Tag Archives: Tory Burch

Is Prep Dead? (More Importantly, How Did We Miss This?)

Hello-Hello, is everyone ready for a weekend?

We thought it was time for another True Prep update, the volume of media surrounding the book is significant, including multiple declarations that ‘prep is dead’; in at least one instance responsibility for this hypothetical occurrence is linked directly to the book.

We begin with this headline from a September NPR story:

We haven’t heard the entire NPR story, but did read what is posted online and were unable to decipher exactly how the book’s existence translated into a sign that prep was dead.  The NPR story does carry a lengthy quote from this story in The Atlantic:

As always, the Atlantic review is very well done, essentially positing that ‘prep’ has  been absorbed by a larger, international class.  From the piece by Benjamin Schwarz:

“Whereas OPH was crammed with fine-grained analysis— defining, say, the subtle distinctions between Brooks Brothers (mainstream), J. Press (old guard), and Paul Stuart (urbane)—True Prep’s analysis seems vague and flabby. Whereas OPH’s preppies belonged to a distinct and inward-looking subculture, the preppies of True Prep, defined largely by what they buy and wear, are in many ways indistinguishable from fancily educated professionals.”

The writer doesn’t fault the skill set of authors Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd, looking instead at the consumption habits of the era, particularly those of the conspicuous kind.

“Cracked heirlooms, threadbare antique rugs, sturdy L.L. Bean boots, duct-taped Blucher moccasins, and workhorse Volvo station wagons defined OPH’s aesthetic. True Prep’s preppies, armed with BlackBerrys and iPods, wear Verdura jewelry and Prada and vintage Gucci loafers, tote Goyard and Tory Burch bags, and adorn their desks with tchotchkes from Smythson (a firm whose success, Ian Jack notes in The Guardian, has been built “on selling baubles to the impressionable rich”).

It’s no secret we whined struggled with some of the brands featured in True Prep. (For Ms. Birnbach’s comments regarding the J. Crew metallic Top-siders at J. Crew, simply click here.) We have been vocal about the volume of J. Crew & Burberry products showcased in the book.  Frequent readers know the tragic truth: TP and The Consort are two boring, old-school preps.  Our style is basically no style.

However, we do take issue with this claim from a column in the Journal, the headline reads “Preppy Pitfall: All That Madras, Not Enough Effort.” It is the subhead that is irksome:

Did Lisa Birnbach’s original ‘Handbook’ drive people lazy?”

Eric Felten cites TOPH (The Official Preppy Handbook) as a factor.

“One simply mustn’t try too hard. A key principle of what Ms. Birnbach called the Preppy Value System was Effortlessness: “If life is a country club, then all functions should be free from strain.”

The notion that Ms. Birnbach is responsible for the work ethic of a generation is ludicrous.

“Unless you actually have a fat trust fund to underwrite your nonchalance, an aversion to effort is hardly a strategy for success. Which may explain some of our national woes.”

We like Ms. Birnbach; she is talented, witty and loads of fun, but while wielding significant influence, she is not quite so powerful as to be responsible for this:

“Over the last couple of decades we’ve seen the contempt for effort spread far beyond the original preppy demographic. Now it’s commonplace for middle-class kids to go to college and behave as though they are scions of the gentry—abjuring studies and indulging in the bottomless kegger that a recent book dubbed “The Five Year Party.”

Blaming These Challenging Times on any single author just doesn’t work for us.

Next on the review list, AOL’s Daily Finance offers this:

Bruce Watson’s story takes a more reasoned approach:

“…she attached a philosophical component to the look, explicitly wedding the preppy style to a hodgepodge of social values, including traditionalism, thrift, and brand loyalty. In Birnbach’s analysis, preppies buy Brooks Brothers and Orvis because these companies have been in business for over a hundred years and have proven reliability.”

As the monolithic 1980’s preppy culture has fractured into a variety of brands and styles, from Gossip Girl to hip-hop Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren to Vineyard Vines, it’s worth wondering if this explosion of prep may also signal its demise.”

Mr. Watson points to the efforts at updating the fashions offered by some of the stalwarts, like LL Bean’s Signature and Black Fleece at Brooks Brothers, a necessity if such establishments are to compete against trendier, “hipper” (ahem) offerings at retailers like J. Crew. Unfortunately the writer misses an important point in this portion of his story:
“In True Prep, however, conversation positively drips with references to the signs of wealth, as Birnbach instructs readers: “Your car wasn’t in the shop; your Mercedes was getting fixed. You didn’t wear shoes; you wore Manolos.”
The book isn’t instructing readers to converse in this fashion. To the contrary, this specific segment laments the way people speak these days, bemoaning the ostentation and name-dropping and label flashing.  Melanie Spencer’s story in the Austin Statesman illustrates this distinction with a quote from the author:
“”People are oft misbehaving and name-dropping and talking about money,” she says. “It is vulgar. It’s becoming normal. I’m here to help correct. Something as benign as ‘Sex in the City’ sort of sanctioned gross materialism. Instead of saying, ‘Oh, my shoes hurt,’ it’s, ‘My Manolos hurt.’ You are sending all kinds of messages. You can say ‘My car is in the shop.’ You don’t have to say, ‘My Jaguar is in the shop.’ It would be so refreshing for people to go back to those basics.”

We had to laugh aloud at this part of the story, it seems not everyone in Austin was fond of the prep aesthetic. (Gasp!)

“”Preppy fashion was the lowest point in the history of women’s attire,” says longtime Austinite, style and design writer and Austin Monthly Home editor Helen Thompson.”
Oops.  Hopefully Melanie, I Pick Pretty and other notable Austin denizens won’t tell Ms. Thompson next time we visit.
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Enough of the deep thinking, we have an eye-popping Pretty in Pink & Green to share:
The Argyle Pullover is available at Elegant Baby, and there is also a version in blues if looking for something a little more sedate.
With that, we are off to enjoy the weekend, and hope you are able to do the same!

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

Fashion Week: Tory Burch & “Where Fashion Is Not Our Friend”

Hello-Hello, happy Thursday!

As New York Fashion Week draws to a close, we have a look at yesterday’s Tory Burch show.

As in other shows, dresses and skirts ran longer, many hitting mid-calf, a marked (and welcome) departure from what we have been seeing on the runway in previous years.

From the Women’s Wear Daily review:

“For every jet-set babe, à la Marisa Berenson (peasant blouses, sensual silk dresses), there was a louche Lauren Hutton (slim, tailored suiting) or bohemian Ali MacGraw (crochet polos, Baja sweaters).”

There was much to like, including many pieces in the navy group.

Even the shimmering lamé looked tailored and glamorous, not loud or inappropriate.

We very much like the navy tweed jacket on the left, as well as the trench coat on the right.

But our favorite look has to be this one, right down to what looks like a wicker handbag.

PHOTO: John Aquino/WWD

One of the fashion world’s most plugged-in designers, Ms. Burch uses her Facebook page, blog and Twitter account to gather opinions and share information, attributing some design decisions to feedback she receives from customers.

Via Tory Burch blog

Many celebrities were seen in the front row for the show, WWD’s Steve Eichner snapped these images of Kanye West and Aerin Lauder.

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When it comes to a broader view of significant trends, here is a snippet from Sally Singer’s story in T Magazine, “The Rise and Fall at New York Fashion Week”:

“One thing we have learned so far from the New York spring runways is that waistlines are rising and hemlines falling, and heaven help those with stubby legs.”

One thing that does not appear to be going away:

PHOTO: Bebeto Matthews/AP via T Magazine

The shoes above are from the Tory Burch show; more on the styles from Sally Singer’s story:

“But then there is the conundrum of footwear, and here is where fashion is not our friend….it’s back to the platforms (terrific at Tory Burch)….”

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We also have images for next spring’s line from Nautica, a brand we remain fond of here at the Prepatorium.

Courtesy Photos via WWD.com

Back to womenswear, St. John showed spring styles last week.

Courtesy

More images from Robert Mitra and WWD.

We are not sure St. John, struggling for some time now, has fully found its way, although some pieces looked appealing.

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A few quick True Prep notes:

  • Ralph Gardner profiles author Lisa Birnbach in today’s Journal, “The Official Preppy Author” also offers this image of the writer.

Ross Mantle for The Wall Street Journa

Via True Prep Facebook page

  • Today the book tour heads to LL Bean at Tysons Corner, that would be a fun event to attend.

With that we say so long until next time!

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

A Fashion Frenzy, Gossip Girls and Mad Men

Hello-Hello, doesn’t it feel like time for some Friday Fun?

We are thinking this could be the theme for today’s post, we’ll steer our path away from anything serious or weighty, and have a look at Fashion Week, Fashion’s Night Out (FNO), Gossip Girl’s ‘fashionable new season,’ as well as the Brooks Brothers and Lilly Pulitzer ties to True Prep.

We begin with FNO, for where else would one see this trio?

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Conde Nast

Anna Wintour, Blake Lively and Roger Federer were on hand Wednesday night for what was billed as the largest public fashion show in history (a quick sellout at $250 per ticket), held at Lincoln Center. The function was also taped for a one-hour special airing at 10 Tuesday night on CBS.  Ms. Lively’s co-star, Leighton Meester, was also in attendance.

It has been a busy week for the young actress, earlier Tuesday she was at the J. Crew/People StyleWatch screening of “The Romantics”. Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise also were at the private showing; we chatted about the J. Crew product placement in the film in this post.

Back to Fashion’s Night Out, London’s FNO is already in the books. Below left, the Burberry celebration featured models Rosie Huntington-Whitley (L) and Daisy Lowe (R) on either side of Burberry’s creative director, Christopher Bailey.  The photo on the right shows Claudia Schiffer, also on hand for the Burberry party.

On this side of the pond there are multiple FNO events with a preppish flavor: J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons will be at the company’s Prince Street store, while Jessica Alba and Andre Leon Talley will be at the Polo Ralph Lauren location in Soho.

Brooks Brothers’ FNO party starts at 6pm at the flagship store on Madison; we don’t know if they will have the Brooks Brothers True Prep limited edition available, but it can be purchased online at the retailer’s website.

Brooks Brothers

Lilly Pulitzer co-hosts a True Prep event at Bloomingdale’s, both Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd will be on hand to sign books,  there is also a very-limited-edition True Prep Lilly polo shirt, the words “True Prep” are visible when one ‘pops’ their collar.

Lilly Pulitzer

(True confession: we are not collar-poppers here in the Princess corner condo, don’t tell anyone lest they think poorly of us.)

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We move on now, to Fashion Week. Some shows have already taken place, like Jessica Simpson’s, held Wednesday; the entertainer launched her new denim line.

Courtesy Photo via WWD

Christian Siriano showed yesterday, below a sneak peek at some of his shoe styles for Payless.

Getty Images via The Cut

To see all of the designer’s looks from his Spring 2011 collection, click here. If curious about the lighter, summery looks, a reminder the styles being shown are for the spring 2011 RTW (ready-to-wear) season.

Shows we are interested in for today, Kate Spade, Steven Alan, and Ports 1961. Tomorrow’s schedule includes the Lacoste and Band of Outsiders shows, Monday we have Caroline Herrera and Marc Jacobs, Tuesday’s offerings include Karen Walker and Mulberry, while Wednesday is shaping up to be insanely busy with Tory Burch, GANT by Michael Bastian, Michael Kors and Milly, to name just a few of the shows. The big week wraps up Thursday, with collections from Ralph Lauren and the master, Oscar de la Renta.

The run-up to Fashion Week is always chock full of parties and this year is no different; one of the most coveted invites was for last night’s re-opening of Chanel’s Soho boutique. Below, Chanel Grand Pooh-bah Karl Lagerfeld and once again, Ms. Lively.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Chanel

It was quite the do, other guests included Sarah Jessica Parker, Liv Tyler, Claire Danes and Diane Kruger.

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One other event to mention, this one taking place next weekend (and completely unrelated to Fashion Week or Gossip Girl!), but sure to be fun and for a good cause, Baltimore’s first annual Oxfords and Oysters. Below, a sampling of the logos from sponsors and those donating goodies for the VIP Guest bags, definitely a preptastic group.

Oxford and Oysters/Sky Blue Events

The philanthropic soiree benefits the Oyster Recovery Partnership, working to restore the oyster population in Chesapeake Bay. Our pal Jennifer at Sky Blue Events is in charge of the celebration, and several of our blogging friends are attending, we wish we could temporarily relocate Princess InterGalactic HQ to Baltimore so we might go too!

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And finally, GQ’s Man of the Year gala was celebrated Wednesday, the gala celebration was at London’s Royal Opera House, as this was hosted by the UK edition of the magazine. The big winner:

PA/The Daily Mail

Actor Jon Hamm was named International Man of the Year. Also being honored, Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick, recognized as “Breakthrough Talent of the Year”.

PA/The Daily Mail

Likely to also be of interest to Preppy101 a certain favorite blogger, Mr. Hamm’s appearance Thursday at the Venice Film Festival.

Also seen in this photo, co-star Jeremy Renner, director Ben Affleck and actress Rebecca Hall, the group is promoting their film “The Town,” opening September 17.

Two final notes:

  • the latest collaboration for Gap is with (this is amazing) Valentino!
  • don’t forget that Tucker launches at Le Boutique Targét on Sunday.

Until next time, may everyone’s weekend be filled with sun and laughter.

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Dave M. Benett/Getty Images
  • Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Conde Nast
  • Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

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Filed under Friday Fun, Gossip Girl, Prepalicious, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, True Prep & TOPH

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.

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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.

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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.

AMC-TV

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!

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

Fab Sales & Savings & Posh Pet Digs & A Preppy Cutting Board

Hello-Hello, welcome to a crazy Thursday here at Princess InterGalactic HQ!

With the holiday approaching there are loads of Sales and Savings opportunities; you know how concerned we about helping you conserve your pin money. We begin with the Brooks Brothers semi-annual sale and a Pretty in Pink, the Madras short at $52.80.  On the right is the Country Club Dress in a lightweight cotton knit that is über-comfy and at a lightweight price, just $59 (originally $98).

Talbots is running their Red Hanger promotion.

Talbots

The sale offers items like the Embroidered Cropped Pants at $63 (originally $79.50) or today’s Adventure in Argyle, the Cotton Blend Cardigan at $71 (originally $89).

Are these great bargains? Not exactly.  For consumers who have grown accustomed to deep discounting during These Difficult Times, the lack of lower price points may be off-putting. Today CNBC looked at summer sale promotions in a story titled “Smart Spending: Are semiannual sales worth it?

“More than ever, retailers are running sales every two weeks,” said Dan de Grandpre, editor-in-chief of dealnews.com. “The semiannual sale for a lot of people is just noise.”

Second, the discounts are smaller. Try 30 percent to 50 percent, compared with the 75 percent price cuts that were common until about a year ago. And the racks are less full because retailers ordered less to begin with.”

Tory Burch is also offering discounts.

Tory Burch

The Walker Polo is now $66.50 (from $95) and the Kids’ Tory Tunic in pink is also $66.50.

Here is more fiscally-friendly advice from the CNBC story:

“….consider waiting. Retailers like Brooks Brothers, Timberland and Foot Locker still offer big sales well before the winter holidays, often in late September through early November. De Grandpre said those sales can be better than the chains’ semiannual ones because retailers don’t want to be left with extra inventory after the holidays.”

A Princess favorite, Kate Spade, is also offering discounted merchandise; the Krush Slingback is $228, originally priced at $325.  On the right, an item we adore for cooler seasons, the Zoe knit slipper, reduced to $47 from $95.

We promise to pass along any other significant offers we discover.

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A few quick items we simply have to share, here is the first.

Straight Line Designs

The Bird Home comes via Justin Beaumont’s Straight Line Designs in Vancouver.  From the same source, we offer the Pet Camper, just too fun.

Straight Line Designs

Sadly, we were forced to explain to Tilly the dapper digs are not intended for dogs of her… girth. Her reaction?

Tilly is Not Happy

Sigh. What’s a Mother to do?

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We leave you with new to the Princess, our fabulous new Personalized Cutting Boards from Clairebella.

The tempered glass boards are offered in two sizes.

We are ever-so-excited to have these available now in the shoppe, they are going to fill a number of gift-giving needs.

Next to be added from this fantastic line, monogrammed melamine trays.

Clairebella at PreppyPrincess.com

With that fab news, g’bye until next time!

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Filed under Argyle, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink, Sales & Savings