Welcome To The Prepocalypse

Are we in the midst of a preppy revival, or its final orgiastic-death throes-supernova? As with everything, there’s reason to believe both. But today let’s look at the notion of a prepocalypse.

Last week LA-based designer Greg Lauren partnered with fashion brand KITH for a collection that was likened to a preppy apocalypse. The creative wellsprings — the this meets that — were “Dead Poets Society” meets “Platoon,” in other words prep meets military. The result is what your wardrobe will look like after The Event, when you have to mend your clothing yourself because all the tailors have turned into zombies.

Then today New York Magazine wonders “What Does ‘Preppy’ Fashion Look Like In 2018?” Good thing they put preppy in quotation marks, because this is the lead image:

Not very preppy, but it does bring up the notion of androgyny at the heart of preppy style, at least for women, and of which Muffy Aldrich is a prime example. Of course, androgyny as evoked in the “Preppy Handbook” in 1980 is an entirely different context from 2018 and the era of gender fluid. Back then the gender fluids flowed more in line with how Mother Nature designed them. But today, as Cole Porter wrote, anything goes.

But I shouldn’t editorialize. Let’s let NY Mag do that. Here are some of the talking points:

Is American prep in the midst of a makeover? Why? For whom? And how different will it look for the next generation?

Is it possible for prep to be a symbol of progress, and not exclusion?

… the look has historically “defined the visual code of American affluence.” In other words, it was worn by white men with names like Brett. Today, the look might also align you, consciously or not, with conservative political groups as extreme as the Fred Perry–wearing alt-right.

In 2015 I posed the question I asked the readership here if trad was politically incorrect. The answer was mostly no. But this was pre-Trump, which is to say another era. You can believe there’s a dictator in the White House, or a million mini-tsars running our universities, but fashion is the greatest dictator civilization has ever known. And if she decrees you will not wear prep (that is, unless it’s been desecrated), then you will not.

So bask in the sunshine of the latest prep revival, whether it’s the birth of a new star or the supernova of an old one. And consider learning to sew. — CC

34 Comments on "Welcome To The Prepocalypse"

  1. These collections are more hippy than “preppy.” Real prep is very Apollonian: sober, rational, and serious. Hippy style is it’s Dionysian complement: androgynous, deconstructed, and sentimental. Hippies took vintage clothing, like lace and pearls purchased from thrift stores, and made their own garments, each one uniquely recycled, repurposed and cared for for a very long time.

    These new collections are wild, iconoclastic and rebellious: like “Animal House” meets “Apococlypse Now.” Call it “Prepocalypse Now.”

  2. C,
    Is this satire, because, if not, my relic of a brain will need some time to process and be able to form a comment in response.
    Cheers, BC

  3. The Best Use of the clothing on the mini-skirted model is to part the noon-time crowds on the sidewalk to make for umbumped passage.

    ALL clothing either protects from weather OR is some sort of work “uniform” OR it makes an otherwise-or-not obvious statement about the wearer.

    That mini-skirt wearer is far more likely to have a hard drug problem earlier in life than a hard alcohol problem later in life.

  4. From the tan lines on the “model’s” legs, I’m betting this isn’t his usual attire. I think “ivy style” or “prep(py)” should always equate with our traditionalist look. To me it’s not a fluid descriptor. Whatever today’s collegians wear…let them come up with their own damn title. Although the above costume defies description IMHO !

  5. Jokes on them: they haven’t realized that progressive = exclusion by definition.

  6. Caustic Man here with the galaxy brain.

  7. MacMcConnell | November 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm |

    This is soyprep

  8. Looks like a screen-grab from a neo-post-retro-alt-indie “High Skool Daze” movie. Opening of the cheerleader tryout scene. Later all the kidz will get together at Pop’s Soda Palace for a malted and some heroin.

  9. In my obtuse interpretation of preppy their most representative elements are: comfort, quality, functionality, cultural elitism with emphasis in masculinity, engulfed in an athletic aura that transcended into the female realm per the aforementioned characteristics. Mini skirts and mid drift perhaps will play in an apoplectic apocalyptic post Trumpian madness.

  10. Trace Bearden | November 15, 2018 at 7:43 pm |

    Androgynous! That’s it! The elusive but perfect adjective for Muffy.

  11. Trace Bearden, is androgynous an elusive word for you?

  12. I’m hedging my bets towards revival (rather than doing whatever the preppy equivalent of buying gold would be).

    What I’m most concerned about is seeing that the trend that’s so infected sports and entertainment journalism has filtered down to fashion writing: you can no longer report on the subject at hand without turning it into some poorly conceived “hot take” that desperately tries to bring in politics and society without cause or proper expertise. Suddenly, you can’t report on a trend without first figuring out if it’s problematic.

    That’s of course not to say that society and politics can’t be drawn into discussions of style because there are certainly intersections. Gents like Bruce Boyer and Derek Guy at Dieworkwear! do it masterfully, because they’re knowledgeable and put out polished work.

    Final note: I must admit that the cricket sweater/straitjacket above may not be something I’d wear, but it’s rather fun.

  13. Many thanks for the LOLs! The pictures prove that so called “designers” are often crazy. To be frank, those garments are not “prep” anything, just juvenile BS. Only men with severe personal “issues” would wear denim miniskirts and “high standards” must be a pathetic attempt at irony.

    The top photo suggests that Greg Lauren needs professional help to overcome the psychological burden of his surname. It reminds me of the women who cut up the suits of their unfaithful husbands rather than confront the real reasons for their infidelity.

  14. Kenny, “you” don’t have to “put” quotations around “words” when you actually “mean” what the word “explicitly” means. Is “irony” more or “less” pathetic than not knowing how to “use” the “English” language?

  15. Old School Tie | November 16, 2018 at 7:43 am |

    Who knows? But it’s all giving me a terrible case of dysprepsia. Now, where did I put those Ralpha-Seltzers….?

  16. It has to be April 1st, right? This can’t be a real clothing range, surely?

    The guy in the miniskirt looks like a complete fool. Please tell me this is just a joke done in bad taste….

  17. I don’t know. The socks are definitely not preppy. Remove the socks and add Alden long wings and Mr. Lauren may have something.



  18. Went on line trying to find the bastardized tennis sweater, to no avail. Guess I’ll have to whipstitch up one myself. “Dude looks like a lady” lol

  19. I’m just going to disregard the miniskirt photo altogether because other than possibly the white socks, I think it’s being falsely attributed to the preppy aesthetic here. Just because I put up a picture of bell bottoms and a leather biker jacket then title it “prep-revival’ doesn’t make it so.

    That being said, to reiterate my earlier sentiments on the Facebook page, allow me to draw from Jean-Luc Picard:

    “We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again! The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!”

  20. Trace Bearden | November 16, 2018 at 10:30 am |

    Is “Lee” is an “androgynous” know-it-all? The answer isn’t terribly “elusive,” one suspects.

  21. Year 2075 Fall of Western Civilization Review:

    1. The concept of Pensions and Soc Security against declining birth rates yet increasing life expectancy
    2. War on Terror
    3. Release of “Get Low” by The Ying Yang Twins feat. Lil’ Jon & The Eastside Boyz
    4. Rise of China and the refutation of “democracy” in emerging economies.
    5. The elevation of ego in popular culture re: Housewives of ____, Sex tape celebrity, F.E. Castleberry etc
    6. Disband of European Union
    7. Greg Lauren x Kith “Varsity” Sweater, 2018

  22. Old School Tie | November 16, 2018 at 11:19 am |

    Well, I have just looked at the Kith website and the collection is sold out – even if you did suffer some malady of the mind and wished to partake of this preptastic feast, you are all out of luck. As a point of interest, the jumper retailed at $1,770. Expect to see it adorning the shoulders of the Biebs or Lil Yachty anytime soon..

  23. Do you recommend a dressing for that word salad, Juan?

  24. @Benjamin but one of the chief reasons Britain left the EU was to defy onerous regulations, like the one limiting collar points to 2.5″ or less.

  25. Trace Bearden, congrats on finding words to communicate! I hope they weren’t too elusive.

  26. @Tracy Bearsden. Just ignore Lee’s idiotic trolling. He’s obviously got nothing better to do with his sad and empty life.

  27. Trace Bearden | November 16, 2018 at 9:28 pm |

    Lee, where did you prep?

  28. Trace Bearden, lol you clown. Androgynous is an elusive word for you, but you want to know my education background. If you must know, I went to Bofa.

  29. I applaud the moderator of this excellent online magazine for allowing the posting of occasional inane, snide and condescending comments. That said, the downside of letting the trolls participate might be that it drives away some of the gracious viewers of Ivy-Style who don’t wish to associate with the nasty online banterers. Fortunately, the trolls seem to show up rather infrequently.

    Case in point is the comments above directed at Trace Bearden by someone who goes by Lee. I seem to recall that four years ago – time flies when having fun – when the blogger known as Muffy was proverbially throwing some under her Volvo while defending her sacred prep honor, Mr. Bearden made some pretty astute observations about the mess. So, I find his comment, inspired by the mention of Muffy in the body of the post, to be applicable and somewhat funny.

    In summary, Lee, perhaps you are entitled to commenting, but, respectfully, my interpretation is that you are looking to provoke more than participate in the conversation.

  30. Carmelo Pugliatti | November 17, 2018 at 10:59 am |

    But,simply,why give all that importance to fashion trends?
    Find a good,solid, fashion brand (thank God for the tailors here in Italy),and dress classic.
    If you dress in a proportionate (timeless) way,as Cary Grant in 50s,nothing to much wide nothing to much narrow,you can not go wrong.
    To the hell fashion trends and fashion designer.

  31. Well said, Benjamin. Points 3 and 5 are especially accurate, in my opinion.

  32. Trace Bearden | November 17, 2018 at 2:42 pm |

    Thanks and cheers, BC.

  33. Henry Contestwinner | November 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm |

    “But it’s all giving me a terrible case of dysprepsia. Now, where did I put those Ralpha-Seltzers….?”

    Old School Tie, you slay me!

  34. elder prep | March 8, 2019 at 7:01 pm |

    Astonishing! Let’s all hope that no one buys any of this stuff and it dies a quiet death and goes away. Any reference to Prep or Ivy is an insult to our classic designs.

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