Tag Archives: Official Preppy Handbook

About Those True Prep Reviews, Savings of the Preppish Sort

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a Wednesday.

Today we have our promised follow-up to yesterday’s post.  That piece focused on our recent interview with True Prep author Lisa Birnbach, and we promised to look at reviews for the book. The Palm Beach Daily News speaks highly of the book:

“Like its predecessor, True Prep sardonically skewers the social customs of the blue blooded and Blue Booked — and, in keeping up with the times, is a far more egalitarian sort of social X-ray.

Preppiness is not for everyone, and that is the gift. It is a club that requires a certain comfort in its singularity — and that, book or no, is what continues to give Birnbach plenty to celebrate in her own effervescent way.”

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At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Crimson’s story is fairly negative:

“For the most part, the book—a series of short little features on subjects as diverse as trunk shows, second weddings, and different types of loafers—is an entertaining encapsulation of one of the most recognizable (and ridiculous) styles under the sun, and the author certainly maintains a healthy sense of humor throughout. But underneath the humor and behind the fun, the book has an odd dimension that suggests some things that are somewhat less whimsical.”

Birnbach Defines and Undermines the World of ‘True Prep’” was written by a junior at the Harvard daily paper, James K. McAuley; it is unlikely he is fond of “preppies” real, or literary:

“Naturally, there is never an explanation of why prep culture is something worth glorifying or even a subject worthy of two whole books.”

“It just so happens that almost anyone can assimilate into our world of prepdom,” Birnbach says with regard to the subject of preppy Muslims. But, after 234 pages, one has to wonder: why would anyone want to?”

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Spencer Baily at the Book Beast is essentially positive in his look at the new book.

“Birnbach and Kidd’s book proves that there’s a lot about preppies that you probably never knew, nor did I, despite my own preppy background—boarding school, a good beat-up pair of Sperry top-siders, and, well, did you notice my name? To the contrary, I discovered a culture far more widespread—and diverse—than I ever imagined. In the 21st century, prepsterdom is pervasive.”

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Many articles have used a question and answer format, including Allan Peppard’s story in the Dallas Morning News:

What has the digital age done to the foundation of preppydom?

Rocked it to its core. One thing that defines a preppy is our very primal need for privacy and the digital age has disemboweled that. Privacy is fundamental. Having money was never the goal of life. The goal of life was having fun, having friends and outsmarting the hangover.”

Mr. Peppard notes the challenges of following up on a classic:

“Duplicating a cultural phenomenon is Sisyphean work, but Birnbach is on her way back up the hill…”

Elizabeth Wellington’s story in the Philadelphia Inquirer offers a positive critique in addition to her interview with Ms. Birnbach:

“Certainly 30 years has not been enough time to break through the members-only barriers of some preppy pastimes (still sacred are private school, a second home on the beach, even the three-martini happy hour), but the door to prep fashion is now open to the masses. What once were elitist department store-only brands – Lacoste, Coach, and Lilly Pulitzer – now have their own mall stores (not to mention their own Facebook and Twitter pages). And anyone can masquerade as a preppy, thanks to H&M and Wal-Mart, the modern-day go-to stores for polo-style shirts and khakis.

So much for exclusivity.”

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A substantial amount of verbiage is devoted to the way the prep world has changed since TOPH (The Official Preppy Handbook) was published 30 years ago. (Eek!)  Ms. Wellington posed a number of questions to the author, including one on a topic covered in many interviews:
How has hip-hop influenced preppy, and how has preppy influenced hip-hop?
Hip-hop borrowed this aesthetic in a big way. They went big and bullish with preppy. It was preppy with a twist. . . What happened is it got to be too much. The logos were too big. Tommy Hilfiger had to ratchet it back a bit because he found it corrupted his mission.”
The hip-hop topic also comes up in the Dartmouth Independent story:
There is a classic prep style associated with Dartmouth and other Ivy League colleges. I’ve noticed, however, that the hipster look has been trickling in lately. Some have joked that hipsters, rather than being true counter-culturalists, are actually ironic preps.
It’s funny―I’ve never heard him say it, but I have a son who I think is a hipster, or at least he thinks he’s a hipster.”

To see the rest of Ms. Birnbach’s answer to this question, just click here.

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True Prep is dutiful where The Official Preppy Handbook was cheeky and seems more interested in promoting the virtues of prep-dom than taking a satirical look at its foibles.”
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A Continuous Lean

The über-cool Michael Williams at A Continuous Lean was pleasantly surprised by the book:

“When I first learned of the new book I instinctively cringed. Not to be pessimistic, but I just couldn’t see how anything could be as good as the original.
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Though there are a few style related things in the book that I cannot endorse (which will go unnamed here), I have to say that after reading it with the mindset that the book is not meant to be a “part II,” (it is designed to complement the original) I really liked it. I also must admit that I was wrong about Lisa and True Prep. It is a worthy read and money well spent.
Clearly it is a mixed bag among the professional writers, just as it is with the preppy blog world.
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Many retailers are not having the much-improved 4th quarter sales they hoped for, and that means prices are dropping, promotional efforts are underway and discounts abound. We leave you with a sampling of several Sales & Savings Opportunities.

Neiman Marcus

Saks Fifth Avenus

J. Crew

We sign off with a wish and the hope that our military veterans will receive special goodness tomorrow, and every day.

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

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 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

Win True Prep *and* an Original Preppy Handbook + Preppy Goodies

Hello-Hello, here at the Prepatorium it is a stellar Thursday, in part because we are *finally* getting around to our much-delayed giveaway!

The good folks at Random House sent us an amazing gift bag filled with all manner of treasures, we’ll get to those momentarily, however, the first gift bag business involves reading material: the giveaway includes both “True Prep” from Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd, as well as an authentic copy of The Official Preppy Handbook.

 

"Two! Two! Two Preps in One!"

 

Yes, TP is surrendering one of her copies; we must all make sacrifices, and today we offer this up for The Planet’s greater good. (Heh, heh, heh.) With 1.3 million copies of TOPH sold, and True Prep’s continued presence on the NY Times Bestseller list, clearly this is paradise for one lucky prep.

Also included in the fabulous prize package:

 

LL Bean Signature

 

 

Vineyard Vines

 

We admit to being excited about our Giveaway; it’s crisp and cool outside, a good time for a little fun and frivolity, oui?  Here is the scoop on how to enter.

  • For one entry, leave us a comment, any old comment will suffice;
  • For a 2nd entry, post the Giveaway on your blog or Facebook page & leave a comment telling us you did;
  • For a 3rd entry, Tweet about the Giveaway on Twitter & let us know you did (here’s the Princess on Twitter);
  • For another entry, become a Preppy Princess fan on Facebook & let us know you did (If already a fan, just let us know so you receive this additional entry!)
  • For another entry, become a True Prep fan on Facebook & let us know you did (If already a fan, just let us know so you receive this additional entry!)
  • For multiple additional entries, tell a friend! For each friend leaving a comment that mentions your name (or your blog or email or other means of identifying you) you receive two additional entries!

Entries will be accepted until midnight on Wednesday, October 13th and we shall announce the lucky winner in Thursday’s post.

Enter early, enter often, and please come back to visit with us again!

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

The Times Reviews True Prep, Mad About Emmy Party Frocks

Hello-hello, we are clearly embarking upon another wild and wacky week here at the Prepatorium, how are things shaping up in your corner of the globe?

We begin with a look at one of the first big reviews for True Prep, this one from Janet Maslin in the Times.  Ms. Maslin begins with a look back at the volume preceding True Prep, TOPH, along with another classic.

“But much of “The Official Preppy Handbook” just codified widely known information about high-WASP habits and affectations. (It also borrowed from “Take Ivy,” a 1965 style guide published in Japan.) Its original readers, whether they were knowing or curious, were apt to be of boarding-school age or a little older. Now they’re pushing 50.”

PreppyPrincess.com

Above, that iconic cover of Take Ivy.

The review mentions some of the societal changes since TOPH was first published.

“Among the post-1980 phenomena with which “The Official Preppy Handbook” could not conjure are the Internet, the McMansion, the cellphone, synthetic fleece and the emergence of famous rehab facilities as today’s new boarding schools.”

Below, one of many illustrations in the book.

Random House/Knopf

As mentioned in previous posts (here and here), the book includes many contemporary brands and companies.  A few seen in the Casual Friday image shown above, LL Bean, Cole-Haan, and J. Crew (too much Crew); product mentions caught Ms. Maslin’s attention:

“Ms. Birnbach is best suited to the shopping guide and flagrant product plugs that are a large part of this book’s raison d’être.”

Overall Ms. Maslin’s review is positive, with appreciation for the book’s humorous style and efforts to update common topics. Click here to read the review in its entirety.

Also of note, this month’s Allure features a True Prep tie-in piece, our thanks to the Bellini Bunny for showcasing it on her blog. The story contrasts popular styles of today with styles back in 1980 when TOPH was published.

Allure magazine via the Bellini Bunny

For example, “Beauty Icons then” include Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, “Now” it is Gwyneth Paltrow. (Ahem.)

Also meriting a visit, Apartment Therapy’s “Waspy Whimsey“.

Apartment Therapy

Guerrin Gardner and Mat Sanders put together a wonderful styleboard inspired by the book.

For anyone interested in the schedule with dates and times for True Prep Book Tour events, click here; the link takes you to a page with all that info and more, The Consort the IT department put it together for the site.

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We quickly revisit some of last night’s fashionable (or not) moments at the Emmys. Below, three stars of Mad Men,  January Jones in Atelier Versace, Elizabeth Moss in Donna Karan, and Christina Hendricks in Zac Posen.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Below, Sally Draper actress Kiernan Shipka at the event.

Here are a few of the Mad Men, along with the show’s producer, Matt Weiner.

Chris Pizzello/AP

Actor Jon Hamm and longtime partner Jennifer Westveldt both wore Armani for the big do, while Tina Fey opted for a stunning Oscar de la Renta gown.

Perhaps the most unusual dress was worn by Rita Wilson, seen here with husband Tom Hanks.

Michael Buckner/Getty

The dress and shoes were both from the Prada runway show, we don’t know who did the handbag.

We generally adore Ms. Wilson’s style selections, but this one just didn’t work; it was a classic case of the dress wearing her, not the other way around.

Actress Claire Danes was a knockout in Armani.

We leave you with two more images from last night’s festivities.

Until next time!

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS:

  • AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
  • Frazer Harrison/Getty
  • Jason Merritt/Getty

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

Preppy is Back. Again. Also, Brands You’ll See in True Prep

Hello-Hello, happy new week!

We must begin with an enormous “Thank You” to everyone who left such kind and lovely comments following Friday’s post, not to mention the Tweets and Facebook comments.  There is no adequate way to explain how touched we were by the sentiments, it made our day extra special.

Today we have breaking news just in to the Prepatorium: there is another preppy resurgence! Oh my!

Umm… not exactly. We apologize for our poor step into hyperbole, we were unable to resist the temptation. The not-breaking-news comes via our friends on the far side of the pond.  In yet another look at ‘preppy style’ this story from Sunday’s Independent asks: “Are you Ready to get Preppy?” with the following as a subheadline:

“After 30 years in the doldrums, the relaxed East Coast look is back – along with a new handbook to help you wear it with elan”

The story is pegged to this fall’s release of “True Prep” from Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd, a topic covered previously in this space. Here is the story’s opening paragraph from writer Susie Mesure:

“Can’t tell your Top-Siders from your Sebagos? Unsure how high to roll your chinos? After some preppy shopping primers? Well, unfurrow your brows and raise a gin and tonic because help is at hand from a new book out this autumn that will exploit the current clamour for East Coast style.”

We doubt Princess readers are struggling with the issues mentioned above, but we could be wrong.  The photo accompanying the story shows looks from the spring 2010 Ralph Lauren collection (our post on the collection may be found here.)

Courtesy Polo Ralph Lauren

If given a choice of designers to illustrate the Independent story, we lean more toward these Brook Brothers promotional pieces…

Brooks Brothers

They promote the Summer at the Cape collections.

BrooksBrothers.com

An editor from Gentleman’s Quarterly is quoted in the Independent story:

“Robert Johnson, associate editor of the fashion magazine GQ, said: “Preppy is back. Every season, particularly summer, there is always a nod to classic Americana but preppy is a big trend this year.” He partly attributed its popularity to the fact that people are “bored” with denim.”

To read the story in its entirety, click here.

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One of our favorite blogs, All the Rage, also previews the upcoming book in this piece by Adam Tschorn.  This photo collage is used to illustrate his story.

Brooks Brothers & Tory Burch via All the Rage

Mr. Tschorn (aka ‘Cuffy’) offers the perspective of someone who actually attended prep school.  In today’s post his interview with Ms. Birnbach offers insight on what brands readers can expect to see in the upcoming book:

“…familiar favorites are revisited. Among them are Lacoste, Sperry Top-Sider, Brooks Brothers, and Ralph Lauren. “I was very, very stingy with [Ralph] in 1980. I think he’s referred to maybe once,” she said. “But this time he gets a lot of play.”

She said that some additions are labels that actually pre-date the first book, including Burberry, Barbour, Hermès, Verdura, Kenneth Jay Lane, Hunter Wellies, and J.M. Weston (“They have these beautiful loafers from France,” she explains).”

Many brands included in the upcoming volume did not even exist when TOPH (The Official Preppy Handbook) was published. More from Mr. Tschorn’s story with Lisa Birnbach:

““We’ve got Vineyard Vines – they started in 1998, and of course J. Crew — which wasn’t around then either [it launched in 1983 as a mail-order company]. And we’ve got some Kenneth Cole [1982] and a little bit of Robert Graham [2001].”

Below, two shirts from Robert Graham.

Ms. Birnbach also chats at length about Tory Burch in the story.  We recommend popping over for a read, it is a fun piece.

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Perhaps the most amazing thing we’ve seen yet on the book was in today’s Book Bench from the New Yorker site.  In a post titled, “Prep is Dead, Long Live Prep” Meredith Blake mentions yours truly (prompting a most unPrincess-like shriek):

“While the original handbook advised that “you should appear in print only three times in your life—upon birth, marriage, and death,” today’s prep is virtually screaming for a little attention; the wasp mystique, it seems, has faded. Like everything else, we can blame it on the Internet, where there’s a thriving community of bloggers dedicated to all things prep-related. At the pink-and-green themed The Preppy Princess, Susan Kelly defends her love for Lilly Pulitzer, while Melissa Morris’s May December has such an impassioned following that its author was the subject of a profile in the newspaper of record. There’s also The Trad, a slightly more idiosyncratic blog dedicated to classic American-made garments.”

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We conclude all this blather with a cautionary note: it is likely we shall encounter an increasing volume in the mainstream media about the preppy aesthetic being raised from the dead (ahem), in sync with the calendar’s movement toward True Prep’s September release date.
And with visions of books dancing in our head we say, g’bye!

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Filed under Prepalicious, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, True Prep & TOPH, When Preppy Goes Wrong

The Official Preppy Handbook Returns as “True Prep”

Hello-Hello, and Happy Thursday! With any luck at all you are enjoying a warm and sunny day filled with promise and thoughts of good things to come.

We are doing a one-thought-Thursday, focusing on news about TOPH:

Official Preppy Handbook fans and followers are sure to be elated by news that author Lisa Birnbach is coming out with a new version of that classic volume.

Courtesy Photo

The publisher’s notes detail the book’s direction much better than we can:

True Prep looks at how the old guard of natural-fiber-loving, dog-worshipping, G&T-soaked preppies adapts to the new order of the Internet, cell phones, rehab, political correctness, reality TV and . . . polar fleece.”

Clearly the update has merit, offering serious possibilities. How shall the notion of ladies playing on the men’s course be handled? What about the errant child wanting a tattoo? (The horror!) We expect Ms. Birnbach and co-author Chip Kidd will provide us with an entertaining perspective on the perils a prep faces in the new millenium.

We have long wondered if there would be an update to the original, as it seemed an idea begging to be done. And when we saw this blog site we had hope.

Alas, the “Official Updated Preppy Handbook” blog hasn’t been updated since last December and the total number of posts comes in at a scant 12.

Via idp05

We must be candid in our thoughts on the original: it is something we loved reading, we still have a copy here at the prepatorium. We adore the writing style, the goofy (but spot-on) illustrations, the fact the entire topic is approached from a tongue-in-cheek perspective. We consider it a classic. However (and this is where some may find us heretical), it is not our bible.

We don’t have a lifestyle bible. We simply are what we are. We were fortunate to grow up in circumstances similar to those depicted in the book, but we never made, nor do we now make conscious decisions to ‘dress preppy’.  When it comes to apparel we wear Brooks Brothers or LL Bean or Lilly because it is what’s in the closet, mixed in among the Target tees and polos found at an outlet mall.  We merely seek that which is classic, stylish and of good quality and we guess most readers are of a similar mind.

Back to the fun stuff, here is more from the publisher:

• Wardrobe: Recent prep brands we are forced to recognize. How to tell Casual Friday from, say, Saturday.
• Money: We never talk about it.
• Food: Does the Food Network mean we’re going to have to cook? Bake? Now you’re going too far.
• Scandals: Poor Mrs. Astor. When Mummy’s plastic surgery goes terribly wrong. Rehab and the slammer: the new prep schools.
• We’re outta here: When to name something after yourself, and when not. The right obituary. What to do with your dogs if you predecease them.
• NO TEXTING AT THE TABLE, PLEASE.

You know TP is simply *dying* to hear about those ‘prep brands we are forced to recognize‘.  We can’t wait to see how those pesky and persistent logos are treated by Ms. Birnbach. The subject opens a whole new world of possibilities, don’t you think? Who do you think belongs on the list of brands to be recognized and who do you should be placed in the Fashion No-No column?

Do tell, expiring minds are dying to know!

Smiles to all of our cherished readers, we do appreciate you visiting!

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