The Thing Before Preppy

One of our commenters, NL, provided the link below from the Saltwater New England blog.

It refers to appropriate clothing as ‘the thing before preppy’, which I think is the perfect way to describe Old Money Style.

Ms. Aldrich also articulates quite nicely the enduring appeal of this wardrobe: it fits this way of life. Active and discreet. Functional and versatile. Classic and traditional without being elitist. Making a statement with a whisper, rather than a shout.

Enjoy, and thank you, NL.

  • BGT

3 thoughts on “The Thing Before Preppy

  1. The problem with the term preppy is that as the years go by “preppy” cycles in and out of mass market fashion. When it’s trendy a lot of people try to dress preppy, but most of them never seem to get it quite right. Therefore “preppy”, when used to describe the old money/prep school style of dressing, is no longer a very accurate term. Maybe we need a new adjective.

  2. There were many aspects to like about that piece. To mention just two:

    1. I thought fashion’s cyclical nature was laid out pretty well. Better than I have seen for a while. Perhaps it’s because it’s about the type of fashion that I understand, the average person’s fashion instead of the hypebeast thing that I’ve mostly come across recently.

    2. The key to preppy, or “the thing before preppy”, is that it has a place. That’s what makes it authentic, and what makes it work. Trying to force it otherwise always fails. I guess I liked it because this was very personal to me.

    I guess it’s worthwhile to say I’m from Finland. My style has for a very long time been kind of preppy, or Ivy, or whatever. But there was always something I felt was off until last year. Last year, however, it all came together.

    Finland, you might not know, loves Gore-Tex. Shell suits, technical trekking shoes, that sort of thing. All things practical, but with zero regard for natural materials or any kind of beauty. If you’ve heard that Scandinavians love natural materials and that sort of thing, well, we don’t. I also maintain that we are the worst-dressed Western country, and by some distance.

    So, anyone who doesn’t like ugly (if still practical) things, must look elsewhere. I’ve always liked the British and the New England way. It figures, since my native Helsinki is no stranger to cool, coastal weather. From where my parents still live, a child could throw a stone into the Baltic sea.

    Anyway, I always felt my attire was a bit inauthentic. Last year, though, I suddenly realized I need to put some place in it. A bit more natural, broken tones. A bit more warmth. A bit more boots than bluchers. And so on. And there it was. Something that was of the place; inspired, but not imitating. So, I think you can’t understand the place and the way of life from the clothes, but you can understand the clothes from the place and the way of life.

  3. Indeed. I never knew or realized the members of my extended family (from New England, outside of Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and the Carolinas) dressed a certain way. It was/is simply how things were/are. 70 years ago and now.

    Kind Regards,



    JO, Norway comes in a close second for worst dressed. Large swathes of Germany too.

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