Photographed in New York, NY
Photographed in New York, NY
There were whispers of a limited gift edition of Lisa Birnbach's original preppy bible. Part satire, part reference guide, The Official Preppy Handbook, when published in 1980 became an instant cult classic. Given the book was published over 30 years ago, I have never actually seen a hardback copy (the few hardback gift editions went quickly). The secondary market proved not much better. After watching eBay for a couple of years for kicks, only a handful of hardback copies popped up cuffed with asking prices of $200+...until last month. Indian madras print slipcover, a linen hardback cover, and a fill-in-chart family tree make up this “completely outstanding gift edition.” While the demand has cooled in the wake of True Prep, landing a copy (for $50, no less) still made for a fun story over drinks with Birnbach last week.
After April showers fall and the mercury rises, the white sneaker is my go-to shoe in the summer. Not only do they look cool given their light color, they literally keep your feet cool by the light they reflect. And if in canvas, even cooler thanks to the lightweight fabric's porous nature. The English refer to them as trainers, which seems more appropriate since most of them are worn on and off the courts of racquet sports like tennis, squash, and badminton.
Tretorn Nylites (tennis), Jack Purcells (badminton), and Adidas Sambas (soccer) can be fished out of my closet on any given summer day (after some diligent digging, mind you). But it's these Nike Killshots for J.Crew that are my favorites this season. Originally designed some 30 years ago with a low profile stance for playing squash, they boast touches of white suede. If there is a leather that embodies "summer," it's suede—exhibit A: white bucks. Wear them with chinos, canvas jeans, shorts, and even your cotton khaki suit. All four of these white sneakers can be found for less than $75, a price you can take in stride no matter how hot is gets.
Maybe it's the therapeutic outdoor morning showers, or the privilege of getting the sunrise before anybody else on the east coast, or the simple fact that it is devoid of a tether to whatever "real world" you left behind at Hyannis. Nantucket is magical in the summer. Worry seems to roll off your shoulders, like beads of sweat erratically migrating down your cocktail.
The island, aside from its locals, is home to an inherently preppy summer colony. It is beloved in part for the geographical fact that it's a pain in the ass to get to. The harder the trek, the preppier the locale. And Nantucket is perhaps the preppiest (edging out Martha's Vineyard and its trailer parks). If you're not flying into ACK, you have to cross the moat to the WASP kingdom via an hour long ferry.
Despite the inconveniences, The Grey lady more than quadruples in size come June. Frankly, it gets crazy around the Fourth. But that's not to say you can't get alone. This secluded beach I photographed Alise Shoemaker* on a couple years ago is on the South Shore somewhere between Nobadeer and Tom Nevers. It's a great spot if you can find it. Odds are good that you'll have it all to yourself for a picnic, skinny dipping, or whatever else bakes your (crab) cake. As for how to get there exactly, well, it wouldn’t be preppy if I made it that easy.
*click on the image above to download a wallpaper version
Frank Clegg is closer to an artist than a master-craftsmen (though I assure you he is both). Each time I pack for a long weekend I'm reminded of this. His Signature Duffle, a triumvirate of beauty, craftsmanship, and utilitarian design, only gets better with age. It's cloaked in simplicity—a design meticulously reduced to only what is necessary to get you there and back again. Case in point, there is no interior liner. A frivolity to Clegg. After all, there is nothing to hide since he only employs the finest vegetable dyed leather he can get his hands on. Swiss RiRi zippers, brass hardware, and double thick leather bottom round out the exceptional construction.
After a few trips with my Signature Duffle in hand, I offhandedly mention to Clegg that I would love to see it in a smaller size. I think selfishly I just want to carry my bag not just on weekend getaways but every day. Not long after our conversation, Clegg makes short work of what is now his Small Signature Duffle. The new overnight bag, featured here in chocolate*, is ideal for overnight trips or just daily jaunts to the gym.
At $765, the Small Signature Duffle is a far cry from an impulse buy. But you don't really want that in a heirloom piece. You want something that you can aspire to. You want something that is going to sting a little. And Clegg offers that at an incredible value. See, Frank Clegg sells his bags directly to his customers. If he didn't, Bergdorf Goodman would be peddling them for upwards of $1300. And that is probably why Clegg doesn't allow that, the hard working American that he is. He understands the value of craftsmanship and that of a dollar...especially when it stings.
*courtesy of Frank Clegg Leatherworks