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

NY Times Magazine: Whit Stillman & the Song of the Preppy
Some fascinating meditations here (as in Stillman’s films) on the cultural values of the prep (and close cousin the WASP). Certainly an interesting compliment to our piece with the Lo Heads, whose aesthetic is in dialogue with preppy aesthetics.

NY Times Magazine: Whit Stillman & the Song of the Preppy

Some fascinating meditations here (as in Stillman’s films) on the cultural values of the prep (and close cousin the WASP). Certainly an interesting compliment to our piece with the Lo Heads, whose aesthetic is in dialogue with preppy aesthetics.

Q and Answer: Corduroy Critters
Andy from Minneapolis asks: How should I approach embroidered corduroys?  Are they just for kids?
Embroidered corduroys, like their cousin, embroidered chinos, are a preppy staple.  They’re one of many forms of the “go-to-hell” pant.  Essentially, they’re a way of demonstrating both a regard for and knowledge of the most traditional of traditional modes of dress, while still being outlandish.
They’re certainly not just for boys, though boys might naturally have the attitude to pull them off.  They’re best worn in casual situations, and best paired with other attire that’s relatively simple - solid sweaters, solid blazers, regimental striped ties.  Remember that the idea is that for the critters to contrast, they must be set against a conservative, traditional base.

Q and Answer: Corduroy Critters

Andy from Minneapolis asks: How should I approach embroidered corduroys?  Are they just for kids?

Embroidered corduroys, like their cousin, embroidered chinos, are a preppy staple.  They’re one of many forms of the “go-to-hell” pant.  Essentially, they’re a way of demonstrating both a regard for and knowledge of the most traditional of traditional modes of dress, while still being outlandish.

They’re certainly not just for boys, though boys might naturally have the attitude to pull them off.  They’re best worn in casual situations, and best paired with other attire that’s relatively simple - solid sweaters, solid blazers, regimental striped ties.  Remember that the idea is that for the critters to contrast, they must be set against a conservative, traditional base.