Monday, January 27, 2014

What I am Reading Now {Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style}


It is no secret that I like to read and peruse coffee table style books. The latest on my list is from Rizzoli, Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style.


I have been a fan of the preppy lifestyle since the early 80’s. I have long admired Ralph Lauren and the ease to which his styles come together. The clothes he designs are all effortless. My own Southern style has been based on the preppy Ivy League style.





The book is a modern look at the roots, the growth, and offshoots of the classic and quirky way of dressing. From its WASP origins to the Ivy League campuses, the book takes us through the evolution of Preppy style as it moved to mainstream America.

The book also looks at the top preppy-style icons. From Brooks Brothers to Ralph Lauren, from Lilly Pulitzer to Tommy Hilfiger, and from Abercrombie & Fitch to Thomas Browne, Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style is a breathtaking tribute and look at an everlasting American phenomenon.

The foreword of the book is written by Lilly Pulitzer {Amanda, are you listening?}.


I can remember receiving The Official Preppy Handbook back in junior high, and I was hooked.


From the Urban Dictionary:

What is preppy?

A true preppy is someone who:
Wears, but is not limited to, Polo, Lilly, Brooks Brothers, Lacoste, LL Bean (ie duck boots), ribbon belts, prints (ie cords with embroidered whales, palm trees, etc), sweaters tied around the neck, collar always popped, looks neat and put together. Hair ribbons or ribbon headbands, pearls, and other classic jewelry pull the look together. Preppies are partial to monogrammed and engraved items (ie tote bags, oxford shirts, jewelry, money clips, etc). Colors are always brite (favorites include pink and lime green). Preppies may not always match EXACTLY but they are always coordinated. Hats are worn (ie polo player, Lacoste, Brooks Brothers), but they are unique- not designs you would see in the mainstream and the "mall".
Preppies often attend prep schools (ie Middlesex School, Governor Dummer Academy, and Belmont Hill) followed by New England private colleges.
They are confident and unafraid to express their own styles and be daring in their fashions. Preppies vacation on Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Delray Beach, and on the coast of Maine. These vacation locales are places their families have been going to for years, and have histories there.
It is a common misconception that preppies are snobs. Many people view them as unapproachable, and as a result mislabel them. Preppies are not as rich as people may think they are, but they are often well off. They buy into classics rather than trends, and don't change their lifestyles with fads.
Preppies tend to have bizarre connections with other preppies they meet, always finding mutual friends/ family and people that run in the same circle.

Preppies don't:
* Wear tight, skin exposing clothing (ie fitted Abercrombie sexual tshirts with tight flared jeans)
* Limit themselves to mall shopping and chain stores. They gravitate towards long-established classic stores and boutiques unique to quaint New England towns.
* Wear heavy makeup and endless hair products. The phrase "less is more" is a preppy creed.
* Glue purses to their arms, especially when going to school. Lip gloss and if need be, a wallet, are thrown into tote bags along with books.

Being Preppy, y’all!


  1. This post is so you, Ron! Love your preppy look and lifestyle! Have a great day. xoxo

  2. This was my favorite post EVER from you! I HAD that book too (but in high school...I'm a little older than you!) and actually went to Charlotte Country Day....we're mentioned in THE Official Preppy Handbook! I tried to find a copy of it a while back on the internet and they don't exist. How I studied that thing like a manual and lived it too and STILL do!!!!

  3. Very informative! Never too old to learn something new!

  4. I so need this book! I adore the preppy look and of course, Lilly! While I strayed from it for a bit, I find myself gravitating back towards it now that I am in my 40s.

  5. Oh-How I love Lily and Ralph Lauren. When I was working i wore RL suits to work and I always felt like a million bucks in his clothes. That is a great looking book there. And, when I lived in Florida in the 70's I loved Lily Pulitzer's Palm Beach shifts.

    Do you watch Downton Abbey? RLauren is the sponsor for the show now. And his opening ads are phenomenal. xo Diana

  6. You were always a prepster!

  7. LOVE Ralph Lauren and Lilly among some of the others. Can't go wrong with them and yes, RL's style is effortless. I really like his home products too.


  8. OMG! I had The Preppy Handbook, and I swear to you, this is true; my Mother took a razor blade and cut out the chapter on "Prep Sex!!!!!!!!!"
    So funny!
    My all time fave is Ralph Lauren. For some reason, Brooks Brothers is hard to fit me just right, but it's still awesome.


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