Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Remember Polo Sport clothing? Yeah, so do I. As a matter of fact, I think I still have some shirts left with the logo on them. Nowadays, Polo Sport has been reduced to a fragrance that hardly gets the advertising of all of Ralph's others - and all that to say that Ralph turned his attention on branding not just sports, but sports of the world. He's always been on the forefront of creating iconic American images, both preppy and sporty. He gave up the "sport" moniker on shirts and replaces them with RLX, Polo Golf and Polo Tennis. He then took over the US Open, dressing the ball boys and girls in the nattiest of attires - and now he's at it again by creating the style for America's Olympians - ALL of them. Not just the models in the pic above. You'll find that on the website www.polo.com the triumphant and spirited designer left no detail undone by creating his new olympic line.
And it's not that he needed to do it, because Ralph Lauren has created so many different world's, from the luxury of Purple Label to the devil-may-care stylings of Rugby, it's almost as if it's an after thought. Then again, whose fault is it that Ralph has completely saturated the male fashion scene all the while achieving superstardom in women's wear, home products and now, the dress of a nation. It's probably ours. Its our fault that Ralph Lauren is America, and I suspect he'd have it no other way.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Let me be clear. As a general rule, I am usually against "trends." But I would never try to label Preppy as a trend. The truth is those who are through and through preps sit back and watch time and time again as the "mainstream" brings our style in and out of magazines and across runways. Nevermind that I still own a copy of Lisa Birnbach's "The Original Preppy Handbook," and nevermind that I have owned a navy blue blazer all of my 30 year old life, and nevermind that I know what an intarsia sweater is, what a fairisle pattern is and why layering in LL Bean, Land's End, Orvis, Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers and JPress is as normal as breathing - forget all of that. Preppy is more than the clothes. Look at Kanye West. Not a prep at ALL. He tried, he really did, and for a while he had most of America fooled. Not us. Most of the time the preppiest clothing is not labeled or monogrammed. Its not showy, nor is it always the Lily Pulitzer bright pink and green. What it always is - is effortless. A true preppy looks as natural in a bowtie and a seersucker blazer as he does in a weathered polo shirt and madras shorts. It always looks so put together, and so unprepared, like it was something thrown together on a whim - and odds are that it was because all preps have all the essentials in their closet. And because this attitude of attire is passed down from generation to generation, no matter what happens, and no matter what the trend, Preppy will never die.
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2009 was a great year for Men’s Style, mostly because a lot of older, classic elements were brought back to the forefront of our wardrobes. One can only hope that most if not all of these will endure throughout 2010. Here’s a list of my favorites.
Three Piece Suit – The Vest came back into popularity in 2008 for casual wear, and we finally decided to dress it up in 2009 with the three piece suit. Probably the most formal attire short of a tuxedo, this once executive only staple has invaded runways, red carpets and even bargain stores like Target and Kohl’s. For a great relaxed evening look pair a dark three piece suit with a crisp white button-up and no tie.
Flat Front Pants – Lets face it, the pleats weren’t fooling anyone. 2009 saw more Men optioning for clean lines and smooth silhouettes those only flat fronts could provide. Whether wool, cotton or cashmere, you can’t go wrong continuing this trend.
Skinny Ties – After Ralph Lauren turned the tie world on its head with the introduction of the wide tie in 1967, skinny ties became the exclusive domain of punk rockers and trendy artists. Not anymore. With the popularity of shows like Mad Men and White Collar, skinny ties became a force to be reckoned with in 2009 and show no signs of stopping.
Horn Rimmed Glasses – Their not just for Ray Bans or Academics! Eyewear boutiques were selling as many no prescription frames as local optometrist shops were. In classic colors like black and tortoise, 2009 made it cool to look studious.