Tag Archives: The Original Preppy Handbook

True Prep Tuesday

Hell-Hello, welcome back to reality. Sigh. (Truth be told, we are happy campers indeed, the reality is that for us the work week is something to be enjoyed, not endured, so you shan’t hear any complaints from these quarters, we are blessed to do what we love, and love what we do.)

We begin today with an update on True Prep, did everyone see author Lisa Birnbach on the Today show this morning?


The appearance marked the official release of the new book, an expanded, updated partner to The Original Preppy Handbook, aka TOPH.  The segment kicked off with a look back at Ms. Birnbach’s appearance on the show thirty years ago, when the person hosting the segment was….

NBC Universal

Yeppers, that would be Tom Brokaw. (How about the Madras skirt, we love that.)

There was also a look at updated preppy fashion during the segment, including new styles from the just-launched Brooks Brothers Fleece line for the young Masters and Misses at your house, as well as looks from Lilly Pulitzer.

NBC Universal

Of course, if interested in purchasing the book, we still have a few copies available, with one cautionary note: Random House has already had to order a second printing, but those books won’t be available until at least the end of September.

We are also down to only two copies of prep classic Take Ivy, that has also had to go into a second printing. (Did we get crazy lucky with our first two books for the store, or what?)

Next, we have to say we love the fab madras jacket Ms. Birnbach is sporting in her on-camera interview with the Borders. This is very similar to one yours truly has, although ours is ancient. Seriously old. But we love it and haul it out every summer.

Via Borders.com

Today’s Pretty in Pink actually features Ms. Birnbach, she was looking at Lilly Pulitzer styles for possible inclusion in the Today show fashion segment.

Via True Prep Facebook

BTW, we were fortunate enough to spend some time on the phone with Ms. Birnbach this morning, and we’ll share part of that extended interview in tomorrow’s post. (Let’s just say that her thoughts about possible additions to the Anti-Prep Wall of Shame are entertaining.)


Next, several quick updates on all manner of things preppy, beginning with a story in (of all places) the Financial Times. In “A Hipper Preppy Look is Back in Fashion” the writer posits that students aren’t the only people going back to school this time of year. “…fashion is too.”

“Take the long list of preppy brands enjoying success: British-owned Jack Wills recently launched three East Coast stores in the US; Boden is set to join the fray this autumn with Johnnie B, a new preppy tween line; Gant and Tommy Hilfiger, both forebears of the look, are revisiting their waspy roots with updated fashion twists; and LL Bean has put itself back on the map with a range of archive-inspired designs, following in the footsteps of Brooks Brothers, which has experienced a renaissance thanks to new collections from men’s wear luminary Thom Browne.

The story quotes Barneys‘ creative director and author Simon Doonan, offering his philosophy on the style’s popularity.

“It’s a nice antidote to the slutty porno-chic which is the dominant trend in our culture,” he says. “Maybe people are craving a bit of wholesome Americana to counteract the [MTV Reality show] Jersey Shore situation, and The Situation.”

Thank you a thousand times Mr. Doonan, thank you.

More from the FT story.

“Preppy’s previous old-fashioned jolly-hockey-sticks dowdiness is being replaced with a new, hipper image.

The styling in many preppy brand campaigns is taking an eclectic approach with old-fashioned tweed jackets being worn over baggy ripped jeans; traditional fits and trouser lengths are being played around with to give a new fashion edge.“It’s being subverted. There is the patrician privilege aspect, but there’s also a flirty, kinky side,” says Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory, a trends prediction agency.”

While not concurring with the notion of ‘kinky preppy’ (gasp!), we do think you will find the story interesting.


Speaking of Brooks Brothers, we stumbled into a sale over the weekend with amazing prices on a limited number of Black Fleece items.  The sale was at another ubiquitous off-price ‘invitation only’ site, Gilt.com.

Gilt Groupe

The pieces included a Black Fleece Chesterfield coat originally priced at $1000 for $249 (L), as well as a $950 Black Fleece Cotton Dress priced at $69.

It’s probably a good thing we didn’t notice the sale until after just about everything was sold out; the B2 pooh-bahs can’t be thrilled to sell pieces at 75% off. Ouch. The sale ended this morning at 9am. (If in need of an invite for future sales, just click here.)


Back to our primary topic, True Prep’s official release. There are any number of news stories related to the book and author Lisa Birnbach, we have a brief sampling of a few more:

We must admit to some most unflattering conduct here at the prepatorium, we’re quite proud today’s post didn’t engage in yet another annoying whineathon lots of chatter mentioning that for many of us, the style isn’t “back,” it never went away.

For those interested in staying on top of all things True Prep, the Facebook page is a good place to start, and if you enjoy Twitter (as we do), you can also find Lisa Birnbach tweetingClick here for the entire Today Show segment, give the video player a few moments to load.

With that we say g’bye until next time!


Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink, The AntiPrep, True Prep & TOPH

J .Crew’s Movie Star Models & Preppy is Back. Again.

Hello-Hello, welcome to a Friday!

We begin with news of J. Crew’s upcoming advertising campaign, featuring something different for the retailer, the cast of a movie as models.

Courtesy J. Crew

That would be the cast of ‘The Romantics,‘ with stars Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Malin Akerman, Rebecca Lawrence, Jeremy Strong and Adam Brody. Below, Ms. Holmes and Mr. Duhamel.

Courtesy J. Crew

Does anyone remember the J. Crew Dawson’s Creek campaign from ten years ago (shown on the left)? Below right we see Malin Akerman, Josh Duhamel, and Ms. Holmes.

As the AP reports, this is more than a slightly different group of models.

“”The Romantics” and J.Crew don’t just dabble in product placement — although some of the costumes were indeed J.Crew. The retailer is serving as a bona fide marketing partner…”

Ms. Holmes looks fetching in ever image we have seen, here is one more photo from the upcoming campaign.

Courtesy J. Crew

We look forward to seeing the campaign’s impact on sales.


We visit a few more stories prompted by the upcoming release of True Prep from Lisa Birnbach & Chip Kidd.  Ms. Birnbach of course, is best known for The Original Preppy Handbook.  A Newsday story from earlier this week declares “After 30 years, preppy style is back“. Ahem.  Should we start a pool speculating on how many times this statement will be made in the next two months as publicity for the new book intensifies? (Of course we shan’t, as ladies never engage in such nefarious activity as gambling (the horror), but it is tempting, no?)

“Granted, it’s not as if navy blazers or argyle ever really went away. But this fall the look seems reinvigorated by new lines.”

The Newsday story is viewable by subscription only, but we thought it merited sharing. Here is a bit more:

But this fall the look seems reinvigorated by new lines (Brooks Brothers‘ Fleece, now for girls as well as boys), and old standbys (Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines).The neo-preppy look is “less stuffy, more active,” says Fleece designer Nikki Kule..”

Of more interest perhaps, this delightful essay from a Charlotte Observer reader,”In Pursuit of Preppy“.

“Arriving as a naive freshman, my designers of choice were JC Penney or Bobbie Brooks. And when I stepped foot on campus my first day, I was speechless. My wardrobe was woeful compared to my fellow classmates’.

Labels of choice were Talbots, LL Bean and Ralph Lauren.”

Goodness, seeing the Bobbie Brooks name brings back memories! Kim Furiate wrote the essay, and our bonnet is off to her for sharing such a wonderful tale.

“I learned what madras plaid was and how little whales spewing water could look very cool embroidered on a guy’s chinos. It was here, too, that I was exposed to a riotous Lilly Pulitzer print on a simple shift dress an upperclass Kappa Kappa Gamma was wearing. In small-town Ohio, it was next to impossible to find acid-pink-and-lime clothing. I wanted that dress desperately.”

This is one we highly recommend, with pleasure.


We leave you with a quick reminder about today’s unveiling of 3 new lines from Le Boutique Targét, although the collections are not available at your local store or at Target’s online site.  As previously reported, the pieces from John Derian, Mulberry & Tucker for Target were just launched at noon on Gilt, the off-price members only site. Below, a few of the offerings from Mulberry for Target.

The Mulberry group arrives in-store and online October 10.

Here are two Tucker for Target pieces, the Metallic Boucle Detailed Dress ($59) and the Floral Print Woven Dress ($39).

This line from designer Gabby Basora will be offered starting on September 12.

And two items from the John Derian line, four Acrylic Tumblers ($9.96) and the melamine Bugs Appetizer Plates ($7.96).

The Derian line will be available at Target September 5.

One advisory for those interested in any of the lines as available on Gilt, the sales kicked off at noon and some items are already sold out; sooner as opposed to later may be the wisest method for this particular event. If in need of an invitation, just click here.

With that we take time to say ‘Thank You’ for popping in, we do adore our treasured readers, and hope everyone enjoys a splendid weekend!


Filed under Friday Fun, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, Preppy People, True Prep & TOPH

Polo Ralph Lauren Wants Your Children, & “True Prep” at the Princess

Hello-Hello on a bright and beautiful Thursday afternoon in The Great Midwest.

We begin with a sneak peek at the latest online marketing plan from Polo Ralph Lauren. If visiting the Childrens pages at PRL this is what one currently sees online.

Polo Ralph Lauren

Later this month an interactive storybook will be online.

Polo Ralph Lauren via WWD.com

“The RL Gang” is targeted at youngsters, according to this story in today’s Women’s Wear Daily:

“The storybook, which is launching in an exclusive partnership with Bloomingdale’s, targets children ages two and eight with looks from the collection that shoppers can click on and purchase through ralphlauren.com and bloomingdales.com.”

Below, Katherine and Oliver from the “Gang”.

The ‘shoppable book’ is slated to launch August 18th on the Polo Ralph Lauren website. Somehow the notion of marketing to two-year-olds doesn’t sit well here in the corner condo, but perhaps that is merely symptomatic of our fuddy-duddyness….?


We stay with the children’s theme, moving on to some over-the-top playhouses for the Little Master and Mini-Mistress of the house. Below, we show the Nantucket Beach Cottage (disregard that hideous child-sized vehicle in the foreground).

Whittle/Splash News

Here is an interior of the little cottage, with apologies for the fisheye lens that was used to better show the decor.

H. Lorren Au Jr./OC Register

We like the American Craftsmen playhouse.

Whittle/Splash News

Now, lest we all get our whiskers in a wad about such conspicuous consumption, this is not simply another on the list of “Ridiculous Gifts for the Over Indulged Child,” it is merely part of a good cause, the 19th annual Project Playhouse auction.  The event raises funds to help to build housing for the homeless, in past auctions some of the pint-sized palaces have brought as much as $20,000.

For more details and loads of pictures, pop over and visit our friends at the Register.


We’re long overdue for some Adventures in Argyle and Mad for Plaid updates, we begin with the latter. Le Boutique Targét offers the Men’s Madras cap (it may well be cuter on girls), now only $5.25.  Also fun, the women’s Plaid Rain Boots.

In a brighter palette, a darling Plaid ensemble for infant girls, or this Plaid Shirt for toddler boys at Kohl’s, both by Chaps.

For those seeking more practical items, Kohl’s offers Knee-high Argyle socks.

Old Navy offers polo shirts in a modern argyle motif in a variety of bright colors.

We have also seen some gorgeous argyle fall sweaters, not to mention other goodies, perhaps we should consider an entire post dedicated to that design.


Two small business matters to quickly mention (with regrets to those disinterested in such tedium), the first involving our insanely popular Lilly Pulitzer iPhone covers.


We have an update on shipping dates for the cases: we expect to receive them here around August 13th or 14th, and will start shipping them out immediately.

Our other little note concerns a small announcement from Princess InterPlanetary HQ.

Random House

Yes, that is “True Prep: It’s a Whole New Old World,” something of a follow-up to “The Original Preppy Handbook”.  The news? After much angst and discussion we have decided that we shall offer the book at The Princess! The book will be released September 7, with a retail price of $19.95. However, we will be taking pre-orders for the book starting Monday (the 9th) at a substantially lower price. After all, what are friends for?

Until next time, we hope your skies are sunny!


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

Rustic Prep: LL Bean Signature for Fall, & Alex Carleton on “Preppy Style Coming Back”

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a Wednesday!

We have to decree our love of technology this week. This afternoon I was able to watch a presentation from LL Bean Signature’s Creative Director, Alex Carleton, while staying right here at the Prepatorium.

Courtesy LL Bean

For a goofy old fuddy-duddy like yours truly, this is rather amazing. Here is a screenshot of the webinar (if that is how one refers to it..?).

Courtesy LL Bean Signature

We recognize this kind of technology is more-than-old-news to many of our treasured readers, but being able to watch Mr. Carleton as he discussed the Fall/Winter Collection was nothing short of amazing. (Keep in mind, you’re dealing with someone who spent 17 years in television *never* understanding how they make the pictures fly through the air.)

Courtesy LL Bean Signature

Mr. Carleton started the session by sharing some of his inspiration for this fall’s collection.

Courtesy LL Bean

As shown on the inspiration board, “Rustic Prep” and “New England Style” are important influences.  The designer talked about his vision for the line, discussing the color palette and detailing fabrics and materials used for the new season.

We originally shared some of the new pieces in this post, but were excited to learn more about the styles and fabrics.  One of the notable points was the variety of textiles used; there is a lot of rich texture this fall, including tweed, knits, and mohair.  Below, one of this year’s Mohair Sweaters paired with a Tweed Skirt, and on the right, a Knit Dress, reminiscent of the 70’s Isleboro Sweater dress. The model is also wearing one of the men’s Field Watches as an accessory.

Mr. Carleton also talked about the challenges of taking a line originally created as a menswear brand to be worn while duck hunting and making it appropriate for today’s fashion-conscious woman. Below, the Flannel Shirt and Skinny Jean, and the Ruffled Top.

Below we show the Alpaca Cable Sweater and Blanket Skirt, along with a Turtleneck we adore.

Some of the most interesting comments came during the Q & A portion of the presentation; Mr. Carleton has spoken about personalities that influence and inspire, among them Katherine Hepburn, Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, John Updike and John Cheever, and when asked about associating a celebrity (or celebrities) with the Signature line, he spoke at length about Bean’s humble beginnings and commitment to maintaining that humility.

Our favorite line from Mr. Carleton’s response:

“… LL Bean’s history is not flashy and not celebrity focused…. not needing or desiring a celebrity face…”

Hallelujah to that sentiment.

We move on to a few looks for your MOTH (Man of the House).

We like the Intarsia Sweater and the Men’s Flannel Shirt.

For more on the Menswear styles, pop over and visit Skip at Alexander Grant, he actually went to a Signature trunk show at the Mother Ship in Maine, and has marvelous photos.

Several pieces come in styles for both men and women, like the Tweed Coat.

Also available for both ladies and gentlemen, the Tartan Plaid pant, we show it in the navy and green colorway. On the right, one of our favorite ensembles showcases the vintage fisherman print on the shirt.

Back to inquiries from participants; a question was asked about recent media coverage of “preppy style,” referencing next week’s release of the classic Take Ivy reprint (explained here), and September’s new book from Original Preppy Handbook writer Lisa Birnbach (explained here and here).  There was also an allusion to Guy Trebay’s “Prep, Forward and Back” story in the Times, covered in this post. The designer’s response made perfect sense:

“People are definitely excited about preppy style, traditional clothes, traditional brands. Fashion is cyclical, we’re in this cycle and right now people are feeling (positively) about traditional ideas… in love with history and looking at fashion not being created in a vacuum, things that bring us back… a sense of nostalgia, a lot of people are feeling really good about preppy style.”

Mr. Carleton was clear about ‘preppy style’ being popular again, or statements that “preppy style is back”:

“It never went away. There is this media zeitgeist happening… a lot of people paying attention to it because of the media zeitgeist… it never went away.”


The LL Bean Signature Fall Collection is available next week.


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