Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Perennially Preppy

Musing about my preppy-roots stemming themselves down long generational lines, it occurred to me that indeed, "preppy is perennial". Just like a stalwart rose bush, it blooms season after season. I find comfort in wearing pearls from a great-aunt, a Repousee' silver cuff bracelet of one of my grandmother's, my mother's family tartan shawl and the assorted preppy-classics I myself picking up from time to time. I've already passed along a couple of things to my young nieces that I'm sure they'll pass along to other family members in future years to come.

And it's not just the material things, it's also the culture and inherent customs as well. Oyster roasts and hanging out on small sailboats with cousins, ballgown fittings and learning to waltz, dog paws and Wellie boots making mud tracks onto the porch, baking cheese straws while sipping sweet iced tea in the dead of winter and being sure to write thank you notes the very first minute that there is the time available to do so.

Southern Preppy has followed me from my childhood in Georgia up to teen years in Wisconsin then college and young married years in North Carolina, a fun two ski bummin' years out in Park City, Utah and now back here amidst family in the Savannah-Beaufort-Charleston lowcountry environs. Even after the 1980's hey day of Preppiness, I still had elements of it coursing through my life and never rebelled into any alternative lifestyle posturing itself away from the basics and classic renditions of what is essential-preppy. Aside of course from dropping out of tennis lessons and playing which I frankly did not enjoy being made to do from age 6 into my teens. I'm glad that others like playing this particular sport but as for me, I'd rather watch than swing a tennis racket any day. My poor mother, she tried ;) Even Izod tennis dresses didn't do the trick for me... cute to wear as they were...

Here in Beaufort with its salty, sun-soaked and gently sauntering kinda' local atmosphere, I'm happily back into a relaxed islander version of Preppy that's less about the glaring obvious and more about a casual, off-handed expression of taste and style where faded khacki shorts and old topsiders paired with a bright coral tee shirt and madras belt work so well with a coozie in-hand at an impromptu dock party. And where a much-worn cashmere sweater twin set and pearls underneath a Barbour jacket that's overhanging wrinkled jeans and battered, re-soled leather riding boots are just fine for a sport shooting afternoon. And of course, anything cute and stylish is always just right for church however long I've been pulling these outfits out of my closet.

I'm much less "starched and primped" than I was back in my North Carolina days and yet do now wear a bit more makeup and far less clogs than I did when being a ski bum out in the mountains of Utah and... am realizing overall that here in the lowcountry of South Carolina, I am finding this to be a very happy place for me to be.

I'm back full-circle to my Southern Preppy roots and feel full-rose-bloomin' ;)

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