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?