Sunday, November 30, 2008

From the Time Vault

I went snooping around in the Time Magazine archives again and came out with quite possibly the most relevant quote for our style in the current economic status.

"Here Comes the Preppie Look"
Many fashion experts point out that the basic appeal of Preppiana is that they are "investment clothes," meaning that they will comfortably ride out the whims of fashion.
-Time Magazine (April 28, 1980)

So chin up, fellow dwellers of Prepland! Your fashion ethos is not just a statement, it's an investment!

Read the entire article here.

Wigwam Gets Preppy

Wigwam, known for their array of long-lasting socks for all climates and endeavors, has come out with an uber preppy sock in an argyle pattern. The socks can be had in multiple color combinations.

Warm AND affordable, the socks can be found here.

Layer it On!

Prana's organic cotton sweater vest is the perfect compliment to your favorite button up shirt. Use it to layer under your favorite blazer for a dressed up look or wear it under your most loved coat with a pair of corduroy trousers for a day spent running about.

See it here.

Irish Sweater v2.0

The Irish sweater gets an update with this Corina Cardigan. It comes in traditional ecru, but why not be daring and go with the green? Perfect for the cooler winter weather!

Find it here.

The original version is also available here.

Wrap Your Gifts in Fish Lips

This holiday season, as you prepare to wrap your gifts and goodies, think about the impact on the environment. Fish Lips Paper Designs has made gift wrapping a little easier for everyone by offering super cute recycled wrapping paper. See the full line here.

Oh Evo!

Evo is a great site that ranks all sorts of products and services for their greenness. Check it out, I promise you'll love it!

Check it out here!

Preppy Icon of the Day

Today's preppy icon is a bit of a preppy-rebel, if you will. In an industry dominated by western wear and vintage thirts, Tim McGraw bucks the trend in argyle and tweed.

If you're not a country music fan and haven't heard of Tim McGraw, he is the husband of fellow country singer Faith Hill and the son of baseball great Tug McGraw.

Earlier this month, Tim appeared on the Rachel Ray show wearing a deep purple v-neck sweater and pale grey button up shirt. See the interview here.

You can also catch Tim as Vince Vaughn's brother in Four Christmases.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Well, Wouldn't Ya Know!

There are clubs and organizations all over this great land to celebrate every hobby, skill and appreciation around. This one, however, should be near and dear to the heart of every prep around!

Visit the club's website here.

Notably Preppy

The Olympics were months ago, but I just came across these pictures of the US Olympic team at the opening ceremonies.

I love the fact that their attire celebrates the American fashion heritage (designed by RL, of course) in the style of the 20s and 30s, a la Jay Gatsby and company. Well done, Godfather of Prep.

'Tis the Season: Part 5

Continuing with the gift suggestions, here are some eco-friendly gifts for your one-and-only.

Fair Trade Sports soccer ball, Mountain Hardware backpack, Bivvy trousers, Levi's Eco jeans, Timberland Earthkeepers boots, Alpaca zip-neck sweater, SmartWool Adventurer crew socks, Men's Stock face scrub, Fisherman sweater, Family of Flannel shirt, Citizen Eco-Drive watch, Freeloader portable solar charger.

The Roots of American Prep

Chris Hogan, who blogs over at Off the Cuff, wrote a charming little piece back in February regarding the roots of American prep.

You can find the article in its entirety here.

Hanna Andersson

I spend a fair amount of time perusing The Green Connoisseur for new green fashion and lifestyle developments and today a label I'd not yet heard of caught my eye. This article led me to the Hanna Andersson website where I've been hanging out since.

The pieces in the collection are as easy to wear as they are on the planet. They've got clothing for the little ones, clothing for ladies and gents, and even cute long johns for the dog. The company also sells a line of toys, guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of any recipient. To boot, it's all quite reasonably priced!

I love the fact that Hanna Andersson offers coordinating pieces for the whole family.

As a bonus, if you loved Olaf Daughters clogs, HS offers a similar version. If you're looking for some great winterwear for the family, check out Hanna Andersson.

Eco-Friendly, Wallet Friendly

I found this great article on and I thought I'd share it with you. The piece names five great lines (most of which I've mentioned here before) which are soft on the earth and soft on the wallet.

1) American Apparel - Made in the US and sweatshop free. Plus, we all know it’s a great place to find inexpensive basics like leggings, t shirts, hoodies, etc. Currently, their cotton clothes are made from 20% organic materials, and they’re hoping to bump that up to 80% in the near future. They also recycle over a million pounds of scrap fabric per year and have solar panels on the roof of their LA headquarters.

2) Levi Strauss - They’re leading the jean pack in greening up denim clothing. They use organic cotton, recycled zippers and buttons, and use natural indigo dye. A pair of new Levi’s will run you no more than $70, and you know you’ll wear them forever!

3) Jonano - Offers designer women’s fashions made from certified organic cotton, bamboo, and hemp fabrics. Very cute stuff! Their clothing is also made using Fair Labor practices, which is an added bonus. They use natural dyes with a low environmental impact, as well as recycled packaging and shipping materials. Prices range from around $30-$115.

4) Rawganique - Their clothing is made from hemp and organic cotton, and they offer a large selection for women and men both. Additionally, they’ve got a huge accessories selection, so if you’re in the market for organic sheets, towels, socks, footwear, bags, and even jewelry, definitely check them out. Cotton/hemp tops are around $30-50 and dresses are $60-80.

5) REI - Great outdoor clothing line that can function as everyday wear as well. They’re pioneers in producing outdoor gear made from low-impact, organic, and recyclable materials. They’ve also implemented an eco-sensitive labeling system indicated what greener materials were used.

You can view the original article here.

Green Cup Polo

The Capitol Polo Club has gotten into the green game. This year, they hosted the second annual Green Cup of polo.

"The Green Cup was the first event in the Washington area to be certified carbon-neutral by the Wisconsin-based Leonardo Academy, a non-profit that certifies events and groups for reducing and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions through its Cleaner and Greener program. The crowd — many of whom were twenty- and thirty-something Washington-area professionals — gathered at the club Saturday, dressed in their finest, and sipped ‘‘ecotinis” made with organic vodka and enjoyed locally produced food as they watched the match." From The Gazette.

Check out coverage of the event here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

And So it Begins...

When I was a youngster, we'd go to the Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving to pick out our tree and we'd spend the next couple of days preparing and decorating the tree. Joules has some great suggestions for decor for your tree.

The Joules website offers instructions for making gingerbread ornaments (or cookies, if you eat them before they make it to the tree) and for knitting handmade ornaments.

Making your own ornaments saves all of the packaging and production that goes along with new ornaments and adds a special something to your tree.

'Tis the Season: Part 4

Continuing with the gift suggestions, here are some eco-friendly gifts for dads.

Ralph Lauren foldable sunglasses, vintage Gibson 12-string flattop guitar, Barbour Sportsman Sweater, Allen Edmonds Dover belt, Terra Pax shoulder bag, organic Herban Cowboy shave cream, Burt's Bees bay rum soap,The Art of Shaving handcrafted razor

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Current Fascination: Foldable Sunglasses

I am utterly intrigued by foldable sunglasses. Not sure why, but I love them. Ralph Lauren and Ray-Ban both make great folders that are worth checking out.

Here is Ralph Lauren's version:

And here's Ray-Ban's version:

The Cable Cardigan Goes Veg

Earth Classic's cable cardigan is made of corn, bamboo and cotton and comes in three colors (coral, blue and black).

Check it out here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's wishing a warm and happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

True Prep vs. Gossip Girl

"Some Prep in Your Step" by Taylor Lasley is a great bit on the difference in classic prep and the type of prep brought about by the popularity of teen screen phenom Gossip Girl.

My favorite part of the piece:

Someone once told me that preppiness is not just an aesthetic, but also a way of life. So how can you tell a true prep from a “Gossip Girl” fan? Five true prep must-haves:

1. Boat shoes, Topsiders, loafers (or whatever you call them). The staple of any good prep’s closet. The shoes make for a great, unisex look that spices up jeans or dresses down a skirt and tights.

2. The cable knit. V-neck or not, a cable knit sweater is the way to go during the fall season when it’s not yet cold enough to whip out the North Face.

3. Argyle, plaid and pearls. All are cliché, but with good reason. Just don’t go overboard with mixing and matching.

4. A pony or an alligator on the left chest. I’ve said it before: “Ralph is my homeboy.” Ralph Lauren that is. He and those people at Lacoste know what they’re doing.

5. Seersucker anything. Who said Martha’s Vineyard can’t be brought to “The ’Have”?

Any good prep knows that simplicity is key. If your outfit would go along well with a cigar and an equestrian whip, you’re probably on the right track.

How true, how true.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We're All Preppies Now

Goodness, I've been busy pulling things out of the archives. Must be the extra time I have on my hands this week. I wanted to share with you an article I've loved since its publication in the NY Times in 2005. We're All Preppies Now, written by TOPH contributor Carol McD. Wallace, gives the reader a glimpse into the author's view of the repercussions of the book's publication and her fascination with the resurgence of preppiness.

You can read the article in its entirety here.

Charlie Rose Interviews the Godfather of Prep

I just came across this 1993 Ralph Lauren interview. It's a pretty interesting watch.

Walls of Fun!

Who says the furniture should have all the fun? Z Gallery has a resin deer head that will make your wall whimsical.

Talk about a conversation starter!

Fashion and Earth

I got an email this morning from Fashion and Earth announcing that they are officially open for business. I spent some time perusing the site and really liked what I saw.

I love this modernized denim jacket paired with khakis:

And this green one button cardigan blazer:

As a bonus, F&E offers free shipping! What's not to love?

Post-Turkey Theatre

Tomorrow, when the turkey has been eaten and everyone is ready for a nap, pop in a flick and enjoy! My recommendation is An American in Paris.

The movie is fantastic and Gene Kelly tap dances in loafers and khakis. It just doesn't get any better than that! C'est bon!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm loving Rawganique's Audrey coat.

It's made of eco-friendly hemp, making it the perfect knee-length trench.

They've also got a nice line for men.

Rounding out the website is a fine selection of eco-friendly home goods. You can check out all of their products here.

You May Be Seated

As I live and breathe! This may quite possibly be the most wonderful chair I have ever laid my eyes on and it's green to boot! Suzan Fellman has taken vintage chic to a whole new level with her Vintage Designer Scarf Chair.

Someone stop me before I buy one or two or twelve for every room of the house!

Monday, November 24, 2008

For the Record...

Cats, as a rule, do not like bowties. I'm just saying.

Dear Gentlemen...

Clip-on bowties are never ever ever okay! Unless you're six, you should be tying your own bowtie (or at least having someone tie it for you) thus negating the need for any sort of clip-on ridiculousness in your accessories drawer. I have a male friend who insists that he simply cannot learn to tie a bowtie because it is too difficult. To prove a point, I learned to tie one. Yes, little old me. Girls can tie bowties too! It took all of about 10 minutes for me to really get it. And while I learned the old fashioned way (from a detailed step-by-step pdf file), this YouTube video does a great job of explaining.

Boys, go pick up a bowtie or two from your favorite men's store or the thrift shop or J.Crew or wherever your little bowtying heart desires. Then learn to tie it.

So M, this one's for you. If I can do it, anybody can do it!

Let There be (Candle)light

Ralph Lauren has gotten in on the green game. First there was a collection of bath linens and now, scented soy candles.

The candles are crafted of premium soy wax with a lead-free wick. They're perfect little gifts for you or someone you love!

Plover the Moon

Meet Plover Organic.

I love Plover Organic's fantastic patterns. I just can't say it enough! Each Plover Organic piece is made with top quality 100% organic cotton. Block-printed and quilted by hand, their super-soft bedding is available in lots of colors and patterns meant to mix-and-match each season. Eco-friendly fashion for the bed? Finally, somebody is speaking my language!!!

**Update: Just got Traditional Home's holiday edition in the mail and Plover Organics is featured on page 64. How fortuitous!**

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Taking a Page from TOPH

Have you ever wanted to go on an expedition to see if all of the haunts mentioned in TOPH still exist? Well, here's good news... some of them are still around! If you're in the Philadelphia area, a stop at La Terrasse is highly recommended. The bar is one of few in the area that has not experienced the modern decor overhaul that has plagued many of the city's establishments.

From the website:
La Terrasse, lovingly referred to by faculty and students as "LT’s", was first opened in 1966. Over more than four decades La Terrasse has remained a meeting place for academia, and has also grown to be one of the most notable restaurants in the city. Alumni from all over the world have shared stories and memories of their time spent at the venerable La Terrasse. Whether it be debating politics with a professor, a first date with a college sweetheart, or a proposal to a future spouse, this building has seen it all.

La Terrasse holds court at 3432 Sansom, near Penn. Stop in at the bar. Lunch and dinner are fantastic too!

The Best Things Always Last

In the LA Times article, "American Heritage Brands Make a Comeback," Booth Moore highlights the return of such timeless classics as Red Wing boots, Pendleton plaid shirts, Woolrich buffalo plaid vests, Filson field bags and Carhartt beanies. The article is well worth the read. Find it here.

Preppy Icon of the Day

Today's Preppy Icon of the Day is the epitome of timeless men's fashion, Steve McQueen. Onscreen, he was effortlessly cool and off screen he was effortlessly preppy.

McQueen at home:

And my favorite photograph, Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen:

If you want to see some of McQueen's finest work (and wardrobe), check out The Thomas Crown Affair.

Oldies but Goodies, Part Deux

From the Yale Daily News. Click to enlarge. Thanks to Bulldog for the heads up.

Oldies but Goodies

In April of 1980, Time published an article about preppy fashions. I've managed to track it down through their archive. You can read it here.

Admittedly, I did not read the article when it was first published, but I did come across it several years ago. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I did!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

One to Watch

Every once in a while, a company comes along that makes me smile. They do things right, the old fashioned way, and they make good products. Billykirk is one such company. Started in 1999 by brothers Chris and Kirk, Billykirk creates handcrafted and supremely attractive leather goods. Most of their pieces are created by Amish leather workers in Pennsylvania. The company boasts a line of bags, cuffs, wallets and belts, as well as other goodies.

The plaid steamer bag is my favorite. Dear Santa Claus...

Playing Dress Up

During the holiday season, we usually end up attending between four and six parties and so I like to have a couple different outfits, as the guests overlap at several of the parties. I've come across another dress that is perfect for the season and comes in four great colors.

I like the olive green for the holidays:

And the black for the New Years festivities:

The cowl neck dress by Spun is organic and rings up at $70.

Ped Egg-rees

My mom is the queen of bathroom and laundry room gadgets. While the rest of her house follows the preppy credo "Use it up, wear it out, make it work or do without," the bathroom and laundry rooms are exceptions. First, there was the Tub Scrubber (which got used exactly once, and then stuffed in the linen closet to be joked about by the rest of us for years to come), then came the steamer (which steamed a single shirt and then was given to my grandmother), followed by the this-and-thats that line the bathtub and the gadgety notions that have been retired to the shelves above the washer and dryer. So when my mom says she actually loves something for the laundry or bathroom, I listen.

When she raved about the Ped Egg (a gift we'd each received for Christmas last year), I started using mine more frequently and I too fell in love with it. The miracle tool saved me from having to get bi-weekly pedicures (if you knew how much I hated feet, you'd understand why I loathe this particular service) and saved another batch of chemicals from entering the world through salon waste disposal.

Not too long ago, I answered the phone to a jubilant, "Have you heard there's a new Ped Egg???" I had, in fact, not heard that there was a new Ped Egg. I was informed that this new and improved Ped Egg was not so much improved as it was new. And colorful. I politely reminded her that she already had not one, but two Ped Eggs (they also make a handled version, which she bought soon after its release) and probably did not need another. Her reply: "Yes, dear, but this one is pink!" Touche, mom, touche.

Ped Egg has released a pink version of their standard version in honor of breast cancer awareness, a cause close to my heart since my grandmother is a breast cancer survivor. So if you don't have a Ped Egg yet, I highly recommend it. And if you're going to have one, you might as well have a pink one. Now if only we could convince them to make a pink and green version.

The Story of Harper

I remember being very small and asking to be told the story of me. Really, any story about my entrance into the world would have sufficed, but I usually got the entire story, from the idea of me to the arrival of me and beyond. I think my mother enjoyed telling the story as much as I enjoyed hearing it. The older I get, the more I realize that every child loves to hear the story of themselves and every child has a story. In each of those stories, the baby starts out wonderful and adorable. Even the bad ones. Which brings me to my point. I often wonder when I am in the grocery store and I come across a child throwing a fit, or when I am on an airplane and a child is kicking the back of my seat, how that child's "story of me" begins. Further, I am reminded of the fact that there really are children that only a mother could love. I should know, I have one.

I don't have actual children, but as I've mentioned before, I have adopted two small furry four-legged children. And one of them is my problem child.

So from time to time, on the semi-rare occassion that Harper is behaving in a way that is becoming, I tell her the Story of Harper.

Harper and I found each other in the summer of 2005. I had taken Salinger to the vet for a checkup and took a moment to look at the cats available for adoption in the front solarium of the office. Tucked in a corner of one of the large metal cages was the tiniest kitten I'd ever seen without its mother. I couldn't get over how cute the cat was and had to hold her. The vet tech laughed at my oohing and aahing over the five week old, too small for her age kitten. She agreed to let me hold the kitten, but issued me a warning that she was "hell on paws". The tech reached in and gently picked up the cat, which was smaller than her hand. In less than a second, the precious little kitten had turned into a screaming banshee. Feeling badly that the vet tech had gone to the trouble to take the vicious monster out of the cage, I went forward with my decision to hold her. As soon as I had her in my arms, she quieted and curled up in the nook of my elbow. Everyone in the office was shocked and the vet insisted that "the cute little monster" come to live at our house. Long story short, she still lives at our house. And she's still bad. When Harper is displeased, everyone knows it. She is loud and she bites. Thank goodness she has no claws, or I might not have a face anymore. But the times when she is sweet make the not-so-sweet moments bearable and when she's not-so-sweet, I think, "She's bad, but at least she matches the furniture."