Tag Archives: True prep reviews

Lisa Birnbach Wishes She Was Betty Draper Sometimes

Hello-Hello, what a delightful Tuesday it has turned out to be, we hope yours is the same, filled with sunshine and lots of laughter.

It seems like a good time for an update on True Prep, there have been oodles of articles on the book, as well as loads of parties and book signing events, like this one at the Sperry Top-sider store in Kansas City.

Tim Umphrey/Getty Images

And this one at the Lilly Mother Ship store in King of Prussia.

Michael S. Wirtz/Philadelphia Inquirer

There has also been a significant amount of news coverage for many of the goings-on as well. We adore the way this Palm Beach Daily News story begins:

“In the beginning, there was pink and there was green. They mixed, quietly, beyond the fray of fashion magazines and designer mandates.”

Fortunately, the always-gracious Lisa Birnbach us fit into her more-than-busy schedule, we were able to catch up for a chat about the book’s progress and reader reactions.  We started out discussing the book’s popularity, something the author calls “humbling,” sharing that she has been “… surprised at how many people show up at things!”

She has also been taken aback by the intense affection people still have for The Official Preppy Handbook, saying she didn’t realize how much it meant to people, let alone the impact some readers say it had on their lives.

“The number of ‘you’ve changed my life’ stories people are telling me is amazing, I never expected that.”

Reading about the antics of preps getting together in other parts of the country is always fun, below we see two of our faves, Hopsy (aka Monograms & Manicures/Kappa Prep) as well as Miss Tickled Pink & Green at the Dallas event in October.

Photo via Kappa Prep

Discussion about the “commercialization of prep” as it relates to the book prompted us to ask Ms. Birnbach about products and brands heavily showcased in the new book and/or at events on the book tour.
“Is there some sort of quid pro quo with Brooks Brothers? Absolutely not. Not at all, there’s no cash exchanged for events being held at their stores, no. It’s very simple how this all happened, we were very late calling merchants to provide things to photograph for the book, and when I called Brooks brothers they decided they really wanted to get involved.”
The conversation digressed (at length) with chatter about some of the natty Brooks apparel Ms. Birnbach has been sporting at B2 book functions.  Your trusty correspondent has been a little gaga about several dresses worn by the author, especially the one seen below left in Adam Tschorn’s photo.  We think it is the Black Fleece Silk Button Back Dress shown below right. (For more on the Brooks Brothers launch party, click here.)
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Back to that nasty and oh-so-not-done conversation about True Prep and merchandising, there are products being marketed for which Ms. Birnbach does receive some compensation. The licensing agreement with Vineyard Vines is a good example of such an arrangement.

Vineyard Vines

The collection includes a True Prep Polo, a tie and Beach Bag.
We then moved on to the next topic, asking Ms. Birnbach about reader reactions to the book.
“Some people want more rules, there are people who are really not happy about the inclusiveness, this is the area that seems to provide the most controversy.  I don’t think it’s nice, it’s not appropriate.”
As an FYI, the harshest criticism the author can level at someone or something is that it “isn’t nice.”  And when discussing the “too inclusive” crowd, she is understandably emphatic.
“They are old school and they don’t like the way the world is shaping up, and the worst thing is, they spew and use new media and its anonymity to post their rage online, where they can say anything and be safe from other points of view. We have to draw a line in the sand.”
It is at this point where both Ms. Birnbach and TP commiserate about “how things used to be”.
“Life was much more pleasant, I did have to dress up to fly, I miss the soft-spoken courtesy in the world I grew up in. Now my kids know more about plastic surgery and violence and other things that I never knew about at that age.”

“But then, we didn’t have access to so many things that we do now as far as careers and other things go… am I grateful for the opportunities I have had because of the way the world has changed? Of course I am, there is a part of me that is very pro First Amendment, and very independent as a woman, but there is a part of me that wishes for that world where we were polite, and people were admired for actually accomplishing something… sometimes it all makes me wish I was Betty Draper.”

Makeover by The Consort

Amen to that sentiment.

One nice thing about the book parties has to be the food, where else would one see Sperry cupcakes? (Thank you for the photo Miss Wendy!)

Wendy's Picture

And since we are talking about cupcakes we simply had to share these darling pink whales from the big party celebrating Vineyard Vines’ grand opening of its new store in Palm Beach Gardens.

Vineyard Vines Blog

We’ll have a look at some of the reviews for True Prep later this week.

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A quick note geared more toward the MOTH (Man of the House) in your life, the first involving a Princess fave, Bill’s Khakis.  In honor of its twentieth year in business, Bill’s is launching a special pair of khakis, the Camerton Twills.

Bill’s Khakis

A portion of proceeds will benefit the USO, another reason we adore Bill’s.  Our thanks to The Trad for the tip.

On that note we say g’bye until next time!

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

The Times Reviews True Prep, Mad About Emmy Party Frocks

Hello-hello, we are clearly embarking upon another wild and wacky week here at the Prepatorium, how are things shaping up in your corner of the globe?

We begin with a look at one of the first big reviews for True Prep, this one from Janet Maslin in the Times.  Ms. Maslin begins with a look back at the volume preceding True Prep, TOPH, along with another classic.

“But much of “The Official Preppy Handbook” just codified widely known information about high-WASP habits and affectations. (It also borrowed from “Take Ivy,” a 1965 style guide published in Japan.) Its original readers, whether they were knowing or curious, were apt to be of boarding-school age or a little older. Now they’re pushing 50.”

PreppyPrincess.com

Above, that iconic cover of Take Ivy.

The review mentions some of the societal changes since TOPH was first published.

“Among the post-1980 phenomena with which “The Official Preppy Handbook” could not conjure are the Internet, the McMansion, the cellphone, synthetic fleece and the emergence of famous rehab facilities as today’s new boarding schools.”

Below, one of many illustrations in the book.

Random House/Knopf

As mentioned in previous posts (here and here), the book includes many contemporary brands and companies.  A few seen in the Casual Friday image shown above, LL Bean, Cole-Haan, and J. Crew (too much Crew); product mentions caught Ms. Maslin’s attention:

“Ms. Birnbach is best suited to the shopping guide and flagrant product plugs that are a large part of this book’s raison d’être.”

Overall Ms. Maslin’s review is positive, with appreciation for the book’s humorous style and efforts to update common topics. Click here to read the review in its entirety.

Also of note, this month’s Allure features a True Prep tie-in piece, our thanks to the Bellini Bunny for showcasing it on her blog. The story contrasts popular styles of today with styles back in 1980 when TOPH was published.

Allure magazine via the Bellini Bunny

For example, “Beauty Icons then” include Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, “Now” it is Gwyneth Paltrow. (Ahem.)

Also meriting a visit, Apartment Therapy’s “Waspy Whimsey“.

Apartment Therapy

Guerrin Gardner and Mat Sanders put together a wonderful styleboard inspired by the book.

For anyone interested in the schedule with dates and times for True Prep Book Tour events, click here; the link takes you to a page with all that info and more, The Consort the IT department put it together for the site.

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We quickly revisit some of last night’s fashionable (or not) moments at the Emmys. Below, three stars of Mad Men,  January Jones in Atelier Versace, Elizabeth Moss in Donna Karan, and Christina Hendricks in Zac Posen.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Below, Sally Draper actress Kiernan Shipka at the event.

Here are a few of the Mad Men, along with the show’s producer, Matt Weiner.

Chris Pizzello/AP

Actor Jon Hamm and longtime partner Jennifer Westveldt both wore Armani for the big do, while Tina Fey opted for a stunning Oscar de la Renta gown.

Perhaps the most unusual dress was worn by Rita Wilson, seen here with husband Tom Hanks.

Michael Buckner/Getty

The dress and shoes were both from the Prada runway show, we don’t know who did the handbag.

We generally adore Ms. Wilson’s style selections, but this one just didn’t work; it was a classic case of the dress wearing her, not the other way around.

Actress Claire Danes was a knockout in Armani.

We leave you with two more images from last night’s festivities.

Until next time!

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS:

  • AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
  • Frazer Harrison/Getty
  • Jason Merritt/Getty

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