The Return of Preppy
Pop your collars and dust off your Top Siders. In the last few years, preppy has made a comeback in the world of fashion. Lisa Birnbach, author of The Official Preppy Handbook, came out in the fall of 2010 with a sequel called True Prep, which takes into account that preppy clothes have become mainstream. There has been a slew of other related books, including The Ivy Style, Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style and a reprint of the iconic 1965 book Take Ivy. Some designers – notably Thom Browne and Tommy Hilfiger – have reinterpreted the classic style for a younger market, but their asking prices can be steep.
If you’re a preppy whose stocks have tanked and whose trust fund has taken a massive hit, let me help. I’ll show you how to keep your lifestyle afloat under dire economic circumstances. If you’re completely new to the preppy aesthetic, I can also help. The clothes can be expensive, but don’t despair if don’t have a lot of money to spend. You can find most of the items that you’ll need to build your wardrobe in various thrift stores at a fraction of retail prices. You can add to those finds items from a few good consignment shops, sidewalk sales and eBay auctions. Soon you’ll have the basic elements of preppy style down without breaking the bank.
In my outings, I regularly find clothes from J. Press, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Bass, Corbin, Haspel, L.L. Bean, Lands’ End, Orvis, J. Crew and even Hilfiger (though I don’t like his line). Most of those clothes are in excellent condition, but I also find the occasional button down with a slightly frayed collar or a shetland wool sweater that has been repaired with loving care. I don’t rule those out either. If a garment is well-designed and solidly constructed, it merits consideration. Thrift shopping requires patience, a discriminating eye and only a few dollars. While thrifting won’t get you into the Larchmont Yacht Club or Piping (so exclusive that you can’t view the website unless you’re a member), it will allow you to achieve a classic and comfortable style that will weather any trend. Isn’t that the most important consideration after all? This is your invitation to join the Parsimonious Preppy Club.
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