• Century 21 Blogger Project

    Style | Dress Code  

    I love seeing what my friends are up to. You'd think that since moving up to New York I'd have more time to do so but the city has a way of overbooking your calendar. It was last fall that I introduced my good buddy Ali in his Brooklyn loft space chock full of vintage clothing (in fact, his vintage Ralph Lauren collection is currently being featured on the Ralph Lauren Vintage website). Recently, Ali and I headed across the Hudson to Century 21 in Paramus, New Jersey to check out some installations he created for the men's floor. I typically don't frequent department stores but I couldn't believe the prices Century 21 was asking for these designer duds. Is this the tri-state's best kept secret?

    As he walked me through his "preppy" installation I thought it'd be fun to pull together a fall look on the cheap. In the end, I saved $578 off retail*.

    Photographed in Brooklyn, NY

    • Shades of Grey wool tweed blazer (suggested retail: $216, Century 21: $80)
    • Jack Spade Oxford cloth button down (suggested retail: $135, Century 21: $67)
    • Ralph Lauren tie (suggested retail: $115, Century 21: $25)
    • Psycho Bunny cable knit sweater (suggested retail: $195, Century 21: $70)
    • Ralph Lauren scarf (suggested retail: $52, Century 21: $30)
    • Jack Spade corduroy trousers (suggested retail: $225, Century 21: $115)
    • Adidas trainers (suggested retail: $65, Century 21: $38)

    *courtesy of Century 21

    Nov 6, 2012 | Permalink (14) View/Leave Comments

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/26/2012 at 5:17 PM:

    @C—I would certainly encourage you to pick up a university stripe scarf in your school colors…SUNY school or otherwise.

    @John E.—I wear the Nike Killshot and it’s quite simple as well.

    C left a comment on 11/26/2012 at 4:54 PM:

    Nice scarf Castleberry! Is it still prep to get a scarf in your school colors if you come from a SUNY school or something boring?

    John E. left a comment on 11/26/2012 at 3:48 PM:

    Nice look. I agree on today’s sneakers—mostly too garish to wear. I’m an active tennis player, and I wear Nike City Court VI shoes. They’re plain white with a modest black swoosh, and they go perfectly with the rest of my whites.

    Oh, and Fred, no need to go all the way to Paramus for your Century 21 fix unless you need to be in New Jersey for something else. Go to the original location, across from the World Trade Center.

    J.Miller left a comment on 11/24/2012 at 6:46 PM:

    I remember several years ago on a visit to NYC, a friend suggested this store. I thought he was pulling my leg because Century 21 is a real estate company. But i found it downtown new york with great deals on suits.

    John left a comment on 11/24/2012 at 10:03 AM:

    At last a look I can reasonably afford!

    Elizabeth left a comment on 11/24/2012 at 8:07 AM:

    N ice. I hope the women’s clothing is of similar bent!

    Mike left a comment on 11/22/2012 at 9:05 PM:

    F.E.  I think Harris was looking for a different answer than what you provided.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/21/2012 at 6:25 PM:

    @Harris—Does there need to be any other explanation about the minimally designed trainers other than the fact that I like them? This entire blog is built upon that premise—things I like.

    @Saturday—Century 21 is the kind of place you need to shop in the store and explore/dig. This is definitely not an online shopping experience.

    Harris left a comment on 11/21/2012 at 4:53 PM:

    @emj—I’m in agreement, classic sneakers are better looking than most news ones and are great with shorts/a casual outfit.

    emjkmj left a comment on 11/21/2012 at 4:43 PM:


    I would assume that people like retro sneakers because they don’t want to look like they’re wearing something from a sci-fi flick.  Have you been to a champs or foot locker lately?  Hideous! I have been wearing Rod lavers and Stan Smiths since high school, and don’t ever plan to stop…

    Harris left a comment on 11/21/2012 at 4:36 PM:

    what’s with all the retro-y sneakers?

    Saturdays left a comment on 11/21/2012 at 4:11 PM:

    Unfortunately, their website isn’t as well stocked as the brick and mortar store is.

    Great tidbit nonetheless.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/21/2012 at 10:07 AM:

    @Davis—They are an Adidas Originals trainer…the specific model name I am unaware of.

    Davis left a comment on 11/21/2012 at 10:04 AM:

    Exactly what kind of Adidas trainers are those? They look superb with the pants.


  • 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 Cricket Blazer


    Blazers, once commonly worn playing or attending traditional 'gentlemen's sports', persist in only some games now, such as cricket, where in professional matches it is considered customary for the captain to wear a blazer with the team's logo or national coat of arms on the breast pocket (at least during the coin toss at the beginning of the match). Those of the striped variety became popular among British mods in the mid 60s and again during the mod revival of the 70s. The likes of The Who's Pete Townsend, Small Faces, and The Kinks were just a few of the bands partying in the cricket blazer. It was really only a matter of time before it found its way into our own American sportswear vernacular.

    Over the past year I have been photographing piped and striped boating blazers from the Ivy League to The Netherlands and have seriously been entertaining the jacket as a fashion piece. Although I have a couple cricket blazers buried deep in the recesses of my closet, I was somewhat uninspired to wear them until I ran across this photograph of Izzie Burch, Tory Burch’s step-daughter. Then it just clicked—maybe it is just about the contrasting tonal shirt/tie pairing, a washed jean, and a Prince Albert slipper?

    Aug 21, 2012 | Permalink (9) View/Leave Comments

    Joey Dee left a comment on 10/22/2012 at 1:08 PM:

    The whole set up is lovely.
    I have been desiring a schoolboy jacket for some time now, i like how hers has peak lapels.

    Mel left a comment on 9/20/2012 at 4:04 PM:

    dying to know who made her shoes…..

    Hope @ Fairhope Supply Co. left a comment on 9/10/2012 at 9:27 AM:

    I don’t like blazers that are too tight or too loose.  This one looks about right.

    DBL left a comment on 9/5/2012 at 3:12 PM:

    Cricket and boating blazers are wonderful things. But to say there’s a high degree of difficulty for men is an understatement.

    Tim left a comment on 9/4/2012 at 7:10 PM:

    I love this style jacket, and as good as it looks on this girl, I can’t help but wonder if it would look good on a young guy.  Any thoughts?  Also, where would one be able to find that style jacket?


    Whitney Worthington left a comment on 9/4/2012 at 12:36 PM:

    I love the cricket blazer. The fun color just adds a nice punch when an outfit needs it. So classic and Ivy-ish.

    Caron left a comment on 9/4/2012 at 11:31 AM:

    Great post, Fred.  I love, love love cricket and schoolboy blazers on both men and women.! It takes a certain type of man to wear them but most definitely the jackets need a modern spin by pairing with distressed jeans.  Anything else would be too precious, uptight and literal.  In 2009 (where has the time gone?), I blogged about the schoolboy/cricket blazer and I am still obsessed.  The jackets I posted were from Balenciaga’s 2007 AW collection.  Unlike a passing fad, I think the jackets look just as good today as they did in 1907, 2007 and on…

    Harry left a comment on 9/4/2012 at 9:55 AM:

    I feel women - esp the daughters of designers - can get away with all sorts of stuff men can’t….including this type of blazer and leather, leather soled loafers which are loosely styled after men’s formal slippers.

    Desmond K left a comment on 9/4/2012 at 8:43 AM:

    I’ve never owned a cricket striped blazer. Maybe just a little too loud for my taste. However, I feel like I would be willing to make an exception and wear it to the polo grounds. I’m a firm beliver that every garment has its place where it would be best received. And I agree that the tonal shirt/tie combo helps keep things from looking too busy.

    Chinos & Cheesecake


  • Wardrobe XIII

    Style | Dress Code  

    Last weekend, a group of friends and I packed up the car (last minute) and headed south to Firefly music festival despite the wet forecast. My vintage Mighty Mac was one of the few things I grabbed while running out the door. Originally based out of Gloucester, Massachusetts, Mighty-Mac was a popular sportswear brand up until the late '80s, known for making stylish and functional clothing for boating. Despite closing up shop around 1989-1990, 35 summers of Japan recently acquired the rights to the name and are now recreating the same jackets that were made decades ago in its original quality. I picked up my late 80s model gently used and then had it tailored in all the right spots. Notwithstanding the rain, The Killers did put on the best show I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing and I stayed plenty dry.

    1. FujiFilm X-Pro1 rangefinder camera
    2. Mighty Mac of Gloucester jacket
    3. Ralph Lauren whale embroidered chino short
    4. vintage Omega Seamaster wristwatch with Rugby nylon watch band

    Aug 7, 2012 | Permalink (8) View/Leave Comments

    PSP left a comment on 9/6/2012 at 10:00 PM:

    Great pick on the Might Mac jacket.  Do you know where I can find one?

    Kingston left a comment on 8/29/2012 at 7:52 PM:

    The Gold, Silver and Bronze of Prep: Stylin’ - Prep & Maiden http://www.prepandmaiden.com/articles-1/stylin/

    PSP left a comment on 8/22/2012 at 9:21 PM:

    FEC I purchased the blue and white J Press band really liked it for Summer.  FYI for fans of the Vintage Seamaster there are currently a few up for auction on Liveauctioneers.

    mike left a comment on 8/18/2012 at 4:16 PM:

    Is it possible that you might model the Mighty-Mac for a future post. I’d love to see what it looks like.

    S/Amatourist left a comment on 8/15/2012 at 5:00 PM:

    like the watchband. just got one - almost identical - from J Press in DC earlier this summer. ran into the speaker of the Texas House while there. love it when time and place just come together. i was wondering… how do you shoot your gear? light box? i’ve struggled like hell with mine… everything washes out on white bg, though i think i’ll give colored paper a shot. ~SAM

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 8/15/2012 at 4:17 PM:

    @Tom—There wasn’t exactly a tropical storm during Firefly, so yes, my jacket kept me dry.

    @Desmond K—I was in my leather boat shoes all weekend.

    Tom left a comment on 8/15/2012 at 8:08 AM:

    A 25 year old cotton pullover jacket was waterproof?

    Desmond K left a comment on 8/15/2012 at 7:54 AM:

    Eternally jealous of u. The killers have been one of my favorites for a while. Out of curiosity, what kind of footwear did u pack in preparation for the rainy weather?

    Chinos & Cheesecake


  • Tickled Pink

    Style | Dress Code  

    Sara Kerens, a budding fashion photographer and friend of mine, recently shot a few frames of me for her blog series "People I Know." It's quickly becoming a collection of friends in her life doing what she finds to be interesting things. I am honored to be photographed by her and hope that through this interview, you might stumble upon a thing or two about me you didn’t know before.

    Photographed in New York, NY by Sara Kerens

    What inspired you to start Unabashedly Prep?

    I was thumbing through a Teen Vogue issue (January 2009) and stopped at an article about a teen shoe blogger. Straight strawberry blonde hair framed these youthful milky-skinned cheek bones—she'd just been awarded the opportunity to design a capsule shoe collection for Urban Outfitters. She was only 17 and publishing her wildly popular style blog out of my backyard (Dallas). All I could think was, "Why am I not doing this?"  It was inspiring. Seventeen seconds later I was brainstorming what would later become Unabashedly Prep.

    What men's brands and styles have influenced your own taste?

    While most Americans possessed, at the very least, an ambient awareness of Polo by Ralph Lauren in the early 90s, I wasn't wearing it. I loved the sensibility but the fit wasn't what I wanted. There was this baggy thing going on at the time—all the kids were practically drowning in their clothes. What did fit was Abercrombie & Fitch. I remember meticulously pouring over the first ever A&F Quarterly and seeing a pair of slim denim with a slight taper that actually fit properly. I thought, "That's it. That looks great." I grabbed my mom, flipped on the charm (hey, somebody had to pay for the Shetland sweaters, chinos, and oxfords I was feverishly circling in the catalogue), and we were off to the nearest A&F shop 40 miles away. The next day at school classmates stared at me like I was sleepwalking the halls naked. I couldn't care less because it didn't feel juvenile...it felt cool. I was 15 at the time.

    Eventually, Abercrombie & Fitch mutated into the sex-peddling, logo-flinging jeans and T-shirt monstrosity you see today—a brittle shell of its former nouveau-prep glory. They lost me when they quit designing sport coats, sweater vests, and ties. When Ralph Lauren introduced Rugby in 2004, a line with the silhouettes and sensibilities of a younger guy, I started pulling their new takes on old classics into my wardrobe.

    Three years later, I met Sid Mashburn when I interviewed him for Unabashedly Prep. It was then that I began to appreciate the beauty of a "uniform." There is an ease about a great jean, an English bench-made shoe, a dress shirt, tie, and blazer that still looks put together.

    Check out the rest of her interview with me accompanied by additional images over at her blog.

    • Randolph Engineering aviator sunglasses
    Ralph Lauren cashmere cable knit sweater
    Rugby white denim
    • vintage Omega Seamaster wrist watch
    • Smart Turnout nylon watch strap
    • brown Alden snaffle bit loafers (not pictured)

    Jun 12, 2012 | Permalink (6) View/Leave Comments

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 12:32 AM:

    @Alice—No worries at all. Glad to hear that you’re enjoying the site. For the record, I was subscribing to Teen Vogue at the time because Bruce Weber was shooting for them, often. His work still serves as a huge inspiration for me.

    Alice left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 12:15 AM:

    Oh shoot!

    I forgot two quick things in my super long comment.

    1. I love your comment box! It’s so cute and a nice throwback to the days of paper and pens. Those were the good ol’ days.

    2. Sorry for commenting on such an old post! It may seem a little creepy so my apologies!

    The Ace of Hearts

    Alice left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 12:13 AM:

    Hello hello F.E. (if I may call you that)!

    I came across your blog a while back and absolutely loved the idea of it!
    However, today is my first time commenting so I was trying to find something special to share my insight on.
    I originally was planning on commenting on your newest post (about Barbour coats) but I somehow landed on this page.

    First, oooh I know who you’re talking about! Jane from Sea of Shoes! I love that she’s from Dallas since that’s where I grew up. It’s pretty cool that you’re from near there too! :)
    Wait…you’re a 27 year old man reading Teen Vogue? Okay. I’m not judging! It’s a free country and everyone does strange stuff!
    Oh Abercrombie&Fitch;...what happened?
    My older brother used to work at A&F and I remembered loving the clothes there. Then, as I got older, I realized that all they did was sell sex. Tight shirts, short skirts, A. Fitch written on anything. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve owned anything from there in a while. It feels nice being able to say that.

    Anyways, before I ramble on and on anymore, I just want to say that your blog is awesome! Even though it isn’t really like the other blogs that I currently read, it’s very inspirational and full of lots of pretty clothes and pretty people.

    Awesome sweater here by the way! It’s such a happy color and so vibrant!

    Have a lovely day! :)

    The Ace of Hearts

    P.S. This is totally random but I feel like you would get along really well with my older brother. He seems to have the same taste as you (and a bajillion other people in the world I suppose).

    PSP left a comment on 7/17/2012 at 5:03 PM:

    FEC, you should consider posting the back of the Omega Seamaster, very cool.  Also if you need to remove scratches from the crystal headlight restorer works pretty well.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/10/2012 at 12:09 PM:

    @Thomas—As a photographer, Bruce Weber is one of my chief photographic influences and often shoots for Teen Vogue. That’s why I had a subscription…for the tears.

    Thomas left a comment on 7/10/2012 at 10:08 AM:

    What is a 27 year old man doing reading Teen Vogue?


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