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Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style Hardcover – October 4, 2011


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Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style + Take Ivy + The Ivy Look: Classic American Clothing - An Illustrated Pocket Guide
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli; y First printing edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847836614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847836611
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...first definitive and in-depth volume on preppy fashion, exploring its evolution from its pragmatic origins and presence on elite Eastern campuses in America to its profound influence internationally and metamorphosis on the runway..." ~Habitually Chic

About the Author

Jeffrey Banks is a Coty Award-winning designer of men’s and women’s apparel. Doria de La Chapelle is a freelance writer who is coauthor of Tartan: Romancing the Plaid. She has written on fashion, beauty, and style for Mademoiselle magazine and other publications. Fifty years ago, Lilly Pulitzer created a perennial preppy icon with a simple bright-colored cotton shift. Her company has blossomed into menswear, children’s wear, and accessories for the home.

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Customer Reviews

I believe the first review above is a 5 star review, but the book a 2.
M Arthur
Our authors don't seem to know or care: as the subtitle shows, they regard them as synonyms.
Andrew S. Rogers
This is about style, not a social class, so the disjointed thesis was tedious.
DecandentBookman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 57 people found the following review helpful By DecandentBookman on October 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found "Preppy" to be profoundly disappointing. As I have most of the "Preppy Genre" sitting on my shelves already, I noticed right away that this book, lovely though the photos may be, is a splashy mix of every other attempt to capture the preppy style. There were many moments when I thought I was actually reading other books on the subject that I bought years ago. "Jocks and Nerds," another Rizolli style book from twenty years ago seems to have been used as a template. The writers include almost no original text, preferring to quote from every other book previously published on the subject. If I want to read what Lisa Birnbach has to say about being a prep, I can just pull down one of her two books.
As for photographs, "Preppy" includes many that have been used as examples by countless other books, articles and blogs. Any that I hadn't seen in other places were lesser examples than those one can enjoy in "Take Ivy" or Salk's book on WASP style. The book devolves even more when the chapters become endless collections of Ralph Lauren ads or those who have sought to copy Ralph Lauren. Does anyone interested in this subject not already know that Ralph Lauren's empire has been based on mimicking upper class fashion? Anyone? There is an ongoing theme of "aspiration" in this book, though I disagree that many preppy dressers are aspiring to be WASPS. The look has been popular in Japan for decades. Does that mean Japanese preppies want to be white Episcopalians from Greenwich? This is about style, not a social class, so the disjointed thesis was tedious. The Kennedy family is represented in many images in the book, but as Catholics, they can't even be described as WASPS. They are preppy.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on October 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a blog interview posted not long before the publication of True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World, Lisa Birnbach explained how, all those decades ago, her publishers wanted the book that became The Official Preppy Handbook to focus solely on clothing and accessories, and be titled "The Preppy Catalog." She argued, she said, that prep clothing couldn't be adequately or accurately described without the full context of preppy lifestyle, history, and worldview ... and thus "The Official Preppy Handbook," in all its satirical but affectionate beauty, was born.

Three-plus decades later, Jeffrey Banks and Doria de La Chapelle have finally given us that "Preppy Catalog" the original publishers wanted. It wasn't worth the wait.

The first several chapters are a whirlwind bus tour of the history of preppy dress, hitting all the requisite educational and literary sights and digging a few interesting photos out of the archive, but adding very little to what anyone who has a real interest in this already knows. Indeed, there is considerable debate in some circles about the extent to which "preppy" and "Ivy" overlap. Our authors don't seem to know or care: as the subtitle shows, they regard them as synonyms.

By far the most disappointing part of this book, however, is the final two chapters, when history is set aside and prep-as-she-is-lived-today is supposedly reviewed.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jam-i on November 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Though highly promoted, this book just looks like a collection of old Ralph Lauren ads. Disappointing. Pictorial, with little substantial background re. development of "preppy" style. There is some history - but pretty lite.
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Format: Hardcover
Following on comments from some others above, there isn't a whole lot of substance or historical perspective to this book. It does look like an advertising campaign from Ralph Lauren.

But a book like this should make more of an attempt to dig deeper into the heritage of the vast majority of the items shown or discussed. The most amusing and absurd comments are about how this is a clothing style that is deeply American. I actually don't see much of anything that is remotely American about virtually anything in the style. What should have been discussed is not the the aspirational nature of non-Wasps today to wear clothes that show their ambition to join this social class (like this class still exists), but the fact that it originated with American Wasps aspiring to be like the British.

Through the book you see ivy league schools that are completely modeled on the academic institutions of the UK, particularly the public schools like Harrow etc and the universities that dominate so completely this identity in Britain: Oxford and Cambridge.

I am surprised that it doesn't jump out to authors on this subject that these clothing articles originate in the UK, where they have specific regional associations or affiliations. Think about Oxford shirts, Oxford shoes, brogues, Tweeds (like the Harris one shown on the cover and elsewhere), Fair Isle Sweaters or Shetland wool sweaters, regimental ties/crests/scarfs (which denote military, school and other associations still today but are just interesting color combinations for RL fashion), Navy Blazers and duffel coats (British naval clothing not US Pea coats), tartans & plaids (yet another Scottish connection). What US Wasp didn't wear a trench coat?
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