By Laura Medina
Thanks to the young sophisicated socialites of the CW's guilty pleasure, "Gossip Girl and AMC'S "Mad Men," they made natty sexy and revamping long dormant brands such as Original Penguin of retro-stylishness.
Under Perry Ellis, they brushed off dusty, olde grandpa then refreshed it for the new rising class of the twenty-first century leisure set, harking back to or a yearning for gentility and polite frivolity with urbane polish, sprinkled with cosmopolitian twinkle.
This is the new party wear and resort wear for the new elite, educated, mulit-cultured set, Les Preps Nouvelle," who wisely wear resort wear for those Summer parties at the beach or on the yacht.
A chambray oxford in timeless button-down shirt.
The preppy stand-by, short-sleeved madras plaid shirt with short sleeves goes gangsta with a bibb choker in rhinestone. Move on from Punk Prep to Hip-Hop/Gangsta Prep.
Epitomized by "Gossip Girl'" rakish bad boy, Chuck Bass, preppiness does have a jaunty knack for mixing the unlikeliest of combos then making it dashingly hip as in topping a pullover sweater over a madras shirt with matching bermuda shorts for those surprisingly chilly Spring nights out on the boat. The solid pink sweater breaks the fashion gaffe of the matchy-match of plaid overboard.
This is what separates prep from dork. A prepster knows her or his fabric weight and color blocking and breaking. Head to toe lightweight knit and weight ties everything together for Spring/Summer as does heavy weight everything unifies a Winter Look.
For those who just want to swing some brew and gobble BBQ and berry pies or some outrageous technicolor cocktails in high-fuel liqour, no fear. Original Penguin kept the Americana Classic of madras in Summer Berry colors in two fits. The Classic Fit, easier on the shoulder, relaxed through waist, is great for hanging out. With the berry madras, you can be at ease with stains.
For those dressier moments, the slender-tailored Heritage Slim Fit, slim shoulder, lean through waist is a great hybrid of dress casual. The light cotton lawn or pima cotton with a sleeker fit keeps you cool, physically and mentally.
Like Father, like son, Original Penguin does consider about the next generation coming up. Hopefully, the Junior set thinks it's fun to wear as much as Dad.
Whether it's frugality and heritage through hand-me-downs or the preppy female's desire for being taken seriously or functionality or efficient laziness, androgyny has always been a part of Preppinessism.
So does having subcategories and subcultures of Preppiness, as they migrate North, morphing into Punk Preps clad in black or discovering new found opportunities out West where the preppy female either goes Glam in Juicy Couture or Tory Burch or go Bohomenian as in toughening the country hippie in white crochet by borrowing her brother's/dad's/boyfriend's/buddy's plaid shirt.
Original Penguin has always been overlooked as a bastion of mid-Twentieth Century Americana and been overshadowed by Lacoste for preppy chic but its time has come.
Gen-Xers and Yers of the new social set are digging it back up and making its own, at reasonable price points.