Tuesday, August 7

A Preppy Comeback?



Journalist Mackenzie Carpenter with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote an article "Preppy, Straight Up or With a Twist" published yesterday. I spoke with Mackenzie last week by phone and we had a great conversation on the topic. She was even kind enough to mention my blog. So today I am putting the question to you: Is preppy making a come back?

In my opinion the term preppy has traditionally referred to people of a certain socioeconomic status. In particular, preppies are people who attended elite college preparatory schools. "Preppy has always been part of a certain set, the people who 'summer' in Nantucket," says Susan Rolontz, executive vice president of the Tobe Report, a fashion industry publication. "For a certain customer, preppy is always there."

In the 1980s the preppy fashion trend was born out of duplicating the uniform of WASPs and New Englanders—khakis, Oxford shirts, ribbon belts and topsiders. But I would argue that the true preppy establishment buy into classics rather than trends, and don't change their lifestyles with fads. That’s not to say anything against preppy clothes as a current trend. I would never call my style preppy, but I love the big pony polo in the photo above.

So is preppy fashion making a comeback? Of course living in the UK I don’t see it as a fashion trend. I do however keep up with US fashions and I do travel to the States. I was in Texas just a few months ago and I can’t say that I noticed a huge preppy resurgence. So what do you think?

17 comments:

a. said...

In my opinion, I believe that if you are a true preppy, preppy never left. The fashion industry re-markets "preppy" every couple of years and then everyone writes about it making a comeback which is just silly.

ALL THE BEST said...

a. thanks for the comment, I could not agree more.

Fairfax said...

I agree with A... for some people it's just they way they live. Large old houses, lots of old silver, old volvo wagon, old lab... Understated, classic, well-cut and well-made clothes that never lose their style. Not fads, not labradoodles, not lexus SUVs...

becoming-home said...

I feel like this whole past year there were way more polo type or polo inspired shirts everywhere than I've seen in past years.. so my guess is its already peaked in terms of a trend, but of course as you pointed out the true style is rather timeless.

Leah said...

I agree with A that if you're a true preppy, then it never left. HOWEVER, for those who flit in and out of trends...I would definitely say that it's coming back. In fact this goes along with my feeling that Nantucket-cottage style is coming back too. (Think chipped paint and whitewashed French low-country.) I wrote a post about it last night in fact. I've never been a big fan of either style, but I have been feeling it creeping up on us for months now!

The Crafty Weasel said...

Yes and yes. Yes, a true preppy is and will always be a preppy. It comes with the WASP background, and the house in CT and a second house in the Hamptons. It comes with the family tradition of Ivy League schooling.

But also yes, there is a preppy fad right now, for which I think JCrew is mostly responsible. That's for everyone else who is not a preppy (in the true sense) but would love to be one.

And when the fad goes, the real preppies will still be preppies and the JCrew preppies will be whatever the fad is next!

The Peak of Chic said...

I think the preppy look in design has been in for a little while. Think Palm Beach prep! You see that look a lot in homes. In terms of clothing, I see a little more of it now, but it is always a classic look :)

Anonymous said...

Preppy seems just neat and clean; unlike 'heroin chic' which the movie industry tried to promote. No wonder it is back. It never disappeared.

A Bon Vivant said...

I agree that preppy does not necessarily go out of style, it is definitely a lifestyle choice, but there does seem to be a resurgence as of late. I, for one, welcome any resurgence of preppy, as I have a closeted attraction to the green and dark pink combo... :)

katiedid said...

I have to agree, it has never been out of style. What has changed is the cut of the clothing. We no longer have to endure the waist high pleated chino that made everyone who wore them look like a matron.

CreativeOutletDesigns said...

I second all that was said! LOL!!! It's always been around in some sort of way or another. It does seem to pop up stronger some years and really be the trend but I think it's always been there.

patriciagrayinc.com said...

Well all I can say is that Ralph Lauren is the most brillant marketing genius of all times.
Marketing and advertising....doesn't everyone want that lifestyle and if you can have it for the cost of a logo on a T-shirt why not.

Cote de Texas said...

A few thoughts: My 16 yo announced to me a few months back that from now on she was dressing preppie - and she sunddenly looked like a walking ad for Lily Pulitzer, sweater tied on the shoulder, boat shoes, button down shirts - nothing goth for this girl. I don't know where it came from but she doesn't make up trends herself. AND have you ever read a preppie blog? I think they have the designing blogs beat in numbers. They all have Pink in their names Pink and Green, the pink Alligator, Pinks In - names like that. I was stunned to stumble on the preppies. I think it's a huge trend in the US.

Joni

ALL THE BEST said...

Well it seems that we basically have a general consensus on the issue. Patricia I completely agree, Ralph Lauren is the most brilliant marketing genius of all times!! I find him completely fascinating.

kim said...

I agree with cote detexas...I think this preppy look is being picked up by girls who otherwise were urban outfitter fanatics...the guys are picking up on it too, seersucker is being done in short skirts for the girls and slouchy shorts for the guys...and I've seen more of the alligator recently than I have in a long time. I write a trend newsletter and do customized trend reports for some companies. For Back to School 08 I list Preppy as being one of the segments that should be touched on, such as polka dots for the preppy girls bedding. It reminds me a little of Legally Blonde...how out of step in some ways preppy can be with the times and because of that it is being sought out. And I also agree that J.Crew has had something to do with it; although I think it's just that the new management at J.Crew knew how to capture the times better than whoever was doing it before. Also, it's an Anglosaxon movement which definitely came out of England and Anglomania is huge in the U.S. ala John Gaultier or even the Anglomania exhibit at the Metropolian's Costume Exhibit in May of 06. Besides seersucker, and alligators we have plaid...good ole fashion tartan plaid and everything else under the sun. I am not sure the "true preppy" would ascribe to how this preppy will be played out (see Fashion Rocks spread on Anglomania), but not to worry it's not all that because I list Nerdcool as being another trend to watch out for--I think they both have a little to do with one another, besides it's fun.

ALL THE BEST said...

Thanks for your comment Kim :)

Belle-ah said...

I guess I am surprised someone thinks it ever left!