Tag Archives: preppy madras

Budget Prep Basics

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.)

Stafford prep Bengal Stripe Shirt

Stafford prep Bengal Stripe Shirt

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.

Stafford Prep Striped Poplin Shirt

Stafford Prep Striped Poplin Shirt

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.

Stafford Prep Piqué Polo

Stafford Prep Piqué Polo

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.

JC Penney

JC Penney

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.

Premium Double L Polo

Premium Double L Polo

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.

Croft & Barrow® Solid Pique Polo

Croft & Barrow® Solid Pique Polo

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).

JC Penney

JC Penney

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 Madge Ballet Flats

Target Madge Ballet Flats

Target’s Ona Striped Scrunch Ballet Flat is just $19.

Target Ona Flats

Target Ona Flats

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.



Until next time, may the sun be shining wherever you may find yourself today.

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Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion

J. Crew Bridal 2010, Sales & Savings of a Preppish Sort

Hello-Hello and Happy Friday!

Doesn’t it take forever to get to this particular Friday every year? This one following the New Year’s? Or is it just our old and ancient self?

Lest we lapse into a whineathon, we move on to a quick glance at this spring’s J. Crew Bridal look book:

J. Crew

Officially dubbed “Weddings and Parties Spring 2010 Preview,’ the line continues to offer stellar alternatives to more costly bridal attire.  First up, the Chiffon/Organza Dune gown.

Courtesy Photo via The Frisky

For some reason the Silk-Cotton Estate dress seen below appears heavy and bulky, even when taking into account a thicker, weightier fabric. It must be the lines or the lighting or the shot. Or something.

J Crew via The Frisky

This one makes up for that with its light and appealing lines.

Our thanks to Bridal Opulence and The Frisky! To peruse the entire collection, just click here.


We have just a few Friday Fun bits and bytes today, almost all of them of the Sales & Savings kind; we are trying to keep your pocketbook in mind.

There are lots of Angela Moore goodies available at a splendid price point in Angela’s Attic, we had nary a clue about the Attic and its treasures!

The Buzzy Bees classic (L) is now $24.99 (a nice savings from the original $50), as is the Confetti Pink/Lime classic.

Next, a reminder the Brooks Brothers clearance continues apace; if seeking a look that combines tartan and madras for the man in your life, here is a possibility.   On the right we show the Black Fleece Knit Jacket for women, reduced in price by 50%. (FYI, it appears much of the Black Fleece is discounted.)

Talbots is also offering some bang-up bargains.

As one might expect, both Kate Spade and Tory Burch also have significant discounts available, both in-store and online.

The Vineyard Vines guys are doing their ‘Whale of a Sale,’ with offers like this Argyle V-Neck, reduced to $89.99.

The discounted merchandise offered in the Boys and Girls sale section is darling, per usual with this retailer. On the left, the Girls’ Corduroys and right, the Girls’ Striped Rugby Dress.

For today’s Pretty in Pink, we go with a man’s style we would personally be pleased to sport, the pink cashmere sweater from Matthew Williamson’s new menswear line.

Courtesy Photo via WWD

It is a luscious look. We also appreciate the cool yet vibrant pairing of olive and fuchsia seen on the scarf. While not for us, it seems like a very hot color combination this year. Below we show two looks from Louis Vuitton’s pre-fall group using an almost identical palette.

It is an eye-catching combo.

We leave you with a look at the new line Tarina Tarantino is launching at Sephora come February.

PHOTO: George Chinsee/WWD

May everyone enjoy a recuperative and restorative weekend!

Photo Credits Louis Vuitton: L George Chinsee/WWD, R courtesy photo via Style.com.


Filed under Argyle, Friday Fun, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, Pretty in Pink, Sales & Savings

Stanley Korshak Does eBay. Seriously. Also, When Madras Goes Wrong.

Hello-Hello and Happy Sunshining Day to everyone!

It is yet another crazy, chaotic tour of duty here at the Prepatorium, compliments of the social secretary overbooking us yet again. Honestly. How difficult can basic appointment scheduling be? (Ahem, social secretary? As in TP overbooking herself??) Therefore we must stoop to such pastimes as gossip, fashion and other less-than-deep endeavors for today’s post.

Has everyone read about the next endeavor for Lauren Conrad of “The Hills“? The Times reports she is doing a line for Kohl’s.

““Now that the economy’s not doing so well, I think it’s everybody that’s looking for bargains,” Ms. Conrad said. “I think that it’s actually great timing.”

Courtesy Kohl's

Anything that will have people back in stores and buying is a good thing IOHO.


Yesterday’s Variety has an excellent story about Isaac Mizrahi’s increasing notoriety and popularity.

“….has once again tapped into the zeitgeist with two buzzed-about collections and as the centerpiece of a new reality show for Bravo called, suitably enough, “The Fashion Show.“”

Courtesy BravoTV

Courtesy BravoTV

Above, Fashion Show judges Kelly Rowland, Issac Mizrahi and Fern Mallis. We could very well become addicted to this one depending upon the production’s structure and contestants.  TP adores Isaac, and is thrilled he seems to be rejuvenating Liz Claiborne.


We’ll show you ours if…now ladies, hush! Please, please get your mind out of the gutter so The Consort’s can float by. What we were going to say was, “We shall show you what we’re reading if you will tell us what is on your nightstand.” Really. All of this as part of our noble little effort to remind everyone that it is World Book Day, as decreed by UNESCO.  On our nightstand?


Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey is beyond fascinating, if seeking a little more information about this one, pop over to Coterie Books.  Be forewarned: it is 750+ pages and it is very heavy when one is propped up against their pile of pillows in their boudoir! To recover from this we are contemplating something a little less intense:

Vision in White from Nora Roberts looks intriguing, although we must make a confession: we have never been fond of authors’ names appearing in a font larger than the title of the book, let alone above the title of said book. But then, we are not in the business of marketing books, are we?

As always, we recommend a stop at your local library for your favorite books, movies and much more!


It is entirely possible we are the last to realize this, but we were absolutely staggered to read about this yesterday at the Journal’s site: Stanley Korshak is now selling on eBay.

Courtesy Stanley Korshak

Courtesy Stanley Korshak

The reasons behind selling in this venue will surprise no one, as the story explains:

“But as owner Crawford Brock watched the recession take hold, a new idea clicked.

Mr. Brock decided to sell some of his excess merchandise, which included $5,700 Kiton sport coats and $900 Christian Louboutin heels, in a decidedly more downscale venue: eBay.”

How is it going for the upscale retailer with some of the best customer service we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying?

“….a Loro Piana sweater vest that the retailer says was originally priced at $975 sold for $195 on eBay, and a pair of Bottega Veneta sandals originally priced at $920 sold for $242.50.”

Currently the retailer is offering a variety of goods, including these Valentino shoes, originally priced at $695 in the store.


The opening bid is a mere $150; the auction ends in three days on the 26th. For those interested in perusing some of the goods at the online auction site, writers Ray A. Smith & Geoffer A. Fowler also reveals the Stanley Korshak eBay User Name: takeitawayluxury. The reaction from one eBay Korshak customer?

“…one man who bought a Bamford & Sons dress shirt from takeitawayluxury for $80 declined to give his name for this article. He says he didn’t want acquaintances and colleagues to know he was shopping on eBay. “There’s a little bit of a stigma,” he told me.”

At this juncture, we simply want the company to survive and thrive again, so their eBay undertaking does not translate into any less love for Korshak in these quarters. The topic serves to remind us how crazy we are for this!

The Wolf Designs Jewelry Box remains a favorite. In fact, it is today’s Pretty in Pink!


And finally, a look at what happens when Madras Goes Wrong:

Courtey HighSnobiety.com

Courtey HighSnobiety.com

The tees are from Visvim, a line many would refer to as streetwear, or urban cool, or some such moniker.  This may surprise readers, but we have shown pieces by this designer previously, and in a most positive light.  We frequently enjoy their use of madras and other preptastic textiles, clean design lines and risk-taking. It is just in this case we find the end result to be….well… wretched. We are not exactly their demo however, so we aren’t too concerned about upsetting them!

With that dollfaces, we are off to our local library!


Filed under preppy, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People, Pretty in Pink, Sign of the Times

A.P.C. Madras Collection, Target’s Online Only Nautical Fabulosity

Hello-Hello and Happy Almost Weekend! Yippee! The sun and warmer temperatures have never felt better, and we hope to finish our work in time to be outside enjoying the springy weather.

At the risk of violating personal TMI standards, we share the following only because we must apologize for yesterday’s hideous post. Our only excuse? We were coping with another one of these:

Fortunately it has departed, and we are now merely dealing with the daily frenzy that is standard here at the Prepatorium. And we must tell you, we are simply awash in new merchandise! While it is loads of fun, it can also be borderline overwhelming, or as GAM (Great Aunt Molly) might say, my goodness-gracious-sakes-alive! (We promise, we will share one of the new items in a bit, from a great new line that we are ever-so-excited about!)

Now, many readers may already be aware of this tidbit, but if not, we bring good news – TheOutnet.com is online and open for business!



Created by Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter, the new site “…will offer previous-season items from more than 200 designers, with steep discounts of up to as much as 80 percent…” In fact, we’ll use a couple of Outnet items for today’s Pretty in Pink.  For your perusal on the left: the Milly Dress (originally $355, now $177.50), and on the right, Chloé’s Ines Clutch (originally $1380, now $690).


New merchandise is scheduled to hit the site every Tuesday and Thursday – happy hunting!


Next, our thanks to the always-on-top-of-things High Snobiety for tipping us to the new Madras Collection at A.P.C.

Once again the line offers outstanding choices with clean lines and .

A.P.C. Madras Collection

A.P.C. Madras Collection

The entire collection is made in India, and is top-notch in terms of quality.

Just another reason we are grateful that A.P.C. ships to the US!


For madras that inflicts a tad less damage to one’s pocketbook, we turn to our good friends at Target. Below, the Merona® Patchwork Madras Skirt in blue, now offered at $19.99.

Merona Skirt at Target

Merona Skirt at Target

Also in plaid at Target, the Women’s Zulima Plaid Rain Boots are a great value at only $24.99.

They look like a lot of fun, oui?


Yesterday we shared a few of the nautically-inclined treasures we discovered online, but did not get  anywhere close to posting them all. Next, this Anchor Necklace from the fine design minds at Giles and Brother.

Giles & Brother

Giles & Brother

We are guessing the one and only Nautical by Nature is well aware of our next item, Target’s Nautical Shaped Plate Set.



Initially we thought these would be melamine, but upon reading the description discovered they are actually earthenware; they are also dishwasher-safe.

This next line is so delightful we are tempted to add it to our china closet. Seriously. The Nantucket Cocktail Plates are only available online, and at only $19.99 for the set, we are guessing the set of 4 porcelain plates will go quickly.

Nantucket Cocktail Set

Nantucket Cocktail Set

In fact, that plate set just might qualify as Prepalicious. What do you think dolls…is it out of this world enough?

Our final nautical item also hails from the Boutique (Target); we offer the Nantucket Floating Whale Salt & Pepper.

Nantucket Whale S&P at Target.com

Nantucket Whale S&P at Target.com

A word of caution: don’t look for this item in stores either as it is another online only item.


We promised to share an item from our new line; below, the Personal Size Boat Tote.

Boat Totes at PreppyPrincess.com

Boat Totes at PreppyPrincess.com

At 12″ x 9″ x 5″ these are an excellent size. One feature we really liked when initially considering them was the detachable matching strap one can use to convert the tote to a shoulder bag, a bit of versatility we thought was a nice addition to make this just a step above the basic tote. These are heavy cotton canvas that can really take a beating, equipped with a zip top to safely keep things inside, another plus as ‘handbag mishaps’ are not unheard of for TP.

Best of all? We managed to price the bags at only $15. This is the smallest of the sizes we are carrying, thus the ‘Personal Size’ moniker; we promise the larger size bags will be equally outstanding values. We are proud of the fact we have found a way to offer our totes at prices that are better than those of the two big guys! (You know who we mean.)

With that, we are off and out the door, sending smiles your way and hopes your weekends are spectacular!


Filed under nautical, Prepalicious, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink, Sign of the Times

The ‘Preppy Look is Back’. Again.

Happy New Week everyone, did you enjoy your Saturday and Sunday? We hope so, even as we start our Monday here at the Prepatorium with snow swirling outside, and more on the way.  Ickums as we are wont to say, major ickums.

We had to smile this weekend at seeing more headlines proclaiming “The preppy look is back this spring,” according to the Buffalo News.

“Preppy plaids, stripes, polka dots, vibrant colors and, yes, even those motif belts (whales, anyone?) are comfortably at home among the boho chic and other popular looks of the season.”

“Preppy is back. You can bet your Bermudas on it.”

To be fair, Susan Martin, the story’s writer, qualifies the declaration made in the headline:

“Not that those popular preppy staples ever went out of style.”


One of the stores mentioned in the story is O’Connell’s Clothing, a Buffalo institution. (TP believes anything older than she is now qualifies as an institution.) O’Connell’s carries one of our favorite lines, the fine needlepoint pieces from Smathers & Branson.

Smathers & Branson at O'Connell's
Smathers & Branson at O’Connell’s

The article includes needlepoint belts and madras ties on its list of fashionable items this season. We are also taken with the Blue Madras tie at O’Connell’s.


The story cites television’s Mad Men and Gossip Girl shows as contributors to the style’s growing popularity.  We would suggest that the bright colors and fun nature of ‘prep style’ add to its positive perception, particularly at a time when much of the day’s news deals with realities both dreary and difficult for many.

Lilly Pulitzer at Zappos.com
Lilly Pulitzer at Zappos.com

After all, if what we wear can’t contribute to enjoying a brighter day, why bother putting it on? Above, the Lilly Pulitzer Girls’ Cherry Taffeta Dress at Zappos. Below, the Nancy Argyle Sweater at Lilly Pulitzer in both pink and true navy.


TP also believes the tailored lines and classic looks that define the style enhance its favorable perception among fashion mavens and adherents. And we would point out that not everything is as garishly technicolor as described in some quarters.

"Cutie from Bermud-y"2015

Above left is Lilly Pulitzer’s “Cutie from Bermud-y” look, center is “Prep it Up” and right is “Short and Sweet.” All pieces from these looks are available at LillyPulitzer.com.

Not to belabor issues surrounding the economy’s impact on what are generally considered discretionary purchases, but many a prep has long appreciated the durability and high quality delivered by most ‘preppy retailers’ to be a significant factor in their favor.  (Below left, the J. Press Cotton Chambray Sport Coat TP’s father wore forever, and on the right, the Cotton Madras Sport Coat, also from J. Press.)


Of course, we haven’t even mentioned the positive consequence resulting from the superb customer service practiced at most retailers in this category.  As most of our cherished readers are aware, this high level of service only makes us more loyal to such emporiums.  We *do* adore many national and regional retailers, but the independent clothiers whose establishments we have been fortunate enough to frequent over the years have been outstanding.  Many are struggling as this is written; far too many have already disappeared.  We have a fervent hope they survive, and then thrive once again.


For today’s Pretty in Pink we have a couple of treasures, starting with the Kameryn Pink Brogue at Topshop.

Kameryn Brogue at Topshop
Kameryn Brogue at Topshop

Now there we share some serious pink! We must tell you however, we deserve no credit whatsoever for discovering these.  That goes to the delightful Kate Loss in her blog post “Wanting What You Can’t Have,” an excellent read!

Our other item is really a ‘Pretty in Pink and Green,” featuring our very own Silly Tilly in her stylish new harness.

Silly Tilly
Silly Tilly

Among Tilly’s many ailments is a collapsed trachea, so a harness is ever-so-much-better for her than a standard collar.  This is one from our new line of ‘Design Your Own Collars, Harnesses, & Leashes‘ at the store.

Design Your Own! at Preppy Princess
Design Your Own! at Preppy Princess

Tilly was adamant about having the ribbon with the little paw prints, and in this specific color combination. Who are we to deny her? (Heh-heh-heh.)

On this perky note we’ll say G’bye until next time!


Filed under Argyle, Gossip Girl, nautical, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink