Gentlemen, your preppy style should, in theory, be timeless. That’s not to say it can’t evolve but conventions that have developed over time help define a style. Move too far away and its essence is lost, stick too rigidly to so-called ‘rules’ and the casual charm is soon stifled.
As someone far wiser than I once stated, “when you made it ‘classic with a twist’ it ceased to be classic.’
There are certain things that are to be avoided at all costs. Be an individual, of course, just don’t be one of these individuals…
1. Sunglasses – never rest your sunglasses on top of your head, there’s simply no excuse, you have pockets and a case for those sunglasses. Even worse, please don’t wear sunglasses indoors, not even for a moment.
2. Collars – a preppy minefield:
a) Top collar button – This one’s simple (hipsters take note). If you’re not wearing a tie, then your top button should not be buttoned.
b) Shirts should not, on any occasion, ever have more than one top button, let alone multiple collars.
c) Button-down collars are always preferable except in formal occasions. A 3-button button-down collar (a button for each collar point and one on the collar band) is a nice touch but can be fiddly to secure.
d) Popped collars on polo shirts should be avoided as they are now seen a signifier of ‘bro’ culture. An exception to this rule is when needed for practical purposes, such as protecting the neck from sun damage while sailing. As with all things sartorial, form follows function. Clothing is functional first and foremost.
a) Tie knots and width should be moderate in size, neither super skinny slim jim ties nor 70s kipper width. Fashions and styles wax and wane but somewhere in the middle will remain timeless.
b) No comedy ties, call them whatever you like, ‘jazzy’, ‘wacky’, no one’s laughing, except behind your back. A subtle motif is light hearted, but Mickey Mouse all over an adult tie is just plain wrong.
4. Sweaters – Round neck vs V-neck. Personally I prefer a round neck sweater on all occasions. Whether with a collared shirt or not, I think they sit better. It’s a preppier look with your tie knot sitting just proud of a round necked sweater. If you do go for a V-neck, go lower-case, that is, a shallower v.
Collared shirt sleeves should always be long, no excuses, even in the summer. Hot? Neatly roll up your sleeves. Short sleeved shirts are reserved for commercial airline pilots and Homer Simpson to wear to work at the power plant.
Are you in the army? No? Well then there’s no excuse for cargo shorts now is there?
7. Trousers should sit around the waist, probably a little higher than you’re used to, they should certainly not sit below the hips!
8. Shoes without socks in the summer is fine, no matter what people tell you. In fact, boat shoes with socks seems wrong as your feet are likely to get wet on a boat, and as Lieutenant Dan always reminded Forrest, keep your socks dry!
In winter though, sock keep your feet warm, it’s not rocket science. I have, however, spotted hipsters going sockless in mid-winter. It’s worth stating again, form follows function.
9. Sportswear is for use while playing sports. Trainers (sneakers) are useful for running. Not running anywhere? Then wear some proper shoes. Obviously there is a line here, some Converse Jack Purcell with some khakis are fine. But then, Jack Purcell was a badminton player in the 1930s, so I wouldn’t exactly class his shoe as current, functional sportswear.
There are of course many more crimes being committed daily by men worldwide. We’d love to hear those that grind your gears.
Summer seems to the be the time when those quintessentially British sports come into the nation’s consciousness. It’s early July and while Andy Murray is flying the flag for British tennis at Wimbledon, further up the Thames the Henley Royal Regatta is bringing together hundreds of British rowers to compete on the longest, straight stretch of the river.
I joined Dashwood Boat Club, a new clothing label that celebrates rowing, its history and culture, for their summer party aboard a boat on the Thames at Henley. We were joined by some British Olympic rowers including Vicky Thornley and gold medalist Greg Searle.
Talking to the company’s founder Richard Cross, whose has previously worked with Jack Will/Aubin & Wills, it is obvious that the rowing community is important to him, building an authentically British brand around the sport’s roots in Henley. The brand’s boating blazers are constructed from materials sourced from around the UK and manufactured here in London, not to mention being designed by Jermyn Street tailor Chris Ingham.
Sailing down the Thames, watching scores of rowers fly by on the water, it’s possible to see both the sport’s future in these young athletes while at the same time witnessing the heritage of Henley along the riverbanks where spectators and rowing clubs line the grass wearing blazers in their club’s colours.
Admission: I’m slightly obsessive compulsive. What can I say, I like organising things. I was the kid that always put his colouring pencils back in the correct order. I grew up to become a graphic designer, so I suppose ordering information is essentially my job.
I’ve always collected graphic ephemera and packaging, I have piles of old Brooks Brothers and LL Bean catalogues, but how often can I sift through it all, or find that one piece I happen to be looking for?
These days with the seemingly infinite amount of inspiration available at your fingertips on the web, it can sometimes seem a daunting task to try and organise and make sense of it all.
I used to keep inspiration folders on my computer as reference, but more and more I need access wherever I am.
Enter Pinterest. I’ve been using it as a place to create boards both for my photography and layouts for Preposity and also as inspiration too. I’ve been noticing people ‘pinning’ my images more and more too which is always rewarding. It’s good to know that there are other people out there with the same tastes as me.
I think one of the things the internet does best is join those with similar interests, no matter who niche they might seem. Never be surprised to find that more than a few other people share your taste for bicycle polo or yarn bombing.
So it’s good to know that there are plenty of people inspired by the same East Coast/Ivy League/Preppy style that I love.
Curating is the first step to true creativity. Organising others’ work and learning what inspires you then leads to creating yourself.
With all of that in mind, I got involved with Pinterest’s UK launch and their ‘Pin it Forward’ campaign – a kind of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon way to pass on and share eachother’s Pinterest boards.
Pinterest asked me to introduce you to two great Pinners (if that’s the correct phrase):
So if you feel like getting pinning, you can sign up using the link below, and as a bonus, you’ll automatically be subscribed to my ‘preppy’ board. Just click on the link below:
Here’s a story about a shaggy dog. Don’t worry it’s not one of those long-winded stories
The Shaggy Dogs we’re concerned with are of the variety sold by arbiters of Ivy League Style – J. Press.
Made famous by J. Press, the Shaggy Dog sweater is made of Shetland wool whose surface has been heavily brushed to give a fluffy cloud-like texture. Not only are these sweaters extremely warm (the air trapped between the fuzzy texture is a great insulator) but they are generally rarely seen on the street, so may act as a little nod to those ‘walking their dog’
Shaggy Dogs are best worn with an Oxford Cloth button-down, J. Press’s current incarnation come up rather roomy so it’s worth knowing that until they close for business in February, Rugby Ralph Lauren make a slimmer-fitting brushed sweater with leather elbow patches. Ensure the fit allows enough room for a shirt comfortably underneath.
The joy of a Shaggy Dog is the range of colours in which they are available, owning one isn’t enough. Opt for muted colours to begin, I always think of autumnal colours like a mossy green or rusty red, until you’re brave enough to go for some of the bolder, brighter hues for which J. Press is famous, like this Kelly Green example
As with the best quality clothing, they age well. Over time your Shaggy Dog will start to pill – usually something of a nuisance – but it adds character to the fabric and shows it’s been well worn.
A small caution: these sweaters are extremely warm, so be prepared. Layered up on top of an OCBD you’ll be as warm as a shaggy dog laying by the fire on a cold winter’s day.
Here in the UK, utter the word ‘Madras’ to most people and they’ll assume you’re talking about a rather spicy curry dish. Madras is the old colonial name…
Insipred by an archive image of the Seal & Key club at Princeton University from 1962, one student stood out. While his classmates were all wearing jackets and…
Come December, when the weather turns wild and unpredictable lace-ups and loafers just won’t cut it anymore. Ankles need more protection from the elements – there’s nothing worse…
Sometimes function in clothing is key. When the winter months hit and the weather gets cold and wet you just have to layer up and get on with…