Tag Archives: Preppy Men’s Fashion

Whit Stillman’s “Preppie Style Guide”

Happy start to a new week, we hope your weekend was refreshing and restorative.

In our last post we chatted about Whit Stillman’s new film, Damsels in Distress, and mentioned his reputation as an über-prep. We also promised a look at something of a style guide from the filmmaker, L Magazine’s The Measure has a delightful piece on Mr. Stillman and his style.

Even though … Stillman’s latest film, is set in a collegiate Oz rather than the Ivy League, he continues to have an unshakeable reputation as cinema’s Preppie ambassador. But preppie looks in the films—and on him—are in many ways simply an economical solution for a look that doesn’t age, as much a matter of penny-pinching as aesthetics.

The story is titled Whit Stillman’s Guide to Preppie Style.

L Magazine

The first topic addressed in the Style Guide is one near and dear to my heart, madras.

I got a really nice Madras jacket from Ralph Lauren, so reduced they almost paid me to take it out of the store. And I was so happy to put it on and see how it looked on a hot summer day in New York, this very light Madras jacket. I remember the cool guys going to work in New York the early 60s, maybe in August, wearing them. I remember it being this very cool thing.

I love them. They’re so light and comfortable, and I think they can be so good-looking.

Below we show several contemporary madras items, left to right: a Polo Ralph Lauren sportcoat at Nordstrom , a Brooks Brothers jacket and a Young Ladies Jacket, also at Brooks.

Polo Ralph Lauren/Brooks Brothers/Brooks Brothers

Next on Mr. Stillman’s hit parade, Bass Weejuns.

As you get older sometimes things become more and more extreme, and my pathology of cheapness has become so dominant that it sort of messes up my life. But I love it when something’s really economical, but also kind of classic and good. So I really like Bass Weejuns because they’re the cheapest leather shoes you can buy. They look good, you know all about them, they’re very comfortable, they slip on and slip off.

Now this is the only area where your trusty scribe might differ with Mr. Stillman, it is more of a semantical challenge than a true philosophical disagreement; finding a good bargain, something one will use again and again and again, doesn’t seem like cheapness, rather it speaks to practical perspective, perhaps with a dash of frugality…no?

At any rate, here are two images from the current Weejuns collection at Bass.

Bass Weejuns

These vintage Base advertising images are fun.

G.H. Bass & Co.

Another style favorite mentioned in the story:

My favorite thing are comfortable, cotton trousers. I really like those sort of challenging colors. That summer of Nantucket look: men who are macho enough to wear pastels.

I imagine this selection by J. McLaughlin is also the sort of thing Mr. Stillman is referencing.

J. McLaughlin

These would probably fit the bill as well, from the left we see authentic Nantucket Reds from Murray’s (where they originated), a soft yellow chino by J. Press and a pink pair from Brooks Brothers.

Murray's Toggery/J. Press/Brooks Brothers

The filmmaker talks about a particular pair of corduroy pants:

Because I remember wearing trousers like that that I thought were totally cool, these green corduroys with the knees totally worn through. But I went up to my sister’s apartment, and her five-year-old son was pointing right at my knees, saying there was something wrong with my trousers.

We show a pair of bright Kelly green Ralph Lauren cords posted for sale back in 2010 on a fashion forum, as well as two in more subdued shades of green, the middle image shows a pair from Orvis and on the right, classic O’connell’s corduroys.

Style Forum/Orvis/O'Connell's

Among other tidbits included in Miriam Bale’s story, Mr. Stillman’s perspective on jeans:

I wore blue jeans—pretty much the same pair of blue jeans—every day, throughout college. And I decided the moment I graduated from college that I would never wear blue jeans again. And I have never worn blue jeans again.

That’s interesting to see in this day and age.

Our thanks to Deirdre at L Magazine for letting us know about the story, this one was fun to put together.


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

New Preppy Meets Punk Designer at Fashion Week

Hello-Hello everyone and Happy Almost-end-of-the-week! The Princess is particularly excited at the prospect of week’s end, for she is off to The Big Lake with TSU (The Spousal Unit, aka The Princess Consort) for a brief vacation.
One of the more exciting attractions of Fashion Week for TP is that every so often a new designer comes along. They may not be “new” to the fashion industry, merely new in our little solar system. One such designer is Christian Francis Roth, returning to the industry after an absence going back to 1995 when he shut down his eponymous clothing line.
Last week Mr. Roth debuted a collection many referred to as demonstrating a ‘Preppy vs. Punk’ or ‘Preppy Meets Punk’ aesthetic.
The line was named the “Gangs of New York” by Mr. Roth; TP is quite intrigued with the launch whatever the name!  With bright colors, swingy skirts and other attributes of the prep-school look, this one is fun and funky.  Evidently we’re not alone in this assessment. From the Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Runway blog:
“It’s happy clothing – it’s fun,” said Roopal Patel, senior fashion director for women’s wear at Bergdorf Goodman, who felt shoppers would likely be attracted to the preppy, striped shirt dresses that looked as if they were made of ripped up button-down shirts haphazardly stitched together.”
The designer cites the Gossip Girl television show as a source of inspiration for the line.  Perhaps Mr. Roth’s time designing for Tommy Bahama contributed to a number of pieces on the runway in what TP calls the Roth nautical look. We dedicate the top photo to our own Miss Nautical by Nature. (Psst, Kate – remember, this isn’t out until Spring 2009.)
The Journal blog reports price points for the line will run from $350 – $525 for dresses, with jackets retailing for about $425 – $675. The runway show featured those ‘gangs’ of girls showcasing different looks from the collection.
One can see the ‘bad girl’ references in the collection, the untied black bow at the neck, the racier hem length and a neckline lower than what any ‘nice young lady’ would be wearing. (This is what the Queen Mother would call a “plunging neckline” were TP to attempt leaving the ancestral home in anything remotely resembling the dress shown lower right.)
Of course, black simply isn’t done during one’s younger years, it’s just not acceptable until a young lady reaches a certain age.  In our day, that time was not until after one’s coming out, at the *very* earliest.
And despite our love of black, our favorite pieces in the line remain the delightful variations on what any Upper East Side teen might be wearing.
But this doesn’t rule out our appreciation of the designer’s whimsical variations on the preppy nautical style.

In describing the show, WWD wrote:
“Inspired by New York City cliques, Christian Francis Roth played with the idea of neighborhood gangs with his contemporary label Francis by Christian Francis Roth, resulting in cute prep-school patchwork plaids in dresses and blazers, broken-up rugbies made into dresses and “Acoste” polos featuring an alligator eating the Ralph Lauren polo player.”
Of course our illness (the worst case of LogoPhobia in recorded history) prompts our love for that dress, seen above, but we also like it because we think it is done without rancor or ill will, merely a wink and a grin.
Another reason we are drawn to the designer? Because his models aren’t all emaciated, scrawny young women. None of these beautiful young ladies are anywhere near plump, but they are not the painfully thin and drawn lovelies generally seen on the runway.
Below, a shot of the designer in 1990…
Kyle Ericksen

Photo: Kyle Ericksen

and last week at the conclusion of his show.
There is good news this week for Mr. Roth, as reported in an update to the WSJ blog:
“On Monday, Stephanie Solomon, women’s fashion director for Bloomingdale’s, said she planned to carry Mr. Roth’s collection in the spring.”
Oh, one more Roth-related headline, this one also from WWD (Women’s Wear Daily):

New York Day Two: Preppy and Peppy

The headline is from April, 1994; the copy in that story reads in part: ” On Thursday, the runways came alive with hip preppies at Christian Francis Roth…”. This is where one makes the comment about the leopard and its spots.  How very fun.

In fact, we are so fond of this collection we are awarding it (gasp!) the Princess’s Official Seal of Prepalaciousness!


Filed under It's Just Not Done, Logos, Prepalicious, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People

Things we Like: Aspinal of London, Bonobos

Aspinal of London Mini Manicure set

There is always much to be fond of at Aspinal of London. We are particularly partial to the Mini Manicure set, in part because of its wonderful color and coordinating ribbon, but also because of the quality of the utensils. This is one you’ll have for decades, it’s that good. And by all means, do glance at some of the other items Aspinal has online, really a treasure trove of items for enhancing your life as well as future gift-giving needs.

Daily readers may remember our promise for equal opportunity here at the Prepatorium, with a tad more time spent on fashion and lifestyle discussion for the men in our lives. With that in mind, we present to you Bonobos.

Bonobos Clarks PantBonobos Midnight Blues

These really are extremely cool pants, and they are only available online. The Princess simply adores the rich blue pair, the Clarks, so named for their allegiance to all things Cubbie. As the descriptive portion of the page explains, “Go Clarks. And Go Cubs.” Well said. Absolutely.

Wisely marketed as “pants for real guys” at both their online store and their extremely witty blog, these are a “must see” and probably a “must have” for a lot of the gentlemen in your life. They are very high-quality with the best in materials, construction and style, but most importantly they are made for men who may be a bit more rugged in their style, men with a physique a trifle more…uh…more sturdy. How’s that? Even if you are not in the market for men’s pants, do yourself a favor and spend five minutes with the Bonobos blog, an endearing and witty compilation of many things, including customer testimonials accompanied by photos.

Bonobos Blog Clarks Cubs


Filed under Prepalicious, preppy, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle