Tag Archives: Southern Proper

Southern Prep Brands

Hello-Hello and welcome to a Monday.

We wanted to share a story we read earlier this year but never found time to write about, “Preppy Look Has A Southern Feel” from the Rocky Mount Telegram.  The North Carolina newspaper makes an interesting observation:

….since 2005, at least seven of these companies, each with the word “Southern” in its name, has emerged to offer a classic alternative to what has, until recently, been a Northern monopoly on the preppy look. First came Southern Proper, then Southern Tide; next were Southern Marsh and Southern Point Co; and in the past 18 months, Southern Frattire, Southern Dignity and Southern Ties have begun peddling their own Dixie-inspired apparel. The new image has enjoyed a welcome worthy of the term “Southern Hospitality.”

We have long been fans of Southern Proper.

Southern Proper

We are also longtime admirers of the company’s approach to design and marketing.

Southern Proper

From the company’s ‘Our Story’ page:

Southern Proper is based on men’s décor and dress, and each bowtie (Beaus™) and necktie (Gents™) is adorned with hand-drawn designs, made of superior king twill silk. The neckties are even hand drawn in the South.

Back to the Telegram‘s story:

Adding a Southern flair to the preppy image, these new labels have replaced polo-players and crocodiles with skipjack tunas and bird dogs. Their colorful neckwear, gingham button-downs, polo-shirts, and beer cozies feature hunting and fishing imagery, as well as more standard preppy nautical themes.

Southern Point’s offerings are also covered in the piece.

Southern Point Facebook

We love Greyton, the company’s logo (a short-haired Pointer). Southern Point has a broad selection of shirts, tees, vests and other apparel/accessories, even coolers.

Southern Point

Southern Tide has grown to be very popular.

Southern Tide

This firm has branched out into denim and collegiate polos, among other items, they now offer styles for men, women and boys.

Southern Tide Facebook

The company is doing very well, more from Stephen Childs’ article:

Southern Tide of Greenville, S.C., gained recognition last year from Forbes and Inc. magazines as one of the country’s most up-and-coming businesses. According to Inc., Southern Tide is the nation’s fastest-growing apparel company.

Not to be confused with Southern Tide, Southern Ties is another brand referenced. This smaller company was actually started by two young men still in their teens, one now a freshman at Hampden-Sydney, the other at Sewanee.  The seersucker ties look more-than-nifty.

Southern Ties

Southern Marsh is covered in the story, here is a portion of the company’s “About” page titled Southern Class.

Known for its unique culture, beautiful people, and timeless dress – The South is an area of the country that still finds time to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life. Southern Marsh was inspired by that idea and influenced by those who understand the lifestyle as they take it with them everywhere they go.

Southern Marsh

Like others, Southern Marsh has grown its product line, adding items like shorts and game day shirts.

Southern Marsh Facebook

Southern Dignity is headquartered in Arkansas, more from their website:

Southern Dignity captures this complexity by producing clothing consistent with the southern perspective and the styles that accompany it. We specialize in the qualities that define our culture, and cater to the men & women that exemplify it.

They offer bow ties and other men’s accessories.

Southern Dignity Facebook

Along with tops and tees for both men and women.

Southern Dignity

We became familiar with Southern Frattire via the story.

Southern Frattire

The firm was founded by a young man who knows his target audience, it was started by a 21-year-old Eastern Tennessee State student. Southern Frattire currently offers Pocket Tees and Koozies on its website.

Whether in the field or tailgating before the game, men of the South are always well dressed. With that in mind, we decided it was time for a line of clothing designed specifically for the lifestyle of the Southern Fraternity Gentleman.

The article notes the role online marketing plays, and the impact from sites like TotalFratMove.

Madison Wickham, co-founder of TotalFratMove.com, a website on which some of the brands advertise, says a classic look is important to the their success.

“I think these brands are popular among our audience because they represent a vibe and lifestyle that our demographic is either a part of or aspires to be a part of,” said Wickham. “Most of these brands offer traditional conservative clothing styles and are a refreshing change from the ‘GQ’ ultra-trendy styles you will find among most mainstream brands.”

There are plenty of reasons cited for the explosion in “southern prep” brands.

Company executives, marketing experts, and observers offer a variety of explanations for the clothing craze including top-notch quality, brand relatability, and recognition. But most underscore the same idea: the South and pride in its culture have achieved a newfound panache.

The story makes for a good read, you can see it in its entirety here.

On a slightly related note, the good folks over at Social Primer just posted the list of finalists for the “Best Menswear Store in the South,” pop over and vote if so inclined.

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Much more importantly, out thoughts today are for everyone coping with this:

National Hurricane Center/NOAA

That image from NOAA shows Tropical Storm Isaac, expected to officially be Hurricane Isaac by tonight or tomorrow morning. (It may well be a Hurricane by the time I hit the ‘publish’ button.)

Issac is expected to be a Category 1 or Category 2 storm when it makes landfall.  While no one expects damage of the catastrophic proportions following Katrina, the impact can still be extremely serious. More from the Washington Post:

“A large, slow-moving system is going to pose a lot of problems — winds, flooding, storm surge and even potentially down the road river flooding,” said Richard Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. “That could happen for days after the event.”

Below, the online front page of the New Orleans Time-Picayune.

New Orleans Time-Picayune

Not lost on New Orleanians: Isaac is expected to hit seven years to the day that Katrina made landfall.

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About Those Flash Sale Sites

Today’s post is a bit of a departure from our normal fare. For months we have chatted with friends about those ubiquitous flash sale sites, a phenomenon almost unheard of until the last several years. Usually we talk about upcoming sales, new or different sites, and how good the bargains are; lately the conversation has focused more on that last theme. I finally decided to explore the topic, hoping it will provide a modicum of entertainment, perhaps you can even share input and insight from your own experiences.

Just a few years ago those in search of discounted merchandise visited factory outlets, or off-price retailers like TJ Maxx and Ross Dress for Less.  Upscale department stores also offered their unsold inventory at outlet shops like Saks Fifth Avenue’s Off Fifth and Neiman’s Last Call. (In fact, the “luxury off-price” business model proved so successful many of the high-end outlets now have merchandise made exclusively for sale at their discount stores and they continue to open even more off-price stores.)

But then These Troubling Times arrived. When the Great Recession hit, stores were faced with enormous amounts of unsold merchandise that was discounted, then discounted again, and perhaps several more times. In many cases it still didn’t sell. This was particularly true for luxury retailers, they had racks overflowing with merchandise no one wanted, or could afford to buy.

More in this story from Reuters:

“The original flash sales model for the U.S. exploded during a time when there was this huge abundance of excess inventory,” said Steven Dennis, founder of SageBerry Consulting and a former executive at retailer Neiman Marcus.

Gilt is credited with launching the first flash sale site in the US, but others soon followed. And they continue to follow, as explained in this story from The Business of Fashion.

“Gilt’s success also spurred hundreds of other competitors to enter the flash sales market, from start-ups like Ideeli and Rue La La to strategic players like Amazon’s MyHabit and Nordstrom’s Hautelook.”

For those unfamiliar with the flash sale sites we share a brief primer. They are referred to as “members only sites,” a term generally excoriated occasionally questioned in this space, as most anyone with an email address can “join”.  Once signed up, daily emails are sent with a list of that day’s offerings, as well as a preview of upcoming sales.

Below, the Haute Look landing page.

HauteLook.com

Most sites require that you sign in before showing whatever sales they are offering, although not every site requires a log-in immediately. Here is another home page example from Zulily, a site specializing in merchandise for “Moms, Babies and Kids”.

Zulily.com

Once past the sign-in page you see the specific sales in progress. A glance at Beyond The Rack’s sale events underway last Friday shows Burberry, Coach, and “limited edition pre-owned Chanel” among the offerings.

Beyond The Rack June 1, 2012

There are even “prep-centric” flash sale sites, like Five Mile.

FiveMile.com June 1, 2012

Brands offered by Five Mile are familiar to many a prep: Knot Belt Company, Southern Proper, Castaway, Salmon Cove, to name only a few.

FiveMile.com

Once you are signed in you can start doing your product perusal, always intriguing and generally a lot of fun. Should you want to purchase an item, things operate like any other e-commerce site. It is in order fulfillment that the process may be different: what you purchased may ship from any number of places. It could come directly from the original manufacturer, it may be shipped from the flash sale site’s warehouse, or from a third party. Sites are usually very good about posting estimated shipping dates, below we show examples gathered on Friday:

  • Editor’s Closet item description on a Chloe dress: “Ships same business day if ordered before 2pm EST”
  • Joss & Main French Laundry Pillow: “Expected Arrival Date: Between 07/18/2012 and 07/23/2012″
  • RueLaLa Vineyard Vines Men’s Polo: “Ships in 5-7 days”
  • Ideeli David Yurman Silver Ice Necklace: “Expected to ship between Jun 19 and Jun 25, 2012”

The broad range of delivery dates serves as a reminder shoppers need to pay attention to the fine print, especially if making a time-sensitive purchase like a gift, or something for a special occasion. One more caveat: popular brands, such as Lilly Pulitzer, sell out very (*very*) quickly. It is not unusual to see items marked as “sold out” less than a minute after an event has started.

The explosion in sites has been enormous, the marketplace is now crowded. Some of the larger companies like Gilt have expanded into new terrain with specialty shops like Gilt Taste.

Gilt Taste

There are offerings for almost any niche or interest or activity, from travel and tourism deals to artwork, daily deals and local bargains. An example of what one site is doing via CNN:

Home furnishings flash sale site One Kings Lane recently announced the addition of Vintage & Market Finds, where a selection of marked-down furniture, accessories and art are available for five days at a time as opposed to its usual 72-hour time frame and new items are added daily.

Another dilemma created by a crowded field? Consumers becoming overwhelmed by email offers landing in their electronic in-box around. A CNBC story from last week:

Email fatigue is one of the biggest challenges flash-sale sites face. Emails are the primary way of disseminating deals, but after a while web shoppers can tune out and unsubscribe. This was even more true as more flash-sale sites came on the scene and as active shoppers subscribed to more than one flash-sale site.

“It has gotten to be an incredibly crowded marketplace, and there is the risk that all these offers can overload consumers,” said Stephen Wyss, a partner in the retail and consumer practice at BDO.

With stores becoming far more savvy in what (and how much) merchandise they order, there has been a steep decline in the availability of all that bargain inventory, especially luxury brands. One outcome is the growth of themed sales, no longer grouping items just by brand or designer, but by theme. Merchandise may be grouped by season, like “Flirty Tops for Summer” or “Backyard BBQ Essentials”.

There are even manufactured sales, such as an event Gilt held the second week of May, a sale titled “Revenge: Emily’s Beach House,” playing off the popularity of the TV show.

Gilt. com 5/17/2012

Here is a portion of the sale description:

The Hamptons was Emily Thorne’s old neighborhood, until something happened that destroyed her family and their reputation. Years later, she has returned to right those wrongs.

While it’s a lot smaller than Grayson Estate next door, Emily’s beach house is no shack. It’s the epitome of laid-back yet luxurious East End style. This sale includes authentic props from the set of Revenge; the most well-known is the porch swing, originally built by Emily’s father. You’ll also find the pedestal table found on the patio, and a candlestick from the living room. We’ve complemented these props with accents, from artful dishware to sconce lights.

Another tactic, making deals to launch certain collections via one of the sites. As mentioned in Thursday’s post, the Trina Turk for Banana Republic collection was offered online at Gilt.com more than a full week before consumers can buy it at Banana Republic. (But the merchandise was not a bargains, pieces were sold at full price, the appeal being the chance to get items before anyone else.)

Gilt.com

Retailers have fought back by jumping into the arena, doing their own flash sales. Below, a screen grab of an email I received from Neiman Marcus.

Neiman Marcus

Another example, Brooks Brothers did a limited time sale this weekend offering up to 75% off its Black Fleece line, the following image is from a Brooks Brothers email promoting the sale.

Brooks Brothers

It isn’t just upscale retailers taking part.

Kohl’s

And some have moved their outlet stores online as well, J. Crew “opens” its online factory store during the weekend.

J. Crew

Another rapidly growing area is Facebook, many start-ups are offering flash sale sites on their fan pages, especially jewelry vendors. A photo of an item is shown, and the first shoppers who enter a comment saying they want the item are able to purchase it. Again, the sense of limited merchandise and a short time span prompts buying from those who don’t want to “let it get away,” or be “left out,” with actual financial transactions generally handled off-site.

We have been fortunate with many of the sites and made some *marvelous* purchases over the years, particularly back in the early days of the genre. Good products, great prices and solid service.  Later this week we’ll have Parts 2 & 3, looking at some of the more preppish brands sold on the sites, as well as an examination of just how good the deals really are these days… or not.

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ADDENDUM: If interested in signing up for any of the sites, here are links to some where I have shopped *and* enjoyed a positive experience. Another interesting facet of the flash sale business model are the varying rewards offered for those referring customers, most offer merchandise credits of anywhere from $10 to $25 if someone uses your invitation link and also purchases something.

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Filed under Collaborations, preppy, Sales & Savings

The Birds, Bugs, Fish & Fowl on Your Chest + Jason Wu Targét Update

Hello-Hello, and happy middle of the week.

Today we share a story from last fall about logos on polo shirts, obviously it is a topic we have nattered on about relentlessly occasionally mentioned in this space. More from Charleston’s Gazette-Mail:

“Polo shirt” has become a standard name — like “T-shirt” or “khakis” — to describe a knit shirt.

But after recent visits to my college-age children in Alabama and Virginia, I’ve learned there’s a zoo full of animals adorning the chests of students on campuses throughout the South.

Part of the article examines the broad (growing ever-broader) variety of logos now adorning the ubiquitous shirts. The story is illustrated with this graphic, showing just some of the many icons now besmirching seen on the shirts. (In reality, some of the icons are pretty darn cute. I still prefer mine sans logo, but that fish is darling.)

W. Virginia Gazette-Mail

For those not familiar with each and every logo shown in the illustration, here is a quick rundown, beginning with Psycho Bunny (a Consort fave)…

Psycho Bunny

Southern Proper

Southern Proper

Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers

Vineyard Vines

Vineyard Vines

Southern Point

Southern Point

Southern Tide

Southern Tide

Polo Ralph Lauren

Polo Ralph Lauren

Southern Marsh

Southern Marsh

And Eddie Bauer.

Eddie Bauer

The writer, Sara Busse, brings up a little family history in the article.

My dad, far from preppy and not a golfer or a tennis player, wore the little penguin shirts (by Munsingwear) around the house on Saturdays. Now Brad Pitt wears them. Dad was cool. Go figure.

Here is a 1970s era shirt like the one Ms. Busse describes.

Vendetta Vintage

But back to the present.

Look for Southern Proper’s Labrador retriever, or Southern Point’s German shorthaired pointer. These will set you back $75 or so. If you like bigger dogs, Southern Dignity is set to launch a Great Dane-embroidered shirt just in time for Christmas.

We did not see a Great Dane on Southern Dignity’s site, perhaps we overlooked it. (Who knew so many brands started with the word Southern?!)

A brand that certainly would have fit on the list would be Loggerhead Apparel.

Loggerhead Apparel

For a more in-depth look at the history of the shirt itself, Ivy Style offers ‘Le Crocodile: How Lacoste Became the Preppy Polo of Choice and Kyoto Maiko has a post on the topic as well.

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We were familiar with most of the brands discussed in that graphic up above, but always enjoy learning about new companies.  Here is a name that was new to us, Mahi Gold, offering styles ideal for wearing “from the boat to the beach to the deck to the bar.” Below, the Seaview Shift in both aqua and pink, the Claire dress, and on the far right, the Coastline Dress.

Mahi Gold

The company was started by brother and sister Michael and Becky Gorman, we like knowing the collection is Made in the USA. Another plus – everything is crafted of soft (but durable) organic cotton with a touch of Lycra for stretch (and comfort). They even have dresses available for your little one, below we show the Seaview Shift Dress for Girls and Toddlers.

Mahi Gold

To see a list of stores where you can buy Mahi Gold products, click here.

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Our other item today, a reminder about Sunday’s launch of the Jason Wu for Target collection.

Jason Wu for Target

Because the much-buzzed-about collection is only being carried in ‘select stores,’ Targét has even created a a Facebook page listing stores by zip code that will carry the line.

Jason Wu for Target

Target’s online photos are delightful.

Jason Wu for Target

Last week the company celebrated with a big do, below we see Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively and Chloe Moretz in pieces from the line.

Getty Images for Target via The Daily Mail

There are reports pieces from the collection are already on eBay. We aren’t even going to look, and hope to find a little something when the line is for sale this Sunday.  (For a peek at our post showing most of the collection, click here.)

A quick reminder about our Jack Rogers Giveaway, if you haven’t already entered, scoot on over and do just that, entries close at midnight on Friday.

Goodbye until next time!

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Filed under Collaborations, Gossip Girl, Logos, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle