Sunday, March 3, 2013

Reader Questions for the Community, March, 2013

Photo of Maine Steeplejack, Taken From Our Archives, April, 1978
1) I am a follower of your blog and absolutely love it! I look forward to reading each and every post of yours.

I've never been to Maine or for that matter explored the treasures of New England. However, I am currently in Boston finishing up my medical training and so hope to make the most of his time.

I wanted to plan a trip for my family which would expose us to the beauty of NE as you so eloquently describe in your blog.

However, I am completely overwhelmed with the planning. Would you be willing to provide me some good references (books) or a list of places that I should certainly visit.


2) I had a quick question for you regarding a pair of cords I recently thrifted. They are a very heavy corduroy, embroidered with pheasants and extremely well tailored. The only label inside states they are made by gt of Boston (it is lower case on the label).

I have been unable to locate any information on the company, and as it is in your neck of the woods, and they are clearly a well tailored preppy item, I wondered if you could shed any light on the company?

3) Love your Daily Prep! Very helpful when my wife and I bought Barbour jackets.

Separately, not sure if you have commented on this, but is there such a thing as preppy or preferred scents, i.e. deodorants/colognes for men, perfumes for women?

I realize it may be a very individual thing, but just curious...I've been Old Spice Original most of my life.

4) I was hoping you could offer advice on men's footwear.  For the past thirty years I have worn Alan Edmond shoes, and have enjoyed not only the fit but the styling.  Unfortunately in the last two years my feet have changed shape and I have found that ECCO shoes are one of the few brands I can wear.  Unfortunately I miss the classic styling of Allen Edmonds, and was wondering if there was a brand that you could recommend that has Ivy styling with comfort.

A second question that I have is that living in the South there is a very strong version of the Ivy / Prep styling.  Do you have any opinions on the lines that are making a claim to this regional prep?  (Some of the lines include: Southern Tide, Southern Proper, High Cotton, Southern Point, Southern Marsh, and Collard Greens.)  Thank you for your insight and advice.

5) I love your blog.  This might be a stretch, but with the coming of Spring, do you have any thoughts for great wedding, baby, and graduation gifts?  I feel I'm the world's worst gift giver, even with registry in hand.  I'm making a standard "go to" list of useful gifts,  would love to hear any ideas.

6) Huge fan of yours. Thanks for doing what you do. Twenty something preppy girl in the market for a watch. I have an old Cartier tank that was given to me, but I am looking for something more rugged and less dressy for day to day that is high quality but won't break the bank. What do you think about the Swiss Army watches? I was thinking the classic field watch (all silver stainless steel).  Also, what do you think about the Wenger v Victorinox Swiss Army watches? Any thoughts you have would be so appreciated. Thank you!

7) Your blog is a pleasure to read. Is it possible to share where one can purchase towels that are of good size ~ that are made of good cotton and that will last? This is my current frustration. Beach bag, boathouse, main house ~ all are in need of restocking.

Best regards!


BantamInChicago said...

3. You may do best sticking to no scent at all, or just the scent of regular deodorant. I've always found it off-putting to be around men who have an intentional scent. It reminds me of people who would spray Axe all over themselves before going to parties in college. Bad choice. Just my two cents, though.

4. I am a male with wide, "blocky" feet, and Alden's Barrie last seems to work very well. The other alternative is to try Rancourt's new fit test program, where they can send you different sizes and widths, and you can create a custom shoe based on the best size.

5. For a graduation gift, I would recommend a Lotuff briefcase, with the recipient's monogram. It is a gift that will serve its owner for the rest of his/her life.

6. First-- congrats, the Tank is a fantastic women's watch. If you are looking for something very rugged, and lower cost, but still elegant and interesting, I'd suggest checking out the AGA Correa & Son women's Center of Effort wristwatch. A women's model similar to that one can also be found at LL Bean.

Anonymous said...

4. Are you familiar with Ledbury shirts? The Richmond, VA company seems to be taking off and are quite popular. There was much ranting and raving about them on one of the morning shows several weeks ago. One of their customers owns approx. 500 of their shirts!

Also...Alden's shoes are pricey but apparently well worth the money.


Rachel said...

I think the best gifts for weddings or baby showers are silver frames. Martha Stewart has some at Macys for about $15 each. Each year I buy several so I always have them on hand. My favorite watch is a plain Timex with black leather band. For the girl just starting out it's a great inexpensive watch. It's also a watch Jackie Kennedy owned if that's an icon of yours.

Anonymous said...

As a very choosy scent lover, I must weigh in on question 3. Most deodorants, whether for men or for women, smell awful. Even the more agreeable scents, like classic Old Spice, are rendered unbearable by the sheer volume with which they announce themselves to everyone who shares a room with the wearer. I've yet to find a conventional women's deodorant that does not smell like a public washroom. May I suggest to both sexes something fragrance free, such as Mitchum? Alternatively, I personally recommend liquid crystal deodorants, which get the job done without calling any undo attention to their presence, and without ruining the pits of your shirt.
As for aftershave, witch hazel is all you need. I have a real soft spot for Old Spice Classic Lime aftershave - my grandfather wore it and kept an old glass bottle of the poison-green juice in the medicine cabinet of his house on the Cape. The scent immediately brings me back to long, lazy summers and holidays spent with family. The aftershave is no longer in production in the US and must be ordered from the Shulton company's factory in India. It's a complex, old-fashioned citrus floral, and it truly smells fantastic. I dab it behind my ears when I'm feeling nostalgic for summers at the beach.
Finally, on to scent. I'm of the (unpopular, here) opinion that perfume can be a charming extension of oneself, a way of softly imprinting on the memories of those around us - my grandmother wore Youth Dew, and every time I smell it now, I think of her. That said, it must be worn very sparingly to be enjoyed rather than loathed. We quickly lose the ability to smell scents that we wear every day, so in order to smell their perfume, most people end up spraying on more and more over time until they frighten horses and wilt flowers simply by standing near. Perfume is best worn very lightly, so that others would have to get quite close indeed before they would realize that we're wearing any scent. If you're going to be in an enclosed space for a long period or in close proximity to someone with strong allergies, it would be best to forgo scent that day. A dab of perfume can add richness to our character in the memories of others; a dousing of perfume makes for caricature.
So after all that drivel, here are my actual suggestions. Men should investigate classics like Dior's Eau Sauvage or Diorella, Old Spice, or some of the older Guerlains (Jicky, Vetyver). Women should investigate the classic Estee Lauder scents: Estee, Aliage, Azuree, White Linen, Youth Dew, Private Collection. Clinique's Aromatic Elixir is also good. Yes, they're old-fashioned, yes, they're "old lady" scents, and yes, they smell great. They're also priced much more reasonably than most of the dreck on the shelves of the beauty department - used properly, a $40 bottle might last a decade. Don't be afraid to try out something marketed to the opposite sex either - the sales assistant will huff and puff, but preps are comfortable with androgyny, and most of the scents I listed above will work for men or women. Some nice items can be found at Crabtree and Evelyn too, especially their Evelyn Rose scent, which might be especially nice for a teen girl or a very brave man.

To summarize: fragrance free deodorant when possible; witch hazel as aftershave; old-fashioned, androgynous perfumes worn in trace amounts.


Jack said...

I tend to stay away from any pseudo-preppy, upstart clothing company. This scourge of lifestyle brands, brought about by the success of Vineyard Vines, plays to our most pathetic tendency as consumers: the belief that buying a certain logo can secure us membership in some otherwise out-of-reach clique of elite individuals. Unless your intentions are to actively prove Veblen's theory of conspicuous consumption, put your money somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

7. I forgot, in my froth to post on perfume, that I have an opinion on towels too. My parents ordered a set of bath and beach towels from Land's End several years ago, and they are still going strong. They have stayed soft, not frayed, and not faded. The beach towels are handling extra abuse ever since my parents moved into a house with a pool and a very hard concrete deck (it would already be done away with if it didn't seem to be holding together so much of the house's foundation). I can't promise that a set ordered from LE today would be as good, but they might be worth looking into.

LG said...

5. A silver bracelet with a meaningful date engraved on the inside is a nice gift. They even come sized for babies. I'm sure there is a good New England source for these, but if not try Master Craftsmen in Williamsburg.

Rachel said...

I think the allure of men wearing scent is you have to be very close to them to smell it. As with everything about the traditionally dressed man it must be understated. I think Old Spice is very nice myself.

Anonymous said...

5. I'll second the choice of good, heavy silver picture frames and will splurge on those if it's a wedding or graduation gift. A good set of sheets or towels cost a fortune now and won't last forever; a good silver frame will (or at least should).

If you've taken a good picture at the wedding or graduation - or if pictures are posted online of the event or new baby, it's nice to have it printed and put into the new frame. 5 x 7 always seems to be a good size.

When my daughter was married, she didn't register a silver flatware pattern since she'll inherit two of them. One of the wedding guests found a vintage serving piece (in one of the patterns) and had it engraved with her new initials which was very cool (I dislike registries for anything other than china, silver and crystal).


Emily said...

I submitted question 5, thanks for posting it! I have compiled a quick few things since. For baby, Oneida's 6 piece progressive baby/child flatware set, lasts forever, and the Revere pattern could be engraved if you had a source.
For weddings, showers, and hostess gifts, I'm enthusiastic about Wilton Armetale, made in Lancaster, PA....this stuff makes me giddy, lol, reasonable, durable, engraveable, and not made in China. I just ordered a few pieces for try out, of course. I can't believe I'm just discovering it after all these years. Thanks again for your ideas.

Anonymous said...

Love my Swiss Army watch!

Bernie said...

6. A preppy watch is a vintage Rolex Precision in stainless steel and a plain black strap. They can be found used for around a thousand dollars. Some may consider this expensive but used Rolex's can almost always be sold for what you paid if not more. If a thousand dollars is more than you want to spend then another option is a vintage men's Timex on a plain letter strap. The hand wind watches from the 60's and 70's are especially nice. There are lots of them on Ebay for under fifty bucks. Don't overlook the ones with metal bracelets because they can always be swapped with a leather strap. The men's size look great on women. These watches suggests a story behind the wearer and the watch. It exudes both class and style.

Anonymous said...

Muffy, I wasn't in the first round, but here's a question for you:

What are the Ten Most Influential Books in Your Life?

I've been pondering this a bit lately, and it's very telling about the impacts of various kinds of books.

Rachel, I don't wear cologne (I'm male for now) but I like the Florida water aftershave, although some down South apparently use it for hoodoo purposes. It's just citrusy, orangey and wears off in about 10-15 minutes.

Anonymous said...

As far as mens scents, you can't go wrong with Royall Lyme. Subtle, cooling and multipurpose as well as inexpensive and traditional, From Bermuda. As a woman, I prefer and Hermes cologne. Subtle and long-lasting. Keep the Cartier tank watch- classic as well as vintage- two preppy concepts in one. For everyday, we love the Victorinox watches around here. I like lavender around the house- great for drawers and as soaps. Bug repellent as well.

Anonymous said...

In response to Flo-
"Canoe" is indeed a classic scent. The female version was "Ambush". Both were Dana products. I do not know if "Ambush" is still manufactured.

Deborah said...

Speaking of watches .. Any suggestions for one that the continuous bands can be changed out without having to remove those pesky spring things? I like the ElizaB company for watch bands for the summer.

Anonymous said...

Regarding scent: scent is of course a subjective thing but I would choose citrus-based, herbaceous/'green' scents and chypres over orientals and florals which too often come across as cloying and do not wear well when one is out of doors.

Wearing the boyfriend's/husband's eau de cologne always works, provided said gentleman wears Eau Sauvage or Hermès Eau d'Orange verte.

Regarding deodorant: Weleda makes a unisex spray deodorant with a very subtle citrus scent that doesn't overpower the wearer (or anyone else, thank goodness). Weleda's bath and skincare products are excellent as well.

Oxford Cloth Button Down said...

2. I am not much help, but I believe the company is called GT Incorporated and is located in Boston. I think that O'Connell's sources their embroidered cords from them. A call to O'Connell's may provide more fruitful until a more knowledgeable poster than myself comes along (shouldn't be long!).

Dawn said...

Sadly, I cannot comment with authority on anything except for #7, the towels.

All three of my boys have monogrammed LL Bean Ultra-Absorbent Cotton Towels, and they've held up beautifully over the years. My oldest son will be 17 this month, and they each got their towels as babies. They may not be the most luxurious towels on the market, but after hundreds of washings, they're still in decent shape.

Flo said...

@anonymous 11:14--THANK YOU! I was wracking my brain trying to remember Ambush!!!! It was just a slightly sweeter scent than Canoe which is why I preferred it. I did come across some Canoe a couple of years ago. I'll have to keep my eyes out for some--I wonder if Vermont Country Store carries them?

Anonymous said...

Hermès bath towels are frightfully expensive, but they last decades in comparison to any other towel you may purchase and then need to replace every year or two. They aren't towels most people can stock throughout the house, but my spouse and I have found them a sound and pleasing investment in the master bath.

A Cartier tank watch is a classic for a man or a woman and there are models that can be purchased new for around $1,500. That is far less than a Rolex and will serve as an investment or something that can be passed down.
I think it is very "preppy" to purchase things that are of very high quality, long-lasting and attractive without being showy.
@Jack: I couldn't agree more about Vineyard Vines. Their men's shirts are attractive and the fit is comfortable, but their relentless drive to emulate a dubious vision of "preppy" has become clownish. I still buy their shirts, but only those without the whale icon, which I once thought somewhat cute but now feel embarrassed to wear.

Marie said...

Matouk for towels. They are made in the US and have a factory outleft in Fall River (with some great buys). Their designs are simple. One of the favorites in my house is a pink beach towel edged with lime green. It is great for the beach and bath.

Anonymous said...

Someone wanted to know if there was a resource for silver bracelets made in NE. I have a lovely cuff from Erickson Silver, It is handmade and hand-engraved with my monogram. The pictures on the web don't do it justice.

Just a casual observer.

Anonymous said...

6. My husband and I both wear the Swiss Army watches and to date, they have worked very well. My husband's gets wet and banged around a lot and has to be replaced every 8 or 9 years because it gets so scratched up. Otherwise, for the money and everyday use (and if you don't care about impressing people with your watch), they are hard to beat.

7. I started buying the Resort Cotton towels from Frontgate (catalog) several years ago and won't buy any others. If you wash them according to the instructions - cold water, no softener - they are soft, absorbent, and wear like iron. We've used just two sets for the past 5 years; they look and feel brand new. They aren't as expensive as Matouk or Hermes (and they are still on sale).


Katahdin said...

Re: Shoes

Alden, J.M. Weston, John Lobb.

Katahdin said...

Re: "scent" for men


Anonymous said...

You can get ribbon bands from Central Watch in New York or Esslinger; check the net. I use one on my old Caravelle diver watch; one solid tank of metal that it is.

Muffy, I'd like to be the guy painting the church steeple windows! What a fun way to go---something very unusual to try to do.

Joyce North said...

I have worn the Swiss Army Officer watch (all stainless) since 1998. It is a great watch with looks and endurance. When, and if, it dies, I will get another one.

WRJ said...

1. Grain of salt: I can only speak with any authority about my pocket of the region, which apparently barely clings to its New England status. If you're traveling in summer, go to Abbott's in Noank, CT for lobsters, outside, at a dock, on picnic tables, in one of the most charming villages on the shore. It's so much fun for kids--I have great memories--and delicious. Or if you're in the mood for fried clams, Sea Swirl on the Stonington side of Mystic has the best, also on the water with benches outside. Again, if it's summer, a beach day at Watch Hill, RI (NOT on a weekend) is always fun. It's a fantastic old beach enclave that has been featured here a couple of times, with beautiful blufftop shingle-style "cottages", some unbelievable boats, and, of course, The Ocean House. If you are bringing bikes, consider a day on Fisher's Island, NY, right off of the Connecticut coast with a ferry leaving from New London. It's a fantastic place to bicycle around and very manageable for kids. Nantucket is a bit of a haul for a day trip, so I wouldn't recommend it unless you can go for at least a weekend. (But if you can: GO!)

3. The party line here is no scent, ever. But I actually like a dab of Royall Muske--it's great, simple, and masculine (no citrus or florals here!), retailed at Brooks Brothers and Murray's. I don't think anyone operating beyond handshake distance can perceive it, which is, I think, the appropriate strength. I find myself much more bothered by the caucauphony of cheap scents we're all subjected to daily than I am a single pleasant and high-quality perfume or cologne, so I use unscented or barely scented deodrant, after shave, shampoo, soap, and dryer sheets (the worst offenders!). I find I'm pretty sensitive to these scents and the overlap among is even more unpleasant than over-perfuming. Royall Muske is the only scent I've ever worn, but, believe it or not, Tom Ford produces some of the most interesting scents currently sold.

4. I would recomment Alden, as others have. They have a ton of lasts for different foot shapes, as well as "flex" welts and "walkers" for comfort.

5. For grad gifts: I agree with those who have suggested photo frames--silver is classic, but I also like natural horn or slate. The Lotuff briefcase is a great idea if it's your child or close relative, but one would quickly go broke handing those out. For guys, a tie is always appreciated--maybe one with an alma mater theme. For girls, simple jewelry is appreciated (my mom gives pearl bracelets or studs from Tiffany). And for both, stationery is great and will probably be needed for writing thank yous.

Wedding gifts are tough. I frankly hate most registeries, which often feel like either a random compilation of disposable crap the couple would never buy with their own money (Immersion blenders and rice cookers? TWO dustbusters?) or a ranson of absurdly expensive demands unaffordable for anyone without a mid-six-figure salary ("I hope you enjoy this butter knife!") If I were taking the questionably-appropriate step of going outside the registry, I think anything with the new couple's monogram (presuming no hyphenation or name-retention) is a great gift (towels, linen, crystal).

6. First, love Tanks. I really like the Swiss Army field watches, and still pine for a vintage sterling version done with Tiffany that I stupidly passed up at an estate jewelry shop back in college. I'm not otherwise familiar with Swiss Army but you'll probably be fine if you avoid a convoluted bracelet design and chronographs (if you really need to time something, you need a digital watch). Both instantly make a watch look cheap.

Sarah said...

Question #3:

Scent is easier for women, and the classics are sufficiently "preppy," I think.

Joy by Jean Patou
Arpege by Lanvin
Brits like Caleche, but I find it too strong
Diorissimo by Dior
Lauren by Ralph Lauren was nice, if I recall
I wear Artemisia by Penhaligon's, their Ellenesia is nice, too.

For men, any scent detectable at more than a hug is probably too much, which is why I prefer plain old aftershave to cologne, or scented deodorant (most colognes come in a deodorant version.) A modern one would be CLEAN for men, older ones can be found at Penhaligon's, check out the various reviews at Their Blenheim Boquet gets great reviews as a classic, understated British scent for men.

Katahdin said...

We rented a Maine cottage to steeplejacks during the '60's. Great fellows who got "high" while working and made a strong impression on me as a then 10 year old.

Anonymous said...

1. What WRJ said and I would add Block Island to his list. The spots one hears a lot about are truly lovely but can be overwhelming in season, ala Chatham on the Cape, Marblehead on the North Shore, etc. For more urban experiences I would recommend Portsmouth Nh or the Old Port in Portland. Skip Old Orchard Beach. If you are willing to drive, the Mount Desert area is beautiful, but Bar Harbor is one of those places in season that is a madhouse. Ditto Camden.

Anonymous said...

Lisa Birnbach lists Christian Dior's "Eau Savage" as the man's preppy cologne in her book "The Official Preppy Handbook."

OC said...

I am also in the subtle-scent team, having only 3 scents in stock. For minuscule daily use I dab 4711 Kolnisch Wasser, aka the original Cologne from Cologne Germany, inexpensive, subtle and classic. For more formal events I go for Halston Z14, as it reminds me of early 80's teen years, or Acqua di Parma Cologne, a refined version of 4711. For women, my wife (38) swears by old lady scents: Eau de Cartier, Lauren and even likes Lily Pulitzer, but disagrees on Chanel no. 5, she seems to think that every 5 to 10 years the perfume gets a big marketing push to a new generation, and becomes too mainstream. Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

1. It depends on what in you are in the mood for. For a city with Bohemian vibe, check out Brattleboro or Burlington, VT. For a quiet but pleasant retreat away from the noise and clutter of the City, drive North to NH and explore towns in the White Mountains. During the Summer, I would actually avoid the Cape and the Islands for obvious reasons. Stick with the Maine Coast. If you're into Classical Concerts and love the New England scenery, visit the Berkshires later this year. But if you want to catch a Yankees Game, order a Gray's Papaya Hot Dog and visit Lincoln Center, pay your tolls through Connecticut. :)

3. Stick with organic honey and oatmeal soap. Trader Joe's sells it in a pack of 2 for like $1.50. Avoid anything with alcohol in it. Use natural deodorant. As for scent, Baby Powder is universally pleasant.

4. Part II: See Ferd's 1,000 word essay on his fundamentalist interpretation of Prepdom and toss Birnbach's book into the recycling bin.

Bob Henkel said...

2. perhaps Louis, Boston?

5. perhaps a donation to a charity you know is favored? Local ASPCAs are always in need

6. LL Bean sells great rugged, sturdy tasteful watches. I have a few Brooks Bros fabric bands I rotate around to give me a change.

Anonymous said...


1. Weddings: Give $$$

2. Birthdays: Scotch for Men. Bean Tote Bag for the Ladies containing gift certificates for a day the Spa, bottle of wine, book, etc.

3. Baby Shower: $$$, Disney Stock Certificate if you're not overly paranoid about subliminal messages in their animation department

4. Graduation: $$$, Ipad, Noise-canceling Headphones, concert tickets, Bicycle, tickets to Europe, "Take Ivy", Nantucket Reds, etc.

Bob Henkel said...

1. Places to see in NE: Mystic, CT. Wonderful place to see nautical history. Shelburne Museum in Burlinton, VT. GREAT art museum there. A true treasure. Also go to Shelburne Farms--you can stay at the house, but if too expensive you can always have a great lunch and enjoy the house and land. Edith Wharton's house The Mount in Lenox, MA is another great stop. Bon Voyage!

WRJ said...

@12:39 -- You must be speaking of metaphorical tolls, since Connecticut got rid of the monetary kind in 1988. Or maybe you're thinking of Massachusetts? I'd encourage you to stop by on your next New York jaunt so you can snark with greater authority in the future.

mary anne said...

I also give silver frames for many occasions. LL Bean makes good, sturdy towels. I have some from a decade ago and they are still doing well. They also make good, sturdy watches. I will also chime in with the Timex contingent. Inexpensive and durable. As to scent, personal preference as long as it doesn't enter a room before you do or linger after you've left

Anonymous said...

For watches, there is only one place to go: Weems & Plath of Annapolis, the sailing capital of world and innately prep. They're not expensive either.

Anonymous said...

I second Florida water as a scent. Clean, citrusy, barely there. Also, it's cheap and it wards away evil spirits!

Anonymous said...

I second the vote for the Frontgate Resort Cotton towels. I have several sets for my beach house and they hold up well with multiple washings. They were on sale recently and may still be.

Regarding cologne, I enjoy Light Blue from D&G. I used to wear Chanel No. 19. Both more herbaceous, woody scents. No heavy florals, although one of my preppiest friends in college swore by Guerlain's Shalimar.

John said...

1) Some thoughts: start close -- Harvard Yard, Lexington and Concord. Then expand to the Cape, taking the coastal roads to Chatham and then north. Do not miss Nantucket if you can go for a few days; rent a bike and take the Polpis Loop cross-island or rent a kayak in summer. Next, up the coast, including Cape Ann, to Maine, at least as far as Boothbay or Wiscasset; if you have more time, take a few days and see Acadia National Park. The White Mountains of New Hampshire are beautiful, and it's possible for a reasonably fit person to hike Mount Washington, but be sure to have proper clothes and shoes. I second the other comments about the Connecticut and RI coast. If you are a baseball fan, I assume you have already visited Fenway; McCoy in Providence is an enjoyable minor league park.

3) If you choose to use scent, subtlety is best. I like Royall Lyme and Hermes Eau d'Orange Verte.

4b) Southern Tide has pretty good quality (even though made in China), but oh, that skipjack! So conveniently placed as to be visible even when wearing a blazer and tie.

Anonymous said...

In regards to gift giving.
Does anyone other than me find being asked for cash in lieu of old fashion gifts
For me there is no joy in giving money.
Thoughtfully purchased gifts hold memories unlike $$$.
I do understand its widely excepted today but so aren't other distasteful things.

LG said...

Two more things:

Marblehead is a nice day trip in May. Lunch by the water, a walk to the fort...

I have ordered from High Cotton and like the tie very much. Collard Greens is very focused on being environmentally responsible, which is obviously nice. (It is also not actually very southern.) Both products are made in the USA.

C said...

3) I submit my humble opinions on colognes, deodorants/antiperspirants, & perfumes:

~ On colognes: Don't.
~ On deodorant: Be subtle -- unless you have legitimate odor problems.
~ On perfume: Don't rely too much on others' recommendations. Find something that works with your natural scent, and that you enjoy, and wear the bare minimum of it. (If you find yourself wondering, "Should I put on a little more perfume?" the answer is always no.)

Susan said...

Regarding scent for women, I would recommend two guiding principals: keep it subtle and stick to the classics. As my mother always said, no one should be able to detect your scent unless they are close enough to kiss you. In terms of what scents are best, I like perfumes that have history behind them, such as pre-WWII classics from Guerlain or Caron (my particular favorite).

Anonymous said...

Tour of New England: Visit historic Colleges. Many of these institutions have impressive architecture, libraries and museums. This time of the year, Hockey Games are all the rage especially if you can get tickets for intense rivalries such as Colby v. Bowdoin.

Bed and Breakfast: Do your homework and rely on reputable guides. These establishments can range from quaint to downright deplorable. Stick with locations along the Maine Coast. But if you're outdoorsy, try spending a night in an Appalachian Mountain Club Hut. Meals are usually included. Obviously, expect to pay premium rates for rooms during the summer months on the Vineyard and Nantucket.

Boston: The Marathon is in April and rooms are pretty much booked already well in advance. But if intend to visit for graduation, visit the usual spots like Harvard Square, the Back Bay, the new Waterfront, South End (caters to Gay and Lesbians), Beacon Hll, etc. The best time to visit IMO is the Fourth of July Celebration on the Charles River.

Misc.: Cycle along the Minuteman Trail with your vintage Italian Frame, Climb Mt. Washington, rent a convertible and drive through the Mohawk Trail into Vermont for the season's Maple Syrup, visit the hometown of the late great J.D. Salinger in Cornish (though I should warn you that residents are deliberately unreliable with directions if you're looking for his former home), take Sailing lessons on the Charles, visit a local farm and pick fresh fruits and baked pies, do a pub crawl starting at the historic Green Dragon Tavern, venture into working class East Boston and savor a slice of Santarpio's Pizza, catch a game at ancient Fenway, talk politics and business with the tailors at The Andover Shop, if you have Rule 144 Stock positions, make an appointment with the hundreds of Asset Managers in the area and you'll get treated to an elegant lunch at the Harvard Club or the BC Club and finally, get dolled up and see a concert at Symphony Hall.

No place I'd rather be than in New England.

Katahdin said...

Re: Watches

Vintage Rolex Air-King in steel

Anonymous said...

1. You have to visit the Cape although someone would have to pay me 5 million dollars and get me there by helicopter to do so in the summer. October is gorgeous though - and the rates really drop after Columbus Day weekend. We don't particularly care for Hyannis but there is a very basic good little motel there called the Sea Coast Inn which is very reasonable and is a big favorite with travelers. You aren't going to be staying in a motel room during the day anyway and it's a good jumping off point to visit the rest of the Cape. You can also walk to the Vineyard and Nantucket ferries from the motel. All the little towns on the Cape seem to have distinct personalities but you don't want to miss Provincetown because of the setting and interesting people & the Chatham area. If money isn't an issue (and the rates drop significantly in October), stay in a "Premiere" waterfront room (but not ours!) at the Chatham Bars Inn. Heaven.

If you're interested in old houses and a great harbor, go to Marblehead on the North Shore and spend the day walking through the town. Drive across the causeway and go out on the Marblehead Rock and check out the lighthouse.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I live in Nantucket but spend part of the winter in Richmond. We are native Southerners who have lived in Massachusetts for 35 years.

Lots of good questions here.

Southern Prep: too colorful, too new, and men and especially teenage boys look like they were dressed by their wives and moms. Too matchy-matchy. This goes back to the Sixties at least. There used to be a small college-town chain called Rush Wilson that dominated this.

Southern men also tend to wear golf clothes off the golf course, knit shirts with sleeveless sweaters. Not something I see much of in Nantucket except on people who are going to or from the course.

In general, Southern people tend to wear clothes that are too new looking to New England eyes,except maybe Barbour jackets, which are the rage in Richmond.

Scent: scent-free Mitchum or other deodorants always for men, and Secret makes scent-free for women. I use No 89 shaving soap from Floris in London with one of their badger brushes. On the very, very rare occasion that I use after shave or powder, it is also Floris No 89. 4711 is nice, though I have never used it. i have been given Bay Rum, but it is not for me. One of my enduring memories of Vanderbilt was of coeds coming across the campus in a cloud of conflicting scents: hairspray, deodorant, perfume, lotions, all different, all overwhelming.

Shoes are tough. I have big and horrible feet, so I wear Mephistos. They cost a lot and take forever to break in, but they feel like hiking boots on the cobblestones, last forever and can be refurbished over and over again. We used to be a huge Teva family for sailing and quahoging, but they changed the way they are put together and my son and I both find that the straps cut our feet badly. No more Teva tans! Bass Weejuns for going out to dinner or to someone's house.

There are really nice ideas for gifts on this list at all price ranges. I wish someone had given us many, many years ago a set of four Telescope directors chairs. They are classic and infinitely useful indoors and out. LL Bean boat bags last forever and are not expensive. I have bought my wife sailing-themed jewelry from Correa, but I had to learn restraint! I tend to get on a roll: she liked this so she will like that!

My wife would like to buy me a nice watch, but our lifestyle would destroy many of them and I am too forgetful to change. I prefer to wear Timex with ribbon bands from Murrays.

This is my first post here. I mean to be descriptive, not prescriptive so I hope I haven't gone too far.

WRJ said...

Following up just to second Katahdin's Air King recommendation. Particularly with a blue face. So simple that it's perfect. If I didn't already have a watch that I loved, that's what I'd get.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 5:04...don't worry about Ferd. He's recovering from Southern Comfort and that can be an unpleasant 24 hour period.

Anonymous at 5:07....such an interesting comment about southern clothes looking newer than what New Englanders wear. Whenever we've traveled north, we've always noticed how dark people's clothes are - to the point of being almost drab. I don't mean that in a negative manner but people in the south wear brighter and more colorful clothing.

Once a visitor from upstate NY said everybody in Richmond looked like they were on vacation all the time which I thought was such an odd comment until we started exploring the New England area.


Margaret Murtagh said...

1. Maine is one of our favorite places to go. Every year we have spent a week in a little house near Goose Rocks Beach. We would love to own a home is quiet and beautiful and our favorite meal is on the last night of our vacation we go to Mabels in Kennebunkport, a favorite of President Bush.

3. My favorite scent is Caroline Herrera. It is classic and light and I can wear it every day. My husband and sons don't ordinarily wear aftershave, but I have purchased some Lauren scents for them.

5. There is nothing like silver: A silver frame for the wedding picture, a silver frame for the new baby and a silver charm bracelet for the graduate or silver swiss army knife or silver belt buckle.

7. I always by my towels from either Lands End or the Ralph Lauren outlet...I sometimes get Lauren towels in Marshalls or TJ Maxx.

Anonymous said...

sara - You are such a trouble maker! Instigating, while maintaining deniability! :)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:07 - Rush Wilson still exists. It did indeed start in the small college town of Davidson, NC. They now have just the one store in Greenville, SC but it's still the best men's clothier in town. Rush Wilson is credited with bringing the "New England" natural shoulder look to the south.

Dave T said...

#1 - I noticed a few mentions for Marblehead. I would suggest an overnight at the Harbor Light Inn. It was well run with nicely sized rooms with neat details.

#3 - As far as scents go, I'll put my vote in for Royall Lyme. It's almost barely there.

#4 - (This is only regarding tennis shirts) While I admire their entreprenurial spirit, all the Southern this and that companies come off as gimmicks. I did buy some shirts for nostalgia's sake from Boast, and have been happy with them. While it can be said that Boast has slick marketing, the guys that relaunched the brand had to get the blessing from Bill St. John, who started Boast and had rejected previous offers. Despite not being exactly perfect, Lacoste and Ralph Lauren tennis shirts are my standards. I am interested Collard Greens' neck ties, though. Good colors.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:11 Oh, I don't know..if that were the case, i probably wouldn't use my name...just "anonymous". ;)


Rachel said...

Silver must be the "Official" metal of choice for the Preppy/WASP. I haven't had any luck with the Ralph Lauren towels I bought some years ago so I appreciate everyone's ideas. Does anyone have favorite colors, I always seem to choose plain white or cream colors, I do this for bed linens also. I monogram everything I get my hands on, do others here do the same?

Anonymous said...

A visit to Woodstock VT is something that I recommend.

Anonymous said...

Flo.....Ambush is sold at the Vermont Country Store if you're interested in buying it; though I wouldn't call it particularly "preppy".

OC.....yes, for men, 4711 is "preppy", as is Royale Lyme ( which women can also wear well ), anything sold at Caswell Massey, Penhaligon, and Pinaud ( especially Lilac Vegetal and perhaps Clubman ).
As for scents for women, yes, Lauren is a good one.

Sarah, Susan, and Margaret.....I personally love and wear the single scent florals from Penhaligon ( violet or lily-of-the-valley; it's old fashioned, perhaps "old lady", but both scents suit me, at different times ), MOMENT SUPREME by Patou ( it very light! ), and on Christmas eve and Christmas day, I wear Caron's Nuit De Noel,

The trick with perfume/toilet water/men's scents is to put a slight dab of it on and if you can't smell it, unless you have to deeply inhale it it your wrist almost shoved up your nose, you are wearing more than enough of!

Presents.......NEVER GIVE MONEY; that's just gauche!

Silver picture frames for weddings, births, baptisms, and graduations are lovely; even better when monogrammed and/or dated. Alternatives....A silver Tiffany pen for a graduation gift. A silver feeding spoon, rattle, comb and brush set, or very small bank for a birth. Silver or crystal candle sticks for a wedding gift.

Anonymous said...

I would give money because I'm not immune to the economic struggles of friends and even extended family members who were exposed by the whims of market forces, inflation and regulation. Although this is not the proper forum for this topic, money should be considered in the context of the times even if it means suspending traditional mores on the faux pas of gifting money. If there is one positive aspect of the Occupy Movement last year, it's how much it impacted the way we think in terms of how debates are framed around the 99% vs. the 1%.

Granted, most Preps are within the privileged class but as Philosopher Filmmaker Whit Stillman argued in "Metropolitan", the elite class are prone to financial ruin and social failure simply because expectations are absurdly high and the culture of restraint prohibits aggressiveness in business dealings. Do the math and connect the dots and its very plausible you know a Prep who is hiding their pain.

Preps value education. They send their kids to the elite ranks of the Independent Schools where they can immerse in the Trivium. This costs money and every little bit of assistance helps. So think about money as a small gift towards education. With the rate of inflation, tuition will only increase.

Now back to the New England-Connecticut demarcation line.

Laurie Ann said...

Some of my favorite gift giving ideas;

For weddings of close family friends I purchase a Nativity set that I can add to each year.

Silver frames are appropriate for any occasion.

For watches, stay simple and classic. You don't have to spend a fortune. Just promise to stay away from Fossil or any other brand with a large, ostentatious face surrounded by fake crystals. Remember, less is more!

For towels, I have had very good luck with Lands' End and LL Bean. Had them for years and wash beautifully.

For baby gifts, my Mother always said,"the baby gets enough! Buy something lovely for the lady who did all the work". I usually purchase something in crystal.

For graduations I like to purchase engraved stationary from Crane. I'm ever hopeful that note writing will again become fashionable.

Anonymous said...

For #5 for wedding presents I'd stick to the items the couple registered. The point of a gift should not be to show how clever and original I can be.

I would never dream of characterizing a charitable donation as a gift to somebody unless I knew for an absolute certainty that the gift recipient would appreciate it. I myself would be displeased if somebody tried that with me.

Laurie Ann said...

Oops! Forgot to mention scents. As an avid gardener I always go "scentless" with everything during the growing season. After that, Beautiful by Estee Lauder dabbed very lightly behind the ears. For men, I always loved my father's Bay Rum. I still have his bottle and it takes me back whenever I smell it.

CWS said...

1. North Conway, NH is one of my favorite places in the world. Hike Mount Washington. Spring ski Tuckerman Ravine. Support the Observatory.

2. Lucky you!

3. I don't wear deodorant except on really necessary occasions when I use RoC that I first bought at a pharmacy in Paris on account of its inoffensiveness. It took some time for my body to readjust, but I didn't want the chemicals, and now I don't need them. I don't wear perfume on a daily basis, but will roll on Kiehl's original musk when I'm feeling saucy, or Youth Dew to be especially festive. I keep a bottle of Chanel No. 5 on my dressing table for reasons of personal nostalgia. My husband wears Royall Musk if he's going out of the house (and Old Spice deodorant).

4. My husband loves Russell Moccasins, made to order in Wisconsin. You send them a trace of your foot, wait very patiently, and then receive the most excellent and well-fitting shoes.

5. Mackenzie Childs.

6. I like Citizen Eco-Drive, waterproof, mixed metal. Nice looking but not too precious.

7. I need new towels, too! I'm in the habit of taking my mother-in-law's hand-me-downs because they're so soft! Who knows where they originated.

Thanks to the community for a really excellent exchange!

Anonymous said...

When it comes to scents, I wholeheartedly recommend 4711. The preppiest scent is barely perceptible, and 4711 fits the bill perfectly. It's light and citrusy, feels refreshing on the skin, and then quickly vanishes. The aroma reemerges when you rub the area or begin to perspire. For this reason, the fragrance is something of a private virtue. It was introduced to me by a well-known conductor who liked the way it disappeared but then reasserted itself once he took up the baton. I have since read that it was also John F. Kennedy's favorite cologne.

For deodorant, I like Vetiver by Guerlain. It is also very discreet but smells wonderful to anyone within kissing distance. If you want to take things a step further, there is also Vetiver & Juniper soap by Crabtree & Evelyn, which is very enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

#1 If you go to Mystic, CT Mystic Seaport and Aquarium are nice spots to visit with the family. I second the recommendation for Abbott's Lobster in Noank. Also, Paul's Pasta on the Groton side is our family favorite (lobster ravioli and chicken diablo). If you can, grab a seat outside. Same goes for Kitchen Little which is also on the water and a good brunch choice.

#5 Graduation gifts that I use to this day, Tiffany silver card case with initials engraved and Mont Blanc pen.

HHH said...

There is no preppier cologne on earth than Royall Lyme. It reminds me so much of the 60's and practically makes me weak in the knees every time I smell it. I tried to force by husband and boys to wear it, but they are not cologne men. C'est dommage. Buy Royall Lyme at Brooks Brothers.

Lollyg said...

Dear CWS,
Do you purchase the RoC deodorant in the US? If so, where?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

1) I have to add my recommendation for Marblehead MA as the quintessential NE coastal town and the Harbor Light as the place to say. Lovely tavern. And so close to Boston. If you can wait until spring, the harbor filled with boats is something to behold (the wait for a mooring is about 14 years!).

5) Gifts: silver, but sterling. A small sterling piece trumps plate always.

7) Towels and other linens, Land's End w/out hesitation. Restoration Hardware also.

scotmiss said...

With the risk of repeating:

5) wedding or baby: silver frame; alternative for baby : monogrammed silver cup or Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit cup, bowl & plate. I'm not a fan of baby showers and only give or send the gift after the baby is born. My paternal grandmother thought it was bad luck to give gifts before the birth.

7) towels - monogrammed from LLBean - they last forever; or Ralph Lauren from an outlet or TJMaxx.


Anonymous said...

To the other "Anonymous".......
A US SAVINGS Bond ( though that is now rather devalued )used to be okay to give a newborn and was often used for "goody money", books, whatever, re boarding school/college. Just money? NEVER !

Speaking on behalf of my own proclivities: I was disappointed, when I got money ( from close relatives ) as wedding presents, rather than the items I really wanted. My mother said : " Well, just go shopping and use the money for the silver ice bucket, then and whatever else you didn't get." But though yes, I did buy myself that beautiful, lidded, silver ice bucket, I felt weird/done out, because I had put the money in the bank and didn't want to touch it. Yes, I am very "old school"; especially where money is concerned.

OTOH, a great Aunt gave us what was then a lot of money and told us to use it on our honeymoon, which we did and felt good about a splurge dinner and something else, that we otherwise wouldn't have considered.

CWS...........many thanks for jogging my memory! I skied Tuckerman's, in the spring ( beware of the moguls ! )when I was in college. And yes, North Conway and Mount Washington are musts!

Laurie Ann.....pens are always great graduation presents ! can buy Royale Lyme at The Vermont Country Store, too. They also sometimes carry the rest of the "Royale" line. At one time, you could only get this product in Bermuda, but today, happily, there appears to be several different places one can purchase it.

CWS said...

Hi Lollyg,

In regards to your question about RoC deodorant: Well, I need a new one so infrequently that I just ask my college roommate to bring some back with her when she visits her in-laws.

...but I just looked, and Amazon currently has seven in stock. Don't be off-put by the price: I use mine so sparingly that it has lasted me well over a year. (Don't be off-put by my lack of deodorant wearing either!).

Here's a link to the product on Amazon.


Lollyg said...

Thank you very much for the link, CWS! I have ordered, and would be thrilled to find an effective non-toxic product without an alcohol base.

When I am home, I often use just a dusting of Burt's Bees baby powder, which has the faintest pleasant honey scent. It also works well when dusted over an unscented deodorant product, as reinforcement, as long as you are not wearing a sleeveless dress or bathing suit.


CWS said...

Great--let me know how you like it Lollyg!

I am going to take your advice and try out Burt's Bees baby powder. I love that product line. I'd be lost without 3 tubes each of Lip Shimmer in Raisin and Rhubarb!


Pigtown*Design said...

3) I think one of the most gorgeous, yet subtle scents for either men or women is I Coloniali soap by J&E Atkinsons. It's hard to find in the States, but you can find it on Ebay sometimes, or Amazon. Here

I actually stopped a man in a lift in London to ask what he was wearing, and since I've been using it, I've had people stop me. Be sure and get the ilipe soap.

Curt McAdams said...

I'm late to the party, but thought I'd chime in on scents. I used to wear zero scent at all, including deodorant, going with unscented Mitchum.

My wife and I, while shopping in Chicago, wandered into the scent area at Saks, and found a few scents that are great on her from Creed. I happen to like Green Irish Tweed for me now and then. I also found that Bond No. 9 makes a great gourmand scent called New Haarlem that is subtle, long lasting and pleasant. But my wife goes nuts when I wear a Tom Ford scent, Tuscan Leather. it's smoky, tobacco-y, scotch-y, and is very long lasting. A spray in the morning lasts throughout the day on me.

The one common thread in all of them is that they're kind of stupidly expensive, though there is a definite difference between typical scents and really good scents.

Oh, and the suggestion on buying scotch as a present... Unless you know what the man likes, this may not be a good thing. There's a huge variance in flavors in scotch, and what you hear may be good may not be what he likes at all.

LG said...

Another gift idea- someone just gave us a North Country Wind Bell as a housewarming gift. They are made in Maine and the story of the company is really interesting.

Mo said...

Shreve Crump and Lowe's(Boston) Gurgling Cod cobalt blue water pitcher is my favorite shower gift! I received it as a wedding gift 17 years ago and love passing on the gurgling tradition.

Anonymous said...


4. Regarding mens shoes - I've recently (in the past 3 years) become quite fond of Martin Dingman shoes. They seem to embody the preppy/Southern flavor while somehow knocking the dust off of what we've grown accustomed to. Personally, I can attest to the quality being among the best you'll find anywhere. Oh, and did I mention COMFORT?

Anonymous said...

Charisma bath towels in white. Received as wedding gifts nearly 20 year ago, and many are in still in service around the house. Bought some new ones in recent years and quality seems same. Have always washed them separately with Tide, no fabric softener, minimal bleach use.

NEW Communications said...

Lots of very good ideas here.

Scent: There is a relatively new scent called "Clean Provence" that is perfect with the crisp, light clothing of summer. It smells very fresh and very soapy, like sheets drying in the sun.

Gifts: A small silver frame is always in good taste. I prefer a small item of high quality to a large one. Presentation is important, so splurge on the wrapping.

Towels: I bought towels from Lands End in 1995 and they are not the least bit worn. White is preferable in sheets and towels, I think.

Anonymous said...

As a newlywed, may I suggest avoiding silver frames? Unless they are heirlooms, or you know the couple loves collecting them - because they will surely receive many! How about a blue and white ginger jar, wooden display box, crystal paperweight, or brass pineapple door knocker?

Angele DeSonne said...

I worked in Essex, CT for 12 years and went to many weddings during that time. I found a beautiful and unique gift was an Italian ceramic "fish platter" from Ceramica in Chester, CT. These were always appreciated by the newlyweds, whether they were fishermen/women or not. Of course there are many other items besides the platter, but most people for whatever reason will not buy one for themselves and end up using it in some way or another.