Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Season Musings...balls and ballgowns part two

 Standing with my parents at The Cotillion Club ball in Savannah, GA in December of 1987

For some reason, I couldn't get the picture of Mother, Daddy and I to post into the previous post tis'....

Posing with my parents right before my debut with The Cotillion Club of Savannah....

It was such a neat evening with both of my brothers as my posts, James III and Wylly and my presenter being my favorite fun uncle Johnny. Grandparents and my Uncle Ralston and Aunt Kate were also in attendance and we all danced and danced the night away until finishing up with a very delicious midnight buffet breakfast.

The next day we all dragged ourselves out of bed for an oyster roast at a nearby plantation and so the debut season went well on into the new year in our part of the Lowcountry...southern hospitality extraordinarily magnificent to be sure!

Still so loving all the oyster roasts we attend around here and James and I are gearing up to help host a big one this coming February but I'm still wishing for one more good excuse to don an honest to goodness real ballgown one more time ;) Maybe one of my nieces will be up to this sometime in the future- the oldest one is just 10 as of now. What fun it'll be for her Aunt Lac to be in a ballgown once again eh? hahaha, oh yeah...

Happy Holiday season to you all and...Happy New Year too! All the best, Lachlan

Holiday Season Musings...past years of balls and ballgowns

Uncle L III, my mother E and my father J Jr. at The Cotillion Club ball in Savannah Georgia.

Every year when December rolls around I find myself musing from time to time about all of the wonderful Cotillion Balls we used to go to through the years and what fun they were. Between Savannah and my teenage years up in Wisconsin, both The Cotillion Club and The Service Club provided a neat reason to attend glamorous galas each December.

I miss dressing up, I mean really truly dressing up, getting into cars with one's grandmother's mink coats or stoles (depending on the weather) topping my gowns, gemstones and long white kid gloves, being driven through Christmas-light lit up streets up to whatever hotel or civic center was the ball's atmospheric destination, brothers or cousins hopping out in their white tie tux to open the car door for me and...walking up the outside stairs into a wonderland of romantic-glam!

I guess this is the closest thing to feeling like a princess aside from one's wedding day but of course.....and I loved it! Both being an attendee and also being a debutante'...first in 1986 up in Milwaukee and then in 1987 in Savannah. The northern debut was "for fun and with my girlfriends" and, as any Lowcountry gal worth her sea-spray salt well understands, the southern debut was oh so very much, "for family" though I did enjoy doing this with my Savannah gal-pals too but of course :)

Since I was the only girl in my entire generation which was stocked full of brothers n' boy cousins, I had no choice at all about being a debutante when I became "of age" for it but heck, party after party after boating party after oyster roasts and also getting more clothes than I ever had been so fortunate to have before in my life for the various goings-on during both debutante seasons...frankly, wow, this was great with me!

And the gifts from people I knew as well as from complete seemed a weekly gift pick-up trip to Savannah's Cottage Shop...and the copious thank you notes I wrote with my monogrammed Crane informals stationary or tucking in one of my calling cards into a bauble or bouquet being send along as another kind of thank you gesture.

My mother also loved her Savannah season and above is one of the pictures of her in her ballgown at the old Savannah Desoto Hilton posing with her two posts: her brother, my late uncle on the left and her boyfriend, my father on the right side!

She was sooooo beautiful and feminine whereas I'm a bit more on the preppy-sporty side though every once in a while, my obviously-inherited bit of southern belle' femininity will show up but, heh heh, the sporty short hairdo I "sported" at my Savannah debut was indeed a standout from alla' the long and/or curly do's my fellow debs were displaying back there in 1987. As, (for debuts back then) really simply tailored ballgown with its plain a-line shaping and only embellishment being the Austrian hand-knitted lace shoulder covering. I spotted this dress while in Lord and Taylor when I first walked in, tried it quickly on and said, "this is perfect!" as my father pulled out his checkbook and I traipsed over to the Vidal Sassoon salon to get that Princess Diana short layered hair style I wore all through my junior high, high school and first year of college days.

Now of course, we live a much more casual lifestyle these days which in general I really enjoy but every so often...I get a bit wistful for those ballgown wearing days.....

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Snowy Preppy White Christmas...indeed!

Ah, it's a Preppy Pastoral scene indeed: this White Christmas wonderland!
It's complete with a backyard stable and peacefully pretty!

It's smiles all around...James, Lachlan and yes, even ole' Max as well ;)

 My Sis-in-law is sporting a festive red hat as well as one of the horses too! Fun

Merry Christmas greetings to everyone from where we are up here in the wonderfully snowy environs of North Carolina! What a treat to have a wintery wonderland for this Christmas weekend.
Such a Preppy Setting with alla' this beautiful holiday-festive snowfall, a big brick white columned house, lots of land around and a stable with frisky horses ;) Perfect!

It's not very often that James and I can make it up to his parent's place and especially so during the holidays so this was a treat we were so looking forward to.

The horses were quite funny with this snowfall... we had a blast watching them playing within it. And so, I'm posting a few pictures of them for your enjoyment plus one of the Ivy's house and driveway's Bradford Pear trees dolloped with heaping doses of snow.

And, but of course, my faithful lightweight Barbour coat and Burberry scarf kept me warm n' cozy while my old pair of brown leather boots kept my feet dry.

What I really wished for this weekend however was my ole' cross country skiing ensemble' that I'd put to such good use all those teenage and college-aged winter seasons when we were living up in Wisconsin. I loved looking out one of the windows in my bedroom up there in the 1890's farmhouse my parents were having renovated to see fresh snowfall on the ground during the weekend. Ah, this meant that I could literally throw on my Nordic ski sweater and heavy corduroy knee-banded skiing culotte pants, grab my cross country skis, ski shoes and poles plus a ski hat, gloves and down jacket vest and.... putting on my skis, ski from our front yard on into the park that was right off of Lake Michigan just down from our house. Absolutely loved that!

I've kept up with downhill skiing over the years but haven't been cross-country skiing in a long time......

Best to everyone from where a little bit of snow is still falling tonight!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve day spent...Out on the Family Farm

Well...there was cotton out here...Lachlan in the family farm's fields

Like many folks out there on Christmas Eve day, James and I spent it traveling. Planes, trains, boats and automobiles... hopefully we all got to where we wish to be this evening and are enjoying being with our family and friends for the holidays.

For James and I today with leaving the SC coastal region behind to drive ourselves up to North Carolina, our road trip this a' way requires the usual stopping by his family farm which lies between Sumter and Florence, South Carolina. We found ourselves taking a nice walking break, from all of the driving , sauntering along the edges of cotton fields. Row after row after row with just pine tree lines completing the horizon line between fields and the wide sky above them.

This farm has been in his family since circa 1700's forever...........

James has been trying to convince me for years to move out there and us build a classic South Carolinian farmhouse within the pecan tree grove area that is in between some of the fields. You know the style: wide porches all-around, tall windows, a central hallway running from the front door all the way to the back door, several fireplaces and plenty of spaces for people to gather or for an individual to enjoy a quiet moment within as in a sun room, window seats, small library and such. His Great Aunt's house was like this and we were sorry to see it go out of the family.

Hmmm....throw in an English glass n' wrought-iron conservatory, monogrammed gardening tools, someone to help me with the heaviest n' hardest of digging 'round the dirt and I may finally be convinced ;) But that's a big hmmmmm

Thinking further upon this "possible in the future" lifestyle change-up, I've come up with my own Top Ten listing about what I call Our Family Farm Fantasy:

  • Expansion of one's Hunter boots "Wellies" collection would never be questioned as purely a "want"...on the farm, they're definitely a need

  • Gardening tools and supplies have become so darn cute and can be monogrammed

  • More fresh vegetables and flowers for the cutting than we could possibly use n' give away

  • Complete privacy: 24/7 and 365 days a year out there

  • No makeup, hair in a bandanna, no fuss getting ready each morning- could get used to that

  • Pecans, pecans and more pecans...

  • Truly living a simplified, off the land self-sufficient kind of life

  • Oodles of time for my writing and also USC isn't too far for the future PhD pursuit

  • Carrying on the tradition of family members living out on the road named after them

  • James would be happy- I kinda' think this would be reason #1 but of course ;)

Things I would miss by being on the farm would take up another listing and may take up more than ten points bien sur! Best of all worlds would be for James and I to have two places and go in between them: one on the farm and one out on the island.... we'll see what happens.

Until then, we'll keep enjoying walking along the farm's fields and woods with one another........

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Alice....a wonderland full of Preppy Stylin' circa early 1990's

I am a big fan of Woody Allen movies and so why it's taken me until this evening to finally watch, "Alice"...I have no idea!

Can I just state outright that if this isn't what I looked like in my young adulthood then I don't know what would be any closer: the bobbed haircut with bangs and headband, the pearls and big-pearl-earrings, the boxy Chanel-styled coat tops, the bows, bangle bracelets and boiled wool hats...oh yes indeedy!

The scenes of New York City, spas, boutiques and the interior of Alice's sister's place plus all the great jazz tunes playing in the background...double-yes. Even her change-up of lifestyle where she does volunteer work, dresses more sporty and lives more simply but still Preps-out...yes, yes!

There's always something to take-away from a Woody Allen film that's for sure but with this one, for me at least, is was less something new than something recognizable and I found this enchantingly wonderful to watch this evening.

An aside about all that jazz music: something I've been watching lately whuch has been on PBS...special after special about jazz. Ken Burn's overview of the history of Jazz in America was fascinating but I tell ya', just soo purely magical was listening to the "In Session" studio jamming between Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King: WOW and double-Wow!!! They were a' working more of the Blues with this but that's a close second to my enjoyment of jazz...
I miss a good local jazz club but occassionally I catch a concert here at the USCB performing arts center and of course pop into clubs while traveling around. Two of my favorite jazz memories: with my James at NYC's The Blue Note during a Latin Jazz night and with my brother James and friends in Manchester Lane of Melbourne, AU for a long amazing evening of jazz, dancing and laughing our heads off all the while...anyway, occassionally on tv there's actually really good programming to enjoy: intellectual, cultural, arts and societal, gosh, go figure! heh heh ;)

Roses...and December

Beautiful blooms on the bushes at the December...
...brought inside and put into my cute new-logo vase from work...

...across from a bed bedecked in seasonless English rose-chintz.

Another garden blooming inspiration from...Australia and my friend Kev!

Bring on the flowers...Kev's garden is having a very pretty springtime indeed.

In the midst of all of this actual winter-weather we've been having here on the South Carolina coast, it's getting harder and harder to remember that just a couple of weeks ago we were enjoying...roses in December!

...and flowering Azalea bushes, a plethora of pansies, lemons on the lemon tree and so forth...

This past autumn we truly enjoyed an extension of beautiful blue skies, warm temperatures, balmy breezes and blooming flowers all about us, ahhh. We were spoiled quite frankly! I was bringing in bunches of flowers each week into both the cottage and island house. Cutting into fresh lemons picked off the tree in the yard was a delight. Potted plantings lasting and lasting on the porches was a relief...extended time in between the usual seasonal re-do's felt so luxurious.

Inside and out, I tend to just adore flowers. Fresh is best, chintz patterning covers the rest....

The Cottage Look oh so fortunately includes embracing flowers, flower patterns and all things gardening. Back in North Carolina, our house was very "English Country" styled while out in Utah, our miner's cottage was very "English Country Goes Alpine Ski Bummin'" and here in the SC Lowcountry, our cottage is I guess, "English Country and Lowcountry Southern Relax Together."

Speaking about Southern...waaaay down under in Australia, my friend Kev's incredible garden is going full-blast-blooming with it being early Spring where he lives. I've posted before about Kev's garden and am glad that he just sent me some current pictures we all can enjoy within this blog post. So beautiful and so inspiring to see while winter's heavy hand is upon us here in America.

I've always heard the saying, "Bloom where you're planted." At times this quip seems hokey, at times it seems straight from the musings of some mountain top sitting sage and yes, at times it seems something to take quite literally into one's life and this one's daily lifestyle.

May you all enjoy...roses this December! Bloom, bloom away!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh, The Life Of A Preppy Dog...

A Preppy Dog...yawns as he finishes "helping" with wrapping Christmas gifts
...settles down to snooze away on an antique sofa and designer pillow

...turns the other direction for optimal sofa-snoozing but of course

...then wakes himself up to play throw-the-tennis-ball with his Grandpa who also had been snoozing (don't worry, it was warm in the house- my father always layers 24/7 like crazy)

Tonight I got the biggest chuckle out of watching our dog Kanon move around "his favorite spot" which just happens to be the antique sofa passed down on my mother's side of the family...

My grandmother slept here many an evening when it was in the living room of her house in Savannah and I'm frankly not sure what she would think knowing that a big ole' Doberman chose this now as his personal spot to enjoying both snoozing on and watching football games on the television along with his Grandpa and of course James and I as well.

Earlier this evening, Kanon was er, "assisting me" shall we say with some Christmas gift wrapping going on which had me sitting on one end of the sofa wrapping up presents and him either pouncing paws onto rolled-out wrapping paper or having a fun time pulling at ribbons. It took me twice as long to wrap but we had twice the fun!

After I had wrapped up the wrapping for the evening and tucked the materials to the side, then Kanon decided that it was time to nap in front of the football game we were watching.

He yawned quite a bit, spread out on the sofa, accepted the pillow I tucked under his head and then...about an hour later...dragged the pillow over to the other end of the sofa where he turned around three times and scrunched himself down in the opposite direction for yet more zzzing.

Finally, as the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, Kanon decided that he'd had enough resting and began to play throw-the-tennis-ball with ole' Grandpa.

It's a wonderful life and a wonderful dog's life out here as well so it seems ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Parties...Preppy Past and Preppy Present

Old-School Preppy Holiday Party Attire... My parents in Savannah circa mid-1960's
New-School Preppy Holiday Party Attire...when Lowcountry Islander living

The GREAT Plaid Taffeta party skirt I bought from Talbots I'm determined to wear somewhere this holiday season...even if made-casual with a black turtleneck n' tall black boots

For decades and for many of my married years up until recently, going to Holiday Parties meant a whole lotta' dressing up.

Taking up a large section of my closet literally from childhood until James and I moved ourselves out to a mountainside miner's cottage in Utah to be ski bums and then on out here onto a tiny island were... a bevvy of party frocks and later on evening gowns n' cocktail dresses along with dress shoes, evening bags and such. Jewel tones, taffeta, velvets, lace and the like predominated. I've always so loved the dressier aspects of living out life and so getting ready for parties has always been such a pleasure for me.

At the moment however (and actually for the past seven years) we're living within an uber-casual place. Both this island and the general small coastal town area we live in is a place where one can be over-dressed in a heartbeat. I tend to be that person. It's actually difficult at times for me to go completely-casual unless I'm involved in some outdoorsy activity. It is very difficult for me to dress Lowcountry Casual whenever I'm headed out to a party around here in December.

Yes, there's been a few shindigs where I've happily donned a "pretty party dress" and James has either been suited-up or at least sporting the classic navy blue blazer, button down skirt n' a tie and kacki pants with black leather belt and loafers and...his family crest ring but of course. And every Christmas Eve service, I love wearing my family tartan in a kilt with a silk blouse, pearls, black cashmere cardigan sweater, black hosiery and pumps or my dressy black boots. I miss the Charity Ball and Savannah Cotillion gala's however we're just not involved in those at this present time in our lives. What I'd give to be able to don a beautiful ballgown once again!

This year's holiday parties are all casual events so I'm trying my best to tone down my party attire and limit the sparkle n' "pretty" to a scarf or pin or heck, even just eyeshadow with a subtle glimmer ;) Ahh....yes, one of these days perhaps we'll return to a more formal lifestyle n' setting within which I'll sparkle, sparkle away but until then...I think I'll remain er, overdressed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You Know It's A Southern Lowcountry Preppy Holiday Season When...

Yes, you know it's a Southern Lowcountry Preppy's Holiday Season when...

  • "Merry Christmas Y'all" embroidered linen hand towels surface in guest bathrooms

  • Magnolia leaves are gilded with gold paint and used profusely when decorating

  • Winter-coats are thin quilted vests by Barbour and Talbots

  • Winter boots consist of Wellies, one's riding boots and black dressy-heeled versions

  • Tartan, especially family tartans, is the pattern-of-choice in decorating and clothing

  • There's a kilt or two being worn to the midnight Christmas Eve church service

  • Suburbans and station wagons sport small evergreen wreaths wired onto their front grills

  • Potted Amaryllis and Narcissus sit next to vases of freshly cut flowers from the yard

  • Every other gift being put under the tree has a monogram somewhere on it

  • Guns for sport shooting are being polished-up as much as is the silver

  • Needlepoint stockings are being hung up on the mantle or the dining room's sideboard

  • A "Tasting Table" is being set up to house whatever small edible gifts come one's way

  • The ever-present small bar with cut crystal decanters is being utilized more than usual

  • The Christmas Cotillion season is commencing

  • One's social schedule also includes oyster roasts as well as in-town cocktail parties

  • There are less events planned for the children and much more for adults of all ages

  • Babysitters are in high demand during evening after evening and all weekends as well

  • Most of the "bling" on women comes from inheriting their greatgrandmother's baubles

  • Men dust off their old tux yet once again and try to polish up very well-worn dress shoes

  • Bottles of wine or huge bouquets gathered from the garden are hostess gifts

  • Heading to the beach or going out to the dock is the way to de-stress during the holidays

  • Most shopping is done locally and takes awhile since literally everyone knows one another

  • Poinsettias are ordered for church decor and also for placing out in the family graveyard

  • Claims of having a fruitcake receipe that actually-tastes-good run rampant

  • Chasing a piece of fruitcake with sherry, Madeira or scotch is a well-known survival tool

  • Pine cones, greenery and red berries grace interiors of houses however...

  • ...scads of sea shells & untreated Spanish Moss with its tiny bugs are only used by tourists n' transplants: bless their "all too eager to blend-in" hearts

  • Seafood dishes are as part of the menu as is the more traditionally-considered holiday fare

  • Stocking stuffers for adult males include a box of shotgun shells

  • Stocking stuffers for adult females include something glittering in a tiny jewelry box

  • Stocking stuffers for male children include a small sailor's knots how-to book

  • Stocking stuffers for female children include one piece of her sterling flatware's pattern

  • Stocking stuffers for the eldest family matriarch are small bottles of her favorite "spirits"

  • Adults sit in the dining room for holiday meals and children are relegated to their own children's-table made out of bridge card tables or put into whatever kitchen seating works

  • Nativity Pageants and Christmas Morning are when the children are the main attraction, er attention

  • After Christmas Day festivities, there's a boat ride, shoot, beach or woods walk scheduled

  • Apres' Holiday Season, Father retreats to the family farm, Mother goes on a Girls'-trip somewhere either much colder (skiing) or much warmer (tropical isles) and the children are sent back to school with much relief.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Sparkle, sparkle"...a Southern Belle's mantra and this Holiday Season's theme

Pretty pewter shimmer n' sparkle from a dress available at Belk
This sparkly combination comes as cuff links or earrings at Brooks Brothers

And more elegant-bling with this great ribbon-tie belt from Talbots

Finally...some sequined-top sparkling at college for a holiday season party

In the lexicon of all-things Southern Belle can never "sparkle" enough...whether literally or figuratively or in the active embellishment of one's environment.

As one of my favorite Christmas books quips, "Subtlety and gold aren't such good bedfellows below the Mason-Dixon line, where gold comes with a spray nozzle. What aerosol did for hair was nothing compared to what it's contributed to Christmas. Gold-painted trimmings have become the high hair of seasonal festivities." How utterly true! David C. Barnette is spot-on and oh so funny with his book titled, The Official Guide To Christmas In The South Or, If You Can't Fry It, Spraypaint It Gold. Published in 2004 and espied on a shelf in the darling local store we have here called Lulu Burgess where I picked it up, perused through a couple of pages, began chuckling under my breath and promptly took it up to the counter to purchase...this small tome has become a must-reread for me every holiday season since then.

Oh, us Southern Belle Preppies and our "sparkle", oh yeah! Just this week I've read a Facebook post by a sorority sister who's been sparkling a lot with her decor' decorating gigs going on, just this week Talbots is sporting its beautiful and so elegant "Glisten Up" holiday offerings and just this week married-couple friends of mine thought of me when they were in the Citadel Mall in Charleston looking around at all the glittering, sparkling Holiday decor' in the shops there. In the book, A Southern Belle Primer by Marilyn Schwartz, Chapter 3 is titled, "Learning to Sparkle" which details just a few of the ways n' means by which Belles sparkle aside from inherited diamonds, gold-gilded magnolia leaf wreaths and such.

Underlying and over-layering all of the traditional reds and greens and everything-in-betweens of this holiday season's fashion, home decor' and gifting is....sparkle!

A rich dusting of metallic glimmer in gold, silver, champagne, pewter, bronze, cameo and other pretty hues can be found almost wherever one turns their head to look. I'm much more of a subtle-sparkle kind of person now but obvious-sparkle has certainly been a part of my past:

The photo above proves this with a party-pic of James and I from a winter's Casino Party at college where I wore a festive Jester-top heavy in late 1980's sequin-styling. Lately I'm into the utilization of subtle-sparkle or a dash of outright bling with either real gems or gobs of faux but....neither of these enacted together. Sparkling does have its limits!

Other pictures above are from some of this season's sparkle-bling metallic inspirations which I think are really great interpretations-on-a-theme...

And so we sparkle, sparkle onwards through this autumn on into the holidays and winter!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Autumn Inspiration...A Merry Mix of Burgundy, Reds and Pinks!

Burgundy...Red...Pink...blended into a color tone mix that's Autumn + Holiday

Magazine, catalogue pages and even a book with this color-blend going on...

My own lifestyle color blend grouping of Burgendy-Red-Pink...even the phone!

Kinda' sounds like a wine list doesn't it? Burgundy, Reds and, yummy but actually these are the color tones which are really catching my eye this fashion, home decor', life styling and gardening season.

Much like a Preppy madras, plaid or whimsical patterns compliments of Lilly Pulitzer, Vera Bradley and yes, occasionally a Brooks Brother's tie, this juxtaposition of warm tones is both beautiful and eye catching at the same time. It has definitely been something I've noticed again and again this autumn.

They're not colors I'd automatically put together in a room, outfit or floral arrangement and yet, gosh, they really work well when... chosen well...because there are burgundies, reds and pinks and then there are burgundies, reds and pinks.

The tones of these colors which are the ones that work so well together are: a deep-wine burgundy, a dark-glossy red and clear, peony-hued pink.

A burgundy like this is reminiscent of elegance, sophistication and old world Europe. A red like this connotes a sense of timelessness, strength and Americana. A pink like this effuses an atmosphere of femininity, flirty cheerfulness and the everyday-pretty of Southern Belles.

One thing I've noticed with this particulr blending is that it's usually complemented by cream, buttery yellow, browns, taupes and even shimmery champagne and golden tones. Very unexpected and quite lovely when espied among the apparel, decorative items, linens, interiors, catalogues and magazines all around us this fall as the months turn cooler and the holidays fast approach.

I realized that this color-blending had literally struck-home the other afternoon when I was over at our cottage sitting on the sofa. All around me were items which had these hues within them either singly, doubled-up or all together and like a light bulb turning on, it dawned on me that, wow, this is a trend that really resonates with me...obviously!

Above are some photos highlighting this as well as my grouping on the table for a picture, many of the items from the sofa-sitting-epiphany. The table collage includes the following: tweed jacket by Madison from Belk, necklace from Talbots, small round red leather box from our Paris spring trip, pages about flowers for the home from an opened "Occassions" by Kate Spade book, Traditional Home and Vogue magazines, "Fashion Makeover" book picked up at Tuesday Morning recently, silk embroidered pillow, my red leather date book with faux crocodile skin texturing, Estee' Lauder Double Wear eyeshadow creme in Vintage Violet and shimmer lip loss in Plum Divine, Blackberry Curve phone in Fuscia and finally, Wet n' Wild's nailpolish in Mauve Frost that I bought on a whim and now absolutely love paring with burgundy-toned and brown clothes especially.

"Happy Autumn Into The Holidays" everyone and here's to the warmth and beauty of burgundy, red and pink gracing our atmospheres this year and perhaps as a soon-to-be-classic-blend for many years to come!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Prep-Americana...American Styling, oh so Patriotically

Americans hold their flag up high...Preppies do this too plus wear red, white and navy blue year-round
Ralph Lauren's American flag jacket patch with Americana-fashions featured in his 2010 Collection.

Patriotic fashion-styling in classic American red, white and blue... jean, Tommy Hilfiger style from his 2010 collection.

Another stylish interpretation of Americana colors n' fabrics from Tommy Hilfiger, 2010.

Patriotic Preppy to a tie, er "t"... Former President George H. W. Bush!!

There's no doubt at all that in the world of Preppies, we sport just a bit of Americana styling.

Perhaps the best renditioning of this can be found within Ralph Lauren's interpretations of all things elegantly American: from western cowboys n' indians style looks to northeast nautical offerings to military vibes, cotillion couture and assorted collegiate inspired fashioning...

Other designers and lifestyle designers like Tommy Hilfiger, Kate Spade and so on also bring forth Americana into personal fashion expression from their clothing lines to their linen collections and accessory pieces. Then there's the stalwart preppy purveyors like Brooks Brothers, L.L.Bean, Talbots etc. where a dash of red, white and navy blue can be espied beyond the Fourth of July in flag prints, geometric patterns, florals and stripes.

Born-To Preppies well know about Patriotism as for generations it's highly likely that someone within the family served as an officer in the military. West Point, The Citadel, Annapolis, aka the United States Naval Academy, are in the Preppy vernacular just as much as various Ivy League institutions, women's colleges and boarding schools are...

Since Preppy IS born of America, of course it stands to reason that anyone who is a Preppy should obviously be patriotic towards the country within which this lifestyle has developed. There are all versions of "Preppy" within our nation from the northeast to the southeast and some areas inbetween but overall, we are classic American to the core and our Preppy poster-boy has been and will always be Former President George H. W. Bush. A gentleman always and ever a class act...even if he has become friendly towards Bill Clinton over the past few years. The stark contrast between these two former presidents' backgrounds, family life, personal actions, cultural leanings and influences and so on is staggering enough not least their collaborative post-presidency friendship but that's a blog post perhaps for another day.

Suffice it to say that if one is looking for a Patriotic Preppy in terms of demeanor, style, lifestyle and personal valor displayed during his service in WWII, his presidency and's hard to find anything better than the example set by George H. W. Bush.

Here's to our Veterans, Soldiers, Stylists of Americana and favorite Preppy Former President on this Veteran's Day of November, 11th 2010....and... here's ultimately to the United States of America!

Veteran's appreciation salute...

American soldiers from a watercolor circa mid-1700's

Here's to the generations after generations of American Veterans and active military keeping our freedoms and American spirit alive and well!

At times within today's world and current culture it seems like actual freedom is rather precious "few and far between" the various losses of privacy, decision making and autonomy of living out our daily lives we're experiencing all around us. However, in comparison to so many countries and cultures around the world, we are in a rare minority of peoples to whom individual and societal freedom finds actual enactment.

My gratitude goes out to those who hold up freedom's bright torch in the fading twilight of what we've known as modern, and post modern, civilization...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from...the Spider Queen!

Nice, behaving, sitting pretty Spider Princess...kinda' Preppyish in a way
Morphs into the Spider Queen and scares "The Catch of the Day"....

Hello readers! Here's hoping you all enjoyed a festive n' fun Halloween... Preppy or otherwise ;)

Perhaps Halloween is the only time of the year when it's perfectly proper with Preps like us letting a good bit of "tacky" into our otherwise fairly non-tacky lifestyles via bizarre' costumes, gaudy decorations and further still, lotsa' party-partying, hmm. Kind of reminds me of a bunch of my sorority-days mixer parties with assorted fraternities...... Togas, Pirate Parties, Come As Your Alter Ego shin digs and then, the just, "ole' it's Thursday night and we're gonna' tap a keg" parties.

This weekend, it was 4 Costume Parties for us and wheh, it's a lot more "work" now to play dress-up in my 40's than it was back in my college days that's for sure!

This year it was Spider Princess for me with parties #1 and #2 and then I morphed on into a scarier Spider Queen for parties #3 and #4. By the end of this weekend, I had had plenty enough of dealing with lots of hair, makeup and costuming. I don't think I'll ever be a theater actress but that's alright because t's nothing I've ever aspired to become anyway that's for sure. However, I've been thinking about "being" Queen Elizabeth I for next Halloween and talk about a whole lotta' costuming needed for that look!

Gosh, it's just soooo much easier for us Preps to just be Preppy-looking isn't it?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Preppy's Halloween...

Out on the island a few years ago... my 40th Birthday Halloween Shindig!
Our old-girl Duchess wasn't too sure about all the decorations and costumed party-goers but she eventually got into the spirit as she was a people-person, er people-doberman. I really miss her....she put up with us for 13 years...such a sweet girl.

Some Preppy-Fellas love to dress up n' party n' submit to picture-taking and some...don't, haha. Wylly and Don III, aka Zorro, are all smiles but Fletcher's not having any of this photo snapping it seems.

And Preppy-couples coordinate their costumes but of in fun Super Hero style ;)

Happy Halloween coming up this weekend to everyone!

I hope that you all enjoy the festivities and sport some excellent costuming throughout... what was once primarily a kiddie candy activity has definitely morphed on into one of the biggest times us-adults can dress up however we want and get away with it. I've always enjoyed the party nature of this holiday since both myself and my father are Halloween-babies having our birthdays on and just before October 31st.

Here in the South Carolina Lowcountry, I have enjoyed as well a couple of parties we've had celebrating Halloween and our birthdays. My father gets a kick out of dressing up as "The No-count Count" in his old highschool era black tuxedo he still fits into plus a funny top hat, black cape, long scarf and one of the many walking sticks we have around here- usually the gold-topped one of my great-great-Grandfather's. I've dressed up a time or two as a Japanese woman complete with black bobbed wig, white makeup and a beautiful old kimono handed down from my mother's family. I also dressed up as a Mermaid Princess for the 40th Birthday Party we had for me a couple of years ago which was a blast. Husband James was a "Fly Fisherman" sporting his usual flyfishing gear and how Preppy is that? Didn't hafta' do a thing but go downstairs into our house's lattice room out here on the island and gather some of the gear he wears around anyway quite often... hmm, do male Preppies costume-up in essence more than female Preppies? This may be something to mull about in a future blog post on down the road...

This year Dad'll recreate his No-count Count persona and I'm going to be a "Spider Princess" for the Charity Fundraiser Party we're attending here in town with a few of our fun-bunch friends. Beforehand, they're coming over to our cottage for a casual supper party I'm throwing in honor of my father's 70th Birthday! Lotsa' fun and I'll post some pics of that soon.
(For another fun Halloween laugh, check out last year's post titled, "Halloween Costuming...Preppy Style" which I posted to this blog on Saturday, October 17th, 2009. It's a listing of what are Preppy costumes and what aren't... written in a tongue-in-cheek fashion ;)

Enjoy Halloween this weekend and all the costuming, partying and candy eating it brings about!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tropical Tourist's all in the details but of course.

Tropical Preppy in a Hawaiian resort's parking to look the look

In the spirit of those wonderfully illustrated pages of our beloved The Official Preppy Handbook where Prep attire is sketched-out in detail as to what all they're wearing and why....'s a detailed sketch out of a "Tropical Tourist Preppy" or How To Travel Hawaiian Style Without Looking Too Too Tacky-Tourist.

In the above sketch photo, the following are important details for being Tropical Tourist Preppy:

  • The Luggage set is Hartmann tweed, but of course.

  • The handbag is both stylish and practical with it being a black Kate Spade backpack.

  • Sweater Twin Set has gone tropical in a light cotton sleeveless shell with the cardigan tied at the shoulders. It is in a neutral tone to better wardrobe-Preppily with the silk pants.

  • Silk pants are classic Talbots heavy silk, lined and in an elegant tropical print with a black background. There are tropical prints and then there are tropical prints. Choose carefully.

  • The black leather sandals are older Bandalino versions with a subtle gold-hardware touch to them rendered in a simple circle where the straps meet. By day, these flat sandals work well and by night, a perfectly turned out Preppy would have them in a higher heel look.

  • Jewelry is kept to an elegantly simple white pearl 16" necklace and 8 mm stud earrings. Wedding rings are kept on 24/7... natch... while watches are left back home: when in the tropics, one can ask the poolside waiters serving Mai Tais what the time is if need be.

  • Sunglasses: the more old-style movie-star classic the better. No bling here please...

  • Hair and nails always neat: when snorkeling or sailing, a ponytail or under-a-hat will do too. If hair is a mess, hopefully it is because one has just caught a fish offshore.

  • A simple tropical flower behind the ear is appropriate for this setting but leave the leis to luaus, the cornrow braids in the hair to goofy teenagers and tattoos... completely alone!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Postcards from Hawaii...part five: Patterns Galore' but They're Not Liberty of London

Liberty of London-esque prints espied at a Luau class...which got me thinking about prints in Hawaii
More modern-stylized versions of the Hawaiian printed dress

A traditional Hawaiian print done very well... this woman's sarong

Aloha from Hawaii one last time!

The style opposite of Preppies' beloved Liberty of London fabric prints is probably most all too obviously the bold tropical prints of traditional Hawaiian shirts, mumus and surfer board shorts.

Much bolder than even the brights and patterning of Lilly Pulitzer and Vera Bradley prints, Hawaiian prints are the "neon whimsy" of the fabric world. Some prints are just way too much but there are a few that are actually quite attractive in their clear simplicity. It's all in the stylized interpretation it seems... what is traditional can become either tacky or actually a tad bit tasteful depending on its application.

Personally, I'm just not a big, busy print typa' gal. But I make an occasional exception to this rule...most notably the shift dress I wore at the Luau this week on O'ahu. (as can be seen in a previous Postcards from Hawaii posting) An every so often splash of tropical bright patterning can be a good thing and is almost de rigor' within Luau settings but as I've written about before, too much Lilly Pulitzer sundress-sighting in my church sanctuary during the summertime is yes, simply, just too much.

Bold pattern prints are best a few sightings at a time...

The pictures above are of some delightful Hawaiian print sightings around the island here :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Postcards from Hawaii...part four: Pearls On, Yep, It's a Prep!

Walking around the beach on O'ahu wearing pearls it occurred to me...
...that it's never too late to begin my training as a pearl diver!

Aloha from Hawaii!

Out here in Hawaii there's pearl divers, lots of pearls in jewelry stores and one Preppy wearing her pearls to fish in...but of course....

...and to snorkel in and to Luau in though those were my black Tahitian ones (for a change).

It's all too-tempting to go pearl-buying-crazy out here in Hawaii. Not only is there a wide assortment of sizes, colors, styles and styling but the profusion of pearls actually within the stores is a Preppy's delight!

One of the more unique and fresh stylings I've seen out here is the setting of a large pearl through a sterling silver or gold wire bangle bracelet. The precious metal wire is thin but sturdy and this creates such a cleanly modern look so unlike the typical pearl bracelet we're used to seeing. Hoop style earrings are also set this way as well.

Pearls can be worn with literally anything, anytime and in any styling...just gotta' love 'em!

Postcards from Hawaii...part three: Asian Inspiration

Lovely ladies stylishly learning the hula dance...
And also stylishly shopping up a storm in Waikiki...

Pretty prints are to be found in all cultural stylings of clothing...

A wonderous bounty of orchids with bamboo in a public space...

Nice artwork of a traditional koi pond I spotted in a hotel's lobby...

...and the real thing in the midst of the International Marketplace.

Aloha from Hawaii!

Yes, Hawaii is indeed a land of Hula girls, Poloneisan boat paddlers, Luas and floral Leis as well as a former islander monarchy and yet...

...for a longer time period than it seems, the influence and involvement of Asian peoples plays a very big part in all that-is Hawaii. Chinese, Korean, Japanese... have lived here for generations and also make up a huge element of the tourists flocking to this island chain again and again.

Much style and lifestyle inspiration can be found within the beauty and creativity of many things Oriental that doesn't involve massive tourist groups unloading from buses around the island here. One of the most authentic Chinese meals I've eaten in my lifetime, so far, has been in a small, locals-type of place near the Honolulu Airport. James and I were two of the three total non-Asian folks in the place and it was absolutely packed. Absolutely delicious too!

As anyone who's been reading and/or following this blog knows, I enjoy maintaining a few orchids in both our island place and also at the in-town cottage we have as well so ya' know that I just LOVE all of the orchids around this island!

Combine Asian food with orchids with fun fashion sense with pearls and so forth and so on and... you have a winning combination when merged into the other elements of Hawaiian culture.
This is a part of Hawaii that's both fascinating and inspirational as well but not as "well known" as some of the other cultural facets within this ever-fascinating island lifestyle.