• 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 10:28 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 6:30 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 2:33 PM:

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


    Caron left a comment on 9/27/2012 at 9:11 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 5:00 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 10:40 PM:

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

    Greg-S left a comment on 4/4/2012 at 9:14 AM:

    Generally, I like his work.

    Gary-A left a comment on 4/3/2012 at 11:57 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.


  • Estate of Grace

    Style | Culture  

    by Moses Y. Bension

    A few years ago, women on the streets of Manhattan were spotted wearing medallion-adorned ballet flats produced out of an Upper East Side apartment by Penn alumna and New York socialite Tory Burch. The “Reva” exploded and has since become a prep essential, proving we’re not a stuffy group incapable of welcoming newcomers into closets full of J. Press, L.L. Bean, and Lilly Pulitzer.

    Vogue’s new March issue takes a tour of Burch’s newly acquired twenty-five-room neo-Georgian Southampton estate, originally built in 1929 by Beaux-Arts firm Hiss & Weekes (responsible for oh so many residences in the Berkshires and Gold Coast). With the help of designers Daniel Romualdez and Penn classmate Eve Hood, Burch filled every square foot of intimidating formal space, including the ballroom, with pieces they found at estate sales and her already-existing collection of antique furniture. Without sacrificing the house’s original integrity, treasures like the Parisian wallpaper, old English furniture, and Indian cotton prints embrace each other, giving the house a warm cozy inviting feel. Outside, Burch had the pool pavilion and formal garden restored to its former glory with the pool house’s dining room set for lunch or afternoon tea. It doesn’t get much more prep than that.

    Be sure and check out the pictures of the ballroom in March Vogue’s full spread.

    Mar 8, 2012 | Permalink (12) View/Leave Comments

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 3/21/2012 at 6:40 PM:

    @Matthew—I’m just sharing the article.

    Matthew left a comment on 3/21/2012 at 6:23 PM:

    @FEC Sorry, I’m a little unclear- did you shoot this or just sharing the article?

    Chad left a comment on 3/13/2012 at 1:02 PM:

    I’ve always felt that someone should start a blog on “preppy” architecture and interior design. This only reaffirms my thoughts that it would make for great reading and beautiful visuals. Magnificent as always Castleberry and co.

    Vanessa @ Project Zen left a comment on 3/9/2012 at 9:44 PM:

    It looks SO picturesque.


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 3/9/2012 at 8:18 PM:

    @AEV—Moses Bension is an Unabashedly Prep contributor.

    Tad Allagash left a comment on 3/8/2012 at 9:27 PM:

    Lovely house, it’s unique in that one doesn’t see a lot of red brick/Georgian style architecture in Southampton….more of a Locust Valley look.

    AEV left a comment on 3/8/2012 at 3:37 PM:

    Who is Moses Bension?

    Makaga left a comment on 3/8/2012 at 3:25 PM:

    Thanks for letting us know about this photospread; great images.

    james left a comment on 3/8/2012 at 11:56 AM:

    Nice post. I’m a huge Tory fan… her clothes are great too.

    DBCC left a comment on 3/8/2012 at 11:30 AM:

    Great work, Fred.  My wife’s a huge Tory Burch fan…just bought her a another pair for Christmas.  Again, great read.

    Desmond K left a comment on 3/8/2012 at 9:31 AM:

    That garden is incredible…

    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 3/8/2012 at 9:14 AM:

    Surely this represents the American woman’s dream: beautiful house, exquisite interiors, formal garden, cute kids…and no man.


  • House of Shields

    Style | Culture  

    by Moses Y. Bension

    Architectural Digest’s new March issue takes an exclusive look inside Brooke Shields’ newly finished Greenwich Village townhouse designed by David Flint Wood. Wood borrowed elements from the very prep house he shares with model India Hicks in the Bahamas and from her father, the late great English designer David Hicks. The collection of portraits in the Shields family room (pretty prep), the four poster Anglo-Indian tester bed (classic prep), and the Shields’ Georgian-style kitchen chairs upholstered in Hermès orange leather (modern prep) are classic Hicks demonstrations of his elegant and polished style.

    It’s not all about Wood and Hicks though, and Shields incorporates a trove of remnants from the Upper East Side townhouse she shared with her mother as a child. Brooke’s words “richly textured” and “layered and resonant” don’t refer to the physical appearances so much as the experiences of her young daughters that imbue the house with a history truly making the place theirs. Shields reminisces about growing up “surrounded by clutter,” but she plans to raise her children in a home filled with a different sort of clutter: the sort made of memories.

    For a more detailed look at the jewel of modern prep that is the Shields’ townhouse, read more in March’s issue of Architectural Digest.

    Mar 2, 2012 | Permalink (8) View/Leave Comments

    Arnim left a comment on 3/4/2012 at 2:52 PM:

    I don’t know if I could live with so much grey, but it’s a beautiful home.  Thanks for posting this!

    Tito left a comment on 3/3/2012 at 8:42 AM:

    Wow I’ll die a happy men in a place like that!

    Kate left a comment on 3/2/2012 at 8:20 PM:

    Lovely decor.

    M Arthur left a comment on 3/2/2012 at 6:06 PM:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Brook on a JFK flight from LAX-JFK during her C Klein Jeans days.  She was a polite and approachable young lady.  Her continued success and good taste does not surprise me.  Bravo, good health to enjoy such a beautiful home Brook!

    Miss Margarita left a comment on 3/2/2012 at 3:53 PM:

    just perfect!

    Andy M. left a comment on 3/2/2012 at 1:42 PM:

    Perfect mix of modern and traditional.  I want to live here.

    Teddy left a comment on 3/2/2012 at 1:07 PM:

    We need more of this.

    Makaga left a comment on 3/2/2012 at 12:36 PM:

    Thanks for the headsup on this article.  Some great images and inspiration.


  • The Home Bar

    Culture | Prep Essentials  

    There is a saying, “If you’re lucky enough to live close to the water, then you’re lucky enough.” Consider yourself lucky enough when you find yourself in Lyford Cay—the gated community in the Bahamas considered one of the world’s richest and most exclusive neighborhoods. When members aren’t quenching their thirst with the club’s signature Rum Dum*—a mix of Light Bacardi Rum, lemon juice, simple syrup, water, raw egg white, and dark rum—they’re pouring their own favorites. Every Lyford Cay house boasts the one key ingredient to entertaining—the home bar. Whether atop a liquor tray or hidden neatly behind folding doors, it’s always discreet. Preppies don’t advertise their affinity for it but it’s always within arms reach.

    Pytchley Lodge home bar

    I’m here on a job for Quadrille, the WASPy fabric company which happens to cover the walls, windows, and pillows of every other Lyford Cay home. After settling into a pale pink cottage by the name of Pytchley Lodge (WASPs name their homes, don’t ya know), I pull back the doors to the charming bar and mix up my favorite warm weather drink, a Southside. It’s refreshing but don’t take my word for it. Mix it up for yourself.

    In a shaker, muddle a few mint leaves (don’t pulverize them). Then add ice, two shots of gin, three-quarters of an ounce of simple syrup, three-quarters of an ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice, and a few drops of Angostura bitters. Shake hard for a good ten seconds and strain into a glass, either up or on the rocks.

    *Since Lyford Cay Club bartender Wilfred Sands concocted it in 1971, it’s been a mainstay ever since.

    Jan 18, 2012 | Permalink (11) View/Leave Comments

    MS left a comment on 1/30/2012 at 1:52 PM:

    You forgot the cucumber, FEC! Not a Southside without ‘em.

    emjkmj left a comment on 1/28/2012 at 6:32 PM:

    I need to do this in my office!

    Amatourist left a comment on 1/28/2012 at 3:13 PM:

    you know the staff call it Lifeless Cay, and in some respects I can see why. but for house parties and the Little Club she tends to shutter down pretty early.  last time I was there, New Year 2009 I think, saw the sunrise on Captain’s Beach with rum in hand. so, you know, not always lifeless.

    JNN left a comment on 1/28/2012 at 2:58 PM:

    @cam @todd Jack is indeed not bourbon and place has nothing to do with it as you say. However, the “label” restriction is not true.

    Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey

    Stockton AndrewsII left a comment on 1/27/2012 at 7:05 PM:

    Very nicely done! I like the miniature figures in white tunics on the center shelf. Never drink alone!

    The preppies left a comment on 1/27/2012 at 4:59 AM:

    For some american fashion, visit my blog


    cam left a comment on 1/27/2012 at 12:54 AM:

    @tad - indeed bourbon can be made anywhere in the US as long as it follows the formula. that being said, only bourbon made in kentucky can use the word “bourbon” on the label. if you ask anyone from kentucky, which I so happen to be, it isn’t bourbon if it isn’t from kentucky

    Tad Allagash left a comment on 1/26/2012 at 11:45 PM:

    Nice bar, love all the mini portraits, like the ghosts of cocktails past.  @Bridey - Indeed Jack Daniels is not a bourbon, but being from Tennessee has nothing to do with it.

    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 1/26/2012 at 11:20 PM:

    Well said. There are loads of Preps hiding out in the Bahamas—some of them Loyalist descendants—drinking Gin and hunting sharks and grouper. Divine.

    Bridey left a comment on 1/26/2012 at 6:30 PM:

    Great pic, but I hope there’s a good bourbon hiding back there. Jack Daniels, of course, is from TN and does not count.

    y. l. hollander left a comment on 1/26/2012 at 6:07 PM:

    Loving the fact that the proprietor opts for call brand liquors and mixers. No need for fever-tree quinine or superduperpremium hooch—- just a good, solid drink.



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