1980s

euro prep

Confessions Of An ’80s Europrep

Growing up in 1980s Berlin, then a city with lots of “cool” but very little elegance, I caused quite a stir when I came to school in my new pink Lacoste shirt. What struck people as curious was not only the color of the shirt, unavailable for boys at the time, but also the color

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oak street boats

Oak Street’s American-Made Boats, Bits, Mocs And Wings

Oak Street Bootmakers recently introduced a new American-made wingtip to the marketplace. Priced at $486, the substantial double-soled shoe is made of hand-burnished French calf leather and fancy details you can brag to your coworkers about, like a “wheeled welt” and “dovetail toplift.” For those of you who pound the pavement of a big city,

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From The Archives

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We’re F**ked

Mark McNairy, former designer at J. Press, and, under his own name, creator of a host of “Fuck Ivy” gear, including hooded sweatshirts, has a forthcoming book entitled “F**k Ivy… And Everything Else,” slated for release in February. From the Amazon description: The renowned designer’s views on dressing and behaving well: Ivy League meets street,

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Blast From The Past: The Space Invaders Argyle Sock

In 1980, the only thing hotter than the best-selling “Official Preppy Handbook” was blasting aliens at the local arcade. Though they appealed to different demographics, three decades later the worlds of prepdom and video games have been combined in the form of Soxfords’ Space Invaders argyle sock, ideal for those who grew up in the


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From Collar Pop To Total Flop: Preppies The Musical, 1982

It was the summer of 1982, not quite two years after Lisa Birnbach wrote “The Official Preppy Handbook,” and I got a call from my agent in New York. After several rounds of auditions, I (then known as Susan Dow) was cast in “Preppies” and was rehearsing at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam,


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Accidental Tourist: An M&S Exec At 346 Madison Avenue

Last evening I was taking a golf lesson at Brooks Brothers when a vacationing gentleman stopped by to check out the high-tech simulator. By a happy accident it turned out to be a former executive for Marks & Spencer, the English department-store chain that bought Brooks in 1988 and went about dismantling it, starting with


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Madras Season: Dexys Midnight Runners

When madras season officially opened on Memorial Day, we ran a post showing George HW Bush clad in a madras sportcoat in company that wasn’t exactly wearing the same (can you imagine Obama or Romney doing that in 2012?) Now that July 4th marks our deeper descent into madras, this time we show the fabric



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Slim-Fit Shirts Ain’t Trad?

To those who complain that slim-fit shirts are evidence of Brooks Brothers having lost its way, the brethren have offered them for at least 25 years, as this late ’80s catalog shows. In general, WASPy preppy types have preferred a generous cut to their clothing, and the sack suit got its name for a reason.


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Deadstock Troy Guild Sea Island Buttondowns at O’Connell’s

We always consider it newsy when Ethan up at O’Connell’s digs up some deadstock items that have been buried for decades. Earlier this summer, in an act of unselfishness, Ethan decided to start sharing his special hoard of Troy Guild shirts from the early ’80s. These aren’t your typical oxford-cloth buttondowns: The shirts are made


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The Preppie Murder, 25 Years Later

August 26th marked the 25th anniversary of the so-called “Preppie Murder.” In 1986, Robert Chambers, a former student of Choate Rosemary Hall, left the Upper East Side bar Dorrian’s Red Hand with 18-year-old Jennifer Levin, whom he later strangled in Central Park behind the Metropolitan Museum. The story became a tabloid sensation, was eventually made


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‘Sucker Punch

We’re halfway to Labor Day, so if you’ve been neglecting your seersucker jacket, now’s the time to start wearing it all the time — even while riding the bike you stole from the new dork in school. After all, doesn’t this model from Rugby’s website remind you of someone? Click “continue” to see his pop-culture


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Confessions of a Preppy Snob

Slate Magazine recently posted a long-winded and at times insufferable meditation on snobbery by a prep who came of age in the ’80s. The author’s resumé would certainly suggest the presence of snobbery: Mark Oppenheimer writes about religion for the New York Times. He is the author of a memoir, Wisenheimer; is an editor of


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Extreme Gatoring: The Preppy Video Game, 1982

Last year, during Preppy Week, we examined some of the spoofs created by opportunistic cash-ins thanks to the success of “The Official Preppy Handbook.” But the preppy cash-grab went beyond mere words and drawings. To wit, a video game for the Atari console that allowed hoi polloi to sit in front of its TV sets