Dear Ms. Birnbach, I would like to tell you two things. One: Thanks to you, I have in the past half-year acquired a new found love for Tommy Hilfiger; I realized they do indeed have great clothing (and colors!) and have two sweaters from the at the current moment. And Two: I wanted to ask you how prep my college major is - out of curiosity, of course: Double Major in English & Philosophy. It's English I love most, of course. I also hope you've been having a great year. Best regards,
A double major in philosophy & English is TPFW (Too Prep For Words). Zero practicality and yet so wonderfully enriching.
I would have written a long(er)-winded letter containing shameless name-dropping and professions of fandom. But, alas, Tumblr has a restrictive character limitation. I suppose it's better that you not catch my unabashed praise, as it would surely categorize me as "another trite fan" and quite probably bore you. Therefore, I'm going to embrace brevity (something I should have done several characters ago). My question to you is this: Does practicality have some place in the Preppy vernacular?
Dear Guy — yes, you.
I’m sorry I didn’t see this note until today — December 31st, but preppies do run on the late side.
Practicality finds its place in the prep home thanks to mummy or grandmother. She (or she) could be the one to remember to have a designated driver, or that it might be smarter to delay the voyage until after the thunderstorm passes, or that you already have a green fleece vest. Eventually — scarily — the wildest party girl can turn into the Voice of Authority.
Dearest Tumblrs (and make a note that I do not approve of this spelling)—-
It is with customary shock and I that I find we’ve reached the end of another year. And we’re still here. We’re intact, more or less.
There’s a lot of the less now and I find myself adjusting all the time to the “new normal.” I suspect that won’t change in the new year.
Personally I find I enjoy my offspring — my tender science experiments — I’ve named Exhibits A, B, and C — more than ever. (Sometimes I find them ornery and stubborn, but then, who isn’t?) They make me laugh; they laugh at me, and get me in ways that maybe no one else can.
Here’s what I’m looking forward to: No Bread in January (but not eagerly); Writing my next book, a new living room carpet, Exhibit B getting into the college of her choice, Exhibit A’s enjoyment of college, Exhibit C’s continued mastery of academia, good health & spirits for Mummy, a chance to be on the radio more often, and more great times with my wonderful friends.
I don’t want to be political here, but we have to make politics a field that attracts the best, not just the most ambitious. (I have no clue how to do that. Just a wish.) And while we’re at it, if one can pray away the gay, can one pray away the grey? That’s a dream of mine. (I spend a lot of time praying at the hairdresser’s.)
Let’s all live more and text less. And remember, this tumblr has been monitored for quality assurance.
It’s pronounced “Tesh shek cure. Ed eh reem.” More or less. It took me days to learn how to say it, and believe me, I repeated it under my breath constantly. Then I’d somehow forget how to say it. Then I’d invert the syllables and say Shekehtur and silently curse my wooden tongue.
Now, of course, that I’m back home, I’m practically fluent in Turkish. (Kidding.) But I had a fantastic time in Istanbul and still can’t believe it was real and not a dream.
I was invited by the editor and publisher of ELLE Magazine Turkey, to participate in their 2nd Annual Style Awards. I said yes without knowing my role — was I giving an award? Getting an award? Giving a speech? Part of the audience? A judge? A nominee? (You know what they say: it’s an honor just to be nominated.)
In any case, who in their right mind would turn down a trip to Istanbul? (I mean, who doesn’t have a job or who isn’t occupying a park, and isn’t nursing a baby or going into labor? There are exceptions, of course.)
From the first person I met to the last, everyone at Turkish Elle was lovely, interesting, hard-working, fun. They thought of everything to make my trip comfortable, exciting, elegant: a private guide with a car for sightseeing days, a wonderful dinner in a mansion on the banks of the Bosphorous, a trip to the hammam (Turkish baths) where we received the traditional scrubbing, massaging, bathing, and shampooing, and the less traditional blowdrying that centuries of sultans and their wives enjoyed.
It turns out I did win an award (a very snazzy statuette) for being an “opinion leader in style.”
At last someone understands me.
The fact that I’m understood 5,026 miles from home isn’t ideal, but the world is growing smaller. Everywhere in the world — even on Taksim Square in Istanbul — you see young women wearing tight jeans tucked into Uggs. (Turks! They’re just like Us!) In the Grand Bazaar — which I remembered as a rough and slightly menacing place as a 17 year old girl in the 70s — (men grabbing your arms to drag you into their stalls to buy carpets), there are now flat screen tvs hanging at intervals from the ceilings — to show how your other currencies are doing against the Turkish Lira. Most of the stalls are now stores — stores that are likely to accept credit cards. The fact that some of these stall-stores also have framed pictures of Sarah Jessica Parker or Senator Richard Shelby (R. AL) tells us that soon, seeing the great and huge mosques that punctuate Istanbul’s skyline may be the only way to remember where we are when we travel there. Sip your latte at the corner Starbucks across the street. You may just forget where you are, for a moment.
Jet lag has just taken over my brain, and I’m rambling.
Lisa, I don't even like my boyfriend's car! My Volvo is much more practical! I just take his kind gesture of letting me drive his car as a sign that we're really serious. I'm 25 and he's 28. I like just about everything about him, especially how he opens doors for me and makes me laugh. He and I are blissfully happy, but impressing Mama and Daddy is oh-so important, especially in the South, which is where we live. Thank you for your response; I hope you're staying warm! Yours, Betsy
One way to impress your boyfriend’s parents is by not overdoing the makeup. That presses all the wrong buttons. While you’re at it, don’t wear your shirt or top too unbuttoned or your skirt too short. They want to think their son likes a solid girl, not a fast one. Your boyfriend sounds great.
Hi! It has been a while since i last posted on your tumblr; i am a huge fan, and i follow you social means--e.g., twitter, etc. I attend Roger Williams here in Rhode Island, not to far from your alma mater. I posted a while ago asking what i should bring, clothing wise, to college, and you responded with great suggestions! Thank you! I need help with outerwear; What kinds of coat should i have? Please keep in mind i am on a college budget; however, i can spend a couple of hundred. Thanks, Chris
Hi again Lisa, I go to Loyola in Maryland (where lax bros reign) and it seems that sweat pants and leggings with sweatshirts and uggs are all anyone wears to class. I want to dress up for class without standing out, do you have any suggestions? Thanks again, Christine
Sweat pants or leggings stuffed into Uggs is not a style; it’s the anti-style way of going to class without caring about your appearance. That’s fine for some, but it’s so sloppy and boring. What’s wrong with jeans, a shirt and a cable knit sweater over it? This ensemble shows off your figure and doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard. Also, a well-fitting turtleneck tucked into jeans always looks good in the cold weather.
Hi Lisa, what would you suggest a preppy to wear to a Kanye West concert and to prom. Also, I'd like to know what you think the male equivalent to pearls is. My guess is a gold watch.
Did I ever answer you? (Sorry; it’s been a busy time. I’m writing you from Istanbul.) I don’t think you should wear the same outfit to a Kanye West concert and to prom. I imagine the concert happened already, but if not — a polo shirt (any kind) and a pair of jeans. Keep your underwear enclosed. For prom, a simple black tuxedo is best; nothing too “creative.”
Male equivalent of pearls. Good question. I’d say a good watch (doesn’t have to be gold). If it is gold, the strap should be leather.
Trench Coat Report: After scouring the city (meaning select areas of midtown) and 4 stores in Westchester I have settled on a tan trench from Tommy Hilfiger-with one caveat. Strangely the sleeves are so long that they completely cover my hands so it's off to the tailor. I had to go with Tommy because Zara had weird puffy sleeves, Uniqlo, though 100% cotton had a strange fit, Brooks though perfect was tres pricey, H&M harbors too many synthetics, LLBean is backorded in my size,etc. Such struggles
Thanks for your follow-up. I had faith in you. And, I own a great Tommy Hilfiger trench coat (actually two of them) myself.
Dear Lisa, I feel like a prep out of place. I'm a freshman at the University of La Verne, which is right outside of Los Angeles, and I'm having a hard time keeping my preppy identity with all of the beach/bohemian clothing. I'm a prep at heart but how do I keep my prep roots while in a sea of hollister? Sincerely, Rachel
I feel your pain. Los Angeles is definitely not a major preppy metropolis. But there are ways of maintaining your preppiness nonetheless. First, just because LaVerne (not a preppy name, btw) isn’t prep doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowds. You can stay proudly prep by yourself— really prep it up — and that could be one way to become known on campus. Wear cute headbands, a lot of pink & green and Lilly Pulitzer and make it your statement.
If that doesn’t work for you, create a signature look — maybe Top-Siders or brightly colored chinos and jeans, or no socks, or pearls with everything — no matter what else you are wearing. You will look confident and a little polished amidst the boho surfer dudes. To thine own prep be true.
Hope it helps!
(No problem shopping for preppy stuff in LA: Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger, Lilly Pulitzer, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, etc. — all there awaiting you.)
What's the best way to impress my boyfriend's parents? I like this one a lot, and he has let me drive his car, so I know we're really serious.
I need way more information. Of course, the best way to impress anyone’s parents is to establish good eye contact, engage them in a conversation, and speak in full sentences. Show them you like their son without being icky about it. (And not just because he let you drive his car.) What do you like about your boyfriend (beyond his car)? How old are you? How old is he?
Where are the pictures of you or your children, dressed as ne’er do wells, non-profit administrators, and curators? I meant it when I said I wanted to see them.
Yes, I’m a giver, but please, would you decorate this page with pictures of yourselves as Prepoween wastrels?
Meanwhile, I’ve been moving, which means packing and unpacking and packing again, as I am deciding to live with less stuff and move more possessions into storage. I haven’t changed my life this dramatically in a long time, but it feels apt in my apt.. (Get it?) Also, since Exhibit B will be off to college in the fall, I’m in for a lot of changes going forward — might as well get on with it.
As you know, the paperback edition of True Prep was just released, looking even more classic in its automnal colors, and I love it! I’m talking to a lot of radio hosts — even one or two who prepared by reading some of the book — but not travelling so much. (When I had a radio show, I wouldn’t dream of not reading a guest’s book, if he or she were scheduled to talk about it. But I guess that most current hosts don’t see that as part of their jobs.) But I don’t like to complain.
If you are not far from Providence, R.I., I will be signing books at the Brown University Bookstore on November 10th at 5:30. And I will be signing books at North River Outfitters in Boston on November 21.
Part 2: Also, when will you be in Rhode island for a book signing? -Chris
Hi Chris, I have to answer Part 2 first, because… well because. I will be signing books and perhaps reading from True Prep on THURSDAY, November 10th at 5:30 pm at the Brown University Bookstore on Thayer Street. Frankly, I cannot wait! Hope to meet you there.
Now question 1: If you want an ultra-preppy winter coat, buy yourself a duffel coat with enough room to layer sweaters and fleece in it. You can find one at LL Bean I think that will fit into your budget. Otherwise, preppies wear down jackets with panache. Rhode Island gets cold and damp in the winter, so find something that’ll keep you warm during tailgating season.
Not my favorite holiday. In fact, I am the Ebenezer Scrooge of Halloween.
Okay, I’ll tell you why.
Unless you live in an apartment building or in a very warm climate (and I do live in an apartment building), one’s costume must always be compromised and covered by a coat. So you see little kids walking around with pumpkin heads and galoshes. Or a princess in a North Face parka, or something very wrong indeed.
Competitive mothers have asked me — though not recently — what I planned to make for my children’s costumes. I pretended I was hard of hearing. MAKE? The question (though so dull) is: What costumes will you be buying? And that doesn’t make for a riveting conversation.
Too many girls think they are witty when they dress up as a “prostitute.” Very unfunny.
The children get wired on sugar, and Halloween actually lasts at least 36 hours.
I get wired from purloined Baby Ruths and Charleston Chews — substances I don’t ordinarily permit in my temple um, body.
The bickering over the inevitable candy trades.
Candy wrappers for weeks.
Empty candy wrappers in my children’s pockets.
I just don’t like it.
But if, after all my very strong points you decide you still want to dress up for Halloween, what would a preppy costume be?
Hii, Mrs Birnabach, do u know of any affordable preppy clothing apart from Tommy Hilfiger cos i do want to spend to much on polo, lacoste, broooks brothers or vineyards vines Thank you
Sorry it took me a while to answer, but I’m positive you can find what you’re looking for: Brooks Brothers, Vineyard Vines, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, or Polo at vintage stores and outlet malls. LL Bean has many vital prep items at reasonable prices. (Also, look for other labels as J. Press, Cable Car Clothiers, Britches of Georgetown, Viyella, Paul Stuart, Barbour, and Gant on eBay or Amazon. You’ll be amazed what you can find.)
Hi Lisa, I love your book True Prep and I am a huge preppy at heart. However, I am currently a freshman in college and I am finding it hard to keep my preppy identity even though I go to a rather preppy institution in Maryland. Do you have any tips on how I can stay preppy while at school? Sincerely, Christine (a huge closet preppy)
Thank you for the compliment. I find it easy to be preppy — especially on campus. Tell me where you go to school, and what is happening there. Is there an influx of bad clothing and bad taste? Have Uggs taken over? Is there a Juicy Revolution? Whatever it is, we can deal with it.
im in need of the real prep list? i and i want to know the cheapest prep clothing i could wear? as a young man i do not want to spend too much like 70 dollars and above nooo maybe under 70 dollars mite do
Go to thrift shops. You can find wonderful pieces in vintage stores: old button-down shirts, Lacostes from when the shirttail was long, and beautiful ties. Thrift shops, flea markets, estate or tag sales are the best way to stock up on prepabilia while being gentle on your wallet.
Let's talk about sheathing our thingies, i.e. our smartphones. Encasing ("skinning" sounds terribly barbaric, don't you think?) our phones is supposed to protect them from damage while presenting an opportunity to display some "flair." I suspect you'd agree that "flair" is rife with potential for aesthetic disaster. I say a true prep allows their thingy to go au naturel. The accumulated dings and scratches will simply give the device some character, not unlike an old Volvo. What's your take?
All I ever do is talk about my thingies. I couldn’t agree more with you — and I quote: I suspect you’d agree that “flair” is rife with potential for aesthetic disaster. I say a true prep allows their thingy to go au naturel. The accumulated dings and scratches will simply give the device some character, not unlike an old Volvo.
My thingie, a Blackberry, is uncovered, unsheathed, and happy to be its own natural bad self. Just like the title character in the book Little Bear, which I read endlessly as a child.
(I’m afraid the iThingy has to be somewhat protected, because of all its glass, but I’m no iExpert.)
I started reading The Officially Preppy Handbook 5 years ago when I was twelve years old (My mother insisted), and I thought it was a very interesting book that I could relate to. The Officially Preppy Handbook is a book I did not want anyone else to have. So thank you for writing that book. Now, I was shopping in Brooks Brothers a few days ago and I noticed a book titled True Prep. I did not purchase the book but I did however do some research this week and I can now say that I own two of them.
Thanks, Pink Pony Leader!
I hope you like True Prep as much as The Preppy Handbook.
Hi Lisa, I have recently been on the hunt for a proper preppy raincoat. I spent a wet afternoon last Friday sifting through Bloomingdales on Lex and to my chagrin couldn't find any unembellished, classic trenches in this preppy's price point. Where would you suggest I look for the perfect rain coat that costs less than a year's worth of tennis lessons? (And don't worry, I already have two pairs of wellies, so I'm not completely unprepared for precipitation).
Hi Clowney Downey,
If you’re in NYC — which it sounds as if you are — you can check out “flash fashion” vendors such as H&M, Zara, Uniglo (they definitely have trench coats there, but they may be fashioned out of all kinds of futuristic fibers). Thrift shops sometimes have great stuff — I stupidly donated a classic Burberry trench — idiot that I was/am — to the Irvington House thrift shop, R.I.P. It’s early sale season now; check out Kate Spade, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger, maybe even Zara — and let me know what you find. — Lisa
I’ve been thinking about the modifier “extreme:” Extreme Sports, Extreme Skiing, and Extreme Weather. We get it. It’s this year’s version of “________ (something) on acid.”
Today Meredith Hoffman wrote in the New York Times about a directing class at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts that is being taught by “Mr. Franco.” Yes, James Franco, who ”is already an extreme scholar — he has a B.F.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles; M.F.A.’s in writing from Columbia University and Brooklyn College; and an M.F.A. in film from Tisch, and he is working on other degrees.”
A few questions: If Mr. Franco were really an extreme scholar, wouldn’t he also be studying applied math, German, Middle Eastern History and Culture, and neuroscience? Or shouldn’t he at least go further afield in his studies? Why get 2 M.F.A.’s in writing? Is this a joke or a true hunger for knowledge?
Further: Being in school forever is a prep occupation. (See True Prep p.126 — “Getting Your Degree in Getting Your Degree.”) But wanting to pile up degree after degree? Not so much. That sounds downright ambitious, which is not specifically a prep attribute, unless it involves your score in the regatta or tournament.
But I can well imagine an extreme preppy. Of course, to be a true extreme preppy, you cannot let your efforts show. (And, though I don’t really need to spell this out — if you see me at an event, and I am wearing, say, beige and navy, or grey with white and yellow and you are disappointed, you shouldn’t be. When I wear grey [note prep spelling] and white and yellow it is preppy.) Extremely.
Hello I am A huge fan of your books. One question I would to know would be what kind of fragrances to preppies like? do they like scents like dolce and gabanna or something like channel?
Thanks. Preppies like citrusy scents. Maybe we just want to smell like the lime in our drinks. A classic men’s eau de cologne is Au Sauvage by Christian Dior. (I’ve worn it and I’m biologically female.) Preppy women would rather smell clean than feminine. Ergo: Chanel 19, Annick Goutal’s Eau Hadrien, Clarins Eau Dynamisante, and several Hermes fragrances.
PART 2 She has been approving wardrobe and having long discussions with the 90's-born staff about what people wore during that time. She referenced TPH and their eyes lit up. They had never heard of this magical book. Wendy explained how TPH brought classic clothes to the public consciousness and they were FASCINATED. She showed scans of the book online. The next day, the wardrobe manager proudly brought out an actor for Wendy's approval -- dressed head to toe in pink and green.
PART 1 Lisa -My wife, Wendy, and I met you at the Brooks Brothers Beverly Hills launch event last year and told you the story of The Preppy Handbook being the basis of our love affair. I thought you'd find this story fun...Wendy is a television executive. She is currently working in Moscow, Russia on the development of a new Dawson's Creek-type series called "Eighties", set in Russia in the early 1980's.
Of course I remember you both. Maybe Wendy should help me bring preppies to Russia. I bet they’d like our layers.
Lisa - I own a pair of Dr. Marten’s shoes (chocolate brown, matte leather bluchers with the traditional Doc Marten’s sole) which I wear with khakis or jeans for casual occasions during the late fall and winter. I found them quite useful when visiting New York during the slushy aftermath of Snowmageddon. They’re practical and on the cusp of conservative (for that brand). Are there certain circumstances wherein some styles of Doc Martens could be considered "classic" or even just "acceptable?"
I just studied the Dr. Martens’ website (yes, I know; I’m a giver). I had no idea he made loafers. Or bucks. Or bluchers. Or saddle shoes. Or other shoes that are not as ugly or grungey as the bumpy-toed boots we associate with Seattle in the 90s.
I’m not going so far as calling them “classic,” but I’ll give you “acceptable.” Also, they are reasonably priced. Are they real leather? Are they comfortable?
I have other questions for you, YH: How many pairs of shoes do you own? How many do you wear regularly?
Hi Lisa! I loved reading True Prep! I was just wondering what you thought of the UGG boot trend. Do you think they've been popular enough to be seen as "classics"? -Patti
It was bound to happen. Glad it was you, Patti, who posed the important UGG question here. I really thought, when we first saw photographs of starlets in their miniskirts, fake tans, and UGG boots frolicking on the sands of Malibu or leaving Starbucks in their leggings, camisoles, and UGGs that we were witnessing one of those isolated trends that wouldn’t survive a trip to the East Coast. How wrong was I?
UGGs became so prevalent that the headmistress of my daughters’ school actually sent a letter to the parents signaling her disapproval of the expensive and ugly boots, ultimately forbidding them as part of schoolware. They caused too much envy and longing.
Last January, while scoping out preps at European university campuses, I saw almost as many UGGs as I saw cigarette smokers, Barbour jackets, Moncler jackets, Ray-Ban sunglasses, and Tod’s loafers. In other words, a motherlode of UGGs.
UGGs have been in the United States since about 2003, but it wasn’t until Oprah declared her love for the boots in 2005 that they have become ubiquitous. SO, Patti — at long last your answer. They are almost old enough to be seen as “classics,” but they fail the classics test: they are trendy, they are worn publicly by people who didn’t go to college (i.e., Hilton, Spelling, Hudson, et al), and they are not timeless. They look silly on adults. They would look preposterous with wide-wale cords and a well-cut blazer. Can you picture Uggs with a nicely worn-in barn jacket and old khakis? No — Maine hunting boots or Wellies will do — no matter your age or your sex. Even Dansko clogs work better than Uggs.
Hi Lisa, I wanted to know your stance on the Olsen twins' $35,000 purse. Do you like and do you think they've earned the right to produce such a product without seniority?
What an interesting question. For those who don’t know, the Olsen twins designed a backpack that looks pretty simple, but is made from fine matte crocodile skins, and costs $35,000. I cannot imagine who would buy it — girlfriends of Russian oligarchs? The design is fine, and the idea of a backpack in a luxurious fabrication is fine too — but you can buy a house for $35,000. How do you justify the price for a purse?????
Hi! Is "True Prep" available in Portugal? I've been looking everywhere for it but I just can't seem to find it... -Kate
Oh Kate, I know! I’m sorry. It’s probably easier to order a copy of True Prep on Amazon, but I will investigate whether it’s available in an English language bookstore in Portugal. I’ll let you know if I find one.
First, forgive me for being so derelict in my promise to post this little blogette to you last week. Between the rain, the tennis, the start of the school year, the security alert, Fashion Week, and a (very) long line at Staples, the time just disappeared.
Indian Summer (we’re not calling it “Native American Summer” yet, are we?) is a beautiful time of the year, but also a difficult time for dressing. It’s breezy one day, and then hot and balmy the following day, then pours and is frigid for the next two — what’s a preppy to do?
May I suggest seersucker? I’ve seen the future of early fall, and it is black and navy seersucker. It’s available at our own resources (L.L. Bean Signature, Brooks Brothers,) as well as in department stores with trendier designers (Band of Outsiders, Rag & Bone). I have a perfect navy blue seersucker dress from Tommy Hilfiger that even works under a shawl or a jacket for cooler nights. You will always looks crisp in seersucker.
Linen won’t keep crisp but it is a lightweight fabric that is always available in a darker, more autumnal range of colors. I’ve owned linen garments that were labelled “Guaranteed to wrinkle.” That is for sure. You may still wear your navy linen blazer throughout the fall, and if you live in the warmer parts of the United States (particularly the areas that are not on fire) a navy blazer is your go-to year round staple.
Khaki pants work year round. In the winter, though, it’s advisable to own them in a tropical wool. They hold their shape, drape more luxuriously, and look like you put a tiny bit of thought (let’s not get carried away) into your outfit.
I started to write about the warmer layers that we will start piling on, and then thought better of it. Plenty of time for that later.
Hi! Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book, True Prep. I am a proud New Englander who attends prep school in MA, summers on ACK and Cape Cod, and who has grown up wearing L.L Bean duck boots in the cold New England winters. We have a '92 Volvo we leave at our house on the Cape but since my car is being serviced I brought the old Volvo home with me and have been receiving so much flack from my friends! Should I be embarrassed by this car? I thought vintage was in! - Blaney
What’s with your friends? A ‘92 Volvo is a thing of sturdy beauty. Old cars are preppier than new cars. The fact that there’s probably sand in it, and salt on it, and an ancient can of useless tennis balls stuck under the back seat just confirms its very preppiness. Forget the car that’s being serviced. This one sounds perfect.
I am hoping that Ben and Mrs. Ben (see previous message) have fun in the blogosphere. I still don’t know what I’m doing here, but preppies and technology have never been a good combo: we leave our thingies everywhere, misplace the USB cord (does it stand for the University of California at Santa Barbara?), and forget how to tape the tv shows we like.
We drunk text, we mistweet, and so on. It’s not pretty or preppy.
Alors. C’est la guerre.
Exhibit A has returned to school. Exhibits B and C start back on Friday. It has been a different kind of summer, but the world is feeling different in many ways. Today my bff downloaded two novels I recommended to her while on our 2 minute phonecall. I read that paperbacks are on the decline (front page of today’s New York Times), but in the jump the article clarifies that trade paperbacks are still selling. True Prep will be out in trade paperback in November. (And Chip designed an even more attractive cover for the paperback than he did for the hardcover.)
Mass market books have given way to e-books, but I somehow think anyone reading my blog isn’t reading romances or other pulpy fiction. (Not judging; just saying.)
How will people read in the future? What about you? How do you read?
Go outside. Bring a book. Or bring a “book” if you read that instead. Eat a nectarine.
Ms. Birnbach, Have you ever... But seriously, my wife just started a fashion blog in which all things prep are a constituent part. Any words of wisdom? - Ben
I haven’t…. at least knowingly. But seriously, I am just learning how to blog myself, (as if that weren’t abundantly clear). I don’t know much about blogging and I don’t know who reads blogs. Maybe you and your wife can give me wisdom about that.
To Lisa, I am attending sixth form in England and our dress code is formal, and my school is quite strict about it. I was wondering if you could suggest some brands of shirts with logos which are sought after and some other formal/office wear style tips for preppys. Thank you! :)
Sixth form is a big deal. Will you be going to university next year? In the UK or the USA? Having lived in England a few wonderful times in my life (and having been there a few months ago), I can tell you that we share a lot of the same global preppy brands. The Lacoste crocodile is the original, and oldest preppy logo: those shirts also withstand the test of time. I wear some old Lacostes that are probably as old as you, or older! HOWEVER, don’t even consider their extra-large crocodiles. Those are TTFW (too tacky for words). Same with the Polo pony. Only the small one will do. Tommy Hilfiger’s flag logo is small and tasteful, as is the small blue whale of Vineyard Vines (though I don’t know if that line is available in England). Etro is a good European line, as is Jack Wills, obviously.
Hope this is a good start. I’ll think of formal/office wear tips for the next time.
Hi Lisa, My name is Chris, and like many of your followers i am also a Prep. I live in Scarsdale P.O and attended one the top public schools in Westchester, I summer in the Hamptons, etc. As i head off to Rhode Island to attend college, I can't help but to think that I am missing some "essentials." You focus a lot on woman prep styles, but what about the men? What are some key items to bring away with me? - Chris
Congratulations on your graduation and college matriculation. Essentials for men (and I have to say in my defense, I believe we devote equal time to men and women): khakis, brightly colored corduroy jeans and trousers, classic jeans, penny loafers and/or Top Siders, belts: ribbon, woven, needlepoint. Polo shirts (any or no logo, except big ones). Button-down shirts in stripes and solids. A barn jacket. Down vest. Several (could mean many) crew neck sweaters in plain knit or cable knit. I love the look of a bulky warm turtleneck sweater on guys in the fall — and in R.I. it can get pretty cold. You’ll need a blue blazer and another one: tweed or corduroy for a little polish. What else will you need? Speakers for your thingy, Maybe a coffee maker, some nice pictures for your walls…(of the Hamptons?) and some imagination and charm.
Let me just say, I know they’re coming. I imagine that The New York Times’ Verlyn Klinkenborg’s is in his word processor as we speak. (Though he probably still uses a typewriter.) It’s the end of one season, let’s give the transition of time a shoulder shrug, a how do you do, and still wax a little wistful about summer’s end.
So okay; here we go. It was the hottest, wettest, most humid, most unusual summer. If we had been in a relationship with the summer of 2011, our status would have been, “It’s complicated.” It was hard to love; foolish to hate; silly to waste. I never stayed indoors more than I have this summer. Some weekends I even stayed inside… writing, thinking (this actually can take up hours), but hiding from July.
I’m feeling much more outgoing this August… think it has to do with the slight pre-fall feel in the air, the breeze on the river outside my door, the weight of the “September books” at the newsstands.
I’ll tell you one decision I’ve made. (Every seasonal reflection includes one resolution; it’s de rigueur.) I pledge to spend less time online. It’s a poor synthetic for living, my opining and proclaiming and quipping at Facebook, Twitter, and here. Not that it isn’t fun. And not that I don’t want to give; but did I have to watch the quick clip of the Kardashian wedding? Did I have to check on how my friend’s book was doing on Amazon? (Come to think of it, I have to leave for a few seconds to see how True Prep is doing.) ( Back now.) Did I have to spend that much time at Awfulplasticsurgery.com? All of that can wait.
So let’s make the best of what remains of this summer. Eat fresh corn and tomatoes and fruit. (I’m a nectarine girl, but loving pluots, too.) (Pluots: the food equivalent of Labradoodles. Discuss.)
Hi Lisa, I'm a huge fan of your book. As a prep by choice, it is my bible. Next Monday I begin my senior year of high school (public unfortunately). What are your style suggestions for my age group, and social circumstances? Also what are some prep essentials for my high school to college transition?
I like your phrase, “prep by choice.” It’s an efficient way to define one’s self, isn’t it?
I know you’re a senior, but I don’t know where you live. However, since this is the hottest summer on record (and since you’re doomed to begin school before the summer is officially finito), you will have to start the semester off with polo shirts (any cotton polo will do), worn, if possible, with khaki shorts and a belt. The beauty of this look is that of course, you don’t ever have to change it. I would recommend this outfit to any prep (by birth or by choice) starting any level of school in August.
Prep essentials for transition are: a good personality (you’ll have to make new friends), a willingness to cooperate and compromise (you’ll be sharing rooms with strangers), and a lot of energy.
I read the novel One Day last year — probably in about one day. It is the perfect gobble up a rainy day read for the summer — the kind where you grudgingly go off to dinner just wanting to get back to the characters of Emma & Dexter and see if or how they get together — Friends? Lovers? Frenemies? Medical Proxies?
Now I’m very pleased to announce that I will be chatting with author David Nicholls tomorrow night at his first ever New York reading. Please join us at Jackson McNally Books, 52 Prince Street (Soho) at 7pm.
He will read, answer my questions, answer your questions, and charm us all, I am certain.
(I saw a screening of the upcoming film One Day, which Nicholls adapted for the screen, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. It’s yummy, too.)
Hello again, Lisa! I can't believe it's August already! I would definitely call this summer "Summergatory" without a doubt.
I wanted to let you know that a prep school friend of mine's sister just got married. She attended Sweet Briar and the groom attended Hampden Sydney. How perfect is that? The bride wore a sweetheart neck, a-line dress with a lace overlay paired with pearls (of course!), while the groom and groomsmen were clad in black tuxedos with seersucker bowties! Everything was prep-tastic right down to the flower arrangements.
I figured you'd approve.
Enjoy the rest of your summer,
Thanks for your summergatory update. Please post photos here (if you can). I’m sure everyone reading this blog is dying of curiosity about this particular question: what color were the seersucker ties?
I’m just reading The Privileges, by Jonathan Dee. The first chapter is set at a wedding during a heat wave in Pittsburgh. In an un-airconditioned cathedral. Unfortunately, that seems all too real. One of the ushers passes out. Onto chapter 2.
I found out about your new book about 10 minutes ago and I cannot wait to buy it!! My mom got your Official Preppy Handbook as a gift from her brother when she was in college in the early 80s and she still has it 30 years later today!! I just found this tumblr page and I saw that you are adding additional text to the paperback edition of True Prep so now I cannot decide if I should buy the hardback so I can read it now, or if I should wait till the paperback comes out so that it will have the additional text. Do you have any idea when the paperback is coming out? Thank you so much for writing a current edition of the Preppy Handbook!! Words cannot express how excited I am to read it. Thanks! -Kelly
If I were you, I’d get the hardcover now. Why wait till November, when the paperback is released? There is a lot of summer left, and this is the preppiest season of the year. (The True Prep hardcover has some cool features that won’t appear in the paperback version, by the way.)
I wrote a tweet that made me laugh (and I’m hypercritical of myself), and no one wrote back.
I would have written back, but that’s beside the point.
During the Vietnam war I think I remember a slogan which was “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” (I think that was it. I was only a child then. Really.) I thought of it today. What if I wrote a tweet, and nobody responded? If “I tweet, therefore I am,” then maybe this is the wilderness, after all.
I had a meeting today with my digital team at Alfred A. Knopf, my publisher. I’d say something in English, and they would translate it to algorithms and codes or something similar. I didn’t always understand what they said, but I know whatever they will do, they will do beautifully. And why? To make you — our friends and followers — even happier. To offer you more content. To make True Prep a more responsive web destination.
All this giving can take a lot out of a girl, so I’m going to say goodnight for now.