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When The Official Preppy Handbook hit the shelves in 1980, the east coast American sub culture had flourished long enough, and aroused enough curiosity, to commence poking fun at it. For those familiar, it was such a hit that is spawned a sequel of sorts some 30 years later. On the heels of the The Official Preppy Handbook's popularity, England turned out a handbook of their own in 1982, The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook. The approach feels familiar, riffing on its predecessor down to the title itself. While hard to find, I serendipitously came across a copy in New York while vintage shopping.
What is a Sloane, you ask? The moniker refers to a stereotype in the UK of the young, upper class, or upper-middle-class who share distinctive and common lifestyle traits not all too different from American preppies. The exemplar female Sloane Ranger was considered to be Lady Diana Spencer before marrying The Prince of Wales. These fun illustrations (click them instead of pulling out your glasses) of the various Sloane uniforms from the book highlight the nuances of dressing the part. It’s all quite humorous...yet simultaneously quite serious.
It has been said that almost all of menswear has been mined from the sartorial-rich soil of war and sport. American Fashion Menswear, an Assouline book by Robert E. Bryan, vividly illustrates this claim. It is the latest addition to my coffee table. The book chronicles the past century of men’s style by way of a septenary arrangement: Utility, the Ivy Road, Sportswear, the American Suit, the Dandy, Hollywood, and Music. Bryan aims to prove that American men’s wear is more influential and significant than American women’s wear. “The things the U.S. is known for in fashion are men’s—jeans, Western gear, work wear, great outdoors clothing. Ivy League style is essentially about men, and rock style revolves around men, too,” Bryan notes. Pick up your own copy but ditch the dust jacket—the sartorial-rich turf of football is a much more effective conversation starter.
Vampire Weekend just dropped their first single, cleverly named "Diane Young," from their forthcoming album Modern Vampires of the City. Let's enjoy and watch a car burn, together.
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I'm eager to sink my teeth into this come May 7th.