Photo by Salt Water New England

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor:

A video came up in my YouTube background noise about Preppy/Ivy style. I will spare you the details but it was as you can imagine - all was how to fool others into thinking you’re wealthy and successful. I find it both funny and confusing - and here’s why (also why your descriptor “the thing before preppy” resonated deeply with me).

I was raised the exact opposite spectrum - not private school in the New England.  I could have been described as working class but one of the requirements of being working class is regular employment. My mom was frequently unemployed. I grew up going to work to clean houses with her. My best friend had a farm. I worked with her raising and preparing her sheep for the fair every year.

We weren’t dressed in chinos/khakis and button down shirts because it was “preppy”.

We dressed that way because it was practical, useful, safe, and simplewhat was done to do the things we need to do.

It was also what we could afford. It lasted forever. The pants used to show animals one year, was used to feed them and walk them around the desert the next year. I couldn’t wear 80s style flash dance shirts to help my mom clean houses. They would have gotten in my way. And I currently get poked fun of by friends for still wearing “our old school uniform” of navy/white/red plaid

I’ve often wanted to share this thought on your blog but I wouldn’t want to turn others away from the aesthetic. I need people to keep buying these kinds of clothes so I can finally get a decent pair of khakis.

If they think it makes them feel wealthy and powerful, more power to them! They don’t need to know that my best friend’s sheep saw it as merely practical common sense clothing for people who have things to do.

And now that I work in a large law corporate law firm, it is comfort clothing that helps me blend in, and still doesn’t get in my way.

30 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, views and experiences on growing up/working in the traditional style.

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  2. This is probably the best thing I've ever read on this site that didn't originate with Muffy and Co. Well done. Absolutely wonderful piece.

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  3. I echo Michael Rowe's sentiments. Beautifully written and engaging. You are cool.

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  4. Paragraph four resonates tremendously re why TRUE traditional preppies are who they are! Sounds like a Volvo endorsement as well! Godspeed my friend.

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  5. Standing ovation. Well said.

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  6. Refreshing and tonic, and devoid of snobbery. I applaud you!

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  7. There are many avenues to a successfull life, but all seem to include a good parent and the expectation of hard work. You were blessed with both.

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  8. To dare to be yourself... beautiful!

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  9. Old school as it gets.

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  10. All my thumbs up.
    MaryAnne

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  11. I wore a suit and tie at a large firm until the tech boom gave us 'casual day,' which first meant a blazer and tailored trousers. That eventually became every day, and non-denim trousers and a shirt with buttons unless the demands of the job required a suit. Courts haven't loosened up yet. It's definitely easier and more comfortable to work in khakis and a button down shirt.

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  12. Thank you! Nice to know there are people like you out there! The breath of fresh simple air.

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  13. The thing before, the thing before preppy was British colonial campaign dress (having nothing to do with wealth or New England prep schools). Khakis provided camouflage for armies in the desert.

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    Replies
    1. Khakis still provide camouflage: They are the great leveler.

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    2. Unfortunately since a certain demonstration happened in our state a few years ago, my husband and friend's husbands are looked at suspiciously when they wear their khakis and white polo shirts. A couple of strangers have even asked if they were part of the event. It was....distressing so he hasn't worn them for a few years. Trying to find a substitute has been hard because those were all he wore for his adult life.

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  14. This was heartwarming. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  15. Such a great letter, and the author's thoughts resonate so much with my own personal journey to this community. Just to add an example, I love wearing my Timex watch because, as I did today, I can literally rinse it under the faucet if I've been doing some maintenance on my irrigation system which requires digging and getting wet!

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  16. Maintenance on your irrigation system! Digging and getting wet! Where on earth do you live? I have ice hanging off the deck and trees looking like crystal sculptures. You are probably having more fun.....although I do love winter! PA

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  17. Love this. To me, a true prep doesn't wear a "uniform". What is worn is worn because it's practical. Well made. Not trendy. Comfortable. Over the years I've bought the periodic trendy piece, but for the most part, generally find myself gravitating to the same things I've always liked. Because they work.

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  18. What a great letter! Thanks for sharing!!

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  19. A very touching letter that contains some things that many people should take more to heart.

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