1980s

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Six Years Ago: Dirty Rotten Scoundrel

We close out the month of May with this post, which originally ran in May of 2009. Pegged on the movie “Dirty Dancing,” it’s a short but fascinating look at how heroes and villains have switched places in pop culture — at least when it comes to messy issues such as social class. * *

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Handed Down: A Video Interview With Oak Street Bootmakers

On Tuesday a video posted on YouTube — promoted by none other than Coors beer — featuring an interview with Oak Street Bootmakers founder George Vlagos. Vlagos talks about inheriting the cobbler craft from his father, even though his dad was against his son’s desire to work with his hands. While so many larger companies have

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From The Archives

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The Decline And Fall Of The American Inseam

Without preppy style — not to mention other WASP values — to act as a guiding beacon over mainstream American culture, bad things happen. People are chronically rude and selfish. They don’t exercise. They’re suckers for false, gaudy dreck. They become obsessed with celebrities and long to become one on reality TV. And their pants

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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


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Terminal Preppies: Skewered, Stuffed, And Put To Good Use

With this post Ivy-Style bring Preppy Week to a close. Click here to have the Dead Kennedys’ “Terminal Preppie” play in another browser window as you rejoice in the demise of Biff and Muffy. Every trend carries within it the seed of its own negation. The hype and expectation over “Take Ivy” has made it


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Somewhere in Time: The Preppy ’80s

Preppy Week continues with this impressive bit of research from Greg Moniz, a student at Connecticut’s Trinity College, who brings back our “Somewhere in Time” series by compiling highlights from Time Magazine’s coverage of the ’80s preppy trend. “If one more person comes in here and asks for Bass Weejuns, I think I’ll scream,” says


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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Prep

Preppy Week continues with this pre-OPH exploration of prepdom from the August 27, 1980 edition of The Toledo Blade. Everything you always wanted to know about prep but were too stuck-up to ask By Mike Steere Blade Staff Writer For lack of a better word, we’ll stick to the label that has been so cavalierly