One of the hallmarks of the preppy approach to dressing is that clashing colors are embraced. The most notorious example is pink and green. But we don’t living in a preppy era, and today one of the most prevalent sartorial sins is not clashing, but over-matching.
I’ve got an op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal that critiques the growing trend for match-matchy outfits in everyday business attire as well outfits for golf and tennis. My original, alas cut for length, had this preppy passage:
In the world of sport, the matchy-matchy dressing formula has become so prevalent in professional golf that PGA players are starting to resemble LPGA players, minus the skirt. In the days before Rickie Fowler started matching his belt to his driver head, the WASPy country-club formula was always to wear clashing colors, such as the preppy cliché of kelly green flagrantly contrasted against bubble-gum pink. But just as today’s professional golfers are more muscular and athletic than those before, their clothing has followed a logical progression that began with the Scottish tweeds of the “sport of kings,” passed through the yellow-pants-with-sky-blue-shirts phase depicted in “Caddyshack,” until finally reaching today’s polyester performance fabrics in the matching combos associated with basketball uniforms. In tennis, another sport once governed by upper-class English taste, the sacrosanct Wimbledon garb of all white (a neutral color, like black, navy, gray and tan), has been supplanted by attire heavily weighted on accent colors, such as a neon-green shirt worn with matching headband, wristband, shoelaces and grip tape.
Head over here for the full story. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Some time later today, according to the timer counting down on its website, Duck Head will relaunch. The brand has its genesis in the postwar workwear market, and when I say postwar, I mean the War Between the States. “For a preppy Southern college guy in the 1980s,” writes Eileen Glanton in a November, 2000 Forbes article, “Duck Head Apparel khakis were as indispensable as a pair of worn Top-siders and a pink Polo shirt.”
Brothers and Civil War veterans George and Joe O’Bryan started Duck Head in 1865, buying army surplus duck canvas tenting material which they repurposed for work pants and shirts. The business would become known as O’Bryan Brothers Manufacturing Company, and operated out of Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1892 the brothers attempted to trademark the word “duck,” but it was already in common use, even among those who didn’t hunt. Undaunted, they took inspiration from their sporting roots and registered the trademark Duck Head in 1906. The company turned out hardy vests, coats, pants and overalls as they entered the new century. The company would become a leading contract maker for the government during the Second World War, turning out over five million garments. After the war Duck Head returned to the civilian workwear market. It embraced country music, becoming a sponsor of the Grand Ole Opry and hitching their wagon to Hank Williams’ rising star.
The question one might ask is how and why did Duck Head did became a preppy staple? “The duck is the most beloved of all totems,” writes Lisa Birnbach in “The Official Preppy Handbook,” and as true as that may be, Duck Head khakis were born of one’s man foresight.
In 1978 a textile mill operator was trying to unload 60,000 yards of unwanted cotton khaki material. The operator approached Dave Baseheart of O’Bryan Brothers with his problematic material. Baseheart said, “They offered me a price and I bought it. I did not know what I was going to do with it.” Baseheart’s solution was to use an old workwear pattern, run up some khakis and slap on the now iconic yellow mallard duck label. He convinced a store in Oxford near the Ole Miss campus to buy 12 pairs, and they sold out in three days. (Continue)
A reader recently alerted us to the $25 oxford shirts at Target. Surprisingly, they feature a rear collar button. And with their tailored fit, low price and apparently smaller collar, they may prove a viable option for impecunious young trads, perhaps of the student variety. Kudos to Target for offering a bit of Main Street Ivy for the masses. — CC
A few days ago over at Golf Style I interviewed Bill Thomas from Bills Khakis, one of our longtime sponsors. Those of you who play or who are interested in this man committed to US manfacturing can check it out here.
The brand has grown so much beyond khakis that you wonder if they’re ever going to change their name. Here are are few highlights from the new spring collection. (Continue)
We last reported on Baracuta back in September, when the brand unveiled a revamped website. Well this spring it’s showing its famous G9 jacket in a slew of new colors, fabrics and styles, including the olive suede version above. (Continue)