Top 20 Preppy Colleges in the South

In 2011, I published my first list of the top preppy colleges in the South.  It was limited to 10 colleges, and it was difficult to make decisions on which to include.  It was an entirely subjective process.  Most decisions were based on my experiences of the respective campuses considered.  I also spent time talking to current students and recent graduates to get their perspective.

For this year’s list, I’ve decided to expand the number to 20.  I use the term colleges, but I’m including both colleges and universities.  So the range is extensive.  Most of the schools listed this year are relatively small, private liberal arts institutions.

Hampden-Sydney College keeps its  #1 ranking again — as the most preppy college in the South – while Washington and Lee University moves up to the #2 ranking to challenge.

Hampden-Sydney College

The state of Virginia has the most schools listed (8), followed by  North and South Carolina (4 each), Tennessee (2), Mississippi (1) and Alabama (1).  Is there a bias? Probably.  Am I open to suggestions and revisions?  Definitely!  Let me know which schools you think should make the list, or which ones should be excluded.

THE TOP 20 PREPPY COLLEGES IN THE SOUTH – 2014

1.  Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, VA.  (Founded 1775)

2.  Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA.  (Founded 1749)

3.  Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA.  (Founded 1901)

4.  University of the South, Sewanee, TN.  (Founded 1857)

5.  University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. (Founded 1819)

6.  Wofford College,  Spartanburg, SC.  (Founded 1854)

7.  Furman University, Greenville, SC.  (Founded 1826)

8.  College of Charleston, Charleston, SC.  (Founded 1770)

9.  Converse College, Spartanburg, SC.  (Founded 1889)

10.  Hollins University, Roanoke, VA.  (Founded 1842)

11.  Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA.  (Founded 1842)

12.  Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA.  (Founded 1830)

13.  Elon University, Elon, NC.  (Founded 1889)

14.  Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.  (Founded 1873)

15.  University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS.  (Founded 1848)

16.  Davidson College, Davidson, NC.  (Founded 1837)

17.  Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.  (Founded 1834)

18.  University of Richmond, Richmond, VA.  (Founded 1830)

19.  University of Alabama, Tuscalosa, AL.  (Founded 1831).

20.  Duke University, Durham, NC.  (Founded 1838)

Thrifted Brooks Brothers Poplin Suit

Poplin SuitSince the move to South Carolina last summer, I’ve had a chance to scout thrift stores in my area and have found some really good ones.  But the Brooks Brothers olive poplin suit I’m wearing above is one that I bought while still in New York City.  It’s from Unique Thrift Store in Riverdale, a short walk from where we lived at the edge of Van Cortlandt Park and 242nd Street.  We were so far north in the city that the Westchester County line was only a half mile away.  Riverdale was a great place to go thrift shopping.

The Brooks Brothers suit was a nice find at $15.00 and in perfect condition, showing no signs of wear.  But I’m picky about suits.  This has a 2-button front, and I like 3/2 roll.  It also has darts, and I prefer suits without them.  However, I couldn’t pass up this find.  A poplin suit is wonderful for summer, and the fit was correct (44 regular).  The the sleeves were precisely the right length, allowing 1/4 inch of cuffs to show, and the only alteration necessary was to have the collar lowered in the back, taking out a slight ridge that showed when standing still.

As for the suit pants, they are exactly what I prefer:  plain front with cuffs and the slightest of breaks.  The bottom of the pants just touches the top of my loafers.  These cuffs are 1 and 1/4 inch, which I wear most often.  But some of my pants have the more traditional 1 and 3/4 inch cuffs.  The suit pants needed no alterations at all.  This is the sort of find that is the best when thrifting.  Having to have several alterations done for a single suit can quickly become expensive.

The closest comparable suit to this one on the Brooks Brothers website is the sage colored Madison Fit Poplin Suit for $498.00.  The cut is a good bit different.  This one appears to be tapered on the sides, while mine is roomy and more of a sack suit cut.

Sage Poplin

The other thrifted items I’m wearing are a pair of tassel Bass Weejuns with a beefroll from the Salvation Army ($5.99) in nearly new condition and a silk rep tie from Christian Pelini also from the Salvation Army (.50 cents).

My button down is a 100% cotton oxford cloth traditional fit model from Brooks Brothers.  It came from the flagship Madison Avenue store and was a birthday gift from my wife last spring.  However, she did use her 30% corporate discount card to buy it ($55.65).  My cordovan leather belt is from the men’s department at Sears ($19.99).  We’re penny pinchers to the end!

SAVINGS BREAKDOWN

  • Brooks Brothers suit ($498.00 retail vs. $15.00 Thrifted) = $483.00
  • Bass Weejuns w/Tassel ($109.00 retail vs. $5.99 Thrifted) = $103.01
  • Brooks Brothers OCBD ($79.50 retail vs. $55.65 discount) = $23.85

TOTAL SAVINGS = $609.86

Note:  Christian Pelini no longer appears to be a retail brand and is considered a vintage tie.  So I don’t have any information on the savings for that item.

Poplin Close Up

My Blogging Hiatus – A Move and Such

I’ve been out of the blogging and thrifting loop for some time.  Moving to another state – from New York to South Carolina – will do that.  So will spending an entire summer of house rennovations.  Having been an apartment dweller in the Big Apple, I have learned more about tile, grout, studs, dry wall, sheet rock and tongue-and-groove flooring than I ever thought possible.  With rennovations, the rule of thumb is that where one issue or complication pops up, more are sure to follow.  But now that things are winding down on that front and life is settling into a normal pattern, I hope to be up with thrifting posts soon.  Stay tuned.