Celebrating the Preppy Lifestyle and it's sensibilities


The Preppy Times


 Dedicated all of our heroes who've fought for our mighty country.

My home is made of dreams
And fertile soils of majestic ideas
I am America 
I am the comfort of forbears
From here or there
Far and near
Resting at the foot of an apple tree
Eating it's fruit
Singing hymns of yesterday 
and prayers of tomorrow
I am America 
I am the farmer who grows wisdom
I am the mother who nurtures spirit
I am the father who protects at all costs
And I am the children who are the beacons of days to come
I am the family of all that this world has to offer
I am America 
Look to justice, she has seen my face
Look to sin, it will attest to my virtue
Look within the heart
And you will find 
The blood of many
Who have fallen for my grace
I am America 
I am the old yet I am young
The worshiped and forgotten 
These are my children
The many few who have chosen 
My canvas in which to paint
Understand the beauty I behold
I am America 
I am not without my faults, yet I am purity
Though I am still young, my purpose and ideals
Are as old as the hills
I am gifted with genius and masterful with intention
And I serve all who come into my embrace 
I am America 
Through the changes of many seasons
I have forged children of valor, courage and compassion
Warriors of the idea of change and the  upholders of tradition
From past, present and forever
For I am America 

The Preppy Times


Just the other day I finally went rummaging through the spring/summer catalogs that have been piling up. Lands' End Women was the first one I grabbed. I have perused each item especially the new arrivals and am posting what I feel are the off the marks and on the marks.
Let me first say that for the record I like Lands' End. I've always appreciated their classic approach to fashion. But I'll have to admit that I'm fond of Lands' End past more than Land' End present.
Nonetheless, one can still pick up a few good pieces for a good price if you're willing to wade through some stinkers that are passing for true classic clothing.


V-neck mid weight sweater
At first sight this looks like a very nice sweater.  It has great shape and I love the color.  The only drawback (and this is a big one for me) is that this sweater is 96% acrylic and 4% nylon.  There isn't a thread of cotton to be seen.  This is such an unfortunate trend not only with Lands' End but with many of our staple stores.  As of lately it seems that many of  Land's End products consist of far too many man made materials like acrylic, nylon and spandex, how dreadful.
Short Sleeve Peter Pan Blouse
No explanation is needed for this one.  Peter Pan should never be applied to any female past the age of ten.
Relaxed Pima Polo

All polo shirts aren't created equal.  This pima polo seems a little boxy and there's just too many buttons on the plackard.  I do like the idea of a quality polo without a logo but this isn't it.  In terms of that classic polo feel it's better to stick with Ralph Lauren.


The Merriweather Trench coat

I really like this trench.  It's fully lined, lightweight and can be worn with or without the belt.  I love the fact that it's machine washable and the checkered design is spring ready.

original pattern no iron pin point shirt
I may get some complaints but I see no problem with a no iron shirt.  I like the fact that this shirt is 100% cotton and the gingham design is a nice touch. 

Chino Bermuda Shorts
I'm crazy about a woman in Chino Bermudas and these fair pretty well.
3/4 sleeve combed cotton roll neck sweater
This sweater is neither on the mark or off the mark.  It is sort of straddling the fence.  The only thing(s) I don't like about this sweater is the fact that its 3/4 sleeve and is precisely 93% super-combed cotton, 4% nylon and 3% Lycra.
women button front pattern skirt
I like this skirt.  It is very spring, fun and whimsical.
classic ballet flats
If you want a really inexpensive flat at just $49.50 these are the ones to get.  According to my wife they are pillow soft inside and don't cut into her heels like many others.
Tretorn Tennis
They're Tretorns, enough said!

I'll have to be honest, I'm not particularly blown away by the spring/summer catalog but I am loyal.  I just hope that in the end Lands' End and many our other staple stores will be as loyal to us the consumers.

The Preppy Times


Last year I did an interview on Connecticut based preps the three chickadees here
I received a pair of their Chesapeake Bay Madras shorts and am deciding to give a small review.

I must say that when I received these back in June 2010 I was pleasantly surprised.  These shorts are really holding up pretty well and I've worn them quite a bit.  They are 100 percent cotton with two front and two rear pockets and fully lined and cost about $48.00.  They're also made in India which is a good thing considering the fabric takes its name from the former English name of the city of Chennai, India.

When I received them they had a stiffness that's expected from a new product.  The first thing I do with new clothing is to immediately wash them.  This is very good for testing the quality.  I haven't noticed any fading as of yet but they have gotten softer.  They've also remained true to shape with very minimal shrinkage. 

I give these shorts a four out of five ranking.  They have become my favorite madras and should get better with age.

The Preppy Times


Right, so we all know that preps love to monogram almost anything.
Though women tend to corner the market on such matters today's post is for the gents, more specifically how to wear monograms on a dress shirt with style.
There are three schools of thought pertaining to monograms on shirts.
1. Don't do it
2. Keep it hidden
3. Show it but be tasteful.
Originally monograms were used in our grandfathers' day during a time when men would never go jacket-less in public. It was never intended to be seen. It was simply an identification whenever a gentleman sent his shirts out for laundering.
Since this practice has now become outdated men now monogram as a personal choice. I tend to fall in school of thought 3. I personally believe it is not necessary to monogram every shirt in your drawer, but having a few on hand at your disposal can add that special little touch.
The first rule of wearing a monogram is to relax. This isn't brain surgery. A monogram is meant to add a bit of your personality to the shirt without calling too much attention to it. But if you're uncomfortable or staring at it as if you've developed a growth, then perhaps a monogram is not your cup of tea.
Next, decide the shirt.  Monograms word best on shirts of higher quality so shop around.  In my personal opinion monograms on a patterned shirt with different colors is a bit too busy and a monogram will disagree with the fabric.  It's best to stick to solid colored shirts or even solid colored shirts with texture to keep your look clean.
Now it's time to select thread color and stitching style.  As a rule preppy men stick to simple and basic stitching.  Numbers 1, 2, and 8 are the classic way to go.  If however you're a man who likes a bit of pizzazz then number 3 would be a great choice.  All other styles are good for women.  
As far as thread goes keep the gauge small.  Any tailor worth their grain in salt will know what thread to use.  Remember this is a monogram not a billboard.  The length should be within a half inch width and height.  Some would say 1/4 inch will suffice. 

Monogram Font Style Examples

In terms of thread color the classic way would be a dark blue or black.  Note: A very elegant way to go would be tone on tone. 

Tone on Tone Monogram
For placement, there are three old school positions to put a monogram on men's dress shirts.  The first position is on the shirt pocket or directly on the shirt base fabric where the pocket would have been on pocket-less shirts.  The next position is on the hem at the bottom of the shirt front.  The third is on the left shirt cuff directly in center lining up with button holes.

Monogram on Textured shirt

How you will have the monogram stitched is a personal matter.  There are many businesses that specialize in shirt monograms.  Personally, I prefer the hand stitched.  I've even sewn a monogram or two on my shirts.  (Don't laugh I have skills and it's surprisingly meditative).  Note:  If you're one who is very fussy about precision, stick to machine embroidery monograms.  Hand stitched monograms have imperfections and are meant to be that way.  They are the most elegant to me and it's also these imperfections that are prized by Preps.
An Example of my monogram

Lastly, to monogram pays homage to a time gone by.  It was a simpler time of our grandads and fathers when men presented themselves as men.  To me it is a time honored tradition.  Also monograms are great heirlooms to pass down.  Instead of your initials try your family name.  Think of how proud you'll be when you see your son or daughter raiding your closet for that special shirt that you labeled twenty years ago.

O.C. Cavanaugh Jr.
The Preppy Times


You know I never met a prep who didn't like to debate at least a little about politics. So here is a little food for thought, an anecdote if you will, that can be discussed at your next brunch.

Charley Reese's final column for the Orlando Sentinel...

He has been a journalist for 49 years. He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN.

545 vs. 300,000,000 People

-By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker of the House, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is, what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ...

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

What you do with this article now that you have read it... is up to you.

This might be funny if it weren't so true.

Be sure to read all the way to the end:

Tax his land,

Tax his bed,

Tax the table,

At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,

Tax his mule,

Teach him taxes

Are the rule.

Tax his work,

Tax his pay,

He works for

peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,

Tax his goat,

Tax his pants,

Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,

Tax his shirt,

Tax his work,

Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,

Tax his drink,

Tax him if he

Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,

Tax his beers,

If he cries

Tax his tears.

Tax his car,

Tax his gas,

Find other ways

To tax his ass.

Tax all he has

Then let him know

That you won't be done

Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;

Then tax him some more,

Tax him till

He's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,

Tax his grave,

Tax the sod in

Which he's laid...

Put these words

Upon his tomb,

'Taxes drove me

to my doom...'

When he's gone,

Do not relax,

It's time to apply

The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax

Building Permit Tax

CDL license Tax

Cigarette Tax

Corporate Income Tax

Dog License Tax

Excise Taxes

Federal Income Tax

Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)

Fishing License Tax

Food License Tax

Fuel Permit Tax

Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)

Gross Receipts Tax

Hunting License Tax

Inheritance Tax

Inventory Tax

IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

Liquor Tax

Luxury Taxes

Marriage License Tax

Medicare Tax

Personal Property Tax

Property Tax

Real Estate Tax

Service Charge Tax

Social Security Tax

Road Usage Tax

Recreational Vehicle Tax

Sales Tax

School Tax

State Income Tax

State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)

Telephone Federal Excise Tax

Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax

Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes

Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax

Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax

Telephone State and Local Tax

Telephone Usage Charge Tax

Utility Taxes

Vehicle License Registration Tax

Vehicle Sales Tax

Watercraft Registration Tax

Well Permit Tax

Workers Compensation Tax


Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the heck happened? Can you spell, "POLITICIANS" ?

I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!!

Addendum: The article above does not necessarily reflect the views of ThePreppyTimes.

- Posted by The Preppy Times


All photos are courtesy of  Muffy Aldrich, The Daily Prep

Greetings mates, a while back I ran across a site by chance. The title was The Daily Prep and it's creator was and is a gifted writer named Muffy Aldrich.
After perusing her site and reading a few post I was impressed. Her blog was.....well.....good. It was well written and the original photos some from the past of her late father were hauntingly beautiful.
Now, I love preps who can present preppy as it really is, timeless, simple, classical, traditional and above all a strong sense of heritage, and Muffy delivers.  The first thing I noticed was this writer definitely has an opinion.  From where to eat, or how to compost to the correct length of a cuff on a pair of Khakis. Yet the thing that impresses me the most is that she comments on each reader comment.  I mean she addresses every one of them.  She has in my opinion mastered what every blogger wants to achieve, the ability to communicate as if you had only one reader.

I also found some rather splendid facts about her site.  Muffy Aldrich starting blogging at the beginning of 2010 on defining her take of a Coastal New England aesthetic and lifestyle. A little more than a year old, her blog now gets over 150,000 page views a month, and referred to as a “bible” by some, and is regularly read by many manufactures such as Ralph Lauren, A&F, Lands’ End, and L.L. Bean. Brooks Brothers included “The Daily Prep” on their blog roll for their new blog.
I contacted Muffy and was pleasantly surprised.  I've come across many a blogger who weren't willing to share anything.  Apparently bloggers can be competitive at times.  Muffy was different.  I found her very amiable, honest, extremely amusing and willing to share whatever she could with me.  So much so that she was gracious enough to grant me an interview on the inside of Muffy Aldrich.

The Preppy TimesGood day Muffy.  What annoys you most about the state of what is considered "prep" today?

Muffy Aldrich:   What annoys me most is that the clothing items that I consider staples have become harder to find, and increasingly impossible.  By what twist of fate or MBA-think can it be this hard to find a decent women's pair of Khakis?)  I knwo how I want to spend my money and how I want my family to dress, and hate doing either in a sub-standard way.

This is in part because so many vendors and shoppers have knocked off and co-opted the term.  There are all sorts of stores latching on to such oxymoronic and drek concepts and Mall Prep, Resort Prep, even Hipster Prep.  (And, OMG, self-labeled redneck Prep!  I'm serious!)

TPT:  Ha Ha, do tell.

M A:  Mall prep is when cheap goods are painted pink and green and slapped on with monograms and iconic images, and everyone coos about how preppy they are.
 Resort prep includes financially exclusive, fragile items that are appropriate for sauntering around paved walkways fishing for comments but not much else.
Hipster prep items attempt to blend a classic style with highly trendy fashions, ostensibly trying to attract "younger audiences" but more often than not attracting 45-year old narcissists that want to look like what they think 29-year old narcissists look like.

All three are designed for , and typically by, people more comfortable in cubicles than any more authentic environment.  These clothes are for showing off.  Perhaps the epitome of these drek Prep off-shoots are L.L. Bean Signature and True Prep, both tragic missed opportunities, subversins of great brands, and raw cash-grabs.  I started my blog just before both were launched, perhaps even in apprehension borne of seeing early glimpses at both.

Obviously, people should wear what they want.  But I believe this strip mining of the term, followed by their inevitable failures and backlashes, will hurt and even scare off even more vendors serving the classic prep (a phrase that should be redundant, by the way) market.

Rightly or wrongly, good clothes-classic, pleasing, sturdy, and work enabling - for me almost belong in the Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  If I don't have them, I obsess on getting them, and when I have them, I can move on to higher goals.

TPT:  Is that why you started blogging?  And what is missing from the state of Prep?

M A:  Yes!  Honestly, it was my husband who strongly encouraged me, mostly so I would stop complaining to him about it.  (It didn't work)

TPT:  I hear ya,  my wife convinced me to do the same.

M A:  Voices too often missing from the collective world view around Prep are the students', including college students', who deeply care about the environment and spent summers working on organic farms; or the pre-med student' who spend their summers in underdeveloped countries serving the people's medical needs.  These are the people for whom Prep clothes should be designed.  (Or, said differently, the vendors that appeal to these people will gain a good ten years of healthy market share.)

Another voice missing has been the greatest generation's.  These are the people who fought the war and really knew what thrift and functionality meant.  They practice stewardship.

I started blogging for a few other reasons.  One is that I had recently lost my father, and the blog was an attempt to reflect upon and even pay homage to his influence in my life.  It was also an excuse to highlight so many places and clothes that I really like.  (Finally, if I can help rehabilitate my life-long nickname of "Muffy" and make it slightly less mocked, so much the better.)

TPT:  What was life like for you growing up?

M A:  It all revolved around salt water.  We lived in an old house on a salt marsh, and were only a short walk to the small Yacht Club where we kept our boat(s) as well as the beaches where we swam.  With few excepttions, every day was spent on, or in, the water, or both.  Even evenings included walds down tothe water.

I attended small private schools, and horses were also a dominant factor.  I rode for many years until just after I got married.

Ornithology played a large role.  So many weekends were spent in the field, visiting nesting areas, and viewing slide shows of the natural world from travels across the globe.  I would often partake in the annual Christmas Count (where people from across the state all go out on the same day and count how many species they find, which meant getting up at 2am).  My life list is quite extensive.

TPT:  I'll say, but who is Muffy Aldrich?

M A:  What most surprises visiting friends is how many people in the various stores where I shop stop to talk to me.  I always have to factor in an extra fifteen minutes or more whenever I go to the supermarket.  I get detailed personal updates from so many of the people who work there, from their dates the night before, to their grilling techniques, to their clothing purchases (of course), to how they are recovering from their traffic accidents.  All of my errands have that quality, from the lumberyard to the post office, which is just the way I like it.  Village living has tremendous sppeal to me.
TPT:  Who were your biggest influences that helped shape you?

M A:  My parents and my grandmother were steady, supportive and kind.  My grandmother taught me through example about gardening, especially perennials, and about old Yankee thrift.  (She knew how to get a full and long life from a tea bag or piece of aluminum foil.)  My father, now post-mortem a great supporting character on the blog, was incredibly curious.  He had a deep appreciation for quality and I loved going into New York and New Haven to all of the great old stores with him.  My mother taught me the importance of stewardship, of humans and animals alike, with a strong emphasis on healthful living and eating.  (She refuses to be on the blog, and being all alive, I can't make her!)  We had a tremendously eclectically interesting assortment of friends, from authors and ornithologists to foundation directors and taxidermists.
TPT:  Speaking of stewardship of animals, how many do you own?

M A:  Right now we have the fewest number of species than we have had in quite a while-just one Golden Retriever and ten hens.  But at any given time we have had combinations of sheep; lop-eared rabbits; cats; more Golden Retrievers; horses; English Setters; and hens.

We also have a few farms that we visit frequently, so we can say hello to a lot of larger animals, and also give them as much business as we can so they will stick around.  Finally, we have a lot of wild animals stop by, such as eight wild turkeys this morning.

TPT:  What's the one thing you absolutely cannot live without?

M A:  My family.

TPT:  Where does Muffy Aldrich want to be in five years?

M A:  Not too different from where I am now.  Living full time on the coast of Maine, continuing working in our family business.  I also would like to have done my part in helping the Prep marketplace get to a better place than it is today.

TPT:  This is a funny question but in your eyes what makes Maine such a special place?

M A:  Everything!  I love the very long coast (thank goodness for fractals!).  I love both the natural beauty and a culture that does not take it for granted.  I also like that you have to be a little tougher in Maine.  It keeps the aesthetic from getting to prissy.  We have deep reoots in Maine and have spent countless summers there.
TPT:  I understand that you and your husband have come out with a book.  Can you say a little something about what sparked this collaboration?

M A:  The book, Unschooling Rules, is another extension of our core philosophy, just aimed at something actually important rather than clothes!  I have heard from a lot of readers that the topic of national education bores, depresses, or confuses them.  From early reactions, through, I think anyone who likes the general tone of The Daily Prep and wants to read more will consider Unschooling Rules as a good, easy, but interesting read.
TPT:  What would you say is the reason the classic/preppy lifestyle has endured?

M A:  It is a bit of an ipso facto argument.  That which has endured in our culture I would regard as Preppy.  Over time, by definition, classics emerge.

TPT:  Finally, what advice would you give to someone thinking of blogging?

M A:  Be thick skinned.  I have had horrible things said about me and to me.  I view my blog as a gathering spot, of which I happen to be the host.  Some people contribute quite a few fabulous comments, which I always really appreciate (they put the "Daily" in Daily Prep!).  Others contribute comments periodically, which is also great.  Most people stay in the background and listen, a position with which I am probably the most personally empathetic, as that would be me!  The goal is to debate ideas and item, not the people behind them.

But some people have incredible expectations of me and get upset with me when I deviate from their expectations.  Other people just want to come by in order to criticize the gathering.  I don't understand either position.  If everyone took The Daily Prep for granted, it would not exist for much longer.  On the other hand, if you don't like the communiity, no one is forced to come.  I periodically feel like reminding certain people that the blog is free and I am not paid!

Be patient.  It does take a while to get going.  My first few months had almost no traffic, before being noticed by a few other blogs and sites and even search engines such as Bing and Blogger.

Be comfortable.  Don't be afraid to put up some bad posts.  As with speaking in front of thousands of people, it is easy to get the equivalent of vertigo.  Sometimes it is better to put up some clunkers than do nothing.

Be discerning in what you accept and promote.  I am offered a lot of free items from various vendors.  I turn down the vast majority.  Most of what is on my blog I bought myself.  Those things that have been given to me by vendors are listed, of course, but more importantly, they are things that I genuinely love, use, and would by for myself in a heartbeat.

By far the best part has been the incredibly kind people who have reached out to me.  I cannot tell you how many wonderful emails I have received, and how very guilty I feel that I have yet to respond to all of them.  Blogging takes far more time than I had expected but it has also been far more rewarding than I had expected.  A good number of readers and other bloggers have turned into friends, both online as well as some that I have met.  And people have alert me to interesting products and sites that I would not have found on my own.  I have also had many very interesting conversations with a variety of vendors finding our overlap.  So all in all, it has been a terrifically successful experience for me.

TPT:  Well said Muffy! 

You can always find Muffy Aldrich over on her wonderful site

Posted by The Preppy Times