• Saint James Sweater

    Style | Prep Essentials  

    “Hotchkiss and Yale man Gerald Murphy—artist, F. Scott Fitzgerald muse, and heir to Mark Cross—first discovered the jaunty appeal of the striped sailor top. Summering in Cap d’Antibes in 1923, he wore his Marseilles market find so well that soon such fellow beachcombers as Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel were sporting them, too. Then came devoted Americaphile the Duke of Windsor, who wore his even during his brief reign as king of England while yachting with soon-to-be-twice-divorced girlfriend Wallis in 1937. After World War Two, the striped top went through its rebellious phase, worn by the likes of Jean Seberg, Andy Warhol, and Joan Baez before settling down as favored prep unisex garment during the 1970s. Its next incarnation, embodying fashion with a capital F, came courtesy of Jean Paul Gualtier. With its navy-on-cream stripes, the iconic Breton fisherman’s sweater is as significant a part of the French clothing vocabulary as the beret.”

    —Caroline Rennolds Milbank, True Prep

    Saint James has been spinning some of the world’s finest knits out of their Normandy, France based factory since 1889, but they are best known for their authentic Breton stripe sweaters. Though they are offered in wool (best suited for the fall/winter), opt for cotton come summer; they are more akin to heavy weight knit tees and are perfect layered or alone.

    Jun 2, 2011 | Permalink (12) View/Leave Comments

    Rodellee left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 9:31 AM:

    Love this sweater, love the stripes. Classic, everyone should have one.

    john lexington left a comment on 6/3/2011 at 11:55 AM:

    love this!

    Kimberly Richardson left a comment on 6/3/2011 at 9:13 AM:

    Love the look!

    robdarko left a comment on 6/3/2011 at 8:52 AM:

    So Fla weather, this time of year, would make it impossible to wear a summer sweater.  So… is there an alternative, F.E.C.?

    DJ Joe Dubb left a comment on 6/3/2011 at 5:36 AM:

    One more piece to add to my list of “things to buy for my wife”. Awesome pic by the way.

    Kat left a comment on 6/3/2011 at 12:17 AM:

    A.  The sweater is perfect.  B. This shot might be my favorite I’ve seen on this site.  I love it.

    Straw Boater left a comment on 6/2/2011 at 11:47 PM:

    Nice touch with the Randolph Engineering aviators.  It looks great on girls, I wish more would wear them.

    Christian Bourasseau left a comment on 6/2/2011 at 11:43 PM:

    Great shot!

    Brad left a comment on 6/2/2011 at 6:16 PM:

    Nice pic!

    Brian left a comment on 6/2/2011 at 5:54 PM:

    I am wearing that sweater right now!  Fabulous!

    Paul Mitchell left a comment on 6/2/2011 at 2:52 PM:

    I own this sweater and it is great! Pretty girl, pretty beach, it all seems pretty perfect to me.

    Glenn Elliott left a comment on 6/2/2011 at 2:49 PM:



  • Benchmade Tassel Loafers

    Top Drawer | Prep Essentials  

    If you’ve ever met me, you wouldn’t take me for a guy who spends $800 on shoes. And you'd be right.  I drive a 25 year-old Bimmer, wear a $35 watch, and avoid ATM fees like synthetic fabrics.  Frugal?  You could say that.

    There is this pomp and circumstance about a benchmade tassel loafer that distinctly says, "I care."  Perhaps it's the ornamented aura they induce when you slip them on; or the Goodyear-welted construction and double leather sole; or the full calfskin lining for comfort and longevity (because let’s face it, I’ll rarely be wearing socks).  Maybe it's the fact that they're crafted with Chicago's Horween cordovan (arguably the best cordovan in the world today); or that they're kept on a shoe form far longer than today’s standard; or it could easily be the over 200 separate operations spanning eight weeks.

    Though the tassel silhouette’s emergence in the 1950s gave way to gradual acceptance by the East-coast prep culture, Crockett & Jones has been crafting shoes in Northampton since 1879. Now in its fifth generation, it remains a family business that also makes shoes, like these, for the likes of Ralph Lauren. These loafers just feel well made. Their grade is a thing of beauty. I'll typically walk a mile in another man's shoes in lieu of buying new; however, I fell in with these at a deal I just couldn’t walk away from.

    May 31, 2011 | Permalink (20) View/Leave Comments

    Jonas left a comment on 1/27/2013 at 5:12 PM:

    What is the 35$ watch you mention?

    Christopher Campbell left a comment on 6/23/2011 at 1:33 PM:

    Which White Buck Shoes do you recommend?

    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 11:21 AM:

    @BJP - Seconds, irregulars, and sales from ShoeMart.com.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 9:46 AM:

    @DAM—Alan Flusser once told me to wear socks...and though that didn’t stick, him tipping me off to splaying my tassels did.  I can’t wear them with the same conformity that those lawyers do, now can I? ;)

    @AEV—Thanks for sharing that NYT piece below.  That’s readership added value and beneficial too all for a laugh as well as a re-visitation to history.

    DAM left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 9:20 AM:

    Fred - what happened to your tassels? They look like the blown out end of a sawed off shot gun?

    AEV left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 9:05 AM:

    Great shoes Fred - glad to hear you picked them up at a discount as I never understood why some folks so willingly pay RL 30% more than they have to for items made by others and sold for less under the original label(s)...

    The below made me smile…mostly because of the utter hypocrisy…:

    The New York Times
    The Politicization of Tasseled Loafers
    November 03, 1993
    To say “tasseled loafer” in Washington is not just to describe a simple shoe, but to utter a political phrase, often part of an epithet.

    It is frequently connected to the word “lawyers,” as in those tasseled-loafered lawyers!, although no law degree is required to wear them. And despite its earlier image as the shoe of the postgraduate preppy, it is today a kind of everyman’s shoe, available in all price ranges.

    Nonetheless, the shoes have been deployed in recent years as metaphorical weapons in the nation’s political wars.

    When George Bush wanted to hurl a wounding barb during the last Presidential campaign, he complained that Bill Clinton was supported by “every lawyer that ever wore a tasseled loafer.”

    Mr. Bush may have had reason to believe the charge potent as he had himself once been the target of a tasseled-loafer insult. When he ran for President in 1980, he complained that Ronald Reagan had bested him in a debate in New Hampshire by using unfair tactics. One of Mr. Reagan’s aides retorted in a widely disseminated remark that those with Mr. Bush’s private-school pedigree were generic sore losers. “Those tasseled-loafer guys always cry foul when they lose,” the aide said.

    BJP left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 7:53 AM:

    @Laguna Beach Fogey Where are you scoring cheap Aldens?

    Joy left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 2:29 AM:

    I go to school there and haven’t even heard of it. What a shame and what have I been missing out on! Great rec and will try to seek it out.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 6:11 PM:

    @NMR—Did you not read the entire piece? I did not pick these up at retail.

    @GLG—At the moment I don’t care to pass down a watch to my sons…because it honestly wouldn’t survive me more than likely.  Watches, for the most part, are precious and dainty…I tend to scratch the crystal often.  And there’s just something unpretentious about a Timex Easy Reader.

    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 5:44 PM:


    As you know, FEC, tassel loafers are probably my favourite shoe, up there with brogues.

    A classic preppy shoe of California origins, tassel loafers tend to incite either scorn or fierce love.

    I’ve been wearing C&J for years, but am just as happy wearing cheap Alden and A&E tassel loafers.


    Tad Allagash left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 5:11 PM:

    Great shoes.  Those are some serious frat wings on the tassels, especially for a new pair.

    NMR left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 5:04 PM:

    $800?  You didn’t pick them up during the sale?

    Kelly left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 4:57 PM:

    @F.E.C Are you familiar with the film Love Story? It has some of the best preppy wardrobe on film everrrrr. thought you might enjoy.

    check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GetvJltxPHI

    PDXPrep left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 4:27 PM:

    Great looking shoes. I just recently purchased my first pair of Crockett & Jones (British Field Boots) while in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year (Check out Tassel’s if you ever make it over http://www.tassels.com.hk/en/index.php). I am now in search of a deal for my second pair.

    Great site, been reading for a year and a half now.

    GLG left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 4:03 PM:

    @F.E.C.  I also wear a watch that cost under $100 from Orvis - not a “Walmart watch” by any means, but also not a priceless instrument.  Most men who purchase expensive watches look forward to giving them to their children one day - an old watch makes a better gift than an old pair of shoes.

    Christian Bourasseau left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 1:39 PM:

    Beautiful loafers.

    The Boss left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 1:38 PM:

    Crockett & Jones make exceptional footwear. Great purchase!

    BJP left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 1:36 PM:

    Absolutely perfect.

    alessandra nitti left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 1:13 PM:

    this blog is incredible!

    Plain T-Shirt (Jace Lumley) left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 12:25 PM:

    Ironic, first time I saw a pair of these was 10 minutes earlier walking around downtown Pittsburgh, I thought “those are very nice shoes”, and here they are to reassure my decision.


  • Goldens

    Prep Essentials  

    "Having the right pet is as important as having the right polo shirt...it is allowed to contradict in its behavior every established rule and value of the prep household."

    —Lisa Birnbach, The Official Preppy Handbook

    Wonderfully good-natured, golden retrievers can always be praised for bringing the neighbor's newspapers to the breakfast table undamaged and scolded for digging huge holes in the rose garden.

    May 27, 2011 | Permalink (25) View/Leave Comments

    Derek left a comment on 9/28/2013 at 4:56 PM:

    Goldens are the best.  Had one growing up.  I used to ride him like a horse around the yard.  He was a natural duck dog too.  Took to birding without a bit of training.  I’ll get another one day.  Can’t go wrong with any retriever.

    Ann left a comment on 11/23/2011 at 8:40 AM:

    Just discovered your blog, so fun! I’ve noticed there is no standard dog, or even pet for the prep set. Some people like wolfhounds, mastiffs, afghans, poodles, great danes, some (like us because a friend at the polo club introduced us to how docile they are) like greyhounds, german shepherds, huskies (an old horse show friend introduced us to how friendly they are), jack russels, king charles, pugs, corgies or labs, etc. It is like horses, some people like TBs and some people like WBs and some prefer cobs, to each their own! And one old prep friend loves birds… we love our critters in all shapes, sizes and kinds! One old family friend kept 20 horses and 8 dogs and a chinchilla, well because she could! The dogs had their own caretaker and most of them were mutts she found on the streets throughout her travels and brought home…

    My Affair with Michael Bastian left a comment on 6/14/2011 at 1:39 AM:

    Awwwwwww…. http://affairwithmb.wordpress.com/

    DSB left a comment on 6/6/2011 at 10:11 PM:

    Golden Retrievers are nice but if you’re looking for a hypo-allergenic non-shedding dog then purchase a Goldendoodle. Great dogs. I have one and he is so sweet and well behaved.

    tammy left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 8:30 PM:

    I am the proud “mother” of a wonderful Golden Retriever.  He is smarter, kinder, and more polite than a lot of people.

    Justin K. left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 1:37 PM:

    My in-laws have two Goldes from when my wife was still in school.  One would bring you a towel when you walked in the door while the other would show you the toy he wasn’t going to let you have.  Our Rhodesian loves to chase them while they’re chasing a ball.

    OldGeorgetowner left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 11:13 AM:

    Phew, ok.  Thanks for clearing that up.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Goldens, Labs and all the preppy dog breeds but there is just something more prep. about rescuing a dog these days.  Maybe someday it would be nice to see the young preps adopting this cause.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 11:05 AM:

    @OldGeorgetowner—I don’t believe anyone here has indicated they are against adopting a recuse golden or lab.

    OldGeorgetowner left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 11:00 AM:

    I’m so confused.  ‘80’s prep advice about dogs still holds true yet ‘80’s prep advice on how to dress is old and frumpy.  I thought some might choose adopting a rescue golden or a rescue lab.

    trailer trad left a comment on 5/29/2011 at 6:14 PM:

    Growing up, I had a Golden named Alex. He was snarky, ill-tempered and cowardly. KIDDING! He was great.

    Suzy left a comment on 5/29/2011 at 4:25 PM:

    Hiya im from the uk and been following your blog for a while now, i think its awesome and it gives me inspiration. I have one small request and was wondering if you would please consider, i have recently had a baby boy hes 4 months old. I love the preppy style and im obsessed with get him preppy outfits, i definately would love him to dress and cant wait to buy him a a rugby herringbone jacket! However i do need inspiration and i was wondering have you considered doing a preppy kids style section? Would be awesome if you could do something like that!

    Aldana left a comment on 5/29/2011 at 2:59 PM:

    That’s a beautiful dog (the one i want to get)... and the boots look so cute.  :)

    SKIP left a comment on 5/28/2011 at 10:02 AM:

    If only most people had the great disposition that Goldens have. They always make me smile. Great pic.

    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 5/28/2011 at 9:20 AM:


    My tortoise, Digby, was also good-natured, though he could be a bit annoyingly selfish at times.

    He could always be counted on to hog the chaise lounge catching the summer rays.

    I scolded him when he ate his lettuce and veggies too fast.

    NPHAF left a comment on 5/28/2011 at 5:13 AM:

    Dog looks great, too bad I’m allergic.

    G.S.O left a comment on 5/27/2011 at 9:56 PM:

    Gun dogs are the best.
    I have a Hungarian Visla

    Also tiny handbag-dogs are not prep.

    Natalie J. left a comment on 5/27/2011 at 9:44 PM:

    What a beautiful dog! I love the location of the white on the face - precious.

    Christian Bourasseau left a comment on 5/27/2011 at 7:06 PM:


    Andrea left a comment on 5/27/2011 at 6:21 PM:

    I LOVE this picture / post. Thank you for putting this up. . .  can’t get enough of goldens.

    Tyler P. left a comment on 5/27/2011 at 6:15 PM:

    I have a golden. She’s really fat and has a thyroid problem, but I still love her.

    DJ Joe Dubb left a comment on 5/27/2011 at 5:47 PM:

    Having one of these beautiful dogs is a MAJOR part of why I’m excited to leave apartment life for home ownership!

    NWR left a comment on 5/27/2011 at 5:08 PM:

    Somewhat similar to an article in the latest GQ.

    KGC left a comment on 5/27/2011 at 4:55 PM:

    I am a sucker for dogs. Love them.

    Holt left a comment on 5/27/2011 at 4:00 PM:

    I must say, that is a beautiful golden! Someone is a lucky owner. :)

    Campbell left a comment on 5/27/2011 at 3:50 PM:

    Four Goldens later, I’m still smitten.


  • Taking the Jump

    Prep Essentials  

    Ancestry, pedigree, the family tree—the muses behind the adornment lining the walls and corridors of any preppy’s house. It’s not simply art, but more importantly it is history—your lineage. The oil on canvas portrait of great grandfather hanging in the hallway reminds you of where you came from. Never mind he is a complete stranger to your children, cultivating cognizance of your family tree, no matter how idiosyncratic, is fundamental in remaining grounded. After all, it is nice to know where, rather who, the silver came from. But nothing says “cultured” like oil on canvas paintings of your ancestors’ equestrian pursuits.

    "Taking the Jump" by Samuel Alken, Jr.

    Mar 4, 2011 | Permalink (4) View/Leave Comments

    Kenneth left a comment on 3/8/2011 at 11:16 AM:

    As a southern gent my wife and I have managed to accumulate a fairly decent collection of ‘folk” art as well as some oil paintings from street artist in Europe. These paintings speak about who we are and where we have been. It doesn’t take a lot of money to treat your walls and your eyes kindly. There are art shows year round in every city with affordable art. It’s not snobbery it’s simply having the class to bother. walls. Same with your house as with your clothes, nobody cares whether they came from ebay or the thrift as long as the effort is there.


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 3/7/2011 at 8:28 PM:

    @H.K. Rahman—Find a way to make it your own while still accumulating pieces that you like.  The key is to allow your walls, art and photos to share with visitors who you are.

    H.K. Rahman left a comment on 3/7/2011 at 8:10 PM:

    What about all of us who weren’t born white and privileged?

    styleomnibus left a comment on 3/7/2011 at 4:55 PM:

    I respectfully disagree.  There is, in my view, nothing more regal and singularly distinguishing than the portrait of a distant ancestor.  It is the surest mark of an exceptional pedigree.  It is a shame that I won’t come into them until my parents pass! 



  • The Ivy Look

    Music & Books | Prep Essentials  

    JP Gaul has long had a fascination with American clothing styles of the 1950s and 1960s. Together with Graham Marsh, they have collectively pulled together an entirely personal edit of what they consider to be quintessential Ivy in The Ivy Look. Gaul and Marsh approach the era through the personal lens of cinema, advertising and modern jazz. Filled with vintage advertisements, black and white photographs of the Kennedy brothers, Hoffman and McQueen, the paperback digs deep in the archives to produce a comprehensive guide to the genuine article. The right shoes, shirts and jackets, it’s all laid out for the curious dilettante and Ivy fiend alike.

    Though The Ivy Look is equal parts reference manual and cultural history book of the clothing and accessories that dominated the American male dress code from 1955 to 1965, by far the most enriching thing I gleaned from The Ivy Look is my new-found appreciation for jazz music. I have since been spinning Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong after already enjoying modern acts Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and Raphael Saadiq.

    Feb 10, 2011 | Permalink (6) View/Leave Comments

    JOE MORGAN left a comment on 11/29/2013 at 8:50 PM:

    Love the blog!  Can you please tell me what kind of penny loafers you have in the photo with actual pennies inserted in them.  I am trying to guess, but doubting myself.  I am sure they are not Alden shell cordovans, but maybe Alden calf??  (not the original Bass Weejun for sure since I love shoes and can tell just at a glance they are too “sturdy” and thick for a Bass.  They also look like a true Goodyear welt.)  Sure, they could be an older Edmond or some other brand, I am just very curious.  Thanks!

    Paul Kim left a comment on 3/19/2011 at 5:59 PM:

    Fred, would love to get your take on classic books for preps.  like the stuff we read in prep school.  the great gatsby comes to mind as a quintessential prep book.

    khordkutta left a comment on 2/11/2011 at 10:04 PM:

    FEC you are full of suprises, Saadiq and Dap Kings huh?  Major Props!

    Kionon left a comment on 2/11/2011 at 9:15 PM:

    I’m afraid I’m with Christian of Ivy Style on this one. You’ve read his take on it by now, so I won’t reiterate what he has summed up so well.

    But yeah, nice pictures.

    Christy left a comment on 2/11/2011 at 5:10 PM:

    Received this book at Christmas from Mr. Hudgins. Pocket-sized. Great vintage ads. For the Reference Library.

    Hannah B. left a comment on 2/11/2011 at 4:33 PM:

    Oh, I’m going to have to get this book! Husband & I are married today because of Ella Fitzgerald! Don’t you just love that era when more than 25% of the population tried to look & live stylishly?


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