• Tennis Fashions, Serious Sales of a Prepalicious Sort

    Hello everyone, it is another delightful summer day here at the Prepatorium, we hope it is the same wherever you may be today!

    We begin with the tennis fashions debuting across the pond at Wimbledon. (WARNING: Readers may want to be sure small children are safely away with Nanny in case the following photo is so shocking it provokes an unwitting shriek or scream to escape one’s mouth.)

    TP begs your forgiveness for distributing such wretched images, but we are sworn to report on such things, despite the trauma inflicted on our psyche.

    PHOTO: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

    For openers: Roger Federer, gold lame and Nike are five words that ought never be used together at the same time. It’s just plain wrong. Gold lame?  This is a substance best kept far away from the sporting world, with the possible exceptions of figure skating and gymnastics.

    This story from the Times of London does a stellar job describing the look, invoking an Anti-Prep in the process:

    “Even if the all-white uniform evaded the attention of any Taleban snipers, their gaze would surely be caught by the sun glinting off the gold ends of Federer’s luggage. That bag looked like something Paris Hilton would take to a spa. Perhaps there was a chihuahua inside.”

    The jacket brought flashbacks of the Nehru collar favored in the 60’s, while the body had a distinctly military look. It gets worse, as underneath the jacket was a vest that almost looked like it belonged under a dinner jacket.

    PHOTO: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

    Fortunately the fashion disaster was quickly forgotten as play got underway and Mr. Federer readily dispensed with his first opponent.  How do we all feel about the return of last year’s Tennis Cardigan? A good alternative to this week’s look?

    PHOTO: K Lamarque/Reuters

    Also sporting an interesting jacket over their working clothes, Maria Sharapova.

    PHOTO: Toby Melville/Reuters

    Nike is also the company behind Ms. Sharapova’s dress, likened to a majorette’s costume by some. We find it more-than-attractive, especially on someone as lovely as she.  Everyone remembers 2008’s Tuxedo Dress to-do, yes? Come now, one can’t have forgotten last year’s Wimbledon Fashion Fracas already! (If visiting the link, do scroll down for the story.)

    And wrapping up our Nike-clad trio of players today, Serena Williams was in a jacket reminiscent of a classic British macintosh.

    PHOTO: Clive Brunskill/Getty

    We think she looks smashing.

    As always with this topic, we suggest readers pop over for a visit with Rich at Down the Line Tennis for the inside story.


    A quick follow-up to yesterday’s post on the Brooks Brothers Black Fleece expansion.

    PHOTO: Courtesy Brooks Brothers

    Above, styles by Thom Browne, the Black Fleece designer. Not only is Brooks adding two standalone Black Fleece stores, they intend to add 40 stores in Mexico.  Today’s WWD story on the expansion provides more insight on both developments.

    When speaking specifically about the Black Fleece customer, Brooks CEO Claudio Del Vecchio has an interesting perspective:

    “…Black Fleece customers have responded to having their own separate location, noting, “I’m not sure those customers are comfortable coming to Madison Avenue.”

    We can’t imagine why. The company is also planning its first Country Club store that isn’t located at a resort; this new emporium will be in Seattle.

    Oddly, the following photos are just into the Prepatorium, a look from today’s Moncler Gamme Bleu Men’s Spring 2010 Collection.

    PHOTO: Davide Maestri/WWD

    Guess the designer. Not sure?

    PHOTO: Davide Maestri/WWD

    Check the length of the pants.  Yes, indeed, it is Mr. Browne showing this collection at Milan Fashion Week, currently underway in Italy.


    We move now to some fabulous Sales & Savings opportunities, beginning with the retailer mentioned above, Brooks Brothers, offering 50% off in stores with deeper discounts available online.

    Next, one of our favorites, Vineyard Vines.

    The markdowns include the Anchor Turtle Bay Tee, now $24.99.

    There is a significant amount of merchandise still available as of this writing.


    J. Crew is also doing another of their Final Sale promotions.

    Including the Boy’s Pacific Madras Blazer, originally $135, now $49.99.

    We have just been advised of a late-breaking appointment, so we shall close with the Keep Company Homer shoe, in the Watermelon color combination.

    May your afternoon be sunny and bright!

  • More Preppy Sales: Banana Republic, LL Bean, Lacoste

    Hello everyone, and happy new week!

    The Princess must publicly thank La Bellette Rouge for providing us with a much-needed boost on a dull and dreary Monday morning: her Blog Love Award!

    Merci Miss La Bellette Rouge!

    Miss LBR is an extraordinary writer and we are ever-so-thankful for her recognition!

    We move to updates on additional methods for acquiring necessities (or luxuries, however one deems them) without taking out a second mortgage on the summer home. (Translated: more sales.)

    Banana Republic is now offering 40% markdowns on both their Men’s and Women’s merchandise. In menswear the basics abound: outerwear, sweaters, denim, etc., but they are so staid we can’t bring ourselves to showcase them. Instead we share something perilously close to not quite meeting TP’s stringent standards of decorum.  Yet desperate times require deperate measures; therefore we give you the Men’s Taxi cab Boxers in blue.

    Much more fun while also qualifying for today’s Argyle Update (although not yet on sale), the Cashmere Argyle Socks.


    Also offering markdowns (and really, who isn’t right now?), Lacoste, including the Libby Ballet Flat as well as the Women’s Espa 2.

    LL Bean has a good number of items marked down from their original prices, including the Infants Fleece Coverall.

    TP is especially fond of the little ears on the hood. In fact, TP is craving a little fleece jumpsuit all her own to snuggle into and snooze away the day. Sounds reasonable to us… how about you?


    Does this not look delish and divine? We can only wish we were somewhere in the northeast; it is  Nantucket bay scallops time!

    Dylan Cross Photography

    We didn’t think it possible to make this melt-in-your-mouth fabulosity sound, well, boring, but it seems The Journal may have accomplished just that feat in this article on the topic.  On the upside, they do include a source for ordering the delicacy to be shipped wherever one desires, within reason.  A caveat: the article mentions trying these these sushi-style (sounds so much better than ‘raw,’ don’t you think?), TP has no intent of ever doing so as they are too wonderful cooked. Tender doesn’t begin to describe them. Sigh.


    A quick reminder: to win all of these excellent preppy goodies…

    Boatman Geller Carrie & Tuck

    ..from Boatman Geller…

    Boatman Geller Carrie & Tuck Nautical Madras set

    And Me Too…

    Me Too Cotton Apron

    And the Preppy Princess….

    Preppy Princess Towel set

    Including one of our favorite books, Summer at Tiffany

    Summer at Tiffany

    … treasures valued at more than $125, leave a comment telling us one friend you are grateful for. That’s it! For more information on the Great Giveaway, just click here! Here are a few of the comments left thus far…

    The always astute Miss Daisy at Legally Blonde Ambition says:

    “Oooh. I’m thankful for my internet friend Katie at Overflowing Brain for listening to me rant & rave. Whew.”

     Elaine R writes:

    “I am thankful for having my friend Linda in my life. We have stayed friends through growing up then marriages,children and sickness-my love for her is unconditional.”

    And from someone who actually makes tech fun and understandable (how’s that for a combo?) here is part of the comment left by Miss Techyness:

    “I am most thankful for my support network. This is not just one person- but a collection of people, experiences and feelings.

    It’s being thankful for that person who asks if you want a cup of coffee with a smile when you’re having a crappy day at work.

    It’s when your mom sends you a text message and signs it “love mom” even though you have explained to her that you already know it’s from her.

    So, what I’m thankful for are all of these people and the things they do that keep me sane )


    We close with a Pretty in Pink offering from the Land of Nod, the Color Block Rug in an almost preppy pink and green color scheme, although this is a tad pastel to qualify.

    With that, we say goodbye until next time!

  • More Preppy Love + an Item from our “It’s Just Not Done” Files

    As more evidence surfaces of the ongoing explosion of Preppy Love, we thought it wise to share just one example rather than devoting another entire entire post to the topic. Perhaps the Midwest heat is making her highness a bit of a crankenstein, but devoting another entire post to that topic seemed a bit over the top…yes…no…perhaps?

    At any rate, today we offer another preppy-oriented story, this one on madras originating, from the southwest region of this great nation, more specifically Phoenix. The Arizona Republic has a brief story on madras, “Mad for Plaid” by writers Erica Sagon and Melissa Magsaysay, offering some faboo looks that are light and airy and fun. The story has some great photos and links to a few of your favorite establishments. (The links you see below should take you directly to the item you are looking for as opposed to the store’s home page.)

    Ann Taylor Loft Halter dress, Maxi Dress at Gap, Cape Madras mini at CapeMadras.com, Bracelets at Forever 21, and the “Lucaya” fabric espadrille is at J. Crew.

    In this photo, shorts are J. Crew, Aubrey wedges from Target, Shop Bop Shoshanna Bandeau Bikini Top and plaid Bow Brief (sold separately), Fossil belt at Macys, the navy and red madras bag with wooden handles is at Nordstrom (actually it’s on sale at 40% off), and Macy’s is showing the Dooney & Bourke Patchwork Madras Tote.

    We *do* hope you enjoyed this. Especially as the next story may turn your stomach just a tad.

    Regular readers here at the Prepatorium know that we considerate it most inappropriate to single out individuals and hold them up for public ridicule, or excessively negative attention. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. (This comes as a surprise to you? Oh dear.) These would include some of our regular features, like “The Anti-Prep,” “Help Me Understand,” and “It Simply Isn’t Done,” among others. Today’s exception to the rule involves Paul Burrell, the rather jolly looking individual in the photo seen above. Looking at the picture just below you will likely remember him as the man who was Princess Diana’s former butler, continuing to make a fortune from her life and death in a most revolting manner.

    This weekend he manages to take that rather common term, ‘low-life’ (you’ll note I am having no difficulty using it) to a new low. Mr. Burrell will be selling jewelry “designed with the deceased Princess in mind” on a cable television channel, ShopNBC. Below are some images of the jewelry, followed by a story on this little endeavor as seen in Women’s Wear Daily. They wrote it so much better than I ever shall there is no point in excerpting it, so here it is right after the photo.

    “THE BUTLER DID IT: Paul Burrell is serving up jewels as part of his latest venture. The ex-butler of Diana Princess of Wales will launch a line of jewelry on Shop NBC this weekend inspired by the late icon’s taste in gems. Dubbed Effy Signature Range, the line will bow in the U.S. on Saturday. The television retailer has described the collection as “breathtaking, with regal appeal.” Burrell, who lives in Florida, will promote the line with a series of guest appearances on the channel prior to the launch. The former royal servant, who once described himself as the princess’ rock, is now less in demand in Britain, where news of his jewelry line has fueled Burrell’s infamy. The former servant has reportedly netted 10 million pounds, or $19.5 million, since Princess Diana’s death through the sale of his books, appearing in reality television shows and even launching a wine variety — Royal Butler Wine. Pieces in the jewelry line include an 18-karat Tri-Color 1.14-carat Diamond Flower Ring retailing at 860 pounds, or $1,699.95, and a white and rose gold 1.85-carat Diamond Flower Pendant with chain for 1,275 pounds, or $2,499.95. For those who can’t afford it, the wine is priced more modestly at approximately 6 pounds, or $11, a bottle.”

    Now, there’s an interesting phenomenon on the site, perhaps because of the scathing ridicule NBC has exposed itself to with this business partnership: when one inputs the terms “Paul Burrell” or Princess Diana” into the ShopNBC search engine you receive a message indicating there are no matches. None. When one inputs “Effy Signature”, the name of the collection, then Voila! you can transport yourself to the collection.

    There are some interesting side notes in the details accompanying the descriptions of the jewelry. For example:

    A sample of this item was sent to an independent certified jewelry appraiser. Its replacement value was appraised at $1,800. Please note you will not receive a copy of the appraisal with your purchase. (Appraisal date: April/2008)

    “Enjoy regal distinction with flashes of grand fascination.”

    The Princess thought this was a bit odd, but then we have never purchased jewelry at ShopNBC so we could  be way off base. This would probably also fit into that “You can’t make this stuff up” category. Honestly.

    Do enjoy your weekend. Here we are trying to sort out precisely how we shall avoid being a sad Princess yet again about the loss of yet another extraordinarily gifted individual, in this case, one whom we were blessed to spend a little time around. (Actually, she is simply crushed by the news.) Mr. Princess is in the same position and saddened as well. Sigh.

  • When Preppy Goes Wrong, (How Thom Browne Helps Brooks Brothers Make the Cut)

    Oh dear. Oh my goodness. You know, The Princess had concerns upon hearing the news that designer Thom Browne was to be the company’s first Guest Designer for the newly created Black Fleece line at Brooks Brothers. Not to say Mr. Browne is not fully credentialed in his craft, as he most certainly is. Our question was, and remains, is this the sort of attire one associates with the Brooks customer?

    In case you missed (there’s a generous use of the word) Mr. Browne’s collection for the 2007 Fall/Winter season, here is a sampling. Most may be found at select brick and mortar stores and at Brooks Brothers online. While TP detests conversations involving the M word, we do feel compelled to venture onto such loathesome ground in an effort to better illustrate the concerns. Many of the Browne Black Fleece items are on sale and significantly discounted. The Men’s Boiled Wool Morning Coat was originally $2900 and may now be acquired for a mere $1450, while the Down Vest is available at $750, half of its original price. Yours for the ordering.

    Now to be fair, TP feels compelled to share some of the Women’s line from Mr. Browne, as it held promise. There were several items we wouldn’t be completely ashamed to haul out of the walk-in, as seen below. We don’t know exactly where we would find ourselves adorned in the elegant Cashmere Morning Coat, but we do completely adore the grey Cashmere Coat Dress.

    It is simply the overall collection that is well… ahhh… well, it is basically hideous when the conservative customer base Brooks hypothetically caters to is taken into the equation. Really. This defines the popular question: What were they thinking? Oh, but perhaps you were harboring hope that the Spring/Summer Collection would be an improvement?

    We can only imagine your haste to purchase the Classic Madras Jacket for the man in your life, and at $1,900 (with matching pants available for an additional $700), how can you go wrong? Yes, quite. The Women’s Cotton Double-Breasted Jacket also has matching pants, and is not quite the disaster the men’s madras is, but we don’t know too many women who shop Brooks who would be comfortable with this sort of suit. However, once again we must be fair: Mr. Browne provides the Women’s Collection with some tasteful additions, such as the lovely Linen Pleated Back dress (although we could find no photos showing the back of the garment), along with the Linen Cropped Sleeve Tunic. But overall, we remain stunned by the sheer level of the debacle the Men’s line represents. Is the Brooks customer, the preppy traditionalist interested in the sort of attire shown in the Browne collections? You be the judge.