Yale Style Showdown, Kelly Green Edition

The current issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine features a style spread with current undergrads. Two of them are flying the prep flag at full mast.

On the left, Student A juxtaposes green chinos with a look of utmost seriousness, as if to silently say to anyone who would dare raise an eyebrow, “Of course I’m serious.” He also exemplifies Oscar Wilde’s adage that to be premature is to be perfect by donning sockless bit loafers, which, as you know, the “Official Preppy Handbook” deems “strictly post-collegiate.” Finally, the sweater around the neck suggests a semester spent abroad in one of those countries where people actually do that sort of thing.

On the right, Student B also channels old-school prepdom by actually holding together his boat shoes with a piece of duct tape. It’s an ingenious way of undercutting the finery abover the waist, which includes pink shirt, kelly green cable sweater, navy blazer and college scarf.

So, who should be valedictorian of style?

31 Comments on "Yale Style Showdown, Kelly Green Edition"

  1. I vote B because of the nonchalance. Part of preppy is making it look effortless.

  2. The correct answer is ‘B’ and this one isn’t even close.

  3. I vote for B. A’s clothes look too contrived to properly convey the “don’t give a crap” attitude – that and his look is strikingly reminiscent of Zoolander’s “Blue Steel”. Plus I can relate to B’s shoe dilemma. I have some Bass Weejun tassel loafers where some of the thread came loose on one, and the heel came unglued on the other (they are obviously not very good shoes). Rather than toss them, I used a little white zip tie to put the one shoe back together, and glued the other one’s heel back.

    Also, I think I have the same boat shoes as B. Doesn’t he know that L.L. Bean will give him another pair since that one tore up? Lol. Maybe ther’re Sperrys.

  4. Definitely “B”.

    “A”‘s low-cut waist trousers and his duck-like stance are risible.

  5. @Dutch Uncle

    Not to mention his hair and his ears.

  6. I’d say B, but “undergrad”? Really? The guy looks thirty. Also grafting tape to hold together (topsiders/docksiders) is in the TOPH in a believe the picture of adolescent preps at boarding school. Though I’m sure he has never read that book, or meticulously studied it. Can one be so prep that they’re a poseur?

  7. I am going to say “B” by default. If “A” removed that sweater from around his neck and was photographed more naturally I would have voted for him I think. Both are dressed better than most people that I encounter day to day.

  8. Comment by oxford cloth button down — September 28, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    I am going to say “B” by default. If “A” removed that sweater from around his neck and was photographed more naturally I would have voted for him I think. Both are dressed better than most people that I encounter day to day.

    I concur.

    Moreover, as well as probably being able to spell ‘Ivy’ they are better dressed than some of the bizarre attempts at being well-dressed posted elsewhere.

    There is one particular clothing forum, whose name escapes me that has some of the darnedest scoundrels imaginable cluttering up bandwidth with photographs of themselves in the most tasteless attire a Glaswegian garage mechanics on a Saturday night could imagine.

  9. G. Bruce Boyer | September 29, 2012 at 8:44 am |

    Two good examples of SprezzaPreppy?

  10. They’re both painfully off the mark. A speaks for himself. Poor guy.

    B reads too much Unabashedly Prep. If you need a blazer, sweater and scarf, you need socks. The tape on the shoes is contrived and forced – buy new boat shoes….they’re $65.00 (or less). The pink/green shirt and sweater contrast is too obvious. The pegged, faux nonchalance of the pant roll is just silly. And a duffle bag? I see.

  11. No, there’s something about both of these guys that’s just a bit off. The sweater around the neck is a cliche — the kind of thing they do in movies when they want to portray someone as a preppy. Same for the Gucci loafers — just “too too,” as a friend used to say. Save ’em for the reception at the next art opening. Guy B gets it close but he too is just too affected — the floods, the taped shoes, the scarf w/blazer (another prep cliche), the whole thing is too studied.

  12. @Sartre:

    Re: “just a bit off” and “too studied”.
    Hear! Hear!

    Allow me to go one step further and assert that Gucci loafers have no place whatsoever in the wardrobe of an Ivy gentleman.

  13. Boston Bean:

    J. Press sells bit loafers made by Alden. Are you saying they’re both wrong?

  14. Christian,

    Richard of WASP is a great fan of bit loafers.

    I belong to the group of “others”.

    From the Web:

    To some, they’re a standard.  No big deal.  To others, the bit loafer is the shoe version of a clunky metal man-bracelet.  Jewelry for the sake of flash.  Cheesy and even a bit skeezy.  Not easy to pull off well.

  15. Ah, so you can’t pull them off? I often find that’s the real reason men don’t like certain items of clothing and then make general statements about the items’ lack of taste.

    Claiming you don’t personally like them is one thing, claiming they “have no place whatsoever in the wardrobe of an Ivy gentleman” is going a bit far.

    They’ve very common on the Upper East Side, and hardly by men who are cheesy.

    Maybe it’s a New York vs. Boston thing.

    Citing WASP 101 is guilt by association. Also, you resorted to ad shoeminem attacks on bit loafers without addressing my highly germane point about Press and Alden.

    Not being pugnacious. Just engaging in friendly debate while waiting for the Ryder Cup to start.

  16. Christian,

    Really not interested in “pulling them off”, or even trying.

    Simply a matter of personal taste/preference. They look like women’s shoes to me.

    Yes, I’m aware that some say the same about penny loafers, which are my favorites.

  17. Wonder how long Alden has been making snaffle bit loafers? I thought Gucci had that market covered. Chio baby

  18. As far back as the 80 release of the Preppy Handbook, I always wondered if Lisa B got some comp Gucci loafers for adding them in her book! :-). I never viewed them as Americana prep. Great shoe, but not for me.

  19. The shoes of the “Jet Set” hmmmmm


  20. @M Arthur — I was Cornell class of ’81. I remember when the OPH came out we all rolled our eyes but in hindsight the book was remarkably accurate about most everything — including Gucci loafers. Most northeastern college shops carried some version of the shoe; not Guccis, of course, but frequently Cole Haans which were a very “preppy” brand at that time. Of course they were never worn by students — they were more of a shoe you would graduate to post collegiately (and hence one reason why specimen A’s look above is so egregious). When I got my first “real” job after grad school my first two major purchases were a pair of real Gucci loafers and a Burberrys trench coat.

  21. Sartre
    Not a snaffle bit loafer affectionado, but if I was, like your choice of a trench, I’d go for the original, Gucci.

  22. @AEV,

    Fred is trying to find a way to delete or modify your comment as I type this… 😉

  23. i dont know why i always hated shoes without socks like boat shoes, well IMHO, sweating too much feet

  24. Both are not looking good. They aren’t looking “Ivy” either. They look like Prepsters. People not knowing about timeless style, fashion victims riding on the “Preppy” route. Even Hilfiger adverts look more like Ivy League. The tape around the boat shoe is simply ridiculous… As the scarf is combined with boat shoes (warm weather shoes IMHO) – and I say if it’s cold enough for a scarf it is cold enough for socks…

  25. Duct tape Topsiders…….really?

  26. The guy on the left isn’t white…

  27. Shh! You aren’t supposed to notice.

  28. I always valued quality, and my clothes, glasses, etc was a reflection. I was wearing wafers when everyone was buying Oakley… I never followed the crowd. Option A looks to be trying too hard; according to the season at times I would drape my sweater over my back because it’s too hot verses the fashion statement option A is displaying. I wear the dog out of my shoes, and my dad wear his shoes with holes in them as well… money is not an issue house and car paid off etc he’s just frugal therefore I’m ok with option B and the tape. Lastly I only wear socks on the tennis court gents it’s about comfort and lifestyle. To say the WASP created this lifestyle that’s untrue… I credit WASP for making it mainstream.

  29. @Marcus

    You are mistaken. A’s look is obviously le Tigre and not Blue Steel. B’s shoes belong in the Derelique collection or get a good cobbler to resole them for about $30.


  30. B has painter’s tape on his shoe, not duct tape. It’s completely contrived. Painters tape would rip the second you tried to walk. Besides, I though the essence of prepdom was not caring or trying, both of these gentlemen are trying too hard.
    Just my two pence,

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