Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What to wear to the TEA PARTAY?

I was just chatting with my dear friend and fashion advisor, TAG, about my feelings on Preppy fashion and decided to share my thoughts.

There are two flavors of preppy style that consistently turn my stomach:

1) Girls who follow Prep stereotypes to a T. You know the kind. They throw on an ill-fitting, too-thickly knit polo (or, depending on the season, a wonky cableknit sweater), a pair of unflattering madras shorts or a boxy mini-skirt, pull their hair into a sideways ponytail with a sloppy grosgrain bow, slip on some masculine flip flops and call it a day. If your outfit looks like a Halloween costume parody of Prep style, then you haven't given it an original twist. Your attire merely expresses how desperately you wish to be labeled in a category that doesn't exactly fit you. I am never impressed by this.
2) Girls who wear J.Crew head-to-toe. Personal style is about PERSONALIZATION. Letting Jenna Lyons dictate every element of your wardrobe selections is such a pathetic thing to do when the world is full of many wonderful options for your ensembles.

Jackie O. became the Prepsters' idol through her simple color palette and well tailored pieces. Not a hint of madras, pique cotton, or grosgrain in sight.

My absolute favorite fashion book ever, Women's Wardrobe, instilled in me everything I believe about style. One of the wise quotes in there explains that the *HINT* of nudity is so much more sensual and INTERESTING than the real thing. I couldn't agree more. And that explains why I love Preppy style. I adore the idea that things can be prim and proper with just a dash of naughtiness; that the line between propriety and misbehavior could be crossed at any moment. Why else would I love Lilly Pulitzer beyond all other prep brands? Have you seen her WILD and snarky prints from the '60s and '70s? Pick up a copy of the 50th Anniversary Retrospective Catalog or click HERE to view a short restrospective video: The woman was totally Bohemian, and a real envelope pusher in polite Palm Beach society.

I also think that this seeming dichotomy between proper and playful is what makes the white oxford shirt absolutely genius. It's always toeing the line. Take a look at this Estee Lauder Sensuous campaign and tell me that you disagree:

Murf's Favorite "Preppy" Places to Shop:
1) Burberry
2) Rugby Ralph Lauren
3) Kate Spade
AND, as you well know,
4) Lilly Pulitzer

Happy Shopping!


JGIWC said...

AMAZING POST! Fashion Advisor? WAH!

BLC :o said...

Fabulous post. Confession: I am a brand whore. Ahhh! Better to be stuck on too much LP than never wear such fun clothes!!! Right!? Now JScrew head to toe sounds rather b-o-r-i-n-g to me! Xoxo-BLC

a H.I.T. said...

Here, here.

Kate said...

I had never seen so many side ponytails with grosgain ribbons until I moved to DC.

I may be guilty of wearing masculine flip flops though ;)

ms. mindless said...

i wear the masculine flip flops too sometimes, kate! i hardly notice the side ponytails since my college was overrun with them. they are horrible though.

cjm, you are spot on about the two prep profiles. i LOVE j crew but i hate to wear all j crew because it is so uncreative to look like a jenna lyons minion and, don't want to be lumped in with those girls who only wear the crew.