fund is looking for host families in the thirteen states the organization serves.

Fresh Air Fund


We leave you with today’s “What Were They Thinking?”  Below, an image with a piece of fleece that Jo-Ann stores was selling at the top, and an authentic Coach handbag on the bottom.

Via The Cut

The two items are together illustrating a story about Coach suing Jo-Ann for trademark infringement, among other things, because of the similarity to the Coach logo in the fleece fabric design. In this instance we concur with Coach, the elongated O in the design is way-too-similar to the company’s distinctive logo. We wouldn’t want the image on fleece either, it makes visions of a Coach Snuggie painfully easy to imagine.


Filed under Collaborations, Logos, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, Royal Wedding, You Can't Make This Stuff Up

What the Lilly Pulitzer Sale Means

Hello-Hello, what a delightful Wednesday it is here at The Prepatorium, albeit it a little harried.

We shift directions today in light of yesterday’s big announcement that Lilly Pulitzer has been sold to Oxford Industries.

Via Fibre2Fashion.com

We have had a few queries on the topic, and thought it best to look at this development rather than engaging in our usual blather and drivel our planned post more relative to seasonal goings-on.

Back to the deal: Oxford was prepared, posting a link on its home page to “a retrospective look at the Lilly Pulitzer brand” via a You Tube video.

The clip offers a nice look back at Lilly history, including images of patterns and prints, iconic designs and celebrities in Lilly.

Oxford also co-hosted a conference call with Lilly’s management team to share details about the sale and what it portends for the future.

First a bit of background on Oxford. The company owns Tommy Bahama

And Ben Sherman.

Courtesy Photo via WWD

Here is how the Times’ Dealbook described the purchase:

“In the world of deal-making, prep is still in, and pink is looking awfully pretty.

“One month after J. Crew agreed to sell itself to two buyout firms, the parent company of Lilly Pulitzer — the maker of eye-catching dresses for the horsey set — sold itself on Tuesday to Oxford Industries for $60 million in cash.

And this from Michael de la Merced’s Dealbook story about on Lilly’s place on Planet Prep:

“No less an authority than “The Official Preppy Handbook” declared that the company’s golf skirt and beach dress were must-haves for Muffie and her friends.”

What does it all mean to us, the consumers? Here is what Lilly noted on its Facebook page:

“Good news travels fast! Here’s the juice…Sugartown Worldwide (the parent company of Lilly Pulitzer) was acquired by Oxford Industries. We are smiling ear to ear because everything will stay the same, only better. The company will be under the same leadership – aka Brad and Scott and everyone else here you adore. We are… in love with Oxford because they LOVE Lilly and want us to be JUST AS WE ARE, only more more more.”

From a WWD story on the acquisition:

“…the plan is to add to the Lilly Pulitzer stable of company-owned retail stores and enhance its e-commerce site, which launched two years ago and accounts for more than 10 percent of sales. E-commerce is viewed as “the biggest opportunity,”…”

Jean Palmieri’s story in WWD notes Oxford plans to add 4 to 7 new stores a year to the existing 16 corporate stores.  This may be good news in many respects, but there is significant anxiety from non-corporate stores, as all Tommy Bahama stores are owned by Oxford.

A few thoughts:

  • When a company is publicly traded there are different goals. Shareholders have profit expectations, and those expectations must be met. Having worked for both privately held and publicly traded media companies over the years, there *is* a difference. By the same token, Lilly Pulitzer is already engaged in making money, it hasn’t ever been a not-for-profit endeavor.  However, an additional $20 million dollars is on the table if Lilly meets certain earnings targets. It doesn’t take an MBA to recognize that amount of money can be a strong motivator in finding ways to meet such goals.
  • The current management team will remain at the Pink Palace.  Scott Beaumont and Jim Bradbeer, (CEO & President, respectively) brought the brand back from the grave and have demonstrated they know their stuff, we admire their business acumen. Those two gentlemen are very savvy marketers.
  • The Lilly Warehouse sales will remain in KOP (King of Prussia, home to the Lilly Mothership).

How will Oxford/Lilly react to customer concerns about quality, direction, and brand dilution? That is an unknown. Lilly Pulitzer has an extraordinarily passionate customer base, not quite on par with Apple (but close), with a devoted, almost-cult-like following.  Consumers know prints by name, specific garments by cut and style: the Bowen dress, Paley Cardigan, McKims sandals, and recently, the wildly popular Murfee scarf, to name just a few of the items buyers covet.  (Yes, we have a few favorites as well!) The Re-Lilly Facebook group has grown to more than 2700 fans in just one year, followers who buy, sell, swap and share Lilly merchandise, tips and tidbits.

Some believe Lilly is no longer as “special” as it once was. Messrs. Bradbeer and Beaumont have done a stellar job bringing the brand back from the grave, to be sure.  But recent collaborations have troubled some customers, the LeSportSac partnership seemed especially irksome to many, although it didn’t bother us.

The company has licensed or partnered with firms making everything from electric cars to cosmetics to stationery. (Full disclosure: we are sellers of the Lilly Pulitzer Stationery & Gifts line.)  The enormous Lilly Pulitzer Furniture Collection due out in the spring has sparked conversation as well. (More info and photos here.)  One area greeting the news favorably: the stock market, Oxford shares were up 22% as of this writing.

As Lilly’s executives noted on the conference call, they were not actively shopping the company, having declined previous approaches over the years. In this case conversations continued past the initial stage, and the offer transcended others in providing a solid “strategic and cultural fit,” according to Thomas Caldecot Chubb, III, Oxford’s president.

As with any transaction of this magnitude many factors are unknown. From a selfish perspective, we do love our Lilly, although we don’t live in it, in part because of the climate – The Great Midwest doesn’t encourage summer fashions year round. Sigh.  And we want to see the small, independent shops we love (hello Village Palm and many others!) continue to grow and thrive.  So we’ll cross our fingers and our toes, hoping that good things happen going forward.

More importantly, what do *you* think?


Filed under Lilly Pulitzer Paper & Gifts, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, preppy stationery

Of Preps and Sloanes, Neiman’s New Bargain Stores, Nautical Notes

Hello, happy Monday!

We begin with an intriguing story from the far side of the pond, this one from the student newspaper at Oxford. Published Friday, “Sloanes versus Preppies: the rise of upper middle class cool” is just as it sounds, the piece examines similarities and disparities between the groups.

“Two social groups of upper middle classes have particularly captured the imagination of thousands, prompting the production of numerous books, articles and aspirational clothing. They are the British Sloanes and the American Preppies.”

For those not as familiar with Sloanes (originally Sloane Rangers), the term became popular in the 80’s. Princess Diana is frequently referenced as an example, there were also Sloane Ranger Handbooks, not unlike TOPH.

“Exclusive, wealthy and well-connected, Sloaneys and Preppies may seem superficially similar in their lifestyles. However, scratch the surface and you quickly realize that the conservative and intellectual bunch of Preps is miles away from the “casually cool” set of Sloaneys from Kensington and Chelsea.”

Marta Szczerba’s story delves into many facets of life, including how each group spends free time:

“For both Sloanes and Preppies, sports and second homes are an integral part of the lifestyle. Sloanes love entertaining in country homes in Suffolk, having lunch dates off King’s Road and play tennis or lacrosse. Kids probably had ponies when they were little (which have since been traded into Mulberry bags). Holiday destinations include Scotland, Cornwall, south of France and Monaco.”

“Don’t look for Preppies in the city on the weekends. They are not there. They go to the country, to their second home to cook, go antiquing, nap, recharge batteries and socialize in country clubs. They are sporty and with a natural competitive streak, but their preferred sports are, well, clubby. Golf, sailing, tennis, squash, polo, biking, fishing are sports preps adore.”

We enjoyed the comparison of fashion styles between the two groups, here is a bit of that perspective:

“Preppies scorn the messy look often worn by Sloanies. As the True Prep handbook states, “Sweat suits are for sweating. You can try to get away with wearing sweats to carpool, to pick up the newspaper, or to drive to the dump, but last time you were at the dump, the drop-dead-attractive widower from Maple Lane was there, too.”

This one is a fun read, if so inclined here is the full story.


On the heels of our post about factory outlet stores and the merchandise they carry, word that Neiman Marcus is opening yet another line of discount stores, different from the existing Last Call stores.  The new stores will be called Last Call Studio; the Times has the story:

“The new Studio stores will carry lower-end products, bought directly from vendors, not the scuffed but still new pair of Manolo Blahniks (as high as $1,995 at Neiman’s) that can show up at Last Call stores (for about two-thirds as much). “

“A prototype of the Studio store in Dallas looks more like a career-wear store — an Ann Taylor or a Chico’s — than it does a Neiman Marcus or an outlet store. Clothes are simple and conservative, and muted colors like black, taupe and pink reign.”

Matt Nager for the NY Times

Last week we mentioned customers can now shop Last Call online; the Times story notes that Nordstrom Rack is also available online. We would caution anyone heading to the Rack online – the selection is fairly limited at this point, presumably it will be expanded as the days go by.


Next, a few nautical notes we think our treasured readers may enjoy. The first is a line of sailcloth bags we weren’t familiar with from True Wind USA.

The company’s bags are made in the USA, and they are super-durable.  We like the Classic Tote Bags, but there is a great selection of sizes and styles.

Next, with apologies to any of our Facebook Fans who may have seen our mention already, the nautically inclined chair from Halo Styles caught our eye.

Keeping with the signal flags theme, Nautica is shooting next summer’s catalog, and sharing pictures as they go.

Click here to see the photos on Twipic, or on the company’s FB page to take a peek at the upcoming styles.


There has been all sorts of chatter about the upcoming Lilly Pulitzer Furniture Collection that launches in the spring (most recently we posted about it here and here); we wanted to let everyone know there are a number of additional places to see more photos.

  • Above we see pictures from Jamie at Furbish Studio, she has scads of amazing photos showing many of the eclectic color combinations, her description of the new line is perfect:

“…it was the perfect match of dorothy draper meets the sorority house meets jonathan adler meets delight.”


We close with today’s Pretty in Pink and Green.

The Polka Dot Yoga Tote is just now in the shop, from the ever-so-talented Candi, who also does our Ribbon Flip-Flops and other accessories.  (Can anyone help a dopey Princess who can’t seem to figure out if “polka dot” is one or two words….?)

Goodbye until next time!


Filed under nautical, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink, True Prep & TOPH