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

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Ferd Week: Can you still be preppy if you......"

Ferd Week continues with a comment left by Ferd, April, 2011, on the post, "Can you still be preppy if you......"

Jet ski and snow board instead of sail and ski?

No. Jet Skis make too much noise to be preppy. Snow boarding is vulgar. By the way, if you sail anywhere other than off the coast of Rhode Island, Maine or Massachusetts (or from Newport to Bermuda) you are not preppy. If you ski anywhere other than Maine and New Hampshire, you are not preppy. (West Side of New York City regarding Vermont, take note.)

Vacation at theme parks?

Is Acadia National Park count as a theme park? Of course not. True prep doesn't even know where Florida is.

Vacation on cruise ships?

Why would you go to someone else's boat to vacation when you can go to your own boat? Ridiculous inquiry.

Put chemicals/fertilizers/dyed mulch on your lawn?

Honestly, very few true preps have lawns, per se. If there is something worth mowing, that is done by the husband with a 37 year old push mower. Believe me, he is not thinking about fertilizer.

Get your suits at Jos. A Banks?

True Prep doesn't 'get' suits anywhere. I have not heard of Jos. A Banks, but I suspect it is a chain store. Boys from St. Paul's do not shop. Suits are either handed down or purchased by their mother and then kept for 39 years.

Eat family dinners at local chain restaurant?

Prep parents and prep children, when they are at the family home at the same time (which is rarely) never eat together. Period. Except sometimes at Christmas.

Drive a car that gets less than 15 miles per gallon?

Yes. Most preps drive only two or three types of cars, the older versions of which do average less than 15 mpg. Examples are my aunt's 1978 Volvo, my brother's 1959 Jaguar and my mother's 1990 Land Rover County. 


(For women) Wear more than two kinds of make-up?

Yes. Lip Gloss and soap. Scented soap is make up, isn't it?

Shop at Walmart, Kohl's, Target, Ikea and other box stores?

Yes, actually, this is very prep. Nobody is tight with money like true prep. How do you think they have money for 10 generations? Spending it on Gucci's?

Have kitchens with lots of granite and stainless steel?

Granite belongs in New Hampshire. Enough about this.

Have Louis Vuitton luggage and/or handbags?

Unless these are sold at Eye of the Needle, no.

Get plastic surgery?

Prep women actually want to age. The absolute goal of every prep woman is to be 70 with swept back gray hair and grandchildren at Middlesex. Prep men are born looking 40. Why would we want to change this?

Come from some place other than New England?

Accurately, the question should be: come from a place other than Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and a few zip codes in Rhode Island? Connecticut is full of bleached blond investment banker's wive who drive Geladenwagons and play tennis. Please.

Get all of your antiques from shops and flea markets rather than from family members?

Yes, this is actually very preppy.

Drive a non-European car?

Yes, as long as they are one of the following: 1978 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon; 1983 Ford Bronco II with 29 Nantucket Beach Permit Stickers or 1968 Jeepster with 49 Nantucket Beach Permit Stickers.


  1. Delightful. Utterly delightful.

  2. Not ski Vermont? Please - Middlebury Snow Bowl, not preppy? Could ol’ Ferd even make it in one piece to the bottom at Mad River Glen?

    1. Exactly - and West Side of NYC? Referencing? Wow! Sailing excluding CT is ridiculous. Where is Ferd from? OMG.

  3. Austin Wannamaker IIIFebruary 15, 2024 at 4:30 PM

    It's Jos. A. Bank, not Jos. A Banks. And "Guccis" plural does not take an apostrophe.

    1. And several decades ago Bank was a small operation making and offering clothes quite similar to Brooks but slightly lower cost.

    2. Their higher end lines are good, and they have a made-to-measure business that is fairly but not excessively priced. I also had a polo from them that was better than most. They do sell some cheap stuff and have some discounts, but it is not garish and hey - it pays the bills.

    3. Also no logos on their clothing.

  4. Born in New Hampshire, raised in New England. I think the garish outfits many wear on the slopes and even more hideous apres-ski garb long ago rendered skiing a non-prep experience. The preppy ski experience is (my opinion) simpler and more challenging, which means Vermont, Wildcat and Bretton Woods in NH, and Lake Placid in NY.

    His definition of preppy places is amateur hour. How can the towns where Yale, Princeton, Middlebury, Hampden Sydney (among others) are located not be prep? Leaving out half the Southern Connecticut shoreline? Hardcore prep havens in and around Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit (Grosse Point), Chicago (Winnetka, Lake Forest)?

    1. True to an extent. But really, you don’t get it

  5. The places to which the OP proposes to limit preppy sailing cannot be serious. What about the old SORC haunts, the Victoria to Maui, and the TransPac? You cannot make those courses without some preppy muscle on the grinders. Also the sailing out of Annapolis is good for more tame stuff. I knew an America's Cup guy who hailed from Manhasset on Long Island. That seemed to me to qualify.

  6. So many “adults” are taking Ferd way too seriously in his posts. Witty humor with with a large dose of sarcasm. I find it refreshing. Sometimes the truth hurts.

  7. My m-i-l was "thrilled spitless" to have swept back gray hair and children and grandchildren attend New England Ivies, Wellesley , Amherst and (admittedly out-of-state) Wesleyan and Sarah Lawrence. Being "thrilled spitless' is a family joke that has arisen over the decades for all kinds of occasions. My f-i-l got that comment in a letter from a girl he'd invited to a Winthrop House mixer in 1938; she expressed her joy about the invite with that memorable, inimitable phrase.

  8. I’m coming to believe Fred may possibly have been my father’s pen name. That is intended as a compliment.

    1. As far as I recall, I am not your father.

  9. Well, damn. I guess I'm only about half preppy.

  10. St. Paul's men are hot.

  11. "True prep doesn't even know where Florida is."

    As a somewhat lone preppy holdout down here in Florida, I can personally attest to the truth of this statement.

  12. Preppy or stuffy? Sometimes it’s a bit over the top.

  13. Preppy is a lifestyle that you are exposed to growing up and have fond memories of. If you didn't have those experiences you're just not and any attempt will look forced and contrived. For those that try to hide it, you can't. It is what it is.

  14. My husband and I were called Yuppy by his mother and sisters in the nastiest way, but does that count as being preppy? LOL Though I don't see how as I am still a homemaker but had several old BDO shirts and polos. I think they mislabeled me.

    Now I get all my polo's on eBay and have always loved old things since I was a child. All our vehicles have been paid off for years. Is that prep enough for Ferd? I think they are all Toyota, so I do not qualify, but I do want an old Land Rover. Maybe I might now. ;-)

  15. The North Shore of Chicago is preppy and it has been since I grew up there. There was an article long ago in Town & Country about Winnetka.


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