Tag Archives: Original Preppy Handbook

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

A Conversation With Lisa Birnbach

Hello-Hello, welcome to a Wednursday (Wednesday + Thursday) post, we are so swamped this shall have to count for two days.

Today we share our interview with the woman we call the Grand Pooh-bah of Prep, Lisa Birnbach, the author of True Prep.  Yesterday was the book’s official release date, and we still cannot believe she found time for an interview; some readers may recall Ms. Birnbach’s day started with an appearance on the Today show, and it only grew busier after that.

NBC Universal

To say we were flattered to even be on the interview list, let alone on the book’s first day, would transcend understatement. (We will share a little secret: at the last moment throwing on a strand of pearls seemed prudent, because after all, she *would* be able to tell through the telephone what we were wearing here at the Prepatorium, right down to the accessories.  Somehow. she. would. know.)

Ummm, not exactly. From the outset Ms. Birnbach was warm and witty, if anyone was wooden and stiff… well, yes. It was I. Me. Us. (Whomever, honestly Princess, get a grip!)

Sadly, our first question was truly tasteless, we asked the obvious, what (who) were you wearing on the Today show?  It turns out the ensemble was a combination of new and old, both the skirt and the blouse were Brooks Brothers (although we have to apologize for being a witless wonder right off the bat, one was Black Fleece and the other regular Brooks, but it appears we were quite incapable of properly noting which was which), and the shoes were older Manolos. (Because they are still perfectly good shoes.)

NBC Universal

Almost all of the jewelry was on loan from Verdura, including the Beehive Pendant Watch, not unlike the one shown below in a 2007 Christie’s catalog.

Via Christie's

Verdura is covered in Chapter 4, “I Just Found it in My Closet,” sure to be a favorite for most fans, as it covers the contemporary sartorial choices one confronts in clothing and accessories.  Ms. Birnbach explained a bit of the process for borrowing the jewelry, it is not something undertaken lightly.  As mentioned, not everything was on loan, the pinky ring worn by Ms. Birnbach was her own, marking the occasion of her son’s birth.

We only had one other matter to handle before getting into the meat of the interview, a minor issue we felt compelled to discuss before we could comfortably move into more intense conversation.

TP: “There is just one little thing I need to bring up before we move on, um…well….uh, it’s….ah, it’s just something that is very troubling, actually, it’s fairly traumatic, I think some people might classify it as bordering on tragic. I’m worried it might derail our whole conversation, but have to bring it up anway.”

LB: “Oh, really? What is it??”

TP: “The Top-Siders featured on the Today show this morning.”

LB: “The Top-Siders are tragic? How are the Top-Siders tragic?”

TP: “They’re metallic.”

(As a brief refresher, below we share a snippet from our post on the topic earlier this year:

“The women’s Original 2-Eye metallic boat shoe seen below is at Crew, offered in platinum.

J. Crew/Sperry Top-Sider

(TP has stepped away for the moment, she is struggling with the word ‘metallic’ adjacent to the words ‘boat shoe’.)”

There, enough of that tedious blather the background, now back to yesterday’s conversation.

Ms. Birnbach was gracious in responding to our angst about the shoes.

LB: “Susan, let’s talk about this, allright? I know what you’re saying, I really do. But the metallic Top-Siders are sort of like the bad boy in school. You remember? You knew he was not the guy for you, you absolutely knew he was not the guy, and you may even have been repelled by him, but at the same time, there was this attraction, something drawing you toward him. I think the Top-Siders are kind of like the bad boy.  I’m not saying you should get them. I’m just saying I’m open to new ideas.”

TP: “Oh. Okay.” (Heh, heh, heh.)

Of course that exchange was understood by both parties as being in jest. Fun. Funny. Entirely couched in humor, intended to be taken as such, and returned in the same vein.

And Ms. Birnbach is *very* funny, immediately grasping the enormity of a “Princess tragedies” on the level of a metallic Top-Sider. This was helpful, allowing us to feel safe bringing up the next crisis.

TP: Since we’ve dealt with the shoe, can we talk about the skull? Did you see the CBS Early Show Monday morning, that segment on hypothetical Preppy Fashion? They said ‘The new preppy icon is the skull.” What is up with that?!” (Insert a full blast of righteous indignation to achieve the proper sense of total outrage.)

LB: “The skull? No, no, no.  Just no.  The skull of course, is rugby.  And rugby and preps do go back. It’s the Jolly Roger pirate, it’s everywhere, Smathers and Branson have the pirate, all sorts of things have the pirate, the Jolly Roger is everywhere. But it isn’t the new preppy icon.”

Phew. Another close one.

For a sense of that CBS story, here is one line:

“After lying low in the nineties, preppy has once again reinvented itself, this time led by pop stars and gossip girls.”

Indeed.

During the interview we had a splendid talk about the breadth of choices available these days when looking at clothing and accessories, from relative newcomers like Smathers and Branson or Tucker Blair for needlepoint goodies, or Vineyard Vines, to old standbys like Brooks Brothers and Lilly Pulitzer.  The number of bright, gifted entrepreneurs now making things appealing to preps of all ages continues to grow.

The writer shared a story about her own preppy look from years ago when she had one of her very first jobs in the business, this one at the oh-so-liberal (the horror) Village Voice newspaper.  As might be expected, the style was très casual, everyone dressed down. Way, way down. What was a prep to do? Ms. Birnbach went wild, and purchased a Lacoste polo shirt. In black.

No one will be surprised to learn we had fun talking about the Anti-Prep Wall of Shame, we sensed unspoken approval of our existing members. For the uninitiated, this select group includes both humans (think Paris Hilton), as well as other entities (Abercrombie & Fitch) displaying gross negligence to standards of good taste, good manners, or basic decency .  The conversation moved on to the sorry state of what passes for “celebrity” these days.

“Doesn’t anybody miss the day when you actually had to accomplish something to be a celebrity? What is it that says being on a reality tv show makes someone a celebrity or authority on life?”

Amen.

We talked about the challenge of writing True Prep. It was not easy, the enormity of following an iconic book like The Original Preppy Handbook was more than daunting.

“It is scary to come out with this book, it really is.  The writing part itself, the sitting down and typing the words actually wasn’t the difficult part… it was the going through the day, trying to look at every single thing that could have changed in the last thirty years…that part was hard. I hope people have fun with it, I hope they enjoy it, I always worry.

We also chatted about what I perceive as the challenge of the upcoming book tour and other public appearances, almost everyone approaching with a “Why didn’t you include _____________________ in the chapter on preppy colleges?” Or, “I cannot believe you think that _______________ is preppy.”  Miss Birnbach explained that she is not saying absolutely, unequivocally, that a certain school, or community, or club, or sport, or item of clothing, or anything else is the “one and only.” Nor that it should be. And she also said she learns an awful lot when from questions and comments, she very much sees the process as a learning experience.

Again, we stress the fun factor, using the following as a brief example of the writing style:

On thrift:
Do keep repairing old appliances to try to extend their lives. Don’t store them on your front porch or driveway.”

It is very much like the witty irreverence found in TOPH back in 1980.

As far as we’re concerned herein lies the crux of the interview, as well as the new book, the old book, and the entire topic: this is not meant to be taken seriously now, nor was it ever intended to be.  A simple look at the book’s classification makes things clear.

humor, n.

  1. The quality that makes something laughable or amusing; funniness: could not see the humor of the situation.
  2. That which is intended to induce laughter or amusement: a writer skilled at crafting humor.

Both True Prep and its predecessor, TOPH (The Original Preppy Handbook) are meant to be humorous, one need look no further than the chapter and section titles: “Rehab: The New Boarding School,” “What Happened to Mummy’s Face?” and “Truly, Madly, Deeply Preppy: The Second Wedding.”

We didn’t have enough time to cover a few of our most whined-about issues favorite topics, like the documented increase in diagnosed cases of Logophobia, or the deplorable loss of civility accompanying all this new technology (need we even say the c— p—- words), nor were we able to get a verdict on things like Spanx, or an even bigger issue: the Snuggie. (What do you think of one for… oh, let’s say Groton, or perhaps Spence?)

In wrapping up the conversation Ms. Birnbach mentioned the possibility of another gabfest at some point in the future, something we would enjoy enormously. She is much more than fun, and bright, and sophisticated, she is simply a delight to spend time with.

Perhaps the best way to understand Ms. Birnbach is through her simple post last night on the True Prep Facebook page, an example of very few words saying quite a bit.

“I hope all of you enjoy the book. I’m under a lot of pressure to make you happy. I’m a giver, but I’m only one slightly used preppy woman. Hoping you all have a great DAY ONE. xLisa

One quick note before leaving, if there are questions you might have for Lisa, do leave them in a comment; we’ll gather them up in a bit and put them aside for a future (cross your fingers) conversation with Ms. Birnbach in the next few months.  Again, our thanks to Lisa Birnbach, and also to Sara at Random House, they made things fun.

Until next time, g’bye!

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Filed under Lilly Pulitzer Paper & Gifts, Logos, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, The AntiPrep, True Prep & TOPH

True Prep Update & Book Tour Details

Hello-Hello,

Welcome to a Monday, once again marked by more than a little madness here at the Prepatorium.  Today’s big news involves this:

Random House

Our initial copy of True Prep arrived Friday, along with the press kit; to say we were excited would be an understatement.  We have been busy scanning the book, looking at all of the great illustrations and photos and going through the marketing materials.

One of the more notable items in the kit, the dates and locations for the book tour: this is not your standard book tour, not by a long shot. The majority of functions are not at bookstores, but at fun, fashionable prep locales, like LL Bean in Boston and at Tyson’s, Vineyard Vines in Greenwich and Georgetown, multiple Cole-Haan stores, and J. McLaughlin’s Charleston store. There are many book stores as well, including Powell’s in Portland, a fabulous establishment we have enjoyed visiting on many occasions.

The tour officially kicks off in a major way at Bloomie’s, as part of Fashion’s Night Out (FNO is briefly discussed here) on September 10, and then moves on.  The schedule shows multiple appearances at Brooks Brothers in particular; this makes sense as we have word there is a Brooks Brothers/True Prep item that customers will be able to purchase in the not-too-distant future.  (There is a strong possibility you will also see the item at the Princess, it is in stock, but the crush of business has prevented the Consort the IT Department from getting it up on the site.)

Another preppy icon, Sperry, figures heavily in True Prep promotion, with tour stops at several new Sperry retail stores: Kansas City, Dallas and Westchester. Sperry is also co-hosting events at several Nordstrom stores; can you say “merchandising opportunity”?

Also well-represented on the calendar, Lilly Pulitzer, with functions slated for the Pink Magnolia in St. Louis, and the KOP (King of Prussia) Mother Ship store, in all of its remodeled splendor.

Via The Love List

Jenn over at the always-delightful Love List has more pictures of the fabulous re-do at the store, just click here.

One other site sure to be a hit, the “For the Love of Lilly” exhibit at the Museum of Lifestyle and Fashion History is the location for a True Prep event.

Via the Sun-Sentinel

One of the major contributors to that exhibit is the very talented Kristina from Lotus and Lilly, she has more about it on her blog.  The nearby Lilly store in Boca Raton will host Ms. Birnbach for a visit, near the end of the tour in December.  Other retailers hosting events include the always-stylish Stubbs & Wootton, and jeweler Verdura.

The material in the press kit indicates savvy marketing minds at work, with outstanding venues for the book tour, and word of solid merchandise tie-ins. (Although the stops are heavily concentrated on both coasts and in Florida, a few more in The Great Midwest would make us smile.) Methinks there will be several fun co-branded products with this one, not limited to the upcoming jewelry piece at Brooks and the Princess.

Our initial reaction to Ms. Birnbach’s latest offering is very positive, True Prep is similar in tone and tenor to The Original Preppy Handbook. We presume the light treatment of the topic is what most readers are looking for; the same irreverence that made TOPH such a hit is present in abundance, with lots of tongue-in-cheek comments and witty asides. We enjoyed our quick glance through the book, and look forward to settling in with it for a dedicated read, cover to cover. We hope to have our review posted at some point this week.

One other note before we scram-a-rama, because we somehow have multiple copies of the Original Preppy Handbook, we’re thinking a giveaway offering one of each might be in order.  Does that make sense?

Until next time, g’bye!

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

Fashion Rules from “True Prep” & J. Crew Taken to Task

Hello-Hello! It is turning out to be a slightly wild Wednesday here at the Prepatorium, so we shall dive right into things.

We begin with a sneak peek at True Prep as the book’s September 7 release date inches closer; today Vanity Fair released an excerpt online. (The story is in the September issue of the magazine.)

“Muffy van Winkle, you’ve napped long enough. It’s been 30 years! It doesn’t seem possible, does it? Despite changes and crises, the maid quitting, running out of vodka, your NetJets account being yanked, and the Internet, it’s still nice to be prep.”

Vanity Fair’s story “The Official Preppy Reboot” also includes an illustration we love from artist Jean-Philippe DelHomme.

Illustration by Jean-Philippe DelHomme

Back to more from Lisa Birnbach with Chip Kidd, from their “Fashion Rules” section:

“We know that many of you understand the principles of preppy style. But just to be sure, let’s review them again.

We wear sportswear. This makes it easier to go from sporting events to social events (not that there is much difference) without changing.

Your underwear must not show. Wear a nude-colored strapless bra. Pull up your pants. Wear a belt. Do something. Use a tie!

We do not display our wit through T-shirt slogans.”

A few of the Rules we find appealing:

Nose rings are never preppy.

Neither (shudder) are belly-button piercings.

Nor are (two shudders) tongue studs.

There are also sections on Frugal Do’s and Frugal Dont’s, Prep Travel Commandments, Prep Careers for the New Millennium and our personal fave, a bit about Logos (insert un-Princess-like shriek here).

But don’t be satisfied with our truncated version of Vanity Fair’s excerpt, pop over and read the story in its entirety, and then stop at the shop to pre-order your copy of True Prep for only $13.95. (For $2 shipping use the code TRUEPREP at checkout.) Facebook fans might also enjoy checking out the True Prep page.

The magazine also has a look at “The New Preppy” style, pairing many of the book’s Fashion Rules with contemporary pictures of celebrities.  Below, Alexa Chung. Ummmm… cut up leather shorts?  To quote several of those commenting on yesterday’s post, we’ll be in the “Just Say No” camp when it comes to that look.

PatrickMcMullan.com via Vanity Fair

J. Crew’s mega-star Jenna Lyons is also seen in the slideshow, here is the magazine’s description:

“J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons is the goddess of reasonably priced prepdom. Worship the salmon-colored cutoffs (they look vintage-y even if they are straight off the rack).”

PatrickMcMullan.com via Vanity Fair

Again, we suggest viewing this piece in its entirety at Vanity Fair.

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In related news, Jezebel takes a scathing look at the new J. Crew catalog. (We initially posted about it here.) The issue? Well, the story is titled “Operation Desert Porn: J. Crew’s Wartime Glamour“.

J. Crew August 2010 Catalog

Dodai Stewart’s story not only examines the thematic direction in the apparel, accessories and catalog, it also takes issue with prices. The following remarks refer to the “Jenna’s Picks” section of the catalog.

“J. Crew president and executive creative director Jenna Lyons claims she’s inspired by “pieces that have a utilitarian feel.” (Are they actually functional, or do they just feel that way?) She also writes that “uniform” items, dressed up with “sky-high platforms or a smattering of sequins” are clothes that “quietly command attention.” Of course, you’d better be pulling in the salary of a colonel or general, and not a private — the least inexpensive item on this page is a $58 belt.

J. Crew via Jezebel

Also referenced, the Timex watches currently offered by J. Crew:

J. Crew

“”J. Crew and Timex joined forces to create a “vintage” field watch, which will cost you $150, but you can totally get a Timex field watch for less than fifty bucks, just FYI. Whether you wear it with sequins is up to you.”

Here is the $42 Timex watch the story links to:

Timex

And then there is this:

“A $275 tweed jacket for the ladies who lunch… in the demilitarized zone!”

J. Crew via Jezebel

Ouch.

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On the conspicuous consumption radar, the Hermès Coloring Book.

Courtesy Hermès via DFR

Our thanks to the always-on-top-of-things folks at the Daily Front Row for sharing this.

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We leave you with a spot of recommended reading, this one from Ivy Style, a delightful guest post, “The Vassar Girl and the Ivy League Look,” we found it thoroughly enjoyable reading.

Mademoiselle via Ivy Style

Our thanks to Christian for alerting us to the post.

Until next time, may your skies be sunny!

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

A Tiffany Christmas, and The Top 40 Preppies? Ummm….You Decide

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a Wednesday.

Before we do anything else, we want to announce the winner of our giveaway that offered one of these treasures:

Kiel James Patrick

Those are the new Croffix Sailing Belts from our friend, Kiel James Patrick.  The winner of a brand new belt in her choice of pattern and size is So Georgia, of the So Georgia blog.  If you could send us an email with your preference in style and size, we’ll get it ordered for you!  We also send Kiel and Sarah a congratulatory hug on launching the belts and a “thank you’ for doing the giveaway with us!

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As predicted, the upcoming reprint of Take Ivy (explained here) and release of Lisa Birnbach’s True Prep is bringing increased attention to all manner of things deemed “preppy,” to wit, “The Top 40 Culturally Relevant Preppies” from FlavorWire. Coming in at #1?

Via FlavorWire.com

That distinction goes to Zack “Preppie” Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), Saved by the Bell. Many on the list are fictional, including The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Carlton Banks as portrayed by Alfonso Ribeiro.

Via FlavorWire.com

From the story:

“Ladies, locate your tennis skirts. Gents, dig up those Nantucket red pants. The New York Times and The Awl have called it: Preppie chic is back.”

Here are two real-life people included in the Top Ten.

Via FlavorWire.com

The list contains some glaring oddities (Gordon Gecko? Non, non, non, if anything he was a yuppie), but we don’t look upon it as something to be taken seriously, it is more of a fun foray into how others interpret the term. We giggled in delight upon seeing one of our Mad Men characters, Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser).

Via FlavorWire.com

Another quick bite from the post:

“So, in celebration of all things square and Country Club-approved, we have created a handy guide to the top 40 (get it?) most culturally relevant preppies.”

Many Princess readers will be pleased to see Lilly Pulitzer’s inclusion.

Via FlavorWire.com

Another style icon on the list of whom we are fond, René Lacoste.

Via FlavorWire.com

One last image from the list we simply can’t resist sharing?

Courtesy CW

Despite our doubts at the ‘cultural influence’ exerted by either Ed Westwick or his Gossip Girl character, Chuck Bass, we can’t pass up an opportunity to show one of the most hideous garments ever worn on a television show… again. That vest is truly a crime against fashion. (And honestly, the young man resembles a ferret, or another member of the rodent family.)

We highly recommend seeing the list in its entirety; if so inclined, click here. But you simply must return and tell us who’s on your list.

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On a somewhat related note, we want to thank our friend Leesa for tipping us off to September’s Vanity Fair cover:

Vanity Fair

No, we are not bloviating opining about Lady Gaga again. Look more closely at The Consort’s arrow-enhanced-image.

Vanity Fair

Yes, the red arrow points out the “The Return of the Official Preppy Handbook” headline.  From the magazine’s table of contents:

The Official Preppy Reboot

Thirty years ago, the best-selling Official Preppy Handbook codified the unspoken Wasp rules of conduct. In an excerpt from True Prep, Lisa Birnbach and designer Chip Kidd update prepster kitchens, careers, and colors.”

There you have it.

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Our other item of note involves a sneak peek at Tiffany’s Christmas advertising campaign; the plugged-in folks at Fashionista have the story. Below, Doutzen Kroes, the model fronting the campaign, heads to the set.

Christopher Peterson/Fashionista

Ms. Kroes is three months along with a blessed event.

Christopher Peterson/Fashionista

She looks lovely, very much the Tiffany style.

Christopher Peterson/Fashionista

The finished product is clearly going to be classic Tiffany.

Christopher Peterson/Fashionista

Ho-ho-ho, enjoy the snow!

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Filed under Gossip Girl, preppy, preppy lifestyle, True Prep & TOPH

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.

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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!

PHOTO CREDITS:

Additional J. Crew images: Kyle Ericksen/WWD

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