Ok, I confess, I was a prep. Big time. I owned the Official Preppy Handbook (oh how I wish I had written that one) and did my best to live the preppy dream. I didn’t go by Muffy or have a summer home in the Hamptons, but I did enjoy that style. Here are a few highlights of my preppy phase.
1. Turtle necks with tiny printed things on them. There were hearts, flowers, frogs, strawberries, and so on, but my all time favorite was the one with whales. In fact it inspired my fashion mantra of the era, “When in doubt, wear whales.”
2. Real Sperry Topsiders. These were purchased from the boating supply store and were worlds cooler than the Thom McAn knock offs.
3. Wool sweaters, particularly those with a pattered yolk or a monogram. Yes, I had both. Yes, I had a lot of sweaters. Really. A lot of sweaters.
4. Ribbon patterned accessories. I had ribbon headbands, ribbon watchbands, and ribbon D-ring belts. Sailboats, lobsters, flowers, whatever.
5. L.L. Bean Chamois shirt. It had to be from L.L. Bean. I’m not sure why, but it did. I had two, one red and one navy. I loved the red one best, it was so soft.
6. Alligator shirts. These were your standard polo style shirt, but before anyone had heard of Ralph Lauren. They came in a huge variety of solids and stripes, and were always worn with the collar flipped up. I don’t know why.
7. Penny loafers. With pennies in them, of course. My pennies were Canadian, just because.
8. Pappagallo purses with wooden handles and interchangeable covers. I had the smaller sized one. It was a terrible excuse for a purse, but oh so cute.
9. Tretorn tennis shoes. I resisted these because my mother wore them to actually play tennis, so how could they be cool? But I finally gave in because not only were they cool, they were really comfortable. I wore them for years afterward. My favorite pair had red plaid swooshes.
10. Pink and Green. I resisted this trend for quite a while too, because I thought it was ugly, until my mom found the cutest lime green sweater with just a tiny bit of pink trim around the edges. Then I was doomed. My Tretorns (see number 9) were taken from my gym basket and dyed… one hot pink, one lime green. Then the laces were switched. They were hideous. Yes, I probably deserved it.
I would love to hear your fashion flashbacks. Any other grown up preppies out there? I’m sure I’m not alone. After all, L.L. Bean is still in business.