Friday, August 27, 2010

Deciphering Fall Fashion 2010 for Preppydom

Fashion is... styles galore' Style is... finding the fashion trends that "fit" you

As any dyed-in-the-wool Preppy knows, fashion is very different from style. Fashion is annual while Style is perennial. Fashion consists of trends while Style consists of the classics that are taken on into one's personal taste and lifestyle needs wardrobing.

This Fall Fashion 2010 Season is for the most part a much welcome return to elegance, glamour and appropriateness...for the most part. Some of the garish trends that I truly hoped had died out back in the 1980's are surfacing once again and no amount of so called "reinterpreting" them for "the new century" can cover the fact that things like exaggerated shoulder padding, most leggings, neon bright hues and hair scrunchies are just unflattering no matter what decade we are currently living in.

For the most part, Preppies tend to ignore fashion in favor of generations-tried-and-true styling of all things Preppy. And for the most part, this works quite well. However, with the resurgence of mass cultural interest lately towards the classics, towards living with style and towards Preppies once again... many fashion houses, boutiques and retailers are getting quite nicely surprisingly-Preppy-stylish once again. And on the flip-side of things, many classic Preppy entities such as Talbots, Brooks Brothers and such are adding into their impeccably tailored tradition a bit of youthful fun and couture inspired glamour which elevates Preppy to absolutely Preppy-spectacular! Excellent examples of this can be seen in Talbot's September 2010 catalogue and Town and Country's September 2010 issue. Yes, it is indeed a welcome trending for Preppydom this fashion season on both sides of the Fashion and Style spectrum.

As we all understand, the difference always is within the details...and thus of course in the nuanced discernment of what to keep wearing, what exactly to add into your wardrobe for this Fall 2010 Fashion Season and frankly what to avoid all together...

The following is just a sampling of "Yea" it's perfectly Preppy to wear or "Nay", take a pass:

Preppy Yea: signature denim blue jeans that fit you perfectly

Preppy Nay: "jeggings"- blue jean look leggings

Preppy Yea: outdoor sporting fashions that are in kacki, brown and olive green menswear style

Preppy Nay: the new overtly-military inspired fashion

Preppy Yea: tailored headbands, tortoise-look barrettes, plain ponytail holder bands

Preppy Nay: anything resembling an 1980's hair scrunchie

Preppy Yea: color tones such as camel, deep teal, plum and burgundy

Preppy Nay: color tones such as mustard yellow, dulled turquoise, purple

Preppy Yea: open-link chains in necklaces, belts, as part of handbags

Preppy Nay: bicycle/motorbike-look chains on anything

Preppy Yea: the statement-necklace in a rendering of mixed pearls with chains, ribbon, gems

Preppy Nay: the statement-necklace as interpreted by Mr. T's huge amounts of gold chains

Preppy Yea: neutral-toned animal skin textures and prints for accessory pieces and shoes

Preppy Nay: brightly-toned animal skin textures and prints for entire outfits

Preppy Yea: the "smokey eye" look for evening

Preppy Nay: black, blue, gray nail polishes

Preppy Yea: hair as wonderfully depicted in Town and Country's Sept. issue pgs. 146-153

Preppy Nay: obvious hair-do's, obvious color streaking in hair, overly-styled even for evening

Preppy Yea: fading tans

Preppy Nay: year-round tans if you don't live on an island, tanning-bed tans, fake-bake spraying

Enjoy this 2010 Fall Fashion Season!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ways to Spot a Preppy at an Airport...

Preppies on Board... How to tell you're traveling with a fellow-traveller

These days every one's flying all around...the time when people dressed up to travel on airplanes is long past however, there always seems to be some Preppy-spotting amid the business travelers in their suits and the rest of the travelers in what seems to be a combination of sweat suits n' pajamas.

Thank goodness for the few passengers out there who still strive to look neatly presentable!

Thank goodness for the few passengers out there who still have manners!

Thank goodness yes, indeed....

Here's a brief listing on how to tell a fellow-Preppy's also going to board your flight:

  • Just like you... your fellow Preppy passenger's layered in well-tailored separates. They either have a blazer on, a cardigan sweater set and/or sweater tied around their shoulders or an elegant scarf or shawl draped across the shoulders. In cooler months or climes, there's also the tell-tale khaki trench coat draped over their arm.

  • Just like you... if you look closer, the gentleman Preppy's tweed blazer is a little frayed in spots and the lady Preppy's silk scarf is of a vintage design: if older people, then they've worn these literally forever and if younger, these are cherished passed-down Preppy Style inheritances. Most likely the tweed is Harris and the scarf is Hermes' but of course.

  • Just like you... their ID is a well-worn and many stamped/security-stickered passport.

  • Just like you... whether they're in first class, business or back in coach, they are acting with decorum and are always pleasantly nice to whoever is airline staff or is sitting beside them.

  • Just like you... instead of being wired-up to every techie gadget in sight, they are reading either a book, The Wall Street Journal or magazine publications like Forbes, Town and Country, Garden and Gun and any of the latest English home decor' or gardening issues.

  • Just like you... if they pull out their laptop computer, they're checking in with their broker or checking out the weather in places they're heading to like Paris, St. Barth's and so on...

  • Just like you... their carry-ons are not overstuffed and tend to be classic Hartmann pieces.

  • Just like you... they prefer buying bottled water and coffees plus granola bars, trail mix etc. at the airport terminal's kiosks instead of chancing it with whatever offering's on board: on board in coach that is which is doled out in small plastic cups.

  • Just like you... they don't mind a mixed drink or fairly decent glass of wine if that's available.

  • Just like you... they don't run the flight attendants ragged in business or first class with requests because they've flown this way before, several times before, and are used to it.

  • Just like you... they can converse on any topic, latest business trend or controversial political headline but prefer to quietly enjoy their time on the flight by being mostly to themselves.

  • Just like you...they don't rush to stand up in the middle of the aisle as soon as the plane pulls up to the airport gate.

  • Just like you... they are the most pleasant people to travel with and perhaps right next to...

And so it's always nice to espy a fellow Preppy when out and about traveling but especially so whenever you find yourself sitting next to one within the smaller confines of a passenger jet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

O Canada....where, oh where ARE your Preppies???

Possible Preppies...but... sporting earth-mother types of sandals?
Got cute cardigan top, got aviatior perhaps an actual Preppy sighting in Toronto??

Holding-up the Preppy standard of smart-casual while touring Toronto

This week I flew up to Canada for one whole day... to date it was the shortest international jaunt I've ever done and probably will ever do!

It was fun to meet-up with my James who had just finished sim training for a new jet he'll be flying passengers around in. I had never been to Toronto and so was quite game to gallivant on up there and have a whopping 4 whole hours to tour around the city and its waterfront areas. It actually turned out to be a really fun time with some nice surprises along the way in the form of tram riding, an artist-in-residence gallery where we chatted with some glass blowers, eating lunch in their version of Chinatown and happily running across a wonderful garden store in the middle of the historic distillery district's old brick buildings.

However, I think we were the only Preppies in-sight in all of Toronto!

Well, at least the only traditional-version of Preppy that I could espy in our running about for the afternoon. Toronto's amazingly casual for a big city. Casual to the degree of a look that says, "oh, I just tumbled out of my dorm room bed so don't mind me in my wrinkled jeans, old tee shirt and frowsy hair" attitudin'. And this er, um look was incredibly sported by all ages from young children to adults old enough to know better. Aside from the business people in their plain suits, a few well-dressed older Asian women and an assortment of folks who must be fading-hippies of the completely authentic kind, this uber casual styling was seen everywhere.

I was thinking, wow, I'll never get any pictures of anything remotely fashionable or vaguely Preppy until I ran across this woman and her friends who seem to be merging Preppy with their casual-outdoorsy sandals. And then this young woman whose cute top adds a bit of style to an otherwise unremarkable ensemble' excluding her classic aviator sunglasses but of course.

And then there was this other person popping into a garden shop who looked most like a Preppy but wait...oh, it's just actually me caught by a photo James snapped. Oh well, maybe all of the Toronto-townie Preppies just take August off and go somewhere like the Hamptons or Maine or wherever Canadian Preppies must be......

Has lifestyling advertisement for the 21st Century?

A photo from Tommy Hilfiger's 2010 Fall Fashion campaign... Preppy-gone-Benneton?

While in the airport on the way to Canada this week, I espied a recent issue of Vanity Fair with the word "Preppy" on its cover and immediately snatched it up. Yes, there it was inside... an overview excerpt about the new Preppy Handbook, True Prep that's coming our way soon and which I've already pre-ordered but of course! The book excerpt article is titled "The Official Preppy Reboot"...

I laughed aloud about how, "every single one of us...owns a blue blazer" and chuckled over the, "Prep Travel Commandments." Also the section about, "Prep Careers for the New Millennium" was interesting but should have been expanded a bit more in my opinion with the myriad of career possibilities and personal sideline interests that are now out-there for people at this point in time. Should be neat to see what all's a part of this new version about Preppydom.

It also should be fascinating to see how people react to this book since it seems (from what I've seen so far) to have expanded itself far outside the WASP-parameters that defined the Traditional Preppy as so well defined by the original publication about all-things Preppy, The Official Preppy Handbook. Also in the Vanity Fair magazine was a large photo ad spread by Tommy Hilfiger which seemed to flow right into this new Prep-aesthetic: multi-generational, multi-cultural groups of Prepped-out folks tailgaiting around an old woody stationwagon. Kinda' "Benneton-goes-Preppified" so hmm....interesting.

Is this more of a "PC" kinda of rendering? Is this some smooth marketing campaign to homognize the Preppy look for lifestyling designers of fashion and home fashions alike? Is this a truer view of how Preppy is changing or, in the more traditional philosophy of Preppy, CAN Preppy ever really change?

Lots to think about as we all receive our pre-ordered True Prep books in the mail soon........