Tag Archives: Princeton

“The Ivy League”

Hello and happy day to everyone, I hope your afternoons are going swimmingly.

Business pressures mandate brevity today, so we are going to offer another reading suggestion. Like so many topics we end up discussing, this one has been sitting on my desktop (literally) for many weeks.  We’re talking about a book still fairly new to the marketplace, Ivy League, from upscale publisher Assouline.

Assouline Publishing

Here is Assouline’s description of the book:

The Ivy League is so much more than a group of eight universities. Attending one of these prominent schools provides entrée into a world of exclusivity and private clubs—a membership that never expires. Through photos and text, The Ivy League admits readers to the world’s most revered institutions, portraying the character of each school and what sets it apart, from renowned graduates and dominant political stances to athletic rivalries, architectural styles, popular fashion, and more.

The volume is by Harvard alum Daniel Cappello, below we see the author at a signing party hosted by longtime prep stalwart Gant.

Assouline Facebook Page

Mr. Cappello is the fashion director of Quest magazine, a Princess favorite; for those not as familiar with the publication, it describes itself thusly:

Like the scion of a once-great dynasty, Quest is New York’s last magazine devoted to Society with a capital S, covering the socially prominent in New York, Greenwich, The Hamptons and Palm Beach.

The May issue of the magazine:

Quest Magazine

Back to Mr. Cappello, he also worked at George and the New Yorker. The new book looks like a fascinating read, more on the content from Assouline:

Representing the apex of academic achievement, the Ivy League is also a gateway to the socially powerful and elite, making it the wish of all parents for their children. But that’s only the beginning.

The always-wonderful Stacey at the Quintessence blog shares her thoughts on the new book:

Cappello starts with the “big three”- Harvard, Yale and Princeton –  and these schools also have the best and most varied selection of photos. The author has assigned descriptive subtitles for each school that I will leave you to determine if accurate. As a Harvard grad, he sums up his alma mater as “the Ivy’s Ivy.”

The photos alone are worth seeing.

Assouline Publishing via Quintessence

Many of them are classic, offering an eye on style that remains much the same even today (thank heaven).

Assouline Publishing via GQ

From GQ‘s review:

The result is a book that captures the back-stories and notable moments in each school’s history alongside some pretty great archival photos of student life (interested prepsters take note).

Obviously the book holds appeal for an intriguing crowd, here is how The Observer described a book party back in April:

It’s not every book party where you end up in a 5th Avenue estate, listening to a Columbia a capella group sing doo-wop classics.

Photographer and recent documentary subject Bill Cunningham mingled among the Upper East Side revelers which included Allison and Jay Aston, Charles Rockefeller, Punch Hutton and Chris Rovzar from Vanity Fair, Anne Vincent from Vogue, Robert Burke, Kelly Rutherford, and The New Yorker‘s Ben McGrath.

For an in-depth look at the book, Stacey’s post at Quintessence is a must-read.

The book is available at a variety of places, including Assouline, Amazon and your local independent bookstore. This one is tempting for any number of people on one’s gift list.


Filed under preppy

Preppy Back to School? & Brooks Brothers Collegiate Collection

Welcome to a one-topic Tuesday, it is another insanely busy day, so brevity guides our post.

Once again it is that time of year, when parents and children alike ponder the available back to school offerings. One can almost hear the conversations at local department stores:

  • “No, you will not be wearing that to school this year.”
  • “I don’t care what Olivia and Chapin are wearing the first day, I am not buying that.”
  • “Well, then I guess you will be the only one at school wearing _________ .” (Fill in the blank.)
  • “I said no and I meant no.”
  •   “What do you mean everybody wears that? Name one person in ‘everybody’.”
  • “No daughter/son/other of mine is wearing that. Put it back on the rack.”

It is also the season for media stories heralding “preppy” back to school styles.  The following is from a Bloomberg story entitled “Gossip Girl Couture is Back to School Boon“.

“Sears… also is featuring preppy fashions over casual wear, pushing back-to-school gear from MTV star Audrina Patridge and reality socialite Kim Kardashian.”

Because nothing says ‘preppy’ like the new Kardashian Kollection at Sears.

Kardashian Kollection at Sears.com

More from the Bloomberg story, still referencing Sears.

“The department store, which is offering $38 polo shirts and $30 Dockers pants, introduced a “Varsity Prep” line.”

A few offerings from the Varsity Prep collection.

Sears "Varsity Prep"

The line is for young men, not teenage girls or ‘tweens’ as they are now called. (Ahem.) Three more items are shown below.

Sears "Varsity Prep" Collection

Many pieces in the collection look fairly standard, polo shirts, tees and the like. But some are far removed from what readers would refer to as ‘preppy,’ that sleeveless t-shirt on the right is one such item, while the sweatshirt in the middle looks like it could have come right out of an Abercrombie & Fitch store. (Another Anti-Prep.)

The good news in the Bloomberg article is that many of the shoppers interviewed say they plan to move away from the jeans and tennis shoes look.

“Angela Ricci is shopping for lacy tops, ruffled skirts and floral dresses to wear when she begins her senior year of high school in Pittsburgh. One thing she won’t be buying: jeans.

“I want to show a new kind of style and make a better impression,” said Ricci, 17. “I think that my generation is inspired to dress up a little more.”

That might seem like a good thing to many moms, but there is one caveat, the impact on your pocketbook.

“Teens like Ricci are following the example of television shows such as “Gossip Girl” — in which actress Blake Lively prances to class in couture — as they head to stores to stock up for the new school year. Retailers, stung by slowing sales growth and record cotton costs, are obliging with blouses and dresses that sell for higher prices.”

The story makes for an interesting read, click here if you would like to read it in its entirety.


Staying with the back to school topic, the new Brooks Brothers Collegiate Collection is now available online.

Brooks Brothers Collegiate Collection

In case the graphic above doesn’t show the schools currently part of the new line, here is a better image.

Brooks Brothers Collegiate Collection

Much of it looks like what we expected, sweaters and ties emblazoned with the school crest, like these from Stanford. (Where a tiny piece from my heart remains.)

Brooks Brothers Collegiate Collection

Or these from Notre Dame. (A sliver of TQM’s heart lies among the shamrocks at this university.)

Brooks Brothers Collegiate Collection

The ties are silk, made in the USA, they are $79.50. The polo shirts are classic Brooks, 100% cotton with the school crest on the sleeve, they are $69.50. These two are from the Boston College group of merchandise.

Brooks Brothers Collegiate Collection

The element that is baffling? The school name or initials on the dress shirts, as shown below right.

Brooks Brothers Collegiate Collection

We can’t think of one Princeton (or Yale or BC or Stanford or Notre Dame or…well, you get the drift) graduate who would ever feel it necessary to wear something like this:

Brooks Brothers Collegiate Collection

A dress shirt with your school name on the cuff? Once again we quote Nancy Reagan: “just say no.”

This clearly goes in the “Help Me Understand” category, as we are completely mystified by this aspect of an otherwise fine collection. We prevailed upon a friend for his opinion; here’s what Bumby of the Preppy Chronicles (also Princeton, class of ’87), had to offer:

“The only advantage of having the name of your school tattooed on your cuff: After the police, put you in the back of the car they know where to drop you off.”

Perhaps Christian at Ivy Style or Alexander Grant can pop in and provide a little elucidation on the topic, as yours truly is beyond baffled.  (Speaking of Christian, the topic of Friday’s post is related, looking at club ties and where one should/shouldn’t wear them. The comments are what really make the post sing, fascinating, all of them.)

Thank you for coming to visit!


Filed under Collaborations, Gossip Girl, Preppy Fashion

Deeper & Differing Looks at Preppy Style & Mad Men Cookies

Hello-Hello, we hope everyone is enjoying a splendid start to the week.

Many readers may have already seen the story we reference below, but with apologies to our Facebook fans, today we look at yesterday’s Fashion Diary column in the Times “Prep, Forward and Back“.  In his story, Guy Trebay looks at the return to heritage brands and styles:

“Ray-Bans were suddenly on a list of Old School must-haves and so were wool vests from the Filson, and Red Wing boots and Alden loafers and Gitman oxford cloth shirts and Sperry Top-Siders and Quoddy moccasins. Designers as varied as Thom Browne, Scott Sternberg of Band of Outsiders, Billy Reid and Frank Muytjens of J. Crew all made hay with the conservative classics. The style became so ubiquitous that, the designer Michael Bastian said, “The whole preppy machine requires a recalibration.”

If Mr. Trebay’s name sounds familiar, it is because we just featured the writer and his column on the needlepoint belt phenomenon, actually declaring him our hero for his comment about “…the sartorial horrors visited on us lately under the guise of a preppy revival,”. (Click here for that post.)

Back to the story in Sunday’s Times, “Studying the Preppy Look and its Reference Points“. Much of the piece looks at Take Ivy, the literary cult favorite we most recently chatted about here.

powerHouse Books

From Mr. Trebay’s story:

“Time, it develops, has done little to dim the allure of “Take Ivy,” with its guileless snapshots of handsome, fit and presumably bright young lugs disporting themselves in dining halls, on the College Green at Dartmouth, along Nassau Street in Princeton and in Harvard Yard.”

Teruyoshi Hayashida/powerHouse Books

The piece references another soon-to-be-released volume, True Prep.

““The reality is the people in that book at that time went to schools and belonged to clubs that most ordinary people couldn’t get into,” said Lisa Birnbach, an author of “The Official Preppy Handbook” and “True Prep.” ‘“Take Ivy,” Ms. Birnbach said, is a ruling class “look book,” a template for any budding Jay Gatsby.”

A slideshow accompanies the story, both are excellent reads.


In a similar vein, The Gloss carried a post last week, Fashion 101: The New Preppy; the author approaches the topic from an entirely different perspective.

“I have never been preppy. When I was growing up, being labeled a ‘prep’ was almost as bad as being referred to as a ‘poser’, i.e. the uncoolest thing that could happen to you.  I avoided being preppy at all costs.”

“However, as we grow up and enter the business world, perhaps we have something to gain from tapping into the inner preppy.”

In her piece, Brooke Moreland visits the Puritan store on the Cape, long a staple in Chatham (and several other communities).

Brooke Moreland/The Gloss

The store’s manager, Michelle Wilson Blaze shared her perceptions on customers:

“Blaze explained to me that the men wear Polo. The old men wear the small horses and the youngs wear the big horses. They all wear khakis and if they are over 50, well, then it’s time to bust out the Tommy Bahama.

As well as impressions of those visiting the Cape: .

“Brands like Tory Burch and Burberry pop up in the store, adding a contemporary preppy twist on the classics. Ginghams, tunics and embroidered tops peer out from among the plaid and Bermuda shorts.”

And while most preps don’t pay attention to what is “in” or “out” at any given time, here is one last tidbit from Ms. Moreland’s story:

“The ‘it’ preppy shoe happens to coincide with the ‘it’ shoe of the rest of the world at the moment: the Sperry Top-Sider.”

To see Ms. Moreland’s entire story and learn her ultimate verdict on the merits of the style, click here.


Our final item of note today deals with last night’s Mad Men season 4 premiere.

Michael Yarish/AMC-TV

It was divine.

Don’s still smoking, Pete remains sycophantic and clients don’t always concur with Don’s vision.

Michael Yarish/AMC-TV

There is continued recognition of the way women were treated in the early 1960’s.


Betty seemed particularly petulant last night, and we remain concerned about little Sally Draper.  We love this shot of Betty, it seems to perfectly capture her simmering rage while also betraying her vulnerable and forlorn side.

Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC-TV

A quick rundown of stories fans might enjoy:

How popular is the show? Enough that star Jon Hamm will be in an upcoming episode of the Simpsons, portraying an FBI agent.  The Toronto Sun has details.

We leave you with pictures of these amazing cookies created by our friend Pink Martini & Pearls, part of her Mad Men Quiz Giveaway post!

Courtesy Pink Martini & Pearls

Look at Joan and Betty’s dress cookies!

One of our favorites? The snappy argyle socks, surely not anything Don would wear, perhaps Harry?

Courtesy Pink Martini & Pearls

Until tomorrow!


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

Spring Fun & Fashions, Who Let the Dogs Out at Gossip Girl?

Hello-Hello, and happy sunshiny day! We are expecting an almost-tropical high temperature of 45 degrees today!

You realize of course, there is no way TP can resist some of the spring fashions we have been seeing, especially those designed for the Young Miss or Master of the house.

Best & Co.

Best & Co.

The Gingham Sleeveless Dress is available in the blue shown above as well as an outstanding pink, both in Girl’s sizing.  Also in Girl’s sizes, there is a Springtime Scottie Sweater that is just TDF, as well as this striped Rackets Sweater.

Racket Sweater

Racket Sweater

Not to mention the twill pants with embroidered little whales.

Best & Co.

Best & Co.

Or the seersucker skirt with embroidered sailboats.

Best & Co.

Best & Co.

There are also darling looks for your Young Man.

Best & Co.

Best & Co.

The striped sweater and button-down shirt are both ready to report for duty, basics perfect for rounding out any young man’s wardrobe.


Best & Company

Best & Company

Truly just in to our email, word that Best is doing a special promotion, offering a 25% discount from their regular prices online and in-store; the promo code to enter at checkout is SPRINGSAVINGS.


And for the youngest family members eagerly awaiting the Easter Bunny, how cute are these?

Courtesy Room Service Home

Courtesy Room Service Home

It may be difficult to discern in the photo, but these precious Snowbunny Snugs have a perky bunny face, whiskers, ears, and more.  Beyond cute, they are available at Room Service Home.

Of course, if one feels the need for their own bunnies, there is an adult version available from the online and catalog retailer.

Room Service Home

Room Service Home


We have yet another magazine cover featuring a star from everyone’s favorite prep school in the sky, the oh-so-popular Gossip Girl.


Blake Lively has landed the cover of April’s UK edition of Marie Claire.  Ms. Lively has been busy when not filming the show in New York, most recently at yesterday’s DKNYMEN Fragrance launch. The actress was sporting a Tory Burch top, but apparently plans to create some fashions for herself in the future, according to this story from USA Today:

“Lively is turning into something of a DIY girl. “I just got a Singer sewing machine and I’m so excited. I’m having a desk built at my house. It’s something I really love,” she said.”

Not to be left out, G2 co-star Chace Crawford is also receiving coverage from a pop magazine, honored with one of Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Male awards this week.  Of course.

PHOTO: Matt Sayles/AP

PHOTO: Matt Sayles/AP

Serious fans seeking a glimpse of Mr. Crawford can watch him this evening on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

While not a glossy, the Daily Princetonian is certainly more reflective of contemporary life at an Ivy League school, and assuredly more realistic.  In today’s issue they carry a fascinating story on Laura Breckenridge,



Ms. Breckenridge has the unique distinction of actually attending Princeton while also portraying a character on the Gossip Girl show.  She plays the role of Rachel Carr, a new English teacher at the hypothetical private school on the city’s Upper East Side the show is based on.  According to Preppy, Preppy blog, Preppy Princess, Preppy Princess blog, preppy style, preppy fashions, preppy look, prep senior writer Elinor Flynn’s story, “Spotted: L. drinking coffee in Chancellor Green Cafe,” not everyone on the show was a stranger to Ms. Breckenridge:

“She actually wasn’t a stranger to everyone on set: She and Leighton Meester, who plays the delightfully conniving Blair on the show, knew each other in high school and ran into each other a few times when they both lived in Los Angeles.”

When asked about life on the set, the actress offered an interesting perspective:

“The most striking feature of the “Gossip Girl” set? The number of dogs running around. Meester, Blake Lively and Taylor Momsen — to name a few — all arrive to work with a pup in tow. “All the dogs hang out in the hair and makeup room,” Breckenridge said. “There are always dogs coming up to you. It’s nice.”

The story’s subhead is “‘Gossip Girl’ Laura Breckenridge ’10 on school, acting and kissing Penn Badgley“. We’ll let you scan the article for that information.


We close today with a Pretty in Pink from St. John’s SoCa Collection.

SoCa by St. John at Saks

SoCa by St. John at Saks

And while running a bit (a bit?!) more than we currently have on hand in pin money, we still adore the Silk Taffeta Jacket, now available at Saks. To be honest, it is just making our Spring Fever worse! For some reason, it shrieks Muffy Martini at us, perhaps because it is from the Southern California line. (You know, the younger, hipper line we pretend we can wear…sigh.)

Until next time, ladies, grins and giggles for your sunny day!


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

Weekend: Real Polo Matches, ‘Preppier than Thou’ in Princeton?

If you are reading this Friday evening, it would appear you are *not* in Crawford for the festivities this weekend. (You know, Jenna and Henry…? Wedding ceremony….?) So, for those who may still be a bit at loose ends, we’re told some VIP tickets remain for the Polo Matches between the USA and Italy, along with all sorts of accompanying festivities in Leesburg (VA), and it will be a blast! Actually, the best part for some is tonight’s gala, a black-tie extravaganza including wine tasting, a “cook-off” between a US chef and an Italian chef, a fashion show, and concert, all at Morven Park in Leesburg. Of course, the fashion show will feature goodies from Ralph Lauren Polo; if you are fond of the team Mr. Lauren sponsors, Black Watch, you can even purchase apparel showcasing them and the Ralph Lauren Polo collection. The actual polo playing happens on Saturday, starting around 2 o’clock. After that there is another concert (I’m telling you, it really is all about the parties) and fireworks; Huey Lewis and the News provide the tunes.

Oh, and since Land Rover is a sponsor, if you drive a Land Rover you will be allowed to park closer, in the Land Rover VIP area. (The Princess does *not* own a Land Rover, and does fret about people tottering about the grounds until they make it to the tent.) The Princess loves that the US Team is sponsored by Cartier and the Italian Team by Eli Lilly; jewelry and drugs together again! For all the official info, don’t trust The Princess, trust your mouse to click here on the America’s Polo Cup official site.

On an entirely separate topic, much buzz this week regarding an article in the Daily Princetonian. More accurately called an opinion column, the feature was entitled Preppier Than Thou, Lawnparties: I Pledge Allegiance to the Preppiness Spring ’08, and ran in Monday’s paper, but hit the online version on May 4th. Writer Christine Brozynski ricochets madly from one spring ritual to another, spreading vitriol with something approaching equanimity; victims range from Princeton administration to other Ivy League schools. The Princess almost put this in the “Help Me Understand” category of posts, but didn’t want to end the week on a simply dreary note.

1 Comment

Filed under preppy