• 28th Annual Harriman Cup

    Top Drawer | Culture | Sports  

    It's become my Labor Day, my summer's end, my last ditch effort to let it all hang out of my seersucker trousers—the annual Harriman Cup. Rain or shine, throngs descend upon the Meadowbrook Polo Club from Manhattan and surrounding bed and breakfasts. Sam, Shane, and I roll in off the LIRR in a blaze of vintage Lilly, Ralph Lauren, and Brooks Brothers—the usual suspects. Usually falling on or around the last week of summer, this alumni polo match between Yale and the University of Virginia is the tailgating event of the summer for the prep set (last year's Cup was a ball). Of course, awards are given out for such displays of leisurely grandeur. Best dressed, best hat, best tailgate, and so on. Max Sinsteden has just rolled out his generous tattered oriental rug under his champagne bucket stand and various hor d'oeuvres. It’s a nice spread. However, a neighboring goldenrod Land Rover with blonde hair, blue-eyed college alum promises to be stiff competition. Their snacks are nothing more than finger sandwiches and pretzels, standard fare. Turns out it's Sam's tailgate...and we discover we work together at Ralph Lauren. That's the nature of the Harriman Cup, you’re two degrees from anyone in a navy blazer.

    Vintage Lilly Pulitzer, patchwork madras, seersucker

    Van, Cooper, Max, and me

    Allegra stomping divots between chukkers

    Thanks to Town & Country, I spend most of my time in and out of the VIP tent this year, and frankly, I am quite spoiled with the experience. Booze, food (I go back for seconds on the pulled pork—shameless, I know), the deceptive feeling of self importance—all on the house thanks to the handful of sponsors like J.Mclaughlin, Knockaround, Vitamin Water, and many more. Seriously though, the best time to be had is mingling from tailgate to tailgate while only casually glancing at the match between cocktails.

    Sep 27, 2012 | Permalink (11) View/Leave Comments

    Evans19GRETCHEN left a comment on 1/10/2013 at 4:48 PM:

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    Ashley left a comment on 12/8/2012 at 4:46 PM:

    Pretty photos - I love a day of polo! www.pinkjulepabroad.com

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/23/2012 at 6:53 PM:

    @Jake—We strive for diversity here.

    Jake left a comment on 11/23/2012 at 6:35 PM:

    How nice of you to have a single Black friend, trotted out at the very end.

    Gus left a comment on 11/21/2012 at 12:20 PM:


    As a Yale alum and frequent Harriman Cup attendee, I disagree.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/21/2012 at 11:45 AM:

    @Gus—I’d venture to guess more than half the crowd that shows up isn’t alum of either of the colleges.

    Gus left a comment on 11/21/2012 at 11:42 AM:

    Why would people who didn’t attend UVA or Yale make a Yale/UVA match a summer tradition?

    Max left a comment on 11/20/2012 at 5:08 PM:

    Max’s blazer is beyond awesome. Want.

    CHC left a comment on 11/20/2012 at 12:49 PM:

    Those Lily Pulitzer pants are sweet. How much does a pair like that cost?


    Mike left a comment on 11/20/2012 at 12:14 AM:

    The gentleman in the green pants gets first prize.

    Desmond K left a comment on 11/19/2012 at 6:08 PM:

    Looks like you guys had a grand ole time. And VIP access makes an event like this that much better.

    Chinos & Cheesecake


  • The Eagle and Child


    The British have a way with names…many pubs are outright compelling enough to lure you in for a pint on curiosity of name alone. The Lamb and Flag, The Bear, The Eagle and Child—and those are just pubs in the small town of Oxford. In the 1940s and 1950s, a small group of Oxford academics met on Tuesdays at The Eagle and Child to read and discuss members' unfinished works. This venerable group, of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien fame, called themselves "The Inklings." Technically, it was neither a club nor a literary society, though it partook of the nature of both, according to member (and elder brother of C.S. Lewis) Warren Lewis.

    Familiarly and alliteratively known in the Oxford community as The Bird and Baby, the pub nurtured discussions that contributed to the final form of both Lewis' Narnia books and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. Needless to say, my crossing the threshold for a pint was as if setting foot on literary holy ground. The warmly lit stool-laden maze of rooms are reminiscent of a pub right out of Hobbiton...fitting, actually. And though the name is sure to lure you in, The Eagle and Child's rich history will inspire you to settle in for a pint, if not two.

    Sep 20, 2012 | Permalink (4) View/Leave Comments

    Mary left a comment on 10/28/2012 at 9:36 AM:

    this was one of my favorite stops during a 2 week trek through Scotland and England a couple of summers ago. walking through the door felt a little magical. glad you were able to enjoy it!

    David Bloom left a comment on 10/17/2012 at 4:21 PM:

    The pics and posts from England are great-keep em coming!

    emjkmj left a comment on 10/17/2012 at 8:21 AM:

    I am sure these exterior shots evoke fond memories of your trip, but as a reader they are a little boring.  How about some interior shots so we can see the hobbit-like rooms…

    Desmond Kinlaw left a comment on 10/17/2012 at 7:58 AM:

    I appreciate you highlighting notable spots in NY and abroad. My Google Map is full of starred locations I’ve learned about from this site. Could be another coffee table book idea…I’d buy it.

    Chinos & Cheesecake


  • The Needlepoint Belt

    Style | Culture | Prep Essentials  

    According to the 80s-penned Official Preppy Handbook, the needlepoint belt is a “must accessory for the collegiate B.M.O.C. (big man on campus)" and typically a gift from women of a certain sort and class...women committed to memorializing young love by stitching a needlepoint belt for their beau. Ironically, it eventually garnered notoriety as the breakup belt. By the time the belt was finished, someone in the relationship had often decided to move on.

    While preppy fashion has gradually evolved over the last 30 years, the casual and jaunty nature of needlepoint belts has not. It's the preppy catholicon for holding up ill-fitting khakis, shorts, and summer suit trousers.

    Victoria Stulgis started needlepointing at age 12 when she and her mom wandered into the Nantucket clothing/needlepoint boutique, Erica Wilson. By 15, she became much more avid. After a day at the stables, she and her equestrian friends would slumber party at each other's homes and needlepoint in front of the TV. "It was rather unconventional, I think," Stulgis recalls.

    "I started working on [my boyfriend] Jack's belt when I was 17. Back then I was rather quick at needlepointing and it only took 3-6 months (I think there was a time when I was needlepointing during history class)."

    When she was finished with the crossed oars design in Georgetown colors (and still in the relationship) Stulgis sent the canvas to a leather shop just outside Lexington, KY, which she had stumbled across while competing at the US National Pony Finals in 2004. They do a top notch job with the stitching and use superior quality leather, as they cater to the equestrian set down in Kentucky. Good thing too, since her boyfriend Jack has been throwing it around his waist almost daily for the past six years.

    Can’t get your auntie, mum, or lovely lady to labor for months over this functional status statement? No worries. You can simply pick one up from Tucker Blair or Smathers & Branson; however, my favorite is one I came across from Rugby several years ago (beautiful repeating gold skull & bones on navy ground, wool thread, and better quality leather than the former). Most ring in under $200. Of course, the most valuable needlepoint belts are those made by moms or girlfriends like Stulgis.

    Sep 6, 2012 | Permalink (2) View/Leave Comments

    PSP left a comment on 1/30/2014 at 10:27 PM:

    My wife made a U Penn one that incorporated my initials as a Christmas gift.

    Rowboats left a comment on 10/30/2012 at 8:35 PM:

    M’s Canvashouse out of Lexington KY sells the best most extensive variety I have ever seen (and online!). You can also send it back to them to do leathering.  My boyfriend has multiple.


  • The Bear Inn


    It’s a crisp autumn evening and the last of the English sun dips behind the top of Oxford Town Hall. A couple of friends and I lock up our bikes at the end of a narrow alley and turn around to the oldest pub in Oxford, The Bear Inn—dating back to 1242. The Bear gives off a warm glow through the glass pane windows with vague silhouettes dancing back and forth. I take a pint of beer brewed just five miles down the road. It’s good...everything you’d expect from English pub culture.

    After you get your hands around a pint, the first thing you notice are the horde of club tie snippets hanging from the walls and ceilings. And it's not hundreds, it's thousands. Started in 1952 by the landlord, Alan Course, and given by patrons (some famous) in exchange for half a pint of beer, the collection numbers northwards of 4,500 ties...ties mostly signifing membership of clubs, sports teams, schools, and colleges. You have to see them up close in person to truly appreciate the scope of it. And if you do make it into The Bear, don’t forget your club tie.

    Aug 30, 2012 | Permalink (4) View/Leave Comments

    Drew Poling left a comment on 10/1/2012 at 9:28 PM:

    The Bear is a great spot.  I’ve left two tie ends there: one from my undergraduate a cappella group, the other from one of my city clubs.  Great memories.

    Isis left a comment on 9/27/2012 at 5:30 PM:

    Make sure you visit Vincent’s Club while in Oxford, also my old friend New College.

    The-Bigwig left a comment on 9/27/2012 at 1:33 PM:

    So…that’s a tie bar ;-) I would love to see some inside shots!


    Caron left a comment on 9/27/2012 at 8:11 AM:

    Have fun, Fred.  Don’t you just love it there?  Me, too!


  • Ali Wentworth’s New York Apartment


    by Moses Y. Bension

    Anyone who has turned on Good Morning America knows who George Stephanopoulos is. His wife, actress Ali Wentworth, reviews their transition from 200‐year‐old Washington, D.C. brick Colonial Revival to prewar Upper East Side three‐bedroom apartment in this month’s Architectural Digest (some fifty‐odd blocks uptown of Brooke Shields’ new townhouse in the same issue). Wentworth’s new home features the work of Michael Smith, a more traditionalist designer famous for recently redecorating the White House. Smith’s use of colonial greens and blues, shades of beige, and stained mahogany, while not as colorfully layered as Shields’ townhouse, is definitely more appropriate for the historical sanctity of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    In the opinion of a very reputable interior designer in the South End of Boston, however, Smith’s work is “dull, flat, insipid, tired, lackluster, mind numbing, and uninspiring.” The designer hadn’t seen pictures of their old place.

    When CBS appointed Wentworth as co‐anchor of its short‐lived talk show Living It Up! and Stephanopoulos was still hosting This Week on ABC, the couple initially invested in a two bedroom apartment in midtown Manhattan. New York designer John Barman fashioned them an open plan with chrome midcentury chairs, abstract paintings on a paneled wall painted orange, and more chairs upholstered in more orange (of the Hermés hue) all in a bold colorful series of rooms that would overwhelm most preps.

    The rooms (like the library overlooking Central Park) in Wentworth’s new home look more like those at the White House. Pieces like mahogany bookcases, a rust‐colored velvet covered sofa, antique Persian rug, and a Regency twin‐pedestal dining table with George III mahogany sideboard and chairs all contribute to a conservative look that, while more subdued, wouldn’t send your family’s equivalent of the Dowager Countess of Grantham running for cover. Smith’s incorporation of timelessness and tradition into his look has a certain comforting old prep appeal. After all, you wouldn’t upholster the chairs in the White House in Hermés orange.

    Mar 22, 2012 | Permalink (4) View/Leave Comments

    Jane Davis left a comment on 6/30/2012 at 4:00 PM:

    You should check out New Orleans designers Alix Rico,Gerri Bremmerman and Tara Shaw. Their individual styles are more flair full and less claustrophobic than these. Michael Carbine’s work is also worth checking out. The northeast needs a shot of southern perspective.

    Rico Boothman left a comment on 4/4/2012 at 9:40 PM:

    We all love the great “Smootchie” although her taste is open to question . . .

    Greg-S left a comment on 4/4/2012 at 8:14 AM:

    Generally, I like his work.

    Gary-A left a comment on 4/3/2012 at 10:57 AM:

    The South End of Boston IS a very gorgeous place, architecturally. Unfortunately, I don’t make the bank to be invited INSIDE any of these townhouses.


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