Lisa Birnbach’s “True Prep” raised plenty of Old-Guard eyebrows with its inclusiveness. Whereas 1980’s “The Official Preppy Handbook” was WASPy to the core, the sequel opens the club to black, Asian, gay and Muslim preps as Birnbach declares “It’s a whole new old world.”
As an example that those flying the preppy flag in 21st century America are from all walks of life, meet Gagan Singh. The 21-year-old NYU finance and marketing student was born in New Jersey to Indian parents and is fond of true-blue American style. And if you though wearing a striped watchband added an extra component to dressing, just imagine getting to color coordinate a turban every day.
Ivy Style tracked down Singh for an interview after spying him on The Style Blogger. Here’s what he had to say. — CC
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IS: How did you get into clothes?
GS: I never really thought I would be interested in fashion, but my dad works in the industry and I guess it rubbed off on me. Plus, with so much on the Internet it’s hard to not get sucked into the world of style blogs. I just like things that are made well and look great, whether they’re clothes or anything else.
GS: Traditional American or preppy style is distinct, versatile and simple. I don’t need to worry if what I am wearing is appropriate because it fits into any type of setting. It is easily dressed up or down. If I am wearing an OCBD, I can throw on a blazer and tie to dress it up, or roll up the sleeves to just relax. The simplicity factor is huge. Most of the stuff that is considered preppy or traditional American doesn’t go out of style because it just works. That’s not to say that it is boring: There’s always the vast amount of go-to-hell items to change things up.
IS: What classic items are your favorites?
GS: My classic favorites are Oxford-cloth buttondowns, penny loafers and my Sperry Top-Siders — I wear those almost all the time and everywhere.
IS: How do people, both Sikh and non-Sikh, react to your turban combined with a fashionable appearance?
GS: It’s interesting. It’s all about perceptions in my opinion. I match my turban with my clothes because it’s a simple thing, but it makes a big impact and people notice it.
For non-Sikh people, mostly everyone thinks it is very cool on how I keep in touch with my roots while staying stylish. Sometimes I’ll come across people who don’t know who Sikhs are and stereotype me, but in New York most are usually used to the different mix of people.
However, the reaction varies with Sikh people. The turban thing is obviously normal, we don’t really make a big deal out of it. But being stylish does stick out, as it does within all communities. There is a wide spectrum in the way people dress: My grandfather’s generation was influence by British colonialism in India, and I see that with the way they dress. Overall, though, with my friends, the style leans more to towards prep side than anything else.
Images 1 and 3 courtesy of The Style Blogger.