Real People: The Endurance of Prep

Prep style is a little like ska music (bear with me). Although it’s never really gone, every decade or so it creeps into the culture, and everybody’s into it, then, once it recedes back into the world of niche enthusiasts, we’re all a little embarrassed by how much we dug it. “That pink sweater/trombone? Yeah, it’s in the back of the closet.”

Prep influence has been ebbing in menswear for the last few years, largely in favor of more European references, but like good ska (if you’re willing to admit there is such a thing—I recommend Hepcat), good prep endures. Eric, who posts at Acute Style, does a fantastic job with clothing rooted in the prep tradition without descending into RL Rugby caricature (RIP) or fetishization. Blue blazers (3 roll 2), madras, repp ties, and seersucker; tassel loafers and classic Allen Edmonds oxfords (bit loafers, too; perhaps surprisingly, bit loafers made it into the original Preppy Handbook). Trousers are almost universally cotton, flat front, and cuffed. Eric wears his clothes a little trimmer than might be classically preppy, but the proportions are not overly cropped or boyish. I tend to roll my eyes a little at paeans to “timeless style,” but in my eyes, this is it. It’s enough to encourage me to break out some madras ties and a Skatalites record.

Maybe the best part is that Eric endeavors to build his wardrobe on a reasonable budget, reflecting some old school Yankee thrift. Vintage pieces, Uniqlo, L.L. Bean, and Lands End outnumber the pricier J. Press and Brooks Brothers pieces, for the most part, with accessories from upstarts like The Knottery and Cordial Churchman.

-Pete