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... ;)


  1. i've been doing the same thing you are and it's funny to hear someone else talking about how half of her wardrobe is from high school, her mother, and her grandmother (or various female family members).

    everyone is always shocked when i say it's from so long ago! but it is also nice to add to my wardrobe with new things too!

  2. Thx so much alanna for your comments and it's so nice to have a sisterhood of "passing along classic clothing through the generations" isn't it? Love it! And I agree items are wonderful too :) More things to pass along at least that's what I tell my husband, haha!

    Best, Lachlan