#NoCargo and 8 more to avoid
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.