Tag Archives: preppies

Preppy Glamour, More Bad News at Talbots

Hello-Hello, we are running amok here at The Prepatorium today, it seems there a bajillion (is that more than a Gazillion?) little tidbits with a preppish slant, so we’ll jump right in and share a few.

The first is about one of our very favorite companies, Kate Spade.  The brand has just launched its first store in London, here is how The Telegraph describes the company:

“Lady-like American brand, ‘kate spade new york’, beloved of Upper East Side ladies and Jackie O enthusiasts hits the UK with two shops in London.

As some readers may be aware, Kate Spade’s design director, Deborah Lloyd, is British.  As always, there is a delightful graphic about the opening on the company’s website.

Kate Spade

More from The Telegraph’s story.

The British consumer can’t get enough, it seems, of the grown-up preppy glamour that dominates the middle market on the American high street. Banana Republic, J Crew, Banana Republic and Tory Burch – all recent transplants to the UK from New York – have a certain aesthetic: classics with a twist, grown-up and as Lloyd says, “lady-like”.

Below we see Ms. Lloyd outside the new store in Chelsea.

Via Vogue UK

The new store is just off Sloane Square, a perfect locale for this brand. You know how much we enjoy hearing perceptions on prep style from places outside the US, this is Elle UK’s take on the brand.

“The label known for its fresh-faced, retro-preppy clothes and classic handbags started 18 years ago as a handbag line. Its bright, optimistic vision of ladylike dressing has drawn the fancy of Zooey Deschanel and Emma Roberts.”

And here is how InStyle UK’s describes the company.

Kate Spade is renowned for its ladylike handbags, vintage-style accessories and quirky but sophisticated stationery.

Kate Spade’s other London store is in Covent Garden.

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Next, more tough news for Talbots. Women’s Wear Daily reports today that business has not improved and a key executive is gone.

Trudy Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of The Talbots Inc., today ousted the company’s chief creative officer, Michael Smaldone, and blamed “high levels of promotional and markdown activity” for second-quarter losses of $37.3 million.

As anyone shopping online or in-store knows, there has been a significant amount of merchandise marked down. Among the sale merchandise one finds things like the Luxe Sparkle Sequin Tank and the Keyhole Sleeve top.

Talbots.com

Call us crazy, but both items are well off the mark for both existing Talbots shoppers as well as the target demographic the company is trying to lure into stores.

More on the situation from Reuters.

Talbots said it plans to close about a fifth of its stores, bring in new merchandising and marketing people and rework merchandise to get customers back to its stores.

Ouch.  The Reuters story talks about closures in depth.

The company plans to close about 110 stores, including 15 to 20 consolidations, through fiscal 2013. Of this about 83 stores are expected to be closed in fiscal 2011.

As always, we hope they can dig out and return to profitability.

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We have something of an update to yesterday’s post about a leading retailer’s merchandise being sold on a flash sale site.  In the post we cited Brooks Brothers as an example of companies who use such sites not only to unload excess merchandise, but to get more exposure for the brand.

Lo and behold, look what I clipped from my Rue La La email last night.

Rue La La

Brooks Boys’ and Girls’ merchandise is available as part of Rue La La’s Little Rue launch, the site’s offerings for children; previously only adult apparel and accessories were carried.

Rue La La

The sale runs through tomorrow and has merchandise for both boys and girls.

Rue La La

There still seems to be a sizable amount of merchandise available, including today’s Pretty in Pink, the Pink Corduroy Down Vest is $49.90 and the Pleated Skirt is $25.90.

Brooks Brothers/Rue La La

As always, if in need of an “invite,” just click here.

With that, goodbye until next time!

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Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, Pretty in Pink

About That Cashmere Sale

Hello-Hello, welcome to the WALD, World-after-Labor-Day, where it is a bracing 50° at the Prepatorium. It is another OTT (One Topic Tuesday), we are out the door shortly for a volunteer commitment.

Today we chat about something we found very intriguing, it relates to one of the flash sales sites many enjoy browsing, Rue La La: on Thursday the site will be offering goods from a major department store. Lord and Taylor will be selling some of its cashmere collection on the members-only (cough-cough) site.

Rue La La

L&T has a reputation for its cashmere line, nowhere near the quality one finds at Loro Piana or our friend Queen of Cashmere, but yours truly can attest to the warmth and durability of the basic pieces, there are actually several in the cedar chest, purchased at least 25 years ago, all in fine shape.  (Sadly, we didn’t expect to think about needing them this soon in the fall season!) Below, several of L&T’s sweaters.

Lord & Taylor

The intriguing part of this sale is that we don’t recall seeing merchandise from a department store’s own label being sold at any of these sites, although it isn’t as if we spend significant amounts of time poring over the daily listings, for we don’t.  There are far too many to keep track of, let alone the varying product offerings at each.  But as best we can remember we haven’t seen any sizable department stores doing this previously.

The other fascinating part of the equation will be pricing. Does Rue La La sell the sweaters below their current sale prices at Lord and Taylor? For example, below we see the Fresh Pastel Cashmere Crewneck cardigan.

Lord and Taylor

The cardigan carried an original Lord & Taylor price of $175, it is now priced at $110.49 (that is before any additional discounts from coupon sales or other promotional efforts).  So will the Rue La La price be lower? The same? We’ve nary a clue, but do plan to take a peek at the sale on Thursday, one never knows what may be discovered, no?

Regardless of anything else, the sale on Rue La La will build brand awareness for Lord & Taylor and its cashmere line, something very valuable for the company. Shoppers at most of the sale sites are not just bargain hunters, but savvy fashion watchers; boosting name recognition with this crowd can pay off handsomely. Many brands have been vocal that the primary reason they sell merchandise at the flash sale sites is that very reason, growing the brand name. Brooks Brothers is in this category, its CEO has stated clearly that is one of the motivators in allowing its clothing and accessories to be sold at the ‘invite-only’ sale sites. (If in need of an ‘invitation to Rue La La, just click here.)

We mentioned the exquisite cashmere offered by Queen of Cashmere, we thought we would leave you with images of two new items. First, the monogramed sweater.

Queen of Cashmere

And the monogramed pillow.

Queen of Cashmere

These pieces (and oodles more) will be available when the Queen’s new website launches. In the interim, you can learn more at the company’s Facebook page, or its ‘Daybook’ blog, see images at Sip with Socialites, or email the Queen directly.

We’ll be back tomorrow, goodbye until then!

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Holiday Weekend Sales & Savings

Hello-Hello, happy almost-long-weekend!

Today’s Friday Fun is more of a fiscally friendly update, those who enjoy partaking of holiday Sales and Savings opportunities may find fodder here, we do try to focus on stores with a preppish aesthetic, in addition to the general department stores.

We begin with prep stalwart LL Bean, offering a 10% discount on everything, well as free shipping on every order.

LL Bean

Lands’ End is promoting its new markdowns.

Lands’ End

For those shopping online, Nautica offers 30% off everything with promo code WKND30.

Nautica

Eddie Bauer also is touting its markdowns.

Eddie Bauer

Other shops with savings:

ToryBurch.com

Neiman Marcus is promoting some fairly significant savings online and in its stores.

NeimanMarcus.com

In case that small print isn’t easy to read, Needless Markup Neimans is also offering free shipping on all orders with promo code SHIPNM.

Saks and Saks Off Fifth have solid bargains to offer, as does Neiman’s Last Call.

There are sizable savings at Ralph Lauren.

Polo Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is also offering 25% off everything at its Polo factory stores, with an additional 20% off your entire purchase, that sounds like a fairly good deal, no?

There are also great offers at Ann Taylor and Loft, Banana Republic and Gap, and many other retailers.

We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable weekend, I know we’ll be spending a little time enjoying some tennis. 🙂

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Filed under Friday Fun, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, Sales & Savings

Goodbye To An Iconic Preppy Brand

Welcome to a Thursday. We feel as though we should have Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” playing in the background as we write, for today’s post brings news about the death of another storied brand, Priscilla of Boston. Here is what visitors to the website will see today:

Priscilla of Boston

When Women’s Wear Daily broke the news yesterday afternoon some might have expected the internet to explode with Facebook posts and Twitter updates. That was not the case, probably an indicator of the company’s lack of relevance to many of today’s modern brides. To be sure, not everyone is on Twitter and/or Facebook, but a very high percentage of young ladies Priscilla needed to attract as customers do use those online networks.

For those unfamiliar with the brand, it truly was the first, and in some cases only call one made after one’s engagement was announced.  Pure and simple, one went to Priscilla for a gown. Beginning and end of discussion. When yours truly set out with TQM on our hunt for the perfect gown Priscilla was our first stop. (Sadly, we did not have a positive experience, our gown came from Montaldo’s, another firm no longer in existence.)

Many notable names wore Priscilla gowns, among them several Presidential daughters. Below we see Luci Baines Johnson on her wedding day in August of 1966.

by © Bettmann/CORBIS

The design featured a nine foot Watteau train, so named because it falls from the shoulders, not the waist. Here is a better look at the dress.

LIFE Magazine

On a side note, we can’t resist sharing this photo of the Ms. Johnson’s bridesmaids, talk about some pink!

LIFE Magazine

Julie Nixon Eisenhower also wore Priscilla, her wedding took place just before her father was sworn into office.

Via Couture Allure

And Tricia Nixon selected a dress from Priscilla for her 1971 wedding to Ed Cox, the designer was John Burbridge, the company’s senior designer at the time. The fact the gown was sleeveless was *quite* the topic of conversation at the time, many considered the style much too informal for a wedding at the White House.

Via Simple Weddings

The company was founded in the 1940’s by Priscilla Kidder, below she is shown with a hand-embroidered ribbon that was actually sewn into Tricia Nixon’s hem, it says “Gown by Priscilla of Boston for the White House Wedding of Tricia Nixon to Edward Finch Cox” .

Harry Benson for LIFE Magazine via Couture Allure

Ms. Kidder designed the gowns for Grace Kelly’s bridesmaids.

One didn’t see too many sequins on gowns from Priscilla “back in the day,” but there was an abundance of hand-embroidery and exquisite lace. Sophisticated elegance was Priscilla’s hallmark, the company very much catered to an upper-crust clientele.  Here is a vintage Priscilla gown.

Via Dressing Vintage

A look at the details.

Via Dressing Vintage

Ms. Kidder sold the business in 1993, it has had multiple owners since then, most recently David’s Bridal.

Below, some more recent Priscilla dresses.

Via Women's Wear Daily

A bridesmaid dress.

Priscilla of Boston

Another contemporary wedding gown, this one from 2008.

Priscilla of Boston

Recently Priscilla tried marketing more aggressively, with promotions like an online contest (shown below) and a Facebook page.

Via Priscilla of Boston

More contemporary styles.

InStyle

So what brought about the end? That is a good question, we can only presume it was declining business in an industry that continues to consolidate into bigger conglomerates.

The company’s 19 stores will close December 31, and the following labels discontinued: Priscilla of Boston, Platinum by Priscilla of Boston, The Dress by Priscilla of Boston, Jewel by Priscilla of Boston, Melissa Sweet, Reverie by Melissa Sweet, and the Vineyard Collection (the Vineyard line was the more moderately priced group). No need for those who have ordered dresses to be concerned however, the company says current customers will receive their dresses.

Sniff. Does anyone have a tissue?

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“Happy Preppy Style” & School Daze

Hello-Hello, welcome to a Tue-Wednesday, business is so chaotic we are having to do a double post today.

We begin with a look at something with appeal for just about everyone, “Happy Preppy style,” part of a new book on interior design and decor, “Fresh American Spaces.”  The approach is intriguing.

We know what you’re thinking: you were there for the 1980s incarnation of preppy (and maybe even the 1960s original), and you cringe at the thought of crested blazers, the boat shoes you wore till the soles separated and your toes poked out, or your drawer full of wide plaid headbands. Relax. We’re not turning back the clock. We’re re-imagining preppy in a bold, modern way.

"Fresh American Spaces"

This is just one section of the new book from Annie Selke, it offers color palettes, themes, along with lots of photos and tips for achieving different looks, including one familiar to many of our treasured readers, nautical style.

"Fresh American Spaces" Make Your Own Signal Flags

There are plenty of “how-to” directions, including one on creating your own signal flags.

More from the book:

Happy Preppy is all about simplicity—function dictates form, appearance never outweighs comfort, and easiness is the word of the day. Is it still that happy-go-lucky style you remember? Absolutely. Is it kid- and pet-friendly? Check. Is it pretty? You bet. Is it precious? Never.

Much as we like to promote independent book stores, we also want to share Amazon’s page for the book, several videos are located on the page, including one on “Happy Preppy” style’s nautical flags wall we mention above.

"Fresh American Spaces" Amazon.com

This one is now on the “to read” list.

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Next, back to school styles, we have been seeing them everywhere online, as well as on some of the young ladies and gentlemen in the neighborhood crossing the palace moat on their way to class.  The offerings certainly are varied this year, it remains a mystery how parents can clothe and accessorize a child for anything less than half the national debt!

Below we show two ensembles from The Children’s Place.

The Children's Place

The store offers plenty of basics, like these Fair Isle Cardigans and the Polka Dot cardigan, all priced at $24.95.

The Children's Place

There are plenty of choices for your young man as well.

The Children's Place

On a fiscally friendly note, Children’s Place is running a special, everything is 15% off;  if shopping online use promo code Z4E2011 to receive the discount.

If opting for upscale looks, the fall Milly Minis collection offers some dressier looks, below we show the Cece Dress and Ribbon Cardigan with appliqued bows and grosgrain ribbon. (We’ll take one of the cardigans in sizes grown-up girls sizing.)

Barneys

Also cute, the Stone Island Long Sleeve polo for the young man at your palace, and on the right, the classic stripes of a sailor shirt on the Armor Luxe Breton top, all from Barneys.

Barneys

If looking for simpler styles, it doesn’t get much more basic than these Izod separates at JC Penney.

JC Penney

There are more basics, like the girls Polo Dress, the Long Sleeve Cardigan and the Girls Jumper, all pieces are by Izod and all are on sale for $17.99 – 18.99. The pieces are offered in many more colors than those we show here, brightening up the color scheme and looking a bit less uniform-ish.

JC Penney

Being more colorful doesn’t require a large outlay of cash,the American Living Plaid Sundress is $19.99, the eye-popping Pink and Green Zip Jacket is shown at a bargain price of only $5.99, and the Pants with Repp Tie Stripe Belt come in both navy and khaki, they are $14.99.

JC Penney

Moving again to pieces for your young man, JC Penney has a variety of options, below we show the Preppy Woven Shirt, $17.99 for boys sizes 8 – 20.

JC Penney

Kohl’s offers the Mudd Plaid Camp Shirts in a variety of colors for girls size 7-16.

Kohl's

Kohl’s has put together some outfits that have that “trying too hard” feel when taken all together, some of the elements might be cute on their own.

Kohl's

And there are always plenty of options for your little princess at Lilly. 

LillyPulitzer.com

Until next time, we hope all of your back-to-school adventures are excellent.

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