Found: All Things Preppy
By Laura Braden
Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I go through phases – especially with fashion. Sometimes I try to go all “European chic” with tailored lines and lots of black. Other times I prefer the “hippie/bohemian” look with flowy tops and funky patterns. And other times, I barely make it out of the house in yoga pants, hoodie and Uggs.
Lately I find myself being pulled to my Southern roots of preppy pinks/greens and seersucker and boat shoes. Since it’s getting (extremely) warm out, I figured I would share my favorites with you!
(click on the name to visit their online store)
Iconic and timeless, Lilly is known for bright colors and fun patterns. Lately, they’ve updated their look to be much more modern and chic. They cover everything from sweaters and sandals to hats and shorts for women, men and children. They also recently went green and even sell one of the most adorable beach cruisers ever.
Lookin’ for some critters on your skirt or ties? Look no further. Founded in 1998 by two brothers with a deep love of Martha’s Vineyard, I discovered this line working on the Vineyard in the summer of 2000. Little did I know that the tie I bought my brother would be the first of MANY purchases over the years. This gem of a clothing line has the largest selection of women, men and children’s clothing and accessories, rivaling – in my humble opinion – only Lilly Pulitzer. The critters on their items tend to focus on New England and all things Yankee (yes, we still use that term where I’m from) like sailing, whales and Nantucket street signs. They even have luggage and a bull/bears tie (ode to the stock market – see below). They also have AMAZING customer service…
Author’s sidebar: This year, I needed a new hat to match my dress for a Kentucky Derby party. Having waited until the last minute, I tried ordering and overnighting one online (picture below). I was worried that I had missed their overnight deadline (they’re based on the East Coast) so I shot an email to the general/generic email address. It hadn’t been 20 minutes when I got a call from a fabulous gal named Tristyn letting me know that I had missed the deadline, but that she might have an extra in the retail store attached to their main office in CT. If they did, she’d be more than happy to stick it in the office overnight bundle, which was picked up by UPS an hour after their online store. Was I interested in having her look? Um, yes please. 15 minutes later, she called me back with the wonderful news. They had the hat, in the color that I wanted no less, and it was in the mail on its way to me. The next morning, I received the hat with a personal (handwritten) note wishing me a happy Derby party. I felt like I was in some sort of Zappo’s commercial. I have never, repeat never, had such amazing customer service. She was gracious, understanding, fast and helpful. I’m eternally grateful and will continue to spread the word to whoever will listen! 🙂
I know they hate the comparison, but to me, Proper is the southern version of Vineyard Vines. IE, the critters on their clothing feature things like labs, ducks, cotton and magnolias. The bulk of their merchandise is for men, but they carry really cute belts and headbands for the ladies. Proper was started by two cute Southern Belles back in 2005 and have had a cult following ever since. Bonus tip – check out their adorable and clever southern advice/etiquette section.
Tide is a low-key brand from a Greenville, SC native who set out to create the perfect polo. Looks like he succeeded. If you’re not into critters on your pants, check them out – they focus on fit, flexibility and breathability. You can learn more here. Similar to Proper, their women’s selection is pretty limited, but the polos are a great fit and come in a ton of colors. You can also buy branded croakies for your shades and koozies for your beverages.
And when all else fails, if you want to add a bit of preppy flair to your style, just monogram something. Anything. It wasn’t until I moved to California that I realized it might not be normal to grow up with everything in your life (from ponytail holders to shower curtains) monogrammed. Still, even today, I can’t get enough of it. So buy something cute (anywhere), and take it to your local monogrammer to make a unique item (also makes excellent wedding and baby gifts).