• Chinese Ginger Jars

    Style | Prep Essentials  

    Porcelain ginger jars, a longstanding favorite amongst interior designers, are rich in centuries of Chinese history and culture, dating as far back as the Qin Dynasty (221 BC—207 BC). The hand-painted jars were long used for storing rare spices such as salt, herbs, and ginger (hence the name). In the 17th century, the British began exporting these porcelain wares and called them “china.” Showcasing these pieces in one’s home during this time came to symbolize wealth, sophistication, and travel. Today, designers are often creating an elevated high/low approach with these beautiful blue-and-white pieces.

    The key is to not be too precious with them. Make them functional. Convert them into lamps or flower pots. Here, I store my croquet set in a large 20” jar but your umbrellas could be just as fitting. My friend Mariah, the equine lover behind Quite Continental, displays polo mallets in hers. The floral patterns and bulbous hand-painted body introduce a subtle femininity to a room. Larger antique Chinese porcelain ginger jars can still be found for upwards of $600; however, they will typically show heavy signs of wear and tear and are often very fragile. New reproductions, ideal for decorating and re-purposing, can be had for a fraction of the cost at shops like Etsy and Pearl River. It’s about the mix—Chinese ginger jars with Persian rugs with mid-century modern Bertoia chairs.

    Sep 27, 2013 | Permalink (11) View/Leave Comments

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/5/2013 at 12:17 PM:

    @Chase—I’m currently in a three bedroom apartment.

    Chase left a comment on 11/5/2013 at 12:11 PM:

    Are you in a studio apartment in South Slope?

    Margaret left a comment on 11/5/2013 at 10:46 AM:

    I’ve been away from this site for a few months - any update on the online retail shop? coffee table rowing book? etc.?

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/5/2013 at 10:44 AM:

    @James—If you’d like to continue this conversation, just email me.

    James left a comment on 11/5/2013 at 10:43 AM:

    You’ve had one up until recently, yes?

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/5/2013 at 10:41 AM:

    @James—I could be open to the possibility.

    James left a comment on 11/5/2013 at 10:39 AM:

    Are you looking for a roommate?

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/5/2013 at 10:27 AM:

    @James—At the moment, yes.

    James left a comment on 11/5/2013 at 10:22 AM:

    Do you live by yourself?

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/4/2013 at 4:16 PM:

    @Grace—Only a year or so. There is a club that plays in Central Park every summer.

    Grace left a comment on 11/4/2013 at 4:11 PM:

    How long have you played croquet?


  • Lobster Rolls

    Food & Drink | Prep Essentials  

    It’s finally reeking of summer in New York. That’s right, I’m talking about the subways. But there is a silver lining—lobster rolls. Of preppy summer fare, there are few greater and none more satisfying. The best are teeming with fresh lobster and served up in cardboard trays and wax paper. Rebecca and I rolled up to the food truck laager in the Flatiron District last night to usher in the season of leisureliness properly.

    Connecticut style (right) and Maine style (left) lobster rolls ($16)

    Red Hook Lobster Pound specializes in fresh catch lobster. Susan Povich and Ralph Gorham, who founded the seat-of-your-pants operation in 2008, drive up the coast of Maine several times a week to round up their crustaceans. They serve up rolls in Maine (chilled lobster, celery, house mayo, light spices) and Connecticut style (warm lobster drunk on butter). In a moment of indecision I order both. Nine minutes later, no regrets. It is easily one of the best lobster rolls in New York (and I’ve had Lunch before).

    May 10, 2013 | Permalink (2) View/Leave Comments

    kim left a comment on 6/6/2013 at 5:35 PM:

    So which style did you prefer? :) They looked the same from the photo.


    NJGlenn left a comment on 5/20/2013 at 7:21 AM:

    Yes please.  This is the perfect summer meal.


  • The History of Boast

    Prep Essentials  

    Nantucket doesn't let you sleep in. At least not in Siasconset. The Sun rises at a quarter past five over the eastern bluff the sleepy village teeters on (one house has already tumbled down the eroding cliff with a handful more sure to follow). Let there be no mistake, I'm of the ilk that enjoys Nantucket by way of work, not exclusively by way of play. But such are most of my travels. I'm hardly interested in jetting off anywhere unless it involves a business write-off.

    I pop into Murray's Toggery Shop, the birthplace of Nantucket Reds, to pass some time before my buddy Jon Terbell and I begin building out his summer pop-up shop, One Orange. It's what one would expect from a small town sportswear clothier. But after I wander into the back room (where there is everything you could ever imagine in Nantucket Red) I notice a small stash of Boast piqué polos hanging in the corner. While certainly a fan of the brand, their fit left a little to be desired since I last pulled on the "Japanese Maple Leaf" a couple years ago. Rumor had it Boast revisited their polo's fit* recently and I secretly hoped it to be true. The arm holes are higher, the body sits closer to the torso while the tennis tail hits at just the right part of your backside. I happily left with one in Carolina Blue. Back in play, as they say.

    Never heard of Boast? Enjoy this animated abridged history of the irreverent squash inspired sportswear company to get up to speed.

    *It would seem as if Boast embraced vanity sizing as where I was once a medium, I now wear their small (I'm 5'11", 175lbs)

    May 8, 2013 | Permalink (3) View/Leave Comments

    T2 left a comment on 5/16/2013 at 10:18 PM:

    You learn something everyday.  Thanks Fred.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 5/16/2013 at 9:33 PM:

    @T2—For what it’s worth, the very name “Boast” is taken from a squash shot played to the front wall via a side wall or the back wall.

    T2 left a comment on 5/16/2013 at 8:03 PM:

    While the Yale squash team and other squash players might have wore Boast, Bill St. John is an avid tennis player.  Taking into account that Rene Lacoste designed this type of shirt, I would say that it is a tennis inspired company.  I know that this is a minor point; however, it seems more correct.  It’s nice to see some coverage for a fairly under the radar company.


  • 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.


  • A Jacket for Life

    Prep Essentials  

    When it comes to coats, there is Barbour…and there is everything else. From the moment the olive waxed cotton hugs your frame and the corduroy collar kisses the nape of your neck, an enigmatic bond is formed not unheard of to span three decades. A recent documentary, A Jacket for Life, showcases the 30-year love affairs several Barbour owners have with their jackets—revealing why those relationships last longer than many marriages.

    It also pulls back the curtain of a customer service center where beat-to-hell, but still stylish coats are emitted for repairs. Each garment is meticulously repaired by one Barbour machinist who does all the work needed to restore the coat to its former glory. Don't get too attached though, you'll likely be sharing it once you have teenagers.

    Jul 31, 2012 | Permalink (12) View/Leave Comments

    Gunnar left a comment on 1/15/2013 at 3:12 AM:

    Just bought a brand new Barbour Beaufort for 133 pounds.. Best buy of my life!

    Grace left a comment on 8/10/2012 at 2:25 PM:

    Ironic timing since I’m currently saving my teenage minimum wages and allowance for one! They’re just so perfect, though.

    Jan left a comment on 8/10/2012 at 8:05 AM:

    Lovely for us to read your comments and know you like our film.  Read our diary about the film-making process if you want to find out more http://jancawood.wordpress.com/

    PSP left a comment on 8/10/2012 at 12:25 AM:

    Hi ZRA,
    I would recommend the Beaufort.  It is not too long.  I have had mine since 1990.  Barbour makes a removable zip in liner which I would recommend.  It makes the coat suitable for both winter and fall.

    Joe left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 10:53 AM:

    I have a 20 year old Beaufort that is a Ducks Unlimited editon, priceless…Best investment ever in clothing, all 4 of mine are good to go.  Best repair service in the civlized world.

    ZRA left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 10:32 AM:

    Which model would you recommend for gentlemen? I can’t seem to decide which one I’d like the most, and I’m interested in your opinion.


    Kristen Sayan left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 10:24 AM:

    I got my first Barbour when I was 18 and it was used as intended-for riding and foxhunting in foul weather. Now, more than 20 years later, I have added a new Barbour for “fashion,” though my old one accompanies me to the barn on rainy mornings.  For riders, the arms are the first thing to wear out. I have had full arm patches put on mine.

    Tobias left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 8:31 AM:

    My 20 + yr old Bedale is in the “shop” being re-waxed as we speak.

    Josh left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 8:20 AM:

    I grew up with Barbour jackets. At school, they were not considered cool, but I still love the smell of a damp Barbour hanging up, drying out.
    They really are a great brand, and not worth going with any imitation.
    They are also guaranteed for life. When the wax starts to wear out, you can just send it back to them and they’ll rewax it. Now that’s customer service


    NJGlenn left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 8:14 AM:

    Excellent! I got my first Barbour back in 95’ (Border, needed the length for commuting to NYC in a suit). Now that this one is nicely broken in, I just picked up a NWOT Beufort on ebay for a fraction of what I paid new 17 years ago.

    Glenn left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 8:05 AM:

    Brilliant video! I’ve owned a Barbour since the early 80s it so true about the Barbour Jacket! Worth the investment!

    Kionon left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 2:05 AM:

    The essence of prep is clothing that works and clothing that lasts. Barbour does both.


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