Hello-Hello, happy new week to you!
We all know that no one loves a bargain better than preps, so I thought it might be fun to spend a little time this spring looking at alternatives to our standard haunts and brands, we’ll veer clear of Brooks Brothers, Talbots, J. Crew and the like.
We begin with a cursory look at JC Penney’s new brand for men, “Stafford Prep,” introduced last month. The troubled retailer continues to struggle, the new label is one of many created to upgrade Penney’s image, an extension of Penney’s Stafford line. Our first item from the collection is the Bengal Stripe Poplin Shirt, originally priced at $30 the shirts are now discounted to $22.50. (Yes, Penney’s is now back to a promotion-heavy pricing scheme with frequent discounts, specials and perhaps even coupons.)
The shirt is cotton poplin, clearly created to capture some of the “go to hell” styling favored by other prep brands. The Striped Poplin Shirt (originally $28, now $21) incorporates similar styling, it is available in two different colorways. One of the most appealing aspects of the shirts is the discreetly placed logo, small, just above the vent at the side seam.
Another basic from Stafford Prep, the Cotton Piqué Polo, comes in a broad selection of colors. Originally selling for $18, the shirts are now $13.50.
For the ladies at your palace, the Short Sleeve Polo shirt on the far left is $16, it offers updated styling with a slimmer fit and extended button placket, some versions are discounted to $11.99, including petite sizes.
Prices for Targét’s basic School Uniform Polo are only $6.48 to 12.99 in junior sizes, shown on the far left. No one is going to know it’s for a school uniform, and it is a durable garment from what friends say. Below center we show the Men’s Mossimo Polo, it also comes in a wonderful array of colors and is priced from $12 to $14.99. If seeking something for your little Master of the House, the Cherokee infant Toddler Boy’s Polo on the far right is $7.
For comparison’s sake we show the Double L Polo from LL Bean. The shirts are $15.99, and you do get the cute little Bean boot logo.
However, that is because these are on sale, the original price was $32.95. Other polos are on sale at Bean, and they are great buys. Non-discounted polos at Bean seem to start around $25, at Lands’ End it looks like they start around $24 or $25 as well.
Kohl’s also carries a number of basics, and like other discounters they use promotional pricing much more heavily than Bean or Lands’ End. Most (if not almost all) shirts appear appear to be on sale, we show the Croft & Barrow® Solid Piqué Polo, originally priced at $18, now $9.99.
A basic solid shirt can do yeoman duty, we share several more from JC Penney. On the far left we see a top from the retailer’s new Joe Fresh collection, brought on with much ballyhoo, the Voile Shirt comes in a number of colors. In the center, JCP’s Long Sleeve Oxford ($24.99), and on the far right, the Silk Sleeveless Henley Top ($39).
Shoes with a prep aesthetic aren’t always as simple to find, although reasonably priced flats seem to abound at most discounters. Below, Target’s Madge is offered in a range of colors and textures, at $17.99 they may not last forever, but they sure will do the trick in the short term.
Target’s Ona Striped Scrunch Ballet Flat is just $19.
There really is a solid selection of preppish basics available, including discount department stores. It’s a matter of knowing what you want and keeping on eye on quality: is the construction solid? are seams finished well? are plaids matched at the major seams? Another thing to keep in mind, most of us prefer all natural fabrics: cotton, linen, wool. Polyester can make an otherwise wonderful piece feel entirely different, including making it uncomfortable in warm temps. Depending on the garment maintenance could be more involved; as a rule that has been worth the extra effort in the long run.
We leave you with some madras pieces we discovered at Target: the Women’s Merona® Lari Boat Shoes for $15, Men’s Shorts that are 50% off (now $12.48), Men’s Tie in Navy Madras Plaid at $19.99, and Womens Zulima Plaid Rain Boots, $29.99.