Today, the idea of preppiness is as malleable as it is ubiquitous. American designers like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren have made their fortunes on this sartorial sensibility by popularizing it far beyond its origins.The upright, high-minded visual language was born in the 1920s on Ivy League campuses, serving as unspoken language of elitism and scholarly society. Upper class leisure activities -- golf, polo, and tennis, for instance -- were appropriated to create what would become an American archetype.
But times sure have changed. The trend has long since shaken its staid, priggish implications and has been adapted, re-imagined, tweaked, and subverted over and over in popular culture. Each generation has forged a new iteration of the classic ideal, at times paying homage to its air of aristocratic exclusivity, or conversely, turning those very connotations on their proverbial head. From Hollywood to high fashion; music to sports; this is one movement that doesn't appear to be going anywhere, providing a foundation for endless interpretations.
In Rizzoli's latest book, Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style ($45.00), Jeffrey Banks and Doria de La Chapelle explore the history of this world with exhaustive details. Filled with insightful commentary (the foreward is even by the "Queen of Prep," Lily Pulitzer) and a wealth of incredible imagery (Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby, Rene Lacoste, JFK, Pharell Williams, Miles Davis, Prince William, Chuck Bass, and many more all make appearances) the book proves that one needn't be a square to appreciate the joys of being preppy.
For a glimpse at just some of the incredible imagery from the book, click here.
To purchase Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style, click here.