Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"True Prep": The Original Preppy Handbook Sequel

Thirty years after “The Official Preppy Handbook” grabbed us by our flipped-up collars, author Lisa Birnbach -- with designer Chip Kidd -- is back with a sequel, “True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World.”

Back in ’81, the original hit me – and millions of others – hard: I remember I had to had to had to have an authentic Izod polo. The excuse was I needed it for an eighth-grade talent-show skit where I played “Chip,” but I wanted to wear the pricey shirt in real life, too. And I did – a little piece of prep in central Minnesota.

I haven’t read the new book yet, but I’m intrigued by this excerpt in the August issue of Vanity Fair, which lists a bunch of fashion rules outlining the new principles of preppy style, including:

- We wear sportswear. This makes it easier to go from sporting events to social events (not that there is much difference) without changing.

- Your underwear must not show. Wear a nude-colored strapless bra. Pull up your pants. Wear a belt. Do something. Use a tie!

- We do not display our wit through T-shirt slogans.

- Every single one of us — no matter the age or gender or sexual preference — owns a blue blazer.

- High-heel rule: You must be able to run in them—on cobblestones, on a dock, in case of a spontaneous foot race.

- We do not wear our cell phones or BlackBerrys suspended from our belts. (That includes you, President Obama.)

- No man bags.

- Preppies don't perm their hair.

- Preppy men do not believe that comb-overs disguise anything.

- And finally: The best fashion statement is no fashion statement.

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