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.

Postcards from Hawaii...part two: Precious Few Preppies

I espy...a touch of madras on the "bike scene" of Wakiki's avenues...
And oh, on my Sperry Topsider flipflops as well...

A very rare sighting of pink n'green in Hawaii...

One Preppy-ish gal translating the sundress w mango-hue w floral print look

Another Preppyish tourist spotted checking out pearls...but of course

Aloha once again from Hawaii!

In stark contrast from our South Carolina Lowcountry Islands where Preppy-spotting is just an all too easy given, out here on the island of O'ahu...there are very few visible Preppies...

So few in fact that I've been here a week and the photos above are what-all I've been able to snap concerning anything Preppy. Maybe it's because it's off-season out here, maybe it's because they're on other islands within this chain or maybe it's because Hawaii has never really been known as a Preppy vacation-mecca. Preppies flock to islands off the coast of New England, the Southern coastline running from Virginia to Georgia's Golden Isles and of course a few spots wit in the Caribbean but no, Hawaii's not a super-duper Preppy Vaca-spot. At least not that I've heard of and now have seen-of...

Nonetheless, it's been a fun time out here despite feeling like a madras-fish out of water ;)

Postcards from Hawaii...part one: It's All About Mango Orange

Orange hues abound in at a Waikiki beach resort...
Touches of orange with some Hawaiian fashion inspiration...

James and Lachlan sportin'-orange at a Luau...

Lovely orange-"mangoed" window in a storefront...

Great orange striping on his swimsuit and her beach bag...

Even watersport toys are wonderfully Hawaiian-themed orange...

Cute mango-hued simple dress spotted on one of Waikiki's avenues...

Tropical orange so elegantly lifestyled within a store's display window...

Aloha from Hawaii!

This ole' Preppy is currently on the island of O'ahu visiting her husband who has a temporary flying gig out here in paradise. I'm absolutely loving it but finding precious few fellow Preppies around however... there's a whole lotta' mango orange going on!

Judging from on the street fashion-sightings, window displays, a bevvy of product offerings and flowers galore' glimpsed around Waikiki this afternoon as I strolled along, the tropical hue of Mango seems to be "the" color of choice and is perfectly apt for this month of October.

Instead of pumpkins and candy corn, out here in Hawaii it's the oranged tones of hibiscus, fresh slices of mango, patterned sarongs, coral jewelry, beach umbrellas and those little umbrellas topping Mai Tai drinks which dot the landscape.

The few Halloween decorations I've espied in Honolulu have frankly seemed quite out of place. There was one skeleton moving figure thing on the sidewalk in front of a store which had a lei and coconut shell bikini-top on that looked so disturbing I actually opted to not take a picture of it. Too creepy for even me, a Halloween-baby no less. We'll take a pass on that kind of bizarre' Halloween/Hawaii hybrid costuming, haha.

And so... I hope you enjoyed some photos exhibiting the Preppier versions of Mango Orange!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Inside a Preppy's Wardrobe...

Preppy Wardrobing... easy simplicity that's always in style: decade after decade after decade

It's a necessary tradition I enact twice a year: the switching out of closets with my spring/summer wardrobe and my autumn/winter wardrobe. It's also a two-edged sword: such a pain to move things from the secondary closet to the main closet and vice versa but also such a good time to winnow-out items and reorganize.

For two days now I have been in the throes of seasonal rewardrobing. It's taking a bit more time than usual this year due to another round of streamlining going on in earnest. Earlier, with my spring/summer pieces and accessories I really winnowed this group down to only what I absolutely wear and absolutely can work well with year after year. Quite a few items made their way either to a local consignment store that's great to partner with or to our local Goodwill. The same is happening with this autumn/winter collection.

Being a lifetime Preppy, many of my clothing pieces, shoes, boots, handbags, belts, jewelry, scarves, hats and such are "old friends" turning up season after season, year after year. I still have things that go back to my high school days and some even are hand-me-downs from my mother and grandmothers. Jewelry of course can go way back as well as furs and silk scarves.

I do keep a couple of clothing items for purely sentimental sake but for the most part, the bulk of my overall wardrobe has been collected and edited within the past 20 years of married life.

Preppy style is literally Perennial Fashion- the timeless and always appropriate rendering of what would seem to be an oxymoron. It's not the proverbial reinvention of the wheel every season or a reincarnation of personal style as illustrated by the exaggerations of Madonna and Lady Gaga. It's not an exaggeration of the latest quirky looks as often showcased by Chloe Sevingy or the dressed-down when not at a movie premier styling of Katie Holmes and Julia Roberts. It's more like The Gwyneth Paltro of old before her goofy GOOP website and self-glamorization via Madonna's trainer partnered with discovering the wearing of very short skirts n' dresses with high, high heels. It's old school Grace Kelley-elegance mixed with the dazzle of Princess Diana and the away-from-the-city sunshine sportiness of Jacki Onasis.

As I just finished writing this, I realized that the apex of Preppy Wardrobing perhaps was, and is relegated to the past. Who do we look to as Preppy Style Icons these days? Every time I think that I find a current-day Preppy Style Icon they eventually go and spoil it with some radical remake of their personal style seeming to be tied into creating more hype for their acting career, political career, art sales, book sales, business, charitable or whatever endeavour they're concerned with or...their down spiraling into the dreaded midlife crisis.

Of course a little bit of change and lifestyle change does indeed occur over the course of most folks' lives and so it's natural that wardrobes shift accordingly. However, us Preppies keep to our core classic-tailored-sporty-elegance regardless of ensuing renditions.

Switching out stuff between my closets tonight had me smiling at the very distinct 3 lifestyle and n' style chapters I've lived through within my adult years so far....

First there were our years in Charlotte, NC where we were so Preppy-Yuppie in our Brooks Brothers separates, Armani suits, my Chanel and Hermes' habits indulged with trips up to NYC and even the indulgence of having a winter white wool Versace' suit hanging in the closet.

Second chapter found us being ski bums and fulfilling our fly fishing fetish way out west in Park City, UT where our collection of all things Orivs, Barbour, Eddie Bauer, Patagonia and such grew exponentially. This was a time period where I sold my Chanel earrings and silk scarf on Ebay but kept my Chanel handbags. During the Sundance Film Festival going on two streets below our house it was so much fun to mix high fashion with hiking togs!

This Third Chapter finds us now into our seventh year of living out here on a tiny island off the coast of South Carolina. Like any Lowcountry environment worth its sea spray salt, Southern Lowcountry Preppy style is a delightful mix of traditional classics + elegant English-inspired outdoorsy + for the women, a dollop of Southern Belle femininity. I utilize wardrobe items from my first and second chapters as well as have added-in more dresses, fabric rosettes, dashes of tropical color and fresh finds from Talbots, Belk and local boutiques as well as Lily Pulitzer but of course. There's not a whole lot I'm purchasing at this point of my adult life however due to having a good base foundation of quality Preppy pieces accruing over the years.

And so goes the peeking into a Preppy's wardrobing...nothing shocking in our closets... ;)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Lowcountry Preppy's Duality... where Southern Belle meets Outdoorswoman

Southern Lowcountry Preppy-Belles fly fish.....
...and they hunt during deer season...

...and they can dish up the peach cobbler as well...
Talk about stylishly "putting food on the table" eh?!

A Lowcountry Preppy female is part sweet Southern Belle and part stalwart Outdoorswoman. This duality coexists much like the male version of what is a Lowcountry Preppy as described in a previous post titled, "Dixie-Fried Guys: Male Preppies Southern Style" (January 2010).

For us Lowcountry Preppy females, we bake, grow flowers, don ballgowns to dance the waltz in and enjoy doing needlework as much as we fly fish, hunt and tromp through the woods on any given day. Wearing our pearls while wearing Mossy Oak camo or Orvis waders is as natural as wearing our pearls with Lilly Pulitzer sundresses and Talbots separates. To us, pearls aren't seasonal or style-specific as also...our lives and interests are year-round and overlap as well.

Whether we're bringing home the bacon (or venison), busy cooking it or, as is usual these days, finding ourselves doing both...Lowcountry Preppy-Belles like living with a dash of style and a good ole' dollop of humor. Hence the wearin' of pearls 24/7 even when out fishing and hunting.

Most of the time our pearls are tucked underneath layers of sturdy outdoors clothing while we're out in the woods or making our way up a river much like how we can put the feminine-graces firmly underneath pragmatic and super practical outlooks whenever that's more appropriate. No cute squeals please or flirting and batting of the eyes when we're busy landing a fish or sighting a deer...just get down to business ladies. Southern men understand this duality and cherish it within their female counterparts while Non-Southern guys seem at first completely amazed by this and then quite entranced. As it is with our Southern males who can be uber-masculine while at the same time effuse over antiques and have a sideline hobby of cultivating roses, Preppy-Belles can be an interesting combination of being both feminine and downright sporty.

It's a "Southern thing" I guess and no better displayed than by Lowcountry Southern Preppies.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Once Upon A Time... and now, IS Hilton Head Island still Preppy?

Hilton Head's Harbortown marina... sportin' Preppy nautical stripes
Hilton Head's beach...traipsing past the ocean waves: cuffs n' bare feet

Once upon a time, Hilton Head Island off the coast of South Carolina was a Prepster's paradise.

3 seasons of the year, yachts with elegantly-attired passengers and old wooden-sided station wagons with tow-headed children piled in back seats eagerly peering out of rolled down windows converged on this shaggy, still fairly quiet enclave of pleasant retreat from non-South frigid winters, soggy springs and chilled autumns.

Beach houses which seemed a little worse for wear and a few tabby-foundationed mansions nearby the beach were the destination for Preppy folks who needed a good healthy dose of salt air, salt water and saltines graced with some red sauce n' local oysters...

The Hilton Head of my youth was one in which I had experienced only with coming over to it by boat from Savannah and occasionally by way of Dafuskie Island. We'd head into Harbortown and have lunch there at some small restaurant, check out the other boats, perhaps purchase a touristy shell necklace and then head on back into ocean waters homeward.

The Hilton Head of my middle-age is one by which I drive over to it from the nearby island we live on and marvel at the traffic. There's traffic from the outlet stores, big-box stores and the mall. There's traffic from the many chain restaurants and resorts. There's traffic from the all too many "plantations", er actually developed gated neighborhoods lining the main roadway from Bluffton on over the bridge onto Hilton Head island itself. There's frankly a whole lotta' traffic!

Hilton Head Island has changed so much that even during a recent visit there with a girlfriend where we espied a very chi-chi public beach area newly-built and surprisingly quite elegant, I continue to find myself questioning whether HHI's still Preppy enough to be considered a valid Preppy Destination worthy of mention in the True Prep updated preppy handbook.

Sporting a Talbots outfit and my Savannah Cotillion's silver cuff deb bracelet, I did my best to add a dash of Preppy into the marina and beach scene but the more I think about it, the more I am thinking that today's incarnation of Hilton Head Island just isn't Preppy anymore..........