Friday, February 14, 2014

TDP on Reds, Nantucket Reds From Murray's Toggery; What to Wear With Nantucket Reds; and Alternatives


Reds, such as Nantucket Reds, are an iconic style and color of pants. 
Probably long before Murray's Nantucket Reds were invented, the red pants of choice of yachtsmen and crew, were of course the 'real' Breton Reds. Long ago I picked up a pair of these classic yachting pants while sailing the Channel Races. The pants, after a while, turned a fabulous washed out red that could only be achieved by being on the ocean (not counting the Nantucket fast ferry). They were soft, the right degree of "baggy" and worn by just about every blue water sailor. (Comment, skiwithapro, May 28, 2013)
As to the choice of pants: Murray's are, sadly, now made in China, but at least as of last summer, they were still the heavier sailcloth. In my experience, the Chinese products fade less quickly. (The ones in the older color on the shelves at Murray's are almost certainly unsold pleated pants.) I'm a customer of the Nobby shop and enjoy shopping there, but it's simply a different product. Think cocktails, not clamming; garden parties, not golf. I own both and use them for different purposes.(Comment, February 14, 2013)

Sources of Reds, including "Breton Reds" include:
    A true prep knows that the only place to get Nantucket Reds is from Murray's Toggery Shop on Nantucket because they are the original. Anything else is a rip-off. (Comment, February 15, 2013)
    The Nobby pants (I am guessing made in the US by Berle) are very nice, a little thinner and probably more suited to casual wear and warmer climates than the actual Reds, which despite color problems are more rugged though still a good choice for casual wear in the right environment. (John G., March 20, 2014)

    Nantucket Reds

    Nantucket Reds are the famous pants sold by Murray's Toggery Shop <>. The standard Nantucket Reds are now made in China, but a new line - M Crest - offers a Made in the US version.

    A palette for Nantucket Reds
    Nantucket Reds change color with age, salt, and sun.  Women's new canvas Nantucket Reds behind; slightly seasoned Women's poplin Nantucket Reds in front.
    I've been asking relatives in my family how they remembered buying Nantucket Reds back in the day, and all the old timers agreed there was a time when the pants were *not* "pre washed". When you bought them, they were stiff as a board and over time they faded to the red everyone loves. There was a period when they started pre-washing the reds. Was in the late 80's? 90's? when the trend started and *everything* was "prewashed". Ever since then, the Reds have gone downhill. I've stopped buying them. I'm intrigued by the Made In America line, but, still pre washed. I guess I'm old fashioned. I like breaking clothes in. They last longer. (Wasp Decor, March 19, 2014)
    I remember when Reds were, well, really pretty well red. They faded to that marvelous, soft, pinkish color over time and a hard life. I'm not sure I understand the appeal of pre-abused clothing. I like to do the abusing myself. :)   (Jennings and Gates, March 21, 2014)
    We always bought our "reds" at the Holmes Store in Northeast and dragged them behind the boat to soften and fade them. (Katahdin, March 21, 2014)

    What to Wear with Nantucket Reds

    One of the most frequently asked questions  is, "What should I wear with Nantucket Reds?"  For most,  the palette is very narrow: blue, white and natural.  Stay away from pink and red, and green is difficult.  Then use motif belts to add some color if desired.

    While this is limiting, here are a handful of possible pairings.

    (Note:  Belts are from Leather Man Ltd.)

    With Striped Button Downs and Code Flags

    With Navy or White Polo Shirts

    With Seersucker

    With Oxford Cloth Button downs

    With Norwegian Birdseye Crew neck Sweaters
    With Wool Aran Crew Neck
    I mostly follow the same general color guidelines that you do--though I think seersucker can get a little Easter egg looking, and I really like a darker hunter green with reds (seen here:, though only after making several self-deprecating watermelon remarks to all within earshot. I would add a light heather grey to your list--I have a couple of cotton sweaters and polos that I think complement reds well. (Comment, WRJ, February 14, 2013)

    Selecting and Tailoring Nantucket Reds

    It was time to buy another pair of Nantucket Reds. While the Men’s pants seem fairly straight forward to buy, I have found the Women’s fit to be a bit trickier.  On the originals, the waist comes up higher than is comfortable for some.

    This left Poplin Low Rise pants. Although the rise is, as the name suggests, lower, it is by no means too low. In fact the fit in the waist turned out to be very comfortable, and the front pockets nice and deep.

    If only they were US made instead of in China...
    From the knees down, however, it was a different story. They were very long,  too much fabric; and the bottoms flared out.  The solution is to take them to the local seamstress to have them shortened and the legs taken in from the knees down.

    This is how they looked straight out of the bag.
    The result worked. Next,  breaking in until they achieve that perfect Nantucket Red pink.
    A huge improvement! I had the same problem with the men's reds. I ended up hacking them off into shorts, which (while less elegant than your remedy) solved the ballooning issue and the annoyance that Murray's shorts' inseams are way too long. I'm 6ft, and they manage to droop well below my knees. I've had very good luck with Murray's Nantucket red cotton sweaters and sweatshirts, though (including achieving the cherished fade). (WRJ Comment, Marchg 3, 2012)
    I've had half a dozen pairs over the years, but I can't bring myself to wear them anymore. Not even ironically. The last pair I got at Murrays (a long time ago) were cut horribly -- stove pipe legs, about as dumpy and frumpy as one could (not very happily) imagine. I had them tailored (legs pegged, actually) which improved them, but since I've (ahem) "outgrown" them, on the shelf they sat for a number of years before I finally bit the bullet (or the red in this case) and said adios and off they went to the Nearly New Shoppe where I am sure they were scooped up for $1.50 by a sterno drinking bum who looks better in them than I ever did. BTW a great source for them super cheap is the hospital thrift shop on Nantucket, where they have dozens and dozens of pairs in various states of wear to choose from for $5.00 a pair or so! (Reggie Darling, February 15, 2013)

    M Crest collection

    Here is how a member of the Murray family responded to our inquiry about their US made Nantucket Reds M Crest collection:
    Our M Crest collection currently only consists mainly of Men's items in Nantucket Red (such as our new slim fit Nantucket Red pants (unfinished only) and shorts (with a 7" inseam)). It also offers Nantucket Red bow ties and neckties, a Nantucket Red bow tie and cummerbund set, Nantucket Red pocket squares, and a Nantucket Red sport jacket. These are all done in collaboration with Corbin and are all Made in America! We make sure that every item in the M Crest collection is Made in America. We also have the M Crest Nantucket Red canvas tote bag with leather handles, made in collaboration with Leatherman/Eliza B.   
    The M Crest comes from our Murray family crest, which my grandfather had developed with an artist. The M represents M for Murray of course, and is Red as an ode to Nantucket Red. The lion represents his zodiac sign, the Leo, which truly was a reflection of his outgoing and vivacious personality in life and in business. The scallop shells represent life on Nantucket, and the blue background reflects the ocean that surrounds us here on Nantucket. We make sure to include this M Crest label in each item in the M Crest collection.   
    The first items we designed and started selling for the M Crest collection were the slim fit pants and shorts - as a response to our loyal customers asking for Reds with a better fit that were made in America (similar to the very first Reds my grandfather sold). We are very proud of their success, and have enjoyed expanding the line to include more items for men, and eventually ones for women and children.  

    Other Nantucket Reds questions:

    Q:  When is the correct time to wear Nantucket Reds/Breton Reds?
    A:  While summer is traditional, many think of theirs as three season, as long as they can comfortably go sockless.

    Q. Should you cuff Nantucket Reds?
    If the Nantucket reds have cuffs, I wouldn't worry about it, but I wouldn't get cuffs on them myself if I were buying a new pair. I get cuffs only on wool grey flannel trousers and on summer-weight grey wool trousers. (JR Comment, September 28, 2013)
    I prefer them uncuffed. Easier to roll up and they dry faster. If they are just "for show" with a navy blazer, go for a cuff. It's what all the other folks do at the yacht club.  (Comment, September 29, 2013)
    I wouldn't cuff, but I also wouldn't uncuff if they're already cuffed (phew!). I generally cuff anything that I would or could wear to work, including khakis and poplins, because to me it seems to connote an added level of formality. In my opinion, Reds are very casual (despite their apparent popularity for weddings), hence no cuff. (WRJ, September 29, 2013)
     A quick answer: Strictly speaking, it's best NOT to cuff Brick/Nantucket/Breton Reds or any other trousers ostensibly meant for shipboard wear as "turn ups" could catch on cleats and other objects. (Katahdin, September 29, 2013)
    One can see both on-island, but the clear majority are not cuffed (particularly of the thicker, sailcloth Murray's Reds). Personal preference to some degree, but I agree with the comments on cuffs being a bit more formal. I think Reds are made to be used, not just worn, so I would go without cuffs. (John, September 30, 2013)
    No cuff for reds - they are too casual, in my opinion. (Emily, September 30, 2013) 
    Cuffs are original to casual pants and are almost entirely absent in men's formal pants and trousers.  (Anonymous, October 2, 2013)


    RLN said...

    You can get a decent pair from J. Press for $110. They're American-made.

    Anonymous said...

    Your first picture reminds me of something I saw the other day...glitter on Sperry boat shoes. I couldn't believe my eyes and wondered who would buy glittery, sparkly, Sperry topsiders?


    Anonymous said...

    I love the picture with your hair down! You look lovely.

    Etheline said...

    I love is post, but I am most jealous that you can wear sweaters (when called for) in summer. That doesn't fly in Georgia. Oh how much longer do I have to stay

    Andrew Touchstone said...

    As nail it. I am partial to the white pairings...

    TropicalSunbird said...

    I like all of the combinations!

    Thanks to "gentle stock-piling" you really do have a variety of outfits. The colors are the same but the patterns, shapes and textures vary nicely.

    I also like the picture with your hair down (feeling that refresing wind).

    John said...

    In the heat of summer, I sometimes also wear a light yellow shirt (or light yellow sweater with a white shirt) and NR. Navy looks good as well. But overall, yes, the palette is limited.

    As to the choice of pants: Murray's are, sadly, now made in China, but at least as of last summer, they were still the heavier sailcloth. In my experience, the Chinese products fade less quickly. (The ones in the older color on the shelves at Murray's are almost certainly unsold pleated pants.) I'm a customer of the Nobby shop and enjoy shopping there, but it's simply a different product. Think cocktails, not clamming; garden parties, not golf. I own both and use them for different purposes.

    I like the Murray's green as well, here, too, the palette is almost as limited, at least in my experience.

    Greenfield said...

    Ah! A preview of Spring--we need that right about now! :)

    Tabor Kid said...


    Do you know of any clothiers that make firetruck-red trousers anymore? I want to achieve that gentle "nantucket red" by my own right, rather than buying them faded. My mother bought a pair from Murray's in the 80's that have now that beautiful red hue. All the offerings today, including Murray's themselves, come prefaded. Any suggestions?

    Anonymous said...

    Vineyard Vines offers a pair of reds that are fairly correct in color and have a decent fit. Also imported though. Thoughts on this? What say ye?

    PS. Reds when sockless and yes... love the hair and glasses! Congrats to your husband on his photography skills.

    Anonymous said...

    I love the Nantucket belt with seersucker!

    Annica Benning said...

    I know you are not a fan of J. Crew Muffy but have been very pleased with their Waverly Chinos. Both the quality and fit are excellent in my opinion.

    I just recently purchased the Waverly in Nantucket red. I am curious if anyone else has purchased the Waverly chinos from J Crew.

    Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

    Only worn in the summer for me.

    Anonymous said...

    Beautiful photographs! Muffy, I was wondering how you care for clothes so that they last for the "long term". No matter how sturdily constructed my clothes are, laundry always seems to take a bigger toll on them than normal wear and tear. Do you hand wash? Use a particular detergent? Do tell!

    WRJ said...

    I mostly follow the same general color guidelines that you do--though I think seersucker can get a little Easter egg looking, and I really like a darker hunter green with reds (seen here:, though only after making several self-deprecating watermelon remarks to all within earshot. I would add a light heather grey to your list--I have a couple of cotton sweaters and polos that I think complement reds well.

    While Murray's may be made in China, I've been pleased with the quality of everything I've purchased from them. My reds are at least 4 or 5 years old now, and have held up wonderfully. They also appear pretty well-constructed and can be tailored. Are Nobby's made in the USA? I might give them a try if so, but am somewhat put off by the comment noting that they're made with a more refined fabric--the rough texture and heavier weight of Murray's reds are what I love about them (much like the cardboard-like rigidity of brand-new Brooks OCBDs).

    One persistent annoyance with Murray's and many other preppy retailers is that they only sell shorts, including reds, in a Bermuda length, which I don't think is attractive nor particularly classic. (I favor 7-8" inseams.) I just cut them off, since I'd never wear shorts to a function that required any degree of formality (no blazer/bowtie/shorts frat-wear for me!), but would love to find a resource for classically proportioned shorts.

    mary anne said...

    Love the combos and your hair down.

    Farrah said...

    I also like the picture with your hair down. You should do it more often.

    Reggie Darling said...

    You look marvelous in your reds. I've had half a dozen pairs over the years, but I can't bring myself to wear them anymore. Not even ironically. The last pair I got at Murrays (a long time ago) were cut horribly -- stove pipe legs, about as dumpy and frumpy as one could (not very happily) imagine. I had them tailored (legs pegged, actually) which improved them, but since I've (ahem) "outgrown" them, on the shelf they sat for a number of years before I finally bit the bullet (or the red in this case) and said adios and off they went to the Nearly New Shoppe where I am sure they were scooped up for $1.50 by a sterno drinking bum who looks better in them than I ever did. BTW a great source for them super cheap is the hospital thrift shop on Nantucket, where they have dozens and dozens of pairs in various states of wear to choose from for $5.00 a pair or so! Reggie

    The Silver Bunny said...

    This post had me ooohing and aaahing ! I love love the colours and you look great with your hair down. Thank you for bringing a bit of light in our never-ending grey winter !

    John said...

    My thoughts exactly! I bought my first pair of NR shorts last summer, and found they paired best with a navy or white polo. At first I thought lime green might also work, but it was way too riotous. A lighter shade of blue, though, like RL's old "pool blue" (which I sorely miss) might be effective, though.

    That picture of you on the boat with your Reds, Norwegian, popped collar, and aviators has got to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen.

    Ferd said...

    I certainly accede that modern America is a woman’s world, but to throw a bone to the true peacocks among your loyal readers (one thinks, but not too long nor too vividly, especially at this time of day, of Reggie Most Darling), permit your less than humble observer to share some selections for men to make when rocking their Reds:

    1. If you are middle-aged; live in New England; have a family; have a legitimate reason or basis to have been to Nantucket more than 200 times previously (as in you actually own a home there and belong to Sankaty (although you never, ever, play golf)); are wicked thin (size 34 waist and below); are handsome in that ‘curly hair around the color, same weight as I was at Groton kind of way’; have an absolute and unforgiving patina of gentle superiority borne from the simple truth that you are, in fact, better; work at a small investment firm in Boston (and by work, one means ‘invest with’); own at least three boats of size (tenders do count); recall occasionally your hockey or lacrosse prowess at Amherst in the 70’s; and are married to an age-appropriate ultra thin blond who wears headbands and size 2 Eye of the Needle blouses effortlessly, then, and only then you would never, ever even think of wearing Reds for the simple reason that Reds have been thoroughly co-opted by pretentious, prosaic, pseudo-Preps with whom you really don’t speak, unless they happen to have been an invited guest at your clubs and you had the tedious task of listening to them for a few moments about their Range Rover;
    2. If you, unfortunately, are from anywhere South of East Lyme or West of Litchfield, you might try pairing your Reds with a black leather belt and your black Gucci bit loafers. Alden and A. Edmonds make passable substitutes if you are rags to riches to rags. Finish off the look with a tailored Navy Blazer from Bloomindales, white button down from Vineyard Vines and socks and you have achieved “Suburban Stud Who Wants His Country Club Colleagues To Know He Has Taken The Family To Nantucket Once” status. Congratulations, you have arrived to a place within your own mind and it was some journey, wasn’t it?
    3. If you, more unfortunately, are from any State that participated in the oft-mourned CSA, you are in a tough spot because the only way to wear Reds is:
    First, gain 100 pounds, mostly situated in your belly; Second, buy a pair of Reds Shorts with a waist size that heroically fits underneath your girth, permitting your pot to hang over the Shorts, albeit without much peril; Third, strap on a needlepoint belt sewn by your wife, size 52 (the belt, not the wife, she is a healthy 18); Fourth, put on your heaviest, starchiest white button down with vague stains down the front that harken to your last meal and then sweat profusely regardless of how many Makers Marks you drink; Fifth, trod about in ill-fitting Belgium shoes purchased that time in New York; and Sixth, tie it all together with a bow tie from your alma mater, a school like Washington and Lee (if you are with your partner, if you get my drift) or Clemson (if you are with your wife).

    Mike in (East Lyme) CT said...

    Ferd - noted the inclusion of East Lyme within the Pale. I suspect you have just Black Point in mind, but us townies appreciate it anyway.

    LC '96 said...

    @Mike (in East Lyme), I think Ferd probably means Old Black Point only -as I would!

    Mike in CT said...

    @LC '96 - Natives (my age and older) refer to Old Black Point as Black Point. The other side is generally called "Attawan."

    Anonymous said...

    If Ferd wasn't so smart, and his writings so ambitious, ....

    Anonymous said...

    Ferd is absolutely right. Prepdom has been taken over by the frauds and you only have to look for the VV clothes, the Range Rover, and everything else he describes. No wonder Murray's gets their pants made in China. If only real preps bought them they wouldn't sell the volume that they do. Thank goodness someone is calling them out. Has anyone seen Tumblr lately??

    Anonymous said...

    Ferd; you can be quite amusing but why so much snarkiness toward the south? Some of us do realize the War of Northern Aggression is over and we lost. If we're so terrible, why do so many Yankees insist on moving down here and then spend years telling us how deficient we are?

    You do realize your various descriptions of good 'ole boys may be accurate but they are also a stereotype of a small segment of the population; right? And do you believe your comments could be interpreted as being a bit offensive? As a southerner, if I made the types of comments you make about another group of people, I would be accused of being racist, provincial, small-minded, and/or backwards.


    Anonymous said...

    @Anonymous 11:35 AM, I’d urge you to heed the advice of Ole Marcus Aurelius and “choose not to be harmed – and you won't feel harmed” when it comes to Ferd’s snarky remarks about you and your fellow Southerners. Or perhaps you can find Ferd’s mailing address and buy him a gift subscription to Garden & Gun Magazine to help educate him about the good Southern Livin he’s possibly ignorant of. Finally, if all else fails, remind Ferd that, as Lynyrd Skynrd sung, “a southern man don't need him around anyhow."

    Personally, I’d guess Ferd might be hitting a raw nerve cause he’s pretty much on the money. Funny too…

    KMG said...


    Also, some of us in the Land of Dixie have forebears who were most decidedly Unionist during that woeful period of national discord. Native Suth'runuhs too.

    But he is right about the heat. Which is why I treasured spending summers with Yankee relatives in Dover, NH and "Slumberville", MA. I do have to say that y'all in New England do summers the right way.

    Anonymous said...

    Ahhhh... And there you have it! With Ferd's comments and lovely Sara's response, it has only taken 2 years, 11 months, and 27 days for The Daily Prep to surface the true underlying prep issue of our day. Will the South rise again? and the answer is......... no. But please feel free to have your delegate from Charleston propose that at this year's "What is truly preppy?" conclave. It surely won't be seconded, but it does give the boys from Hampden-Sydney something to look forward to.

    Bethany Hissong said...

    I was eyeing them in Murray's Toggery but I never knew if I could really pair them correctly with anything-- now I wish I had bought some! Thanks for the great suggestions!

    Anonymous said...

    KMG...there were a lot of native southerners who were opposed to the war.

    And yes, I think New England summers are far superior to hot, muggy, humid southern summers. Everytime Muffy posts a picture of sailing in the summer while wearing a sweater, I drool with envy.


    Ferd said...

    Dear Sara (without an H – shout out to Ben Folds),

    Although I am not unmindful that our colloquy here calls to mind our Nation’s recent invasion of Grenada (you are the Island), permit me to amplify some of my remarks regarding the South. It is infrequent that I actually correspond with a GRIT (girl raised in the South) so you will forgive me if I continue to snort and snarl.

    It is a truism that no real gentleman will tell the naked truth in the presence of ladies. Fortunately for you and me, neither predicate is present in our discourse, wouldn’t you agree? But to topic, it has always seemed to me that you Sothern’s have a genius for psychological alchemy. If something intolerable simply cannot be changed, driven away with scorn or shot at, you learn not only tolerate it but fully embrace it as well. Examples abound: the Florida Panthers, taking regular showers like the rest of us, things like that.
    So it is with that most essential attribute of Northern style, class and superiority: true Prep. That your adaptation, or perhaps mutation, remains so unrefined, so loutish in fact, bears witness to your essential weakness here: you have adopted something that doesn’t belong to you and yours.
    Once whilst at Yale, my teammates and I had the unfortunate occasion to visit a fraternity at Chapel Hill after an athletic contest (lacrosse, which we lost). As a group, we had the temerity to include among our host all five of our African American teammates. I will never forget the manner in which we were treated, no mistreated, that evening by the supposed ‘gentlemen’ at that Frat (what poetry). I trust I have adequately, albeit gently then, described them, collectively, to you in # 3 of my most recent post.

    Anonymous said...

    Peace guys. Civility. Hostilities are unbecoming of true Preps.

    I'm from the Bluest of Blue States of Massachusetts and I find Northern attitude towards our Southern contemporaries to be repugnant.

    Truth is, Lincoln's role as a folk hero is more revisionism, Republican spin and Hollywood romanticism than historical reality. He declared Total War on Dixie and suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus. The guy was absolute savage and brutal tyrant. There were more slaves in the North than there were in the South. In fact. Gen. Grant held slaves. And the notion of slavery varied from land owner to land owner. Many Southern slaves were treated as extended family members who worked the fields in exchange for food, shelter and provisions.

    Dixie during the War was an agrarian fiefdom which resisted the banking cartel of Northern bureaucrats. It was untenable and irrational for the North to dictate unfair economic terms to the South and therefore they had a right to secession.

    That said, wear whatever you want. Just try to pull it off with casual indifference and elegant nonchalance: key to Prep attitude.

    Anonymous said...

    @Anonymous 3:07, How in the heck does the topic at hand of what belts and shirts to wear with Nantucket Red trousers segway into slavery. Perhaps you should have included only the first and final paragraphs of your comments and stopped there. In any event, you actually have any facts to prove your statement: “There were more slaves in the North than there were in the South.”? Professor Ferd, please enlighten this Blue State historian so we can get back to the who’s, when, where’s and how’s of properly wearing “Reds.”

    Anonymous said...

    Such great pieces, so classic and real. I love Leatherman belts, I purchased one from ElizaB for my husband for Christmas, and he loves it! Wonderful quality. And of course I told them where I learned of their shop! --Holly in PA

    Greenfield said...

    I think a few folks here have gotten their madras boxers in a twist out of turn. Be it known; here in the Great White North we have a little thing called "Yankee Humor." It involves being as caustic and sarcastic as possible while keeping tongue firmly wedged in cheek, and is the direct product of way too many winters like this one. We have to find amusement where we can, after all, and among our lot, who are thereby innoculated against "snark," it's considered the epitome of "wit."

    I, too, have been the target of outraged indignation by certain of Albion's "other" seed, on other boards, who didn't quite "get it" about this; as I suspect several of you "don't get" the estimable Ferd. Please be assured, his curmudgeonly view of the Blue and the Gray is meant to entertain, not inflame. The most productive response for you is to say "Well, bless his heart!" and smirk while jiggling those ice cubes (the closest you'll come to our rotten weather!) in your G & T. ;)

    LG said...

    I don't think the north, south, or anywhere in between wants to start looking at lacrosse players as examples of the average citizen.

    Anonymous said...

    LG; Or fraternity parties as an example of normal or acceptable behavior.

    Greenfield said...

    May all the Gods and Ancestors save us, PLEASE, from "Political Correctness." Muffy's blog, and practically all others about the State of Prep, are un-PC by defiNItion because what is really being discussed here, not always even thinly veiled, is (gasp!) ELITISM. That is, excellence and success in life, in taste, in education, in places one chooses to live, in dogs, pants, books, and cars. This blog is not of, nor for, "the masses." It cares nothing for the Lowest Common Denominator. We are not constrained to bother here with that oh-so-tedious lip service to the myth that All Men, Women, and Trolls are Created Equal and therefore "Entitled" to Equal Outcomes. This is to break a current American taboo. "Elitism" is currently the most un-PC of crimes.

    Now, our friend Ferd seems to be having fun riffing on exactly this, and he sure racks up the comments! Obviously, his barbed arrows are finding a mark.

    All I'm really getting from his posts is that a lot of folks "from away" are trying to fake being New England born-and-bred Preppies and failing. Which is perfectly true, and exactly why it's only "offensive" if that's YOU!

    Same-same as Muffy's post about people who brag about owning houses on Nantucket etc. but don't. It's sort of like getting caught with one of those fake handbags from Canal Street, don't you think?

    If the sparkly Topsider fits, well . . .

    Anonymous said...

    Go Greenfield!!!

    Rachel said...

    I love Nantucket Reds myself and really don't give a rats behind what side of the Mason-Dixon line they come from.

    LPC said...

    My family left the Reds largely behind when we left the East Coast. My sporty aunt might persist, out here in the SF Bay Area, but even she, I think, has moved on.

    That said, you look lovely.

    Dave T said...

    I agree with Greenfield to a point. That exception is that I would find it surprising if a majority of the Southern contingent has ever tried to pass themselves off as being from New England or attending an Ivy school (unless, of course, it was true). So, the claiming a rental was yours analogy doesn't work.

    While Ferd does bring up some valid points, his delivery is questionable. Indulge me with this. If all posters here were in a room together and Ferd shared his opinions, I might think he would come off as more boorish than witty regardless of him being correct or not.

    Of course, he could be a charming character with everything overlooked with a slight head shake.

    Muffy, as always, wonderful photos and great pairings!

    Anonymous said...

    A true prep knows that the only place to get Nantucket Reds is from Murray's Toggery Shop on Nantucket because they are the original. Anything else is a rip-off.

    Rachel said...

    Greenfield brought up something about "Yankee Humor". I'd love to know more about it. I love both British and Southern humor but don't know anything about Yankee humor. Both British and Southern humorist make fun of themselves and don't tend to make fun of others, Ferd makes fun of others to the point of cruelty and it's considered witty. Is this "Yankee Humor"?

    Anonymous said...

    Lady Nancy Astor: Winston, if you were my husband, I'd poison your tea.
    Churchill: Nancy, if I were your husband, I'd drink it.

    Ferd said...

    Dear Sara and Rachel, my sincerest apologies to you and yours. It is never my intention to be cruel. Nor were my remarks unintentional, I think. After all, a gentlemen, as you know, is someone who is never unintentionally rude.

    However, I can’t leave you without sharing a sensation all evening that reading your comments made me recall Winnie Churchill’s comment during the Boer War to the effect that nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result. I am breathless in the wake of your jibbers and jabs. Simply breathless to be alive, not wounded and ready for more dissertation among us!

    Yet, the Lord warned us about these sorts of talks, didn’t he? He cautioned: “Nether caste ye youre pearles before swine”. Jesus was concerned that his Apostles were wasting time offering biblical doctrine to those who were unable to value and appreciate it.

    So it is, ladies, with my ‘wit’. I shall leave all the pearls in the room around your perfumed necks and flex my waggishness elsewhere. Once again, I am sorry that you are unable to stay up with the reading in this class.

    Rachel said...

    Dear Ferd please tell us are you really Truman Capote and Don Rickles love child?

    Anonymous said...

    I have always enjoyed wearing my (Murrays only)Nantucket Reds with the minimal colors Muffy suggests.

    But, until now, for some unknown reason, I never associated them with ante-bellum slavery.

    I feek cheated that I didn't learn that in my history courses at Harvard.

    Anonymous said...

    Yankee humor is arid dry. It can be sardonic, witty and even down right cruel depending on who is on the receiving end. But the lesson implied is not to take everything too seriously.

    In the film "Igby Goes Down", the protagonist played by the younger Culkin said to Claire Danes: "You don't know their code. They're cold, cold, cold to the f'n bone!".

    Greenfield, the resident apologist for Ferd's Prepdom would agree. Political Correctness is not exactly their forte and sensitivity to others is something you should only find in Jane Austen novels.

    It's only amusing and comical if you're part of the elect. Otherwise, the jokes on you.

    However, what Preps are great at is Administration. This is something they do take seriously. Administration of assets, resources, liabilities, colonies, etc.

    Anonymous said...

    What are the guidelines for wearing Breton Reds such as Nantucket Reds in a wedding or "in town" setting?

    Greenfield said...

    Sara & Rachel:

    You guys SERIOUSLY don't get it that Ferd IS making fun of himself, or, by extention, all of OURselves? That his persona here is in fact a send up and self-parody of the entire vintage Preppy stereotype? REALLY? You're not reaching the entire thing that makes him drop-dead funny! If you want to "get" New England humor,folks, start there.

    Ferd needs no "apologist," his rapier wit being far sharper and quicker on the draw than mine.

    I am fascinated that on the internet for some reason everyone thinks everyone else's comments are "all about THEM." This is seldom the case. For the life of me I don't understand the hyper-sensitivity and taking everything personally that I see everywhere online nowadays. Soon the entire social-media world will have to be reduced to a tepid overboiled vegetable soup of bland inoffensiveness.

    Until then, Ferd, let it rip old boy! You're the best thing to happen to Muffy's blog since Muffy.

    What to wear with Nantucket Reds? A thicker SKIN.

    Anonymous said...

    No, Greenfield, you don't understand. I come to Muffy's site so that she can tell me I am preppy. I may lie about my summer house. I may wear my track suit to the supermarket even if I have not worked out in years. I have not picked up a book since the availability of reality television. I spend my discretionary money on garish and vulgar trinkets to impress my suburban neighbors. BUT I come here so that Muffy can tell me that I am indeed Preppy regardless of what I do. (FYI Muffy - I hate your entries when you erect standards, as that goes counter to the whole Pander-Internet culture to which I am addicted.) So please, Greenfield, keep your high standards and grown up opinions to yourself. You may be wise, but I am opinionated and loud.

    Anonymous said...

    According to Greenfield's logic and definition of humor, David Duke is just a misunderstood deadpan comedian. He gets a free pass to say whatever demeaning things about certain groups because hey, it's all in good fun and he's only mocking the racists.

    You know, if you have to explain the jokes, the humors is certainly lost. So if only a handful of people are silently chuckling, clearly, the rest think you're partly serious.

    Dr. Johnson said "There are few doors through which liberality, joined with good humor, cannot find its way.".

    With regards to reds, Murray's only. So what if it's Made under the remnants of Chairman Mao and Deng Xiao Peng? Yvon Chouinard doesn't seem to mind.

    Anonymous said...

    @Anonymous 10:04 - You have articulated the "Political Correctness" argument very well. Which reminds me of the old joke: Q: "How many feminists does it take to change a light-bulb?" A: "That's not funny."

    Matt said...

    Rudeness is a cowardly person's imitation of courage. Or, as the preppiest of preppy writers said, "It was long after that I recognized sarcasm as the protest of people who are weak."

    Anonymous said...

    Southern Prep is an oxymoron. Prep is the product of New England Puritans, not Pilgrims, Puritans. What is often called Southern Prep is simply Southern.

    Anonymous said...

    I cannot lie if if I post under "anonymous" or variations of the same nom de plume on current affairs sites. I visit this site with obsessive regularity because of Muffy.

    I am no Prep. I can't stand Opera. I am very suspicious of Preps within my firm. They share the same smirk, casual disregard for what ails modern man and eating habits. They're in world class shape, cycle for incomprehensible distances around Nantucket without breaking a sweat and win without appearing to try. In the borrowed wisdom of Woody Allen, they never get sick.

    Who are Preps? The conspiracy theorists in me believe they are Nordic Aliens or loyal adherents to the English throne.

    But Muffy...oh sweet, dear, pure Muffy A., goddess of my existence! Without Muffy, we are all but savages!

    She gives us courage, eternal hope and the will to say "Norwegian Sweaters if we're taking the 240".

    I think I'm love with Muffy. Question for the readership: "What do you think about the film "The Graduate"?".

    Anonymous said...

    Matt, Sarcasm is an appropriate response to bombastic language. In the Rocks-Paper-Scissors of conversation, Bombastic beats Reasoned, Sarcastic beats Bombastic, and Reasoned beats Sarcastic.

    Anonymous said...

    There are no Southern Preps. You can be Prep from New England--where the term originated--and relocate to a Southern State. But you can't be a Prep if you were born in the Deep South and graduated from a Southern School. The term just doesn't fit even if Birnbach and her publishers want you to believe it. Rules of non-contradiction apply. It can't rain and not rain at the same place at the same time. Southern Prep therefore is indeed an oxymoron.

    Southern Gentlemen, sure, why not? Southern Prep, excuse me if I cringe.

    Years ago, a journal published a piece on the "New Ivies". Essentially, the writer argued that 25 selective schools should also be included within the upper echelon which is normally reserved for the Ancient Eight in more traditional circles. These are fine Academic institutions, don't get me wrong but the Ivy League is merely an Athletic Conference with similar roots. Even then, there is a hierarchy with Princeton, Yale and fair Harvard assuming the lion's share of street cred.

    Political Correctness is the ruling ideology of public school system but for the sake of sanity, at least try and be consistent with etymology.

    JSprouse said...

    Since the recent unpleasantness at Gettysburg I still get my Reds from Murrays, al be it by way of China.

    Anonymous said...

    Wow! I only check the internet once a day and holy cow do I miss a lot! I have to say, as much as I enjoy Muffy's blog and her pictures, I have to admit that I am a west coast girl who has always been smitten with the South. New England looks quite lovely and I would like to visit some day but it does not pull on my heart and cause an ache in my belly like pictures from the South. I was once able to visit New Orleans (not at Mardi Gras) and it was pure bliss. I did not want to return home. The point is, all this arguing is silly. The beauty of living in such a large country is that there is region for everyone, whatever your pleasure may be. And, regardless of where "prep" originated, isn't is just nice that people from all over would like to wear proper clothes out in public?

    Anonymous said...

    Well bless your heart Ferd. Don't give it another minute's thought! Southerners love a good scrap and recognize a horse's patoot when we see it.


    Anonymous said...

    I should have also said that I apologize if I offended anybody from New Englad, that was truly not my intention.

    Highland Fashionista said...

    What an interesting discussion this has turned into. I can't help but get hung-up on the whole notion of prep as something that has been diluted for the mainstream..."something that has been appropriated that does not belong to you" as one writer put it. I'm too lazy to scroll back and figure out who (probably Ferd...he of the dazzling passive-aggressive put-down). But if that is the true problem with what prep has become, can that not be said about any slice of American culture? The whole country, our dress, our was all "appropriated" in some way or another from something pre-existing; from something that people wanted to become or that reminded them of familiar places. And I have to say, as an American expat, those sensible sweaters and well-worn shoes that are the so-called hallmarks of prepdom look like quite a familiar adaptation of an appropriation of the whole British "toff" (upper class aristocratic) style. It is not uniquely New England, only an adaptation of your ancestors' legacy. So really, maybe the question really is was it ever yours to begin with.

    Anonymous said...

    Ferd has the finely-tuned observational acuity of an anthropologist studying aboriginal tribes, but unlike an anthropologist, Ferd's observations and generalizations reveal more about his own values, experiences, expectations and insecurities than they reveal about the tribes he's describing.

    Anonymous said...

    Highland Fashionista is more or less correct, in that the American upper middle and upper classes, from the beginnings of this nation, "borrowed" many clothing and cultural attributes of the British aristocracy, from which most were NOT descended from. It was a way of showing that one had "made it".

    Yet, what most of this country now considers "preppy", vis-a-vis clothes and perhaps even furnishings, not to mention attitudes and values, comes from the 1950s ears of this nation. And that term didn't even catch on until the slim paperback, "THE PREPPY HANDBOOK", came out in the 1980s!

    Before that, this section of society was just considered to be the upper middle to upper classes, here. And no, one didn't have to be from a DAR/Mayflower/WASP family to 1) have these values 2)cultural interests 3)clothing style 4)life style!

    Anonymous said...

    The Puritans and their descendants did not "borrow" British culture and attributes any more than they borrowed their British genes. They continued the traditions for which they were stewards.

    Anonymous said...

    "Oh, wow."

    Anonymous said...

    The Puritans' descendants ( as well as descendants for other early colonists, as well as latter day immigrants ) "borrowed" a whole lot of things from the British aristos, the French, and yes, German high culture, because even wealthy Americans felt that they lacked "polish".

    Up until very recently, the lower classes aped "their betters", in every nation, when they could. This is historical fact; as is the case of Brits going off to Germany and Italy to learn about what they perceived to be a "higher" culture than their own.

    Kathie Truitt said...

    I love your hair's just a nice change and looks pretty blowing in the wind.

    Kathy said...

    I am both amazed and amused at the twists and turns the comments take.. Amazed that a seemly benign post about some red pants and accessories could take on a life of its own. Now not only do I look forward to your blog posts, I can not wait to read the comment section. I really get a kick out of your regular identifiable readers comments, snArky, hilarious .... always entertaining!

    Bob Henkel said...

    Crimony things have heated up here in this cozy little corner of the blog universe.

    My two cents. I don't know, or particularly care about, the boundaries or definitions of "Prep wear" but I do know what I like and what I am comfortable in. It happens to coincide with what many term "prep".

    If I get included fine, if not, fine. I'm still comfortable and secure.


    Class factotum said...

    Well bless your heart Ferd.

    And any of us who have been lucky enough to live in the south know what that means.

    Anonymous said...

    I don't think you need this, but thought of you anyway...


    Anonymous said...

    Pre-faded reds are like pre-scuffed cowboy boots. Did I mention that my BIL wore Top-siders fixed with duct tape( aka gaffers’ tape in my world) as a groomsman at my wedding in Oyster Bay? Authenticity was my late MIL’s word to live by, and she and my Montana rancher father were in perfect agreement. kateC

    Marcus Smith said...

    Some thoughts I've had while reading all the comments on this blog:

    On Southerners and preppy clothes:

    I live in south Mississippi. I went to Southern Miss, the least preppy school on the face of the planet. While I can't speak for other southerners' sartorial decisions, I can speak for my own. I used to dress..well.. badly (all black, tactical pants or frayed jeans, Graphic Ts, etc). I came to a point recently where I had to evaluate myself - I'm not a kid. I'm a father, husband, IT professional, etc. At the same time I stumbled upon the strange world of clothing blogs. As I bounced around the various blogs, looking for what worked best for me, I landed here at this blog, and I knew I had found what I was looking for - a versatile, comfortable style of dress, and brands that stand by their products (regardless of how they have apparently declined).

    Now I have a closet full of items that I can grab without too much thought, and know that they look good together. Oxfords and khakis are great because they can be dressed up or down. Of all the shoes I have bought recently, the topsiders are by far the most comfortable.

    I especially like some of the more playful things like reds, motif belts, ribbon belts because they go right along with my own tradition of wearing something unexpected or ironic.

    I guess I said all of that to say that I, a southerner, wear preppy items because I like them. I wear them because they're comfortable and versatile. I'm most certainly not trying to portray some false image, or trying to look rich. If I were, my wife would be driving something besides a 2001 Ford Explorer. It's ridiculous the debt people will get into over trying to impress others with their things...

    As for northern humor:

    Brutal. I just spent 3 months working for Nassau County on Long island alongside born and bred Long Islanders. If you come in lobbing softballs, those guys will eat you alive - great guys though. I've had to tone it down since I came home, lest I be considered rude by family and co-workers.

    By the way, while I was up there, i got to visit east Long island and Connecticut (via the cross-sound ferry). Beautiful place, but seriously, you guys can keep your winters. The dry cold makes my skin itch. Although, our summers in the south are unbearable even for me.

    As far as "rockin the reds", I find that you have to pair them with painfully normal items to pull it off.

    Joyce North said...

    This has definitely been one interesting discussion.

    I would just like to say to all:

    Common sense. Courtesy. Humour.

    I love Muffy's Blog!

    Patsy said...

    Back in the olden days, before this crazy internet we all know and love, having pants from Murray's meant you had actually been to Nantucket - even if it was just long enough to buy your pants and skedaddle back on the ferry.

    Anonymous said...

    I got my last pair of Nantucket Reds (as "Cape Cod Reds") in January 1998 at Puritan Clothes in Orleans on the Cape. They are pleated and cuffless. Although I've wondered which is more appropriate - cuffed or uncuffed, my instinct tells me that uncuffed is because they are more casual wear. (Yet Murray's Toggery shows them online with cuffs, though.)

    JerseyBoy said...

    I don't Summer on Nantucket, so it always seemed like it'd be an affectation to wear reds. I don't expect Nantucket sailors to wear my club burgee, from Maine. Some styles are regional.

    Funny that the discussion of a regional prep item devolved into a regional squabble. I'm sure there are Southern Prep styles I'd never consider wearing either. To each region, their own.

    If it's possible for Brooks Brothers and Ben Silver to co-exist, why can't we all? I mean, some day you might WANT your college insignia on your blazer buttons and where else would you go?

    skiwithapro said...

    Probably long before Murray's Nantucket Reds were invented, the red pants of choice of yachtsmen and crew, were of course the 'real' Breton Reds. Long ago I picked up a pair of these classic yachting pants while sailing the Channel Races. The pants, after a while, turned a fabulous washed out red that could only be achieved by being on the ocean (not counting the Nantucket fast ferry). They were soft, the right degree of "baggy" and worn by just about every blue water sailor.
    If anybody out there can refer to a store on Isle of Wight that still sell the real Breton Reds...

    Anonymous said...

    Fascinating blog, including the dialogue about one-upmanship; who's more authentic than whom; whether self-deprecating humor shows more class than snideness; whether "separate but equal" doctrines for Prepdom exist or ought to; and what the true etymology of the Prep aesthetic amounts to. Absolutely mind-expanding, and gorgeous photos besides. And all this because I needed to do some research on shoes worth buying. Muffy, you run a brilliant salon without trying.

    John D said...

    Does anyone know if these suggestions or rules transition well into Nantucket red shorts?

    Anonymous said...

    I generally like the prep look in clothing. It normally emphasizes a classic look, with good quality, comfort, and durability. In short, it looks good and wears well.

    I don't understand though how any guy would be caught dead wearing the Nantucket, red/pink pants. Maybe a flamboyant male could get by with the shorts, but the pants are just way over the top. Fine for women, but not for guys IMHO.

    ACKnative said...

    If you do buy from another retailer realize that the product you get won't be the original Nantucket Reds