Monthly Archives: July 2010

Then&Now: The Preppy

“It is the inalienable right of every man, woman and child to wear khaki…” – Introduction to ‘The Official Preppy Handbook’ by Workman Publishing, New York.

Then- In 1980 a small plaid handbook promised young adults that anyone could be Preppy. All they had to do was read how and they could go “…from crib to coffin, from desk to date, from the city to the island without one false step, knowing full well that whenever emergencies arise, you’ll know what to do, be it gatoring, debuting, or choosing a charity….”

(click handbook images to enlarge)

According to the handbook a preppy woman is to dress like a younger version of Mummy. It starts with the mother/daughter outfits and then later the daughter borrows clothing from her mother’s extensive wardrobe. Before long they’re sharing a charge card at Talbot’s.

Some guidelines

Shoes- “Women’s shoes are divided into two distinct categories: work shoes and play shoes…”

Shirts- “They must be cotton and always tucked in. Collars, if possible, are turned up…

Dresses- “Although less practical than separates…they do have the advantage of being simple, neat, and comfortable…”

Skirts- “Skirts like pants, tend to disguise rather than emphasize the female body…neat but not gaudy might be the best description…”

Pants- “Preppy women would never wear the kind of pants that you have to lie down in to zipper…”

Sweaters- “Apart from being useful in keeping the body warm, sweaters are part of layering, often British, and make dandy accessories…you can never have too many…”

Accessories- “More is more, and it all matches…Note: Prep women never take off their jewelry-pearls on the squash court are perfectly acceptable…”

Stores and Mail Order Catalogs- “L.L. Bean, Bass, The Country Store of Concord, Lilly Pulitzer, Murray’s Toggery Shop, Hillhouse, Orvis, J.Press, Brook’s Brothers, Paul Stuart, The Bermuda Shop, Burton Clothing Ltd., H.Stockton, Harold’s, Leslie and Co., Land’s End, Molterer Sports, Cable Car Clothiers, The Tog Shop, Trimingham Bros., Sousa & Lefkovits…”

Now- What’s old is new again! Preppy clothing from makers like L.L Bean, Orvis and Bass are back in the fashion spotlight as adults seek quality for their hard-earned money.  But instead of dressing like Mummy or Daddy as the handbook dictated… the new Preps are putting their own fun and creative spin on these classics.

(Bottom photos- American Vogue Magazine)

Related Nibs post-

Vocabulary #46: Preppy 101

Early Fall Dress Code

Classic Knits, leather shoes & ankle socks!

Cotton knit dress at Next with Betty Jackson backless leather loafers (similar from Urban Outfitters) and Topshop socks

Waffle knit cardigan by Surface To Air (over Carven wool shorts) with Paul Smith leather boots and Topshop socks (same as above)

(Photos- Ben Weller for UK Vogue)

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Tipping Point

A Change Of Seasons

Fall Preview- J.Crew

Fall Shorts

Design Dilemma- Where Do I Hang Pictures In A Room With High Ceilings?

Newer homes have vaulted ceilings in entry ways, great rooms and master bedroom suites, and they give the feeling of lots of space. But therein lies the problem. You end up having to decorate with over-sized furniture to make the rooms feel grounded or weighted. And then there’s the question of  hanging pictures. Where do you put them? One answer is to use a picture rail system.

What is a picture rail? In old homes, whose walls were constructed of plaster and lath, these wooden rails or mouldings covered the transition area between wall and ceiling. A small gap was left so metal clips could slip over the rail and hold the chained frames.

The same basic idea can be used in newer homes by strategically placing a metal rod on the walls. See how the rod (photo above) forms an imaginary boundary line reinforced by the larger paintings and smaller pieces of artwork. This brings the eye level down and creates a more intimate room.

You can find metal rods, hooks and chains at home centers. ‘House of Antique Hardware‘ is a good source for picture rail clips.

(Photos by Ricardo Labougle for World Of Interiors)


Photo-A-Day started out as a series of daily emails and photographs to my family in North Carolina. I thought it would be fun to occasionally post some for the readers of ‘Nibs.’

Mom, Dad & Sarah-

Curtis is at camp now for the next two weeks. He was so looking forward to it…especially the prospect of sleeping in a tepee. And as for me… I’m looking forward to some time by myself.



(Photo- Martha B.)

Related Nibs post-


Wedding Trousers- Ports 1961

For the bride who loves trousers – try this pair with wide legs ($626.) worn with a sleeveless organza shell ($245.) Both from Ports 1961.

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The Bride Wore…Pants?

Update 8/1/2011- A pair of wide leg silk trousers by Elevenses for Anthropologie.

One More Fall Coat

Camel colored wool duffel coat with toggles, cape collar and hood by Sacai. Gray cashmere-blend sweater dress from Stella McCartney.

(Photo of Kyleigh Kuhn- Bruce Weber for Italian Vogue)

Coat Tales- 2010

The military influence continues with coats like this classic navy wool one from Tommy Hilfiger. Worn under it is a Céline pin striped shirt and Levi’s jeans. Loafers are by Cole Haan.

Look for details using shearling on jackets and coats. DKNY leather/shearling bomber jacket with Missoni crocheted skirt (left) and a Philip Lim shearling coat over a pair of Marni shorts (right).

Gray makes a strong comeback this fall. MaxMara wool coat trimmed with fox fur.

Forecast for fall-  romantic and opulent brocade! Coat and bag at Roberto Cavalli.

(Photos: Steven Meisel for Vogue. Fashion Editor: Marie-Amélie Sauvé)

Related Nibs posts-

Fashion Inspiration- Coats & Leather Belts

Going Gray

Shop Your Closet #6

More Coat & Dress Ensembles

Coat Tales- 1920

Sears Roebuck offered these coats in their catalog c. 1920.

1. All wool Tricotine full silk lined coat with throw back collar (left)

2. Sport coat with deep yoke front, large smoked pearl buttons and self belt (bottom front)

3. Loose back wool velour coat with button trimmed patch pockets (back middle)

4. Wool popline coat comes with rows of pin tucks and covered buttons (right)

5. Car coat made of wool velour with brushed Australian wool collar and crossover belt (right)

6. Light weight wool brown coat has a loose fit and rows of stitching on the cape collar (middle left)

7. Another cape collared coat but with detailed slash pockets, full cuffs and crossover belt (middle right)

8. Fun tweed coat wouldn’t be complete without the convertible collar, plaited yoke back and wide, all-around belt (right)

9. Tweed coat trimmed in leatherette (left)

10. Fall weight blue velour coat has several gathered folds and rows of buttons on the back (front)

11. Attractive folds and buttons accent the back of this brown wool coat (middle right)

12. Stylish coat made of all wool poplin, large over collar of plaid silk, full cuffs and narrow double belt (right)

Inspirational Blog- ‘A Collection A Day’

collection- set of items or objects procured by an individual

For several months I’ve been following the blog ‘A Collection A Day‘ as the author/artist Lisa Congdon posts a different group of objects each day. Some of my favorites so far- golf tees, number 5, coloring crayons, and  light bulbs.

Lisa’s delightful blog inspired me to pull out a few of my own collections which I’ve photographed below-

All my old egg beaters have red handles.

My interest in globes started with the bank in the second row on the left. The smallest globe is actually a pencil sharpener!

Here are just a few vintage postage stamps from Japan. They’re part of a large world stamp collection.

I display these wooden/metal shoe molds on the steps of my stair case.

I love natural objects. All of the bird nests above were found on my parent’s farm in upstate New York.

Some other things I collect- vintage picnic baskets, red and white enamelware, kitchen tools, wicker suitcases, photographs, butterflies, and ABC books.

What collections do you have?

(Photos- Martha B.)

Related Nibs post-

Inspirational Blog- ‘Amateur Couture’

StyleFile#58: Going Global

Don’t you find the diversity of traditional costumes from other parts of the world fascinating? Some styles have developed over hundreds of years. Some are no longer worn except as part of celebrations or at festivals.

Fashion designers and stylists often draw inspirations from one or several countries to create something totally unique. Take a look-

A riot of bright colors, exotic prints….

Vest designed by Anna Tilman

…multiple layers…

Sweater (left) designed by Sarah Hatton

Vest (right) designed by Amanda Crawford

… and amazing textures are found in an article from Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine #39, 2006.

Necklace designed by Sharon Miler

American Vogue did something similar in a spring 2010 photo shoot called ‘The Wanderers.’ Mixing it up- Versace dot jacket, trousers and dress worn with an Escada blouse and Duro Olowu floral skirt.

Resting easy- Lanvin beaded dress, Miu Miu cropped trousers and Ann Taylor cashmere cardigan. Jutta Neumann sandals.

Seeing double- Missioni sweater and dress (left) and Missioni tank, cardigan, bodysuit and skirt (right). Louis Vuitton footwear.

(Vogue photos- Arthur Elgort. Stylist- Tonne Goodman)

Related Nibs posts-


Book- ‘Costumes And Styles’