The latest Ne0-Prep news comes via Ralph Lauren’s online magazine, which has several prep-themed feature stories in the latest issue.
Writer Sean Hotchkiss has the requisite “rule-breaking” take on prep, as ever since the invention of rock-and-roll in 1954, everything in American pop culture must break rules instead of upholding them. Of course, it’s tough to break rules when there aren’t any left, in which case one must break antiquated rules. But I digress. Here’s a snippet:
But the rebel spirit embedded in true prep style is the opposite of the gin and tonic–swilling vacationer. The uptight, croquet-playing prep that rose to prominence in popular culture on the back of 1980’s Official Preppy Handbook is a distraction from the more controversial preps that came before him. Prep was the early uniform of changing times, and the counterculture. Allen Ginsberg? Wore Christmas sweaters. Jack Kerouac? Loved his khakis. When Hajime Hasegawa and Toshiyuki Kurosu came stateside to Ivy League campuses in the 1960s to photograph students for their now seminal prep book, Take Ivy, they found not conformist prepsters, but subversive style icons—young men who took their father’s dusty trends and turned them on their heads: rumpled, hyper-cropped military chinos, baggy anoraks, an apparent allergy to socks…
Check out the full piece here.
Nex up is a piece called “The Preppiest Thing I Own” and features writer David Coggins with his first edition of “The Great Gatsby,” as well as FE Castleberry looking unabashedly unprep.
Coggins also pens a piece on madras, which you can find here.
Next we have “The Preppiest Cars Of All Time“
And finally there’s a rerun of a khaki story I did a couple years ago. — CC
I’ve got a sinking feeling that the comments section below will soon resemble the mud at Verdun, so I’ll try to get in early and say that I appreciated most of the stories from RL. Sure, I can do without the maximalist graphics appearing on much of the clothing, but I give kudos to RL for leaning back into its history and heritage, rather than bleeding all the life out of itself as J.Crew has most recently done.
I think it’s impossible not to enjoy the illustrations that accompany the story on cars (which I got a kick out off, despite not being a driver and knowing virtually nothing at all about anything with a motor). Hotchkiss has some lovely sentences, too. I appreciated this in particular:
“In the fall of 2002, I matriculated at a small western New York college with grand fraternity houses lining the lake and dive bars in town crawling with cashmere sweaters slung carelessly across tanned shoulders.”
Vintage Polo braces? It’s almost depressing to know things made in my 20s is considered “vintage”.
@Eric: given the response to the ‘preppiest thing Fred owns’ on Facebook, the Verdun reference isn’t far off. Brace yourself (apologies to Mac for the phrasing).
I like how Coggins describes what it means to wear madras. It reminds me of how I feel about loud seersucker suits and even louder aloha shirts. I don’t give a damn.
In the spirit of Eric’s positive and conciliatory message — and recognizing my own unintended role in stoking some unpleasant back-and-forth recently — perhaps we could elicit some bonhomie by playing along with the ‘preppiest thing I own’ game; not as an exercise in one-upmanship but as an amusing game playable, likely, in few if any other places given the shared interest that brings readers to this site?
I’ll start (but I actually found it tougher than I would have thought to identify a specific object): perhaps my briefcase, which was handed down to me by my old man — leather, beaten, bruised and weathered, not even a discernible manufacturer, but still looks great and going strong. The other candidate was the team shirt I have from the Marblehead sailing race I took part in years ago.
Now — either play along or cut me down, the choice is yours!
Those are definitely trad (I dislike the term preppy intensely) items. Mine would be the 111 bodied 1966 250SE Mercedes coupe (like the one in the Hangover movie) and the Hampton One sailboat. I like all vehicles to have a certain amount of wood.
A pack of perros de presa to root out boar and a vintage Army and Navy shotgun to finish the blighters off. Boar, not dogs. Obviously.
A nice piece on the history of khaki is prominently displayed on RL MAG’s homepage as well. Never heard of the author before.
Thanks for the article mention.
I often wonder why people can’t be bothered to provide links to articles they mention:
We always suspected that Fred was a bit of a clown, and now he even found a fake cowboy outfit to wear and thus proves our point.. I love the description ”Designer and Photographer@@ …I laughed so hard I spat coffee all over my work desk..
The preppiest thing I own: a B.A. in classics.
I might be wrong, but isn’t Fred originally from Texas?
He’s clearly trying to look like Eli Cash — no surprise given his entire aesthetic is lifted almost directly from Wes Anderson.
to wit: https://a1cf74336522e87f135f-2f21ace9a6cf0052456644b80fa06d4f.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/images/characters/p-the-royal-tenenbaums-owen-wilson.jpg
F.E.C.; Oh feckless youth!
Preppiest thing I own? That might be 3 pairs of RL sport socks that I got close on 22 years ago….Yikes! All of the socks are bright Kelly green, with motifs in hot-pink and baby blue; favorite pair is giant paisleys, second favorite are pink whales with blue water spouts, and 3rd favorite are pink lobsters with blue eyes and detailing. I still break them out once or twice a year during the Summer. Preppiest way they (the paisley ones) were worn was to one of my jobs during college (as a photographer) with black tie to an event at Jim Henson studios. Great memories.
It can’t have been 22 years ago. I didn’t sleep last night. Apologies. It may have been 15 to 17 years ago. Off to coffee-O’clock. Columbian roast calls!
I am much impressed by Will’s ancient Mercedes and RBM’s ancient briefcase. Since sometime in the 80s, all but one of my vehicular purchases have been Japanese, and alas my father’s old leather case is a bit too far gone for use, although I still have it tucked against the wall next to a bookcase.
For me, it would probably be a 35-year-old Barbour coat from the days before they had their name embroidered on the outside pocket and could be quite so readily found in the US. I bought it in London when it was new, stiff and shiny; now I desperately need to send it off to have it re-waxed again and the tears sewn up, but still wear it regularly. I also still have two or three pre-Marks & Spencer Brooks OCBDs in various stages of disrepair, and two BB suits I bought for my first “real” job, in the same era, roughly 1985-87.
This is really enjoyable! Thanks for sharing guys! I am loving all of the wonderful responses! Windows into lives well lived.
I understand your reluctance to use the term “preppy”, but I have found it useful to use the term to refer to every garish aberration of Trad style.
On a lark, I meandered over to Fred’s website, where he sells suitings, coatings, shirtings, etc., and you know what I found? A shot of Fred wearing the same costume as in the RL piece.
Incidentally, in that shot, he was surrounded by people in high-water pants and bright red knit caps. One of them was wearing a topcoat, half Glen check and half Maclaren tartan. Other pieces in the shot, no doubt from Fred’s custom shop, were similar in their, uh, shall we say, boldness.
If he were to market that hybrid topcoat, how might the ad copy read?
“From the F.E. Castleberry Signature line, we are proud to offer this one-of-kind over-the-top coat. We think we’ve nailed the sweet spot with our proprietary GlenMac material, which features the best of both the classic Glen check and the equally classic Maclaren tartan, with standard hot pink Bemberg lining. This exclusive coating is available from $2200. Call today for an appointment—we’d love to take care of you, which is really what it’s all about, isn’t it?”
Henry Contestwinner (and others):
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t understand why people can’t be bothered to provide links to things they refer to:
I normally provide links and references out the wazoo, but somehow, I failed to provide one for Fred. Mea culpa.