Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Preppy or... Provisionally Preppy?

Preppy or Provisionally Preppy... it's all about nuancing a Preppy lifestyle with cultural signifier distinctions being found within the details. Certainly there are things that are so classically Preppy there is no pause for pondering in regards to them however, as in much of life, there are many gray-areas when it comes to what could be considered Preppy.

Before I became a Sustainer (aka "alumnus" so to speak) of the Junior League, I first had to spend a decade of serious volunteering and some less-serious cocktail partying and charity event attending however, for my very first year with the League, I was a Provisional like the rest of my 1991 class. We were the neophyte-newbies, the new kids on the block much like how it was after I pledged Chi Omega back in college. To be in the group but not a fully-vetted and vested part of it yet...this inbetween kind of membership status.

Similar to a Provisional status such as this, there are a variety of lifestyle items and choices that aren't classically Preppy but could be considered somewhat-Preppy depending on how they are integrated/interpreted into one's Preppy lifestyle.

The following is a listing of a few of these things I occassionally ponder about as to whether they're Preppy or not and as a caveat: several of the "Provisionally Preppy" items mentioned apply directly to my own life so there's no attempt to be catty on my part at all with this list. This is just a fun musing to do on a day where I'm stuck at home under-the-weather and if any blog readers have their own Prep Or Provisionally Prep items to add, please feel free to do so... (because of spammers and unwanted links to unsavory sites that try to get into this blog, I am moderating the posting replies on my site here but I do try to check this blog daily so that your replies can get published in a fairly quick manner)

So here we go: an incomplete listing of all-things Preppy or Provisionally Preppy:

Preppy: Fine linens like Porthault, Frette and other elegant brands

Provisionally Preppy: Pastel or pink and green color-blocked Quilts

Preppy: Spaniels, Golden Retrievers and any good bird dog

Provisionally Preppy: German Shepards and Dobermans

Preppy: The Wall Street Journal

Provisionally Preppy: Newsweek, Time and other news magazines

Preppy: having a several-generation country club and/or yacht club membership

Provisionally Preppy: having an in-ground pool

Preppy: a summer home or summer-long island rental

Provisionally Preppy: going to the beach for a weekend or a week's vacation

Preppy: Graduate degrees in the Humanities, Law, Medicine or the traditional MBA

Provisionally Preppy: Graduate degrees in anything else

Preppy: Tasteful, subtle and well-placed monogramming

Provisionally Preppy: Monogramming everything in sight

Preppy: Moderate ancestor-worship

Provisionally Preppy: Frequently name-dropping about one's ancestors

Preppy: Polo and all forms of horseback riding excluding western, Golf, Tennis, Sailing

Provisionally Preppy: Running, Swimming, Kayaking, Yoga and Pilates

Preppy: Flyfishing

Provisionally Preppy: All other forms of fishing- both fresh and salt water

Preppy: Loving fashion but it's secondary in one's life

Provisionally Preppy: Loving fashion and it is absolutely primary in one's life

Preppy: Utilizing a porcelain soup tureen on the sideboard

Provisionally Preppy: Utilizing a big pot on the stove for apres' ski chili

Preppy: The Old-school Junior League

Provisionally Preppy: the New-school Junior League circa late 1990's and onwards

Preppy: Well-worn and mixed outdoors clothing such as L.L.Bean, Barbor, Orvis etc.

Provisionally Preppy: Being completely kitted-out in Patagonia

Preppy: One's debutante season in the Deep South or the Northeast

Provisionally Preppy: One's debutante season anywhere else

Preppy: Tortoise shell look regular or reading glasses

Provisionally Preppy: Black, brown, metallic or trendy-red glasses

Preppy: Knowing when, where and how to wear Lilly Pultizer attire

Provisionally Preppy: not knowing...

Preppy: Recognizing and enjoying fine food and wine

Provisionally Preppy: the actual production of said epicurian delights

Preppy: Wine, scotch, sherry in cut crystal

Provisionally Preppy: Fruity drinks with mini-umbrellas enjoyed in a tropical setting

Preppy: Old, musty books from one's own small in-home library room

Provisionally Preppy: Old, musty books from the local library

Preppy: Nantucket baskets, lowcountry Sweetgrass baskets

Provisionally Preppy: Longaberger baskets

Preppy: having a great sense of ironic humor, life-adaptability and always up for a good party

Provisionally Preppy: trying too hard...in anything

And so this ends, for now, the Preppy Or Provisionally Preppy listing- hope you've enjoyed it and have gotten a chuckle or two out of it while reading through this!
For futher musings on the distilliation of all things Preppy, please be sure to check out two of my postings for July 2009 titled, "What Preppy-Isn't... But I Do It Anyway" (July 21st) and also "Preppy is... Southern Preppy is..." (July 13th).


  1. Lachlan--hahaha great post! With the exception of all items having to do with enjoying fine food, fortified drink, and "always up for a good party" (all to which I claim PREPPY!), I must admit your list proves I am neither preppy or provisionally preppy. *sigh* I always suspected as much. Well that doesn't mean I can't have preppy friends (provisional or otherwise). Apparently we all like to eat, drink, and be merry!! Eliz

  2. Ha! Loved this list. Turns out I'm a little preppy (M.A. in English, definite recognition and enjoyment of fine food and wine)...and a little provisional prep myself(Dobermans, fashion is the air I breathe). Who knew?

    Gotta 'fess up, though. I stopped doing the monogram thing at any level when I started collecting husbands! Ouch! Yes, I wrote that!

  3. Thanks V and you got me to chuckle during a week where I've been sick as a dog- I appreciate that! :)

    I too am a hybrid-Prep:finding a lot of provisionally preppy and a lot of non-preppy things in life of value that's for sure...

    Best to you!

  4. Thanks for all ya'll's comments ;)

    It was a fun being-sick-distraction on a looong afternoon the other day and there's so many other things I mull over where they're Full-Prep or Prov-Prep.... kinda' fun!

  5. Loved reading your blog post today... and from days past.

    One in particular is about southern men. My daddy is quite the hunter, was on the Boykin Spaniel board a few years ago, and is only happy at his summer home on Pawley's.

    BTW... I am a South Carolina girl too and have quite a few ancestors from your neck of the woods!

    Look forward to following you and invite you to check out my blog as well!


  6. Hi there!

    Thanks so much for your post reply and this is so neat to have a fellow-SC'er replying :) Fun! With ancestors around these parts, who knows, we could be distantly related, lol.

    Pawley's Island is such a wonderful place (we have one of the hammocks out here in our side yard)and how neat about the Boykin Spaniel board... one of the islanders here has a Boykin and she's such a sweetie. I'd like one eventually and have been thinking that a Boykin Spaniel would be an excellent companion for our dog Kanon who's such a great guy.

    Yes, our Southern Men aka our local hunters, flyfishers, fireside storytellers and pourers of good old Scotch, etc. It's definitely a cultural parameter in the Deep South that seems ingrained doesn't it? So glad to hear that you're enjoying reading my posts and I'm looking forward to following your blog too!

    Best to you and Im going to head over to itsagoldenday and check it out.... Lachlan

  7. I came across your blog tonight and love it! This was a great post but I definitely enjoyed the Preppy is... Southern Preppy post, hilarious! I have lived everywhere between Maine and Texas and am now in Virginia... very interesting to see the different styles of preppy living.

  8. Thanks Summer! I appreciate that and especially your comment about the Preppy is...Southern Preppy is post since that's the central core from where I'm mainly writing this blog outwards from :)

    I agree with you- there's variations of Preppy lifestyling and the Deep South, but especially the Coastal South, has its own vibe n' vernacular which makes it fun and also a bit puzzling as well to those perhaps who are mainly acquainted with the Northeastern Preppy as portrayed in The Official Preppy Handbook. The Dixie Fried Southern Guys was another post where I attempted to illustrate this kinda' nuancing. One of these days I'm going to do a post about the Southern Belle Preppy...

    Best to you and how neat that you've experienced Preppy from those states- that's a great demographic spread and I bet that Texas Preppy is fascinating!

  9. Texas Preppy... anything with a label on it, cowboy boots, button downs, simple make-up and lots of jewelry!

  10. Oh, I can just see that...perfect about the Texas Preppy! ;) And they'd add, "western style horseback ridin' is just prefectly-preppy to us!" no doubt...

    I remember something awhile ago about the Dallas ladies who shop Neiman Marcus being all-about big jewelry 24/7 and big hair do's. And that they'd wear their huge gold and/or diamond earrings to bed...never took them off. It was an article from Vogue I think but from the 80's. Wish I still had it around here.

    Thanks for the description of Texas Preppy!