• New England: Icons and Inspirations

    Music & Books  

    No preppy’s coffee table collection is complete without an oversized art book about New England. As Americans, it’s a place we look to for its history, its landscape, its inimitable style, its cuisine. I just added New England: Icons and Inspirations to my burgeoning collection. If I have one guilty pleasure, it’s stockpiling luxury tomes from the likes of Rizzoli, Assouline, Taschen, and teNeues. This lavish tribute, guided by Tommy Hilfiger, distills the essence of the region through stunning photographs of Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Whether a classic weather vane, a barn, or a lighthouse, the diverse images that make up this beautiful book are a stunning reminder of the inspirations and influences that are New England.

    “In New England, style is never about what’s ‘in’ or ‘out.’”

    —Tommy Hilfiger

    Apr 26, 2012 | Permalink (16) View/Leave Comments

    Jack Carlson left a comment on 5/17/2012 at 3:24 AM:

    Hi Max—I’m the author of the rowing blazers book Fred’s been shooting for.  Glad to hear your excited.  No fixed date yet, but will keep you posted!  As for the clubs/teams/athletes featured: many of the usual suspects in terms of American universities and schools, but also a lot of British and international clubs and university teams.  Quite a few Olympic rowers and world champions among the athletes featured!  That’s all I can say for now! - Jack


    damenfrost left a comment on 5/12/2012 at 3:38 PM:

    i like penny loafers and tassel loafers, i bought some from delicious junction for chicks.
    Have you had any luck finding a good pair of black penny loafers? I’ve too been looking for a while.


    Soren Yace left a comment on 5/6/2012 at 11:23 AM:

    I believe the title of the book should convey that Tommy Hilfiger doesn’t need to know anything about New England to be inspired by it.


    Max left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 8:00 PM:

    Whoa guys.. heated !  heated ! .. so… Fred.. when is your rowing book coming out?  Now THAT is something to get excited about !

    Perchance can you give us a teaser of locations/ crews/boat clubs you shot? 

    Also.. was wondering if you ever got a chance to check out the 80’s rowing coffee table books “Regatta” by Ivry and “Rowing” (rather Canadian centric) by Peter King (not the SI writer :) )  for inspiration?


    emjkmj left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 5:00 PM:

    I thought TH has spent the last decade in Greenwich, during his fashion exile.


    Madras left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 2:18 PM:

    De Tocqueville didn’t have any insights on American either since he was French . . . I haven’t read the book nor do I own very much TH . . . maybe a tie or two, and I’m not really a huge TH fan.  But should I throw away my button downs since I don,t play polo?  Or my polos since I don’t play tennis?  I hope you don’t have a madras jacket or pants or shirt, because that really needs to be used only in a sari or salwar kameez.

    I don’t see anything wrong with an “outsider” producing a book of images and icons from an area that he likes.


    K left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 12:08 PM:

    -Fred is a “prep”.
    -Fred posts what he likes (be it gifted or bought, who cares anyway).
    -He likes this book.
    -This book happens to be written by TH.
    -TH likes New England.

    I see no sin or wrongdoing in the above line up, because there /is no/ sin or wrongdoing.


    k left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 11:48 AM:

    Would you like to come shopping with me? His pants are too tight in the calf but large at the waist. I have a long waist, his polos are short and barely cover my midriff. Try again.

    If you continually dislike Fred’s posts as above, I don’t know why you waste so much time disapproving. Sometimes you’re on the dot about a fit of a garment being too tight, etc, but posts like these—Fred likes it, it’s his blog, so be it.


    K left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 11:41 AM:

    New generation? I’m probably your age and don’t own a single TH item. Not that I dislike it—it doesn’t fit me well. I’d hardly call his appeal to urban youth disastrous. What’s so disastrous about street artists wearing what they like? Or is wearing the same polo shirt an urban guy is sporting below a proper prep’s value of self esteem…. I smell snobbery.


    AEV left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 11:38 AM:

    K - Nothing, at all, is wrong with a clothing company endorsing hip hop artists….assuming the brand/heritage/looks/lifestyles make sense and work together. The point, again, is clear - Tommy Hilfiger attempted to start what he hoped was a ‘preppy’ clothing company back in the late 80s. Instead, urban, street artists and kids latched onto the aestetic (mostly because the clothes were anything but classicaly preppy and were flashy, cheaply made, gaudy, etc.). Facing flagging sales, Hilfiger briefly embraced the urban music/lifestyle scene. It didn’t help, and the company was forced to sell to a bank. The bank coulnd’t do anything with it, and sold it again…this time to the company that sells Van Heusen shirts. Now, TH is back….trying to refurbish his brand on the back of a neo-preppy trend (and the blogs that largely sustain it). TH is hoping that a new generation (you?) will ignore/forget the brand’s disasterous history and that he can try again to manufacture his namesake brand’s heritage as one tied to New England and based on a traditionally “American/prep” style and lifestyle. It’s neither - the brand strikes me as a desperate hobby of a confused man who’s trying to fit in, aggresively social climb, and prove that his blood runs blue.

    If you think it all works just fine, go right agead and dress like The Royal Tenenbaums grab that is TH’s current attempt/campaign at redemption….


    K left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 10:55 AM:

    What’s wrong about a prep endorsing a rap artist? Just because he’s preppy, he’s only allowed to endorse chinos with lobster print and Smirnoff raw tea? I find this conversation amusing (here’s hoping Fred doesn’t delete it (; ) , that because someone wasn’t born or raised in that area, than they apparently know nothing of the culture and whatever they design/sell is only a farce. And he’s not claiming to be from New England, he’s showing his love for it, so therefore I see nothing wrong with the man producing a book set in a place he likes. Whether or not he bows to “the man”, the guy likes boat docks and lighthouses. He doesn’t have to be from there to provide commentary next to the snapshots.


    AEV left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 10:10 AM:

    K - in this instance, TH is a brand….so, yes, I do feel it’s fair for me - as someone who’s been subjected to his marketing nearly my whole life - to comment on the brand.

    If you don’t feel TH’s brand/clothes/etc. are forced, that we’re simply not approaching this from the same universe. You do know that TH officially endorsed the hip-hop/R&B artist Aaliyah in the 1990s, yes?

    TH - the brand - has nealy gone bankrupt twice, first being saved by a private quity firm, and then being sold again to Van Heusen. So, no, TH doesn’t just “design what he likes” - he makes what his holding companies believe will sell…and it’s cross marketing like this book that continue to develop the myth that the brand is somehow tied to New England and the decades of New England style that TH has been bastardizing his whole career.


    k left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 9:52 AM:

    “So, this book - from TH’s perspective…”

    Don’t think anyone can use those words except T.H. himself. ;)

    It would be quite dull, reading books written only by people from there. And TH has plenty of experience in New England. I think the chap has visited there more times than we can count. I don’t find TH’s clothing empire forced. He designs what he likes. You can tell he loves the preppy aesthetic, not as if he’s sitting in his flat pinning away for the day he can be his true self and design goth clothes.


    AEV left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 9:38 AM:

    K - My general point is fairly simple: people who write books on specific subjects should have experience with those subjects. An American can certainly write a book about Paris, but unless that American has specific, significant experience with the city, most Parisians would probably question the credibility of the information contained therein.

    Beyond that, TH brings to the table a very unique background - one based on a business that was built on an exaggerated, forced sense of New England style (owned by a private equity firm and largely produced in overseas sweatshops) and that continues to churn out hyperbolic copies of traditional styles. So, this book - from TH’s perspective - is about marketing and continuing, rather desperately, to connect his brand to tradition, geography, and lineage that simply doesn’t exist. If you want to read a book about New England written by a guy from Elmira, NY - go right ahead….it sounds about as useful and informative as a book about Las Vegas written by someone from Birmingham.


    K left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 9:18 AM:

    I think it’s wonderful T.H. has taken an interest in an area he has not grown up in. What a thing to say… that a person must be from there to avoid being tacky. Following your line of thinking, an American can’t write a book about Paris, a Southerner can’t write a book about Las Vegas, a white person can’t write a book about the persecution of Indians… because they weren’t born into it…doesn’t make much sense. The literary world is not divided into categories, those categories being only the ones you yourself have grown up in and have experienced. Usually I agree with you, AEV, but not on this one.

    Fred, where did you obtain your copy?


    AEV left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 8:57 AM:

    This looks to be nicely produced, but - as a New Englander - I question why Tommy Hilfiger has any unique expertise or experience with the subject matter. He spent his early life in west central NY (Elmira, not New England) and has spent most of his adult life in NYC (not New England). It just strikes me as tacky that a guy who didn’t grown up in New England and who’s spent his professional career creating a caricature of traditional American (largely New England inspired) clothing would edit/write a book like this….


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  • Whit Stillman’s Guide to Preppie Fashion

    Style  

    Whit Stillman has unmistakably garnered a reputation as cinema’s Preppie ambassador with the release of independent films Metropolitan and The Last Days of Disco. With his first film in over a decade opening to rave reviews this past week, Damsels in Distress is certainly not excluded from Stillman’s highly stylized manner. The L Magazine sat down with Stillman recently to chat about his Rushmore-esque past, the story behind the A.T. Harris tuxedoes in Metropolitan, and the enduring charm of madras jackets, Bass Weejuns, and green corduroy. Read more on The Measure as well as a thorough interview about Damsels in Distress at A Continuous Lean.

    “I decided the moment I graduated from college that I would never wear blue jeans again. And I have never worn blue jeans again.”     —Whit Stillman

    Apr 24, 2012 | Permalink (13) View/Leave Comments

    PSP left a comment on 6/15/2012 at 9:55 PM:

    I believe Whit Stillman is the nephew of old Penn professor Digby Baltzell.  Digby coined the term Wasp, was a WWII naval aviator, and hail fellow well met.  It is great to see Whit carrying on some of Digby’s style.


    kathie left a comment on 5/29/2012 at 12:14 PM:

    About the jeans/ranch comments below: I grew up on a ranch. My husband grew up on a ranch. Yes, we wore Levis and boots for all of the ranch work/riding horses, etc. I mostly would wear dresses/skirts when I wasn’t riding/working. The men, though, when they weren’t working i.e. going to church, out to eat, socializing, the men will wear starched, creased, wranglers, a nice belt, an expensive pair of boots, and an equally pressed/starch Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers button down oxford or dress shirt.  If it’s a dressier occasion, such as dinner at the club, then khaki’s (pressed/starched/creased) are worn, and yes, cowboy boots - expensive dress ones - are still worn.


    Tyrone Alexander left a comment on 5/18/2012 at 5:35 AM:

    Unfortunately we live in a society where people have been brain washed with all of the reality shows that have no point whatsoever that when presented with a smart comedy such as this with characters who speak in full sentences a lot of people don’t know how to handle it. now for the jeans I have two pair that don’t get much use but I do prefer chinos they just feel a lot softer and comfortable over denim in my personal opinion.


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 5/16/2012 at 11:51 PM:

    @Michael & Cam—I included Stillman’s jean quote in order to show the contrast between the old (him) and the new (me). I wear denim probably as much as Stillman wears chinos. I’ve always held that while the world of menswear was/has been discovering chinos again, preppies should have been discovering good denim.


    Michael left a comment on 5/16/2012 at 11:35 PM:

    You posted a picture on twitter not one week of you ago in Rugby torn jeans.


    CHC left a comment on 5/16/2012 at 11:09 AM:

    Interesting post. Seems like an exciting artist.


    Clay left a comment on 5/16/2012 at 10:43 AM:

    I’m a huge Whit Stillman fan and can’t wait to see his new movie.  It’s been long enough time between movies Whit!  His movies are fun to watch because of the banter, fashion, and mood he creates.  As far as his jeans comment, I can’t buy into it.  I went to a preppy dress code high school and a Southern state university and didn’t own a great pair of jeans until AFTER college.  I enjoy matching them with a dress shirt for work to break up the monotony of khakis and dress pants.


    Johnny Reb left a comment on 5/15/2012 at 10:19 PM:

    I agree with you, Vern Trotter. I can’t wear jeans with anything other than boots.


    Vern Trotter left a comment on 5/15/2012 at 8:11 PM:

    Jeans are for the ranch and nowhere else!


    cam left a comment on 5/15/2012 at 5:28 PM:

    fred - im very curious as to why you picked this particular quote to feature? especially given the fact that you wear and feature jeans on here often.


    Max left a comment on 5/15/2012 at 11:06 AM:

    I know a lot of people that are anti-jeans, but I can’t decide where to fall on this. 

      I remember pulling into the cape about 6 years ago and a 40s woman was wearing the most ripped up jeans that looked like she had them since the 80s- with an oversized, probably men’s, RL oxford tucked into them, and a hat and sunglasses.  Beautiful blonde hair. 

    Anyone else have any jeans thoughts/stories?


    Worthington left a comment on 5/15/2012 at 9:34 AM:

    This movie was fantastic. But might be too quirky and not “trendy” enough for the average movie attendee.

    http://www.worthystyle.com


    Desmond K left a comment on 5/15/2012 at 8:42 AM:

    I’ve never heard of him before but I do enjoy fashionable movies so I’ll check it out.

    http://chinosandcheesecake.blogspot.com/


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  • Bright Future

    Dress Code  

    Photographed in New York, NY (Columbia University)

    Noteworthy: this young Tennessean, through a program called Memphis PREP, spent his summers at Andover and Harvard before setting his sights on Columbia for undergrad. The program helps to overcome the challenge of diminished means with the recognition and nurturing of intellectual potential.

    Apr 19, 2012 | Permalink (5) View/Leave Comments

    Krystal left a comment on 7/21/2012 at 8:34 AM:

    This look, the Memphis PREP program, and the perseverance of this young man are incredible. Thank you for featuring him on your blog.


    William left a comment on 5/22/2012 at 11:17 AM:

    Hey I know that guy! He and I have similar styles. And he dresses like this all the time.


    Caroline | Back Down South left a comment on 5/7/2012 at 7:31 AM:

    Everything here is amazing.


    ViridianGirl left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 10:30 AM:

    I am also from Memphis and I say well done!


    JR Kamra left a comment on 5/3/2012 at 12:03 PM:

    as someone from Memphis, I think its cool that this guy is taking his style and talents to the NE. Well done…


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  • Complementary Colors

    Dress Code  

    Photographed in New York, NY

    Noteworthy: brightly colored wayfarers, gold/enamel bracelets.

    Apr 17, 2012 | Permalink (19) View/Leave Comments

    J left a comment on 7/12/2012 at 9:10 AM:

    Where can I purchase the skirt? Love it


    ray ban left a comment on 5/29/2012 at 1:47 AM:

    Poland jerseys


    lack left a comment on 5/29/2012 at 1:46 AM:

    Scotland jerseys


    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 5/22/2012 at 10:37 PM:

    She’s hot.


    Tyrone Alexander left a comment on 5/18/2012 at 5:23 AM:

    It’s nice to see a young lady who dresses like this verses the typical tights with a tiny shirt. Hey Fred maybe you can get her to teach a class or something.


    a left a comment on 5/17/2012 at 11:16 PM:

    anyone know where this skirt is from?


    JRenee left a comment on 5/10/2012 at 1:21 PM:

    I am loving that skirt. Blood Orange is my favorite color of the season.


    Caroline | Back Down South left a comment on 5/7/2012 at 7:27 AM:

    So simple, so good.


    Billy left a comment on 5/7/2012 at 12:55 AM:

    You are beautiful and thats true!
    You’ve got charming eyes!


    gbourgeaiseau left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 10:41 AM:

    Wow! Just wow!


    scaleworm left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 12:40 AM:

    A beautiful well dressed woman. Wow, why can’t there be more of these on God’s green earth instead of the (I am so sick of them) Love Pink brigades?


    IC left a comment on 5/3/2012 at 4:10 PM:

    Off subject, but does anyone know where I can find white bucks for women?


    emjkmj left a comment on 5/2/2012 at 6:59 PM:

    One of the few benefits besides no state or local income taxes in Florida is… I get to see women dress like this year-round… ;) 

    Welcome back Fred.


    kitty left a comment on 5/2/2012 at 5:57 PM:

    i like nearly everything about this. i just can’t get behind women’s button-downs with double chest pockets, personally. not sure why (i guess, to me, it makes the shirt unnecessarily bulky).


    Alexander left a comment on 5/2/2012 at 9:26 AM:

    Love that smile.


    James left a comment on 5/2/2012 at 9:17 AM:

    Great Pic!  Welcome back.


    y l hollander left a comment on 5/2/2012 at 8:52 AM:

    The old axiom “confidence is sexy” has a new poster girl. Wow.


    NPHAF left a comment on 5/2/2012 at 4:13 AM:

    Wow, she’s a doll! And what a lovely smirk…


    Gatsby left a comment on 5/2/2012 at 2:22 AM:

    Nice stems!


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  • Church in the Wild

    Dress Code  

    Photographed in New York, NY

    Noteworthy: Church's tassel loafers handed down from father, vintage 1960s Timex wrist watch, colored denim.

    Apr 12, 2012 | Permalink (13) View/Leave Comments

    Rocco left a comment on 10/15/2012 at 5:28 PM:

    Solid look from head to toe!


    Oaksbluff left a comment on 5/15/2012 at 1:11 PM:

    The shoes and the shades are awesome.


    Mark IV left a comment on 5/8/2012 at 3:56 AM:

    His looks is simply perfect! Maybe too much.


    AEV left a comment on 5/7/2012 at 11:59 AM:

    @Benn - I’m going to guess that the blazer is RL Black Label (this buy, I believe, is an RL sales rep, so it would follow…).


    Campbell left a comment on 5/7/2012 at 11:51 AM:

    Alas, I think I have to agree with AEV on this one and take issue with the collar - I’m not even sure where one would purchase such an eccentricity…

    The pants aren’t my cup of tea but there’s nothing technically “wrong” with them, so I have no quarrels there.

    Shoes, blazer, and Clubmasters are all on point.


    Benn left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 2:40 PM:

    Does anyone have ANY ideas where this blazer is from? Amazing!


    AEV left a comment on 5/4/2012 at 10:13 AM:

    Solid look….minus the skinny jeans and Lagerfeld alien collar.


    Angel left a comment on 5/3/2012 at 1:49 PM:

    Great shot F.E., top notch look, slim fitted to a ‘T.’ Glad to see something worth viewing again here, I’m going to take this as you’ve officially got settled in to the big city.

    Angels Point of View


    Richard Ross left a comment on 5/3/2012 at 10:50 AM:

    Oh heck yes. This is where its at. On point from hair to toe.


    Joey Dee left a comment on 5/3/2012 at 12:35 AM:

    This guy is sharp as a tack! Unabashely Prep returns!


    Desmond K left a comment on 5/2/2012 at 8:57 PM:

    Love those jeans. Not your ordinary dark denim.

    http://chinosandcheesecake.blogspot.com/


    y l hollander left a comment on 5/2/2012 at 8:59 AM:

    I’m a fan of denim in GTH shades. Everything else the gent sports is top-drawer. Loving the vintage Timex trend. Wish I’d held on to mine.


    Andy M. left a comment on 5/2/2012 at 8:58 AM:

    This is inspiring me to purchase go-to-hell denim.


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