Tuesday, May 16, 2006

American Preppy vs. English Preppy

It seems to me that there's a constant, if not particularly large, debate on British style vs. American style. I can't really voice my opinion on the debate (ie, which I think is better), because I haven't been to England in way too long, and plus, it's kind of an extremely broad topic.

The best way to deal with broad topics, however, is to break them down. So, because preppy styles have been catching my eye lately (not that I like them--I usually don't. I just think we'll be seeing a lot of it for summer), let's compare the British interpretation to the American one, shall we?

Now, having been to a stifling preppy middle school (which is probably why prep looks don't interest me at all right now), I associate prep largely with Abercrombie & Fitch and other teen versions of it, but I know that A&F is only a small part of it. To me, American preppy is polos, khakis, bermudas, button-ups, oxfords, a-line skirts, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Le Tigre, J. Crew, and a slight sense of snobbery. Don't get me wrong, I like Ralph Lauren sometimes, and I usually really like J. Crew, but preppy is all in the assemblage (and yes, I know that Lacoste is French. It's still an American Prep mainstay, though).

English prep, however, looks much more fancy-private-school than East Hamptons to me. Of course, it's still snobby, but there's some intellect and dignity there. I think little blazers, plaid, berets, crests, pleated skirts, etc., when I think of English preppy. The first brand that's called to mind is Fred Perry. Of course Fred Perry is very typically preppy, but it's also fun. I mean, check out their website. It's kinda edgy and dark, not what one usually associates with prep. Their most recent collaboration, pictured at right, also produced some pretty damn adorable clothes, and while you could definitely call them preppy, they're just much cuter, more unexpected, and more original than what you think when somoene says "prep."

I guess I also associate English preppy with a degree of sophistication (a la Burberry--I mean, look at how easy, and chic, and not-that-snobby the picture at left is) that I just don't see in the mass-marketed Abercrombie/American Eagle/Aeropostale American preppy look that can be found at any middle school in the country (which is a look that needs to die, by the way). I will grant that I have a huge bias, and I'll even go so far as to say that if I ever visit Martha's Vineyard, I might buy some madras bermudas first (I draw the line at polo shirts, though). But in the end, if someone forced me to dress in a preppy fashion, but gave me the choice between English preppy and American preppy, I would definitely choose English (whew, I'm glad I have that decision made. . .)


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12:46 AM  
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1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your definition of english preppy isn't terribly accurate. have a look at jack wills... that's an english 'prep'

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jack Wills is more the English preppy style..

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Above, defo check out Jack Wills. Its the bread and butter over here. You wouldnt catch anyone dead wearing Fred Perry. Check out "Crew clothing", "Joules" and "Barbour". I know you have barbour over the pond but thought i would still mention it. For women i would say that there is a lot more choice so also check out "Jigsaw".

9:54 PM  

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