New Preppy: Mainstream American and International

With designers like Tommy Hilfiger updating the preppy look for a younger mass market, as in Feast Interruptus with its Vampire Weekend soundtrack, it is no longer the exclusive domain that it once was.  You need not have attended an elite prep school to qualify as a preppy.  Assimilating the right look and attitudes –  conservative clothes, good manners, good sportsmanship, fun loving and carefree disposition and  appreciation of traditions – might be enough.  Lisa Birnbach makes this point in True Prep, her update of The Official Preppy Handbook published last year.  In fact, preppy has become mainstream in America and is now an international trend.  “Whereas once upon a time it seemed unlikely that Europeans would be attracted to our aesthetic,” writes Birnbach, “now they’ve adapted it and made it their own.”  A German college student/model in the video below looks right at home in his Nantucket reds, button down, bow tie, blue blazer and Clark’s Desert Boots.

In a new book from Rizzoli, Preppy:  Cultivating Ivy Style, Jeffrey Banks and Doria De La Chapelle, take off on the mainstream aspect of this way of dressing:  “Intrinsically American preppy has progressed, reflecting, in its way, the social and educational progress our country has achieved.  What started out as an exclusive, white-Protestant, male, clubby way of dressing for the Elite Few has morphed into an inclusive, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, pan-gender, meritocratic way of dressing for the Elite New.  Aspirational preppy is the American dream, and it speaks eloquently for us all over the globe.”  Nobody does aspirational preppy better than Ralph Lauren.

Keep in mind that preppy clothes can be very expensive at retail.  The purpose of my blog is to show you how to find the clothes you’re looking for in excellent condition at bargain prices.  Why pay retail when you don’t have to do so?

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Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style

A new book exploring the origins of what has become known as the preppy/ivy style is due out from Rizzoli on October 4th.  I pre-ordered my copy yesterday through Amazon.  I’ve bought a number of books recently on the topic of preppy/ivy dress:  True Prep (Lisa Birnbach’s update of The Official Preppy Handbook), Take Ivy and The Ivy Look:  An Illustrated Pocket Guide.

Book Summary from Rizzoli:

Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style – The authoritative fashion history of the roots, growth, and offshoots of the quintessentially American preppy style. Preppy offers the first definitive and in-depth volume on preppy fashion, exploring its evolution from its pragmatic origins and presence on elite Eastern campuses in America to its profound influence internationally and metamorphosis on the runway. For the first time, the preppy story is told completely and beautifully with iconic and never-before-published archival and editorial photographs and personal snapshots from the original Ivy elites.
Exploring all facets of men’s and women’s preppy fashion, this vibrant volume is replete with photographs and vintage ads illustrating the iconic elements of prep: from Oxford shirts, khakis, and Shetland sweaters to Peter Pan collars, madras pants, and Lilly Pulitzer tropical blooms. Authors Jeffrey Banks and Doria de La Chapelle also examine the fashion designers who played a major role in shaping the preppy look, from retail pioneers J.Press and Brooks Brothers to Ralph Lauren, who single-handedly marketed not just a look but a lifestyle. Also featured: a band of young twenty-first century Ivy stylists and fashion labels worldwide, who have infused preppy with high-octane design on and off the runway. Preppy is a stunning tribute to an American phenomenon.