Photo by Muffy Aldrich
The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Thursday, October 6, 2022

This, Not That - SWNE Community Edition

On a recent post, reader Kaaterskill left this comment:

Someday we need to compile a "this, not that" list for SWNE. I'll nominate olive drab, not camo to the list.

So we started a list:


…not That



Olive Drab


Side of a group shot

Center of a group shot





UK Made Barbour

Outsourced Barbour

Take your work seriously

Take yourself (or your social media) seriously

Fleece from sheep

“Fleece” not from sheep


  1. Perfect, thanks for getting it started. I'll add:

    Rugs, not wall to wall
    Retrievers, not doodles
    Wagons, not SUVs
    Collar buttons, not collar stays
    Sailboats, not wake boats
    Wood fireplaces, not gas
    Bikes, not scooters
    Records, not MP3s
    Snow tires, not all season
    Pews, not chairs
    Weeding, not Roundup
    Paths, not treadmills
    Hymnals, not projectors
    Thomas Moser, not Restoration Hardware
    Thanksgiving, not Halloween

    I'm sure I'll add more later.

    1. How did "Organ, not guitar" no make your list, Kaaterskill?

    2. Because I approve of someone picking Silent Night on Christmas Eve.

    3. A perfect list.

    4. Things I get. Living, breathing creatures like Doodles do not ever belong on a " not that" list. Period. "This" go to the shelter and save a life.

    5. Love retrievers but we all can’t be blessed with top shelf immune systems

    6. All animals are pretty wonderful, but most belong in the wild. All dogs are welcome here. Also, if anyone wants a wonderful older dog, I highly endorse Southwest English Setter Rescue.

    7. "Hymnal not projector." My rector husband would like to thank you for this one.

    8. Our small, old church has three huge projector screens on which words of hymns are placed. I find it rather irreverent but they were in place long before I joined that church so I hold my tongue. Thank you for that addition to a lovely list. Naturally, there are exceptions to many of the “not that’s”, but they should be doled out about as often as weekend passes from River’s.

  2. I'll take my black cashmere, Boston Whaler and Vespa and show myself out - lol.

    1. Thank you Miss Patsy!

    2. Agreed, Patsy! While a full outfit may be discomforting for some, there is nothing wrong with wearing black (sweaters, jackets, etc.) and never a problem with cashmere! :)

    3. I also agree! I’ll add sterling silver not vermeil or gold plated

    4. God bless you not Bless your heart

    5. In fairness, he did specify "wake boat", which a Whaler is most certainly NOT. How about, Boston Whaler, not Moomba?

  3. "Thanksgiving, not Halloween?" Oh honey, take a seat. Put your feet up and have a cocktail.

    1. OK. Make mine a Manhattan. You have a point. But so does Kaaterskill. Halloween has been hi-jacked by adults. Time was you graduated from Halloween a couple years after you switched to using a pillow case to carry your candy, not a paper bag. Long about eighth grade. The Halloween celebration today is another example of our culture’s never ending adolescence.

    2. I thought that one would be controversial!

    3. Halloween in our historic neighborhood has been hijacked by adolescents from distant areas of the city. My reply, you're old to shave, get out of here.

    4. Agreed. Let adults masquerade on New Year’s Eve or at Mardi Gras. Give Halloween back to the children. Unlikely. Not in a country where 30 and 40 year old childless couples take their vacation at Disney World.

    5. You hit the nail on the head. Evidently there is a consumer demographic group, and it’s growing, called “kidults.” These are buyers of toys, for their own use, aged in their twenties and thirties.

    6. I used to think teenagers were too old for Halloween but on one hand we tell them they aren't adults, yet then we get after them for having fun and dressing up in costumes and eating candy?!


  4. Wheat jeans, not blue jeans
    Waxed cotton, not Gore-tex
    Brass zippers, not plastic zippers
    Moxie, not Pepsi
    Oil paintings, not acrylic paintings
    Mudrooms, not game rooms
    Genuine leather, not "genuine leather"
    Real wood, not "real wood"
    Cider, not apple juice
    Tea, not tea-bags
    Cast-iron, not non-stick
    Maple syrup, not pancake syrup
    Dunkins', not anything else

    1. My dear Sir or Madam, how do you not discern that Dunkin is really awful coffee? Ugh. Come on. It's been so "corporatized" from what it once was (if it ever was) that even McDonald's is superior.

    2. Dunkin is an awful name and I can no longer buy their products, thankfully.

  5. ink bottles, not ink cartridges
    leather, not not bonded leather
    cream, half-and-half, or milk, not Coffee-Mate
    cheese not "vegan cheese"
    mechanical, not quartz
    milk shakes, not "shakes"

  6. gentleman’s library not man cave

  7. Regular orange daylilies, not "Stella d'Oro" lilies
    Wooden clapboards, not vinyl siding
    Dependable old cars, not flashy new cars
    Cinnamon toast, not avocado toast
    Aging naturally, not Botox and fillers
    Wearing black to funerals, not weddings

  8. Haddock, not tilapia
    Oyster crackers, not croutons
    Bulkie rolls, not kaiser rolls
    Picket fences, not chain-link
    Stone walls, not brick walls
    Square-cut nails, not round nails
    Wide plank floors, not narrow
    Quahogs, not escargot
    Farm to table, not farm-to-table
    Door latches, not doorknobs
    1700s, not 1800s
    T-shirts as underwear, not T-shirts as shirts
    OCBD, not ACDC

  9. Ladies:
    For comfort, wearing khakis and slim jeans, not skin-tight leggings
    Logo-less handbags, especially not MK Michael Kors from TJ Maxx
    Simple classic eyeglass frames, not those encrusted with designer logos on the side pieces, nor those wildly-exaggerated Iris Apfel styles.

  10. Coffee, not frapuccino
    Walking, not running
    Sweaters, not hoodies
    Ties, not open collars
    China, not plasticwear
    Phone calls, not emails
    Lager or stout, not IPA
    Blazers, not quarter zips

    1. Lager not IPA ????

    2. IPA = hipster beer. Opposite of everything here. Really "Any other beer, not IPA

    3. This one resonates.
      JM, VA

    4. I'm very thankful to those British hipsters in the 1700s. Signed, a dedicated IPA lover.

    5. Yes! I’d like to add handwritten thank you notes, not emails and cup and saucer not mug (the exception being a crisp autumn or chilly winter morning when the vessel will doubly as a hand warmer.

  11. Hand-written thank-you notes, not e-notes
    Beer, not hard seltzer
    Skiing, nor boarding
    Wicker, not woven resin
    Oaks, not Bradford pears
    Weedy, not fairway-perfect
    Pea gravel, not asphalt
    Dry laid, not mortared
    True divided lights, not applied or snap-in muntins
    Incandescent, not LED (sorry)
    Candle flames, not fake flames
    Manners, not rudeness
    Hanging back, not tailgating
    Voting, not abstaining
    Singing, not clamming up
    Mocs, not Crocs
    Boxers, not briefs
    Cotton, not blends
    Canvased, not fused
    Cuffs, not plain hems
    Comfy, not tight
    Gray hair, not dyed hair
    Shaven, not scruffy
    Clean scrubbed, not made-up
    Un-inked, not tattooed
    Short nails, not long nails

    1. Crushed oyster shell, not pea gravel

    2. Pea gravel, not oyster shell, unless one is near the coast.

    3. And kindness not anything else

  12. Goodness! Where to begin?

    This may get me banned. I wear both olive drab, olive green, khaki (pronounced kharkee), camouflage (DPM), fleece instead of wool sweaters (but not exclusively), blue jeans and green jeans. I live in a house made of ticky-tack, covered with vinyl siding, just like everybody else in the neighborhood. There are two rugs on the downstairs floor: one just inside the front door, the other in front of the kitchen sink. Otherwise, the floor is bare wood, including the kitchen. Upstairs, wall-to-wall. I drink coffee (hot, black and sweet), not tea, and almost never anything alcoholic. I don't have a library or a man cave, but we have a basement. Not mentioned so far but we have neighbors from Egypt, Pakistan, Germany, Russia, and Texas. One family has a Ukranian flag in their window. Except for Germany, I haven't been to any of those places, but I've been to Oklahoma. I drive an SUV. My wife drives a station wagon. We have our differences. All of my favorite music includes an accordion.

    1. You rock, BlueTrain.

    2. Fleece, gore tex (real hiking in wool & a Barbour jacket? that's not happening), AC/DC, labradoodles, gas fireplaces, IPA....i'll join you on the naughty list.

    3. I thought I'd add here that I try not to be dogmatic about any of these things. I have other things on my mind. I wear wool when it's cold enough and I even had a couple of mackinaw coats, one from Bemidji, the other from Filson. You folks up in New England probably have things from Johnson Woolen Mills. Bean still carries mackinaws, but they're imported now and so are Woolrich. Pendleton still has the best wool shirts. Gore-Tex is unbeatable for inclement weather. Waxed cotton is second best but otherwise good all-round, though not the best for long walks with a pack.

    4. Refreshing- just living

    5. To clarify, my post “ refreshing… just living was a reply to Bluetrain’s post a bout being banned.

    6. Making a life, not simply making a living

  13. Local antique stores, not Target
    Ballet, not gymnastics (or cheerleading)
    Natural dyes, not tie dyed
    Classic pearls, not statement jewelry

    1. Ahh, dear to my heart, pearls not diamonds
      (Unless it’s an evening black tie affair or one’s engagement ring)

  14. Fun small talk, not conversational interrogation

    1. Yes - thank you for that as someone who lives in the DC area

  15. Rescue dogs-dogs in general, not cats-rescue or other.

    Full disclosure, we just adopted a stray kitten and he is wonderful...but still.

  16. Contact, not reach out. Appearances, not optics. Period, not exclamation point. Give, not gift. Assigned, not tasked with. Talk to, not conversate. Die, not pass. In the future, not going forward.

    1. Wag, not bark.

    2. I wholly agree with this one.

    3. Exactly. Thanks for all of these. Particularly the use of 'pass' to mean 'die'. "My dear mother has passed". Immediate thought: What'd she pass? A stone? Gas?

    4. or expired, as in expiration date on a carton of milk....

    5. "I'll have" the salmon, not "I'll do" the salmon
      "May I have", not "Can I get"

    6. I neglected one of the worst transgressions of all: "issue" for "problem."

  17. Miles Davis to 1965 or there abouts, not Miles Davis after 1965 or there abouts
    Jefferson Airplane, not Jefferson Starship
    Moleskin notebooks, not notes app on phone
    Paper books, not e-books (preferably hard bound)
    Breathless with Belmondo, not Breathless with Gere
    Kent Kings in soft pack (old pin striped graphics), not vaping of any kind

  18. This-Conservative haircuts (for men).
    Not that-Man buns, ponytails, or completely shaved heads.

  19. Non-dualistic thinking, not dualist thinking.

  20. Need, not want.
    Hope, not hate.
    Earned, not taken
    Arthur Ashe, not Jimmy Connors

  21. Suits worn with a necktie, NOT suits worn without a necktie.

    Kind Regards,


  22. Inherited, recycled, repurposed, repaired, and so on; not new
    Analog; not digital
    MiUSA or in countries I respect; not made elsewhere

    I realize there are many instances in which these biases are not practical, but they make good goals for me. I bake my own bread and make my own harissa, but I do like avocado toast with harissa, lemon, and Maldon salt for breakfast.i have had retrievers but prefer setters.

    1. Setters are the ne plus ultra of bird dogs in the northeast where pointers get cold.

    2. Plus, when they are not outside, they turn into furniture. I have had two English setters in a row that climb onto the living room sofa and will not even lift their head to show interest if someone comes to the door.

  23. Pencil, not felt-tip.
    Chalkboard, not whiteboard.
    H.P Lovecraft, not Stephen King.
    Snow snowman, not inflatable snowman.
    Wrinkled, not non-iron.
    Wrinkled, not botox.

  24. Natural, not enhanced.
    Natural, not reduced
    repair, not replace
    recycle, not trash
    mellow, not frantic
    kindness, not cruelty.

  25. Family, not followers
    Leather-bound, not electric
    Natural, not synthetic
    Manual, not automatic
    Style, not fashion
    Discrete, not conspicuous
    Hand-me-down, not pop-up
    Sailing, not motoring
    Walking, not hiking

    Excellent post, enlightening comments. Many thanks!

    1. Thank you for Family on the first place!

    2. @Anonymous, you're welcome!

  26. Old Mercedes, not new Mercedes.
    Get Smart, not Austin Powers.
    Cedar shingle, not stucco.

  27. After switching summer clothes for "winter" clothes yesterday....wearing clothes for 20-25 years, not 20-25 times.

  28. Antiques----MDF Furniture
    Old Lamps----New Lamps
    Cotton-----flex/performance fabric
    Wool Rugs----Poly Rugs
    The Big House----The Tiny House.
    Wood Stove----Heat Pumps
    Gardening----Landscaping Service.
    Needlepoint----Pre-made Needlepoint
    New England----anywhere else.
    Real House Plants-----"faux" plants/orchids.
    Not Decorated-----Interior Designer
    Seasons Changing-----" It's always summer here!""
    Canoe----Jet Ski.
    Frugal------Hey Big Spendah!

    1. I only disagree with one…I prefer home not house.

  29. Perennials, not annuals
    Hard cover, not paperback
    Manilla paper, not white paper
    Menus on blackboards, not menus on touchscreens
    Black blackboards, not green blackboards
    Muffins, not cupcakes
    Fish cakes, not fish sticks
    White chowder, not red chowder
    PBS, not PBR

  30. Thank you MaineWasp for "House; not Home."
    Antiques store; not antique store
    Trousers/pants; not slacks/slax
    Tuxedo; not Tux
    Belted pants; not sansabelt
    Cleaning cloth; not cleaning rag
    To pore over documents; not pour over documents
    Gerbera daisy, not Gerber; Impatiens, not Impatience

    1. A “home” is a lived in “house.”

    2. "Home" [in the context I'm talking about, which you want to divert to another context] is an unnecessary gentrification term for "House," probably started with Martha Stewart's aspirational "lifestyle" empire. "Please come to our home for drinks next Friday."

    3. To me, a home is where aged loved ones go to rest or live out their days, "nursing home" comes to mind.

    4. There are buildings occupied for some time by a group of people who have the same DNA. Do they live in a “family house” or a “family home?”

    5. Beware of aspirational affectations/genteelisms, including Home instead of House. "Oh we are so pleased [1] you could come to our home [2] for dinner, let me put your flowers in a vahz[3], do join us in the great room [4] for cocktails[5].

    6. My home office (or is it study?) is filled with antiquarian New England books that almost exclusively use "home" and not "house."

    7. I understand the house not home in context of invitations but I live in my home because my loved ones live there as well. A house is where others live. PS…I’m not in a long- term care facility, just blessed to have family near me.

  31. The Beinecke, not the Houghton
    Skull and Bones, not the Porcellian
    J Press, not Filenes
    Ingalls, not Bright Landry
    The Bowl, not the stadium
    York Street, not Brattle Street
    Ahbeets, not pizza

  32. Wide-wale corduroy, not narrow-wale
    Oak, not teak
    Brass, not steel
    Suede not nubuck
    Timex not Rolex
    Nato straps not zulu straps
    University stripes not pin stripes
    Oxblood shoes not chili shoes
    Six-toed cats, not six-toed neighbors

  33. “You’re welcome “ not “My pleasure,”

    1. Also - “You’re welcome”, not “No problem”.

    2. Also, "You're welcome" not "No worries."

    3. Please and you not not saying a word
      Using good manners not doing or saying whatever you feel like
      Live Christmas trees not any other type (if only…darned allergies)

  34. "Suits worn with a necktie Not suits without a necktie" Yep, that about sums it up.

  35. Okay, bring on the pitchforks and torches:
    Full Windsor knot, not four-in-hand knot

    1. I've been tying my tie the same way since I first learned how as a kid. I have no idea what the particular knot is called, but since my tie generally looks above average compared to others, I will stick with it.

    2. Men have been known to join the Navy to avoid wearing a tie.

    3. Classic not common

  36. Adapting to a changing world > maintaining a doctrinally narrow view of things


    1. This one's my favorite.

    2. Oh, thank you! I would rather stay with "doctrinally narrow view of things"...

    3. Excellent. I prefer to adapt as I see fit; maintaining my "doctrinally narrow view of things" which hurt no one, thereby exhibiting that holding on to some traditions is, in fact, okay. For instance, texting to advise an emergency, traffic holdup, or other inconvenience has changed your arrival time, is perfectly acceptable, whereas texting to advise that your baby has arrived is not. Most of the other things on these lists are a matter of personal taste and style and no one is in any way injured by holding on to them. Except perhaps by the consumption of Dunkin'... ;)

    4. Traditions>fads

  37. Cottage on the lake, not lake house!!!

    1. In the Thousand Islands we say camp no matter how grand the building.

    2. Thousand Islands region, not Thousand Island dressing

    3. Yes. Russian is better anyway. ;)

  38. Thank you. You're welcome. Not, thank you. Thank you.

  39. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas.

    Not, Merryhallothankmas.

  40. Not "This...not that," but "these."

    1. Using “fewer” when talking about things one can count>less

  41. books - not kindle
    volvos - not tesla

    1. OK, gran. Settle down. Kindle is keeping the publishing industry afloat.

    2. Completely agree, @Anonymous10:35AM. I recently heard that purchased copies of classic books were altered this year to reflect new marketing campaigns. This will end well.

    3. Old Volvo body design > new Volvo body design
      Am I the only one saddened by the new design of the Volvo Cross Country? I always loved the boxy look.

  42. Hi, how are you?...Fine, thank you.
    Fine, thank you for asking!!!

  43. This Old House reruns, not HGTV
    Sugar maples, not silver
    Travel mug packed, not Starbucks stop
    Glasses, not contacts
    Barns, not triple attached garages
    Tennessee Walkers, not ATVs
    Jonsered, not Echo
    Notebook, not legal pad
    Rubber floor mats, not carpet
    Rakes, not leaf blowers
    Allis-Chalmers, not Polaris
    Paper wrapper, not styrofoam container
    Regular cab, not extended
    Basket, not cart
    Taking the train, not sitting in traffic
    Watering cans, not sprinkler systems
    Hannaford, not Wegman's

  44. Clover, not chemicals
    Weeds, not uniformity
    Native plants, not invasives
    Perennials, not annuals in plastic planters
    Cloth napkins, not paper
    Yankee thrift, not conspicuous consumption
    Food lover, not foodie

    1. Rearing children, not raising them

  45. Varnished interior woodwork, not painted over

    Commentary on a trend that's been going for at least a decade now, motivated by this monstrous remodel profiled in today's Times:

    They managed to turn magnificent original woodwork into a facsimile of chipboard coated in plastic, and when they (or a future owner, or society) come to their senses they're not going to get that paint off.

  46. Interesting that people think that the tastes and opinions of others, if not exactly as their own are off-base


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