Sunday, January 23, 2011

Post #3: Looking Classic…Classically Preppy That Is

What makes something classic? Is it age? Widespread recognition? Simplicity? While some college students may think of it as a study of the Greco-Roman world, the fashion industry looks at it as that essence that we just can’t get enough of season after season (and decade after decade).  
            Look at most designer brands…what do you see as a common thread? That “classic” era-less look. While in 2003 Louis Vuitton may have put Cherry Blossoms on their classic Monogram Canvas bags and while Burberry may now have their classic pattern on only ten percent of their merchandise, one thing remains the same: that constant reference back to their roots. They go for simplistic “high-class” polish rather than touches of whimsy.
            Similarly one of the competing trends in the Fall 2010 runway shows was the “preppy” look. No, I am not talking about popped collars and Lacoste alligators. Rather, I am talking about that old-school “classic” preppiness that draws us to movies such as Dead Poet’s Society and to designers like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
            If you’re still unclear as to what I’m talking about, I advise that you look at the videos for Ralph Lauren’s Fall 2010 Collection, the tone of them is enough to keep you captivated, let alone the clothes that drive it. There is something truly alluring about a man who looks like he has been pulled from an English boarding school (jacket, vest, tie, and an ability to wear argyle) and the girl in a skirt and ivory cardigan that looks like she fits right in with him.  

            So, seeing as how this is a trend, and as I mentioned in my last post, trends are hard to navigate, I thought I’d deliver another list of Dos and Don’ts to get you through the season. To the fashionable young woman: when looking preppy…

DO: Look to classic men’s suits and the men in that Ralph Lauren video for inspiration…try on a men’s button-down for a more laid-back version of this style.
DON’T: Look like a man.

DO: Wear pants. Not leggings, not jeggings, but real pants (look to Chloé’s highly acclaimed Fall Collection for inspiration:
DON’T: Try to pull off jodhpurs. Leave that to the professionals (models and horseback riders that is). Just because Ralph Lauren thinks he can sell them for $598 does not mean that they’re a good idea.

DO: Wear schoolgirl inspired skirts (check out Urban Outfitters’ Madras by A.P.C. Plaid Skirt for inspiration). Plaid and pleating are both things to look out for…in moderation.  
DON’T: Look like you’re going to a “schoolgirls and professors” party.

DO: Wear letterman jackets and varsity sweaters…feel free to channel Pleasantville.
DON’T: Wear shorts…at Colgate. It’s already getting cold. The shorts and stockings thing is cute, just not in this weather.

DO: Wear chunky knit ivory sweaters, thick scarves, and classic cardigans (like those sold at J. Crew).
DON’T: Look like your mom dressed you.

            But no matter how you choose to go “preppy,” whether it be with a Blair Waldorf headband or a well-fitted blazer, remember to put your own spin on it. Fall Trend reports included subcategories of “neo”-preppy (bright colors and pop-out sweater embellishments), old-school preppy, and a slew of other variations. Whatever you choose to do with this trend, just remember: keep it classy…and maybe even classic.

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