I need your opinion on something.
I frequently wear my hair pulled back in a pony tail, but I don't like the look of just having a hair band, so I usually tie a gros grain ribbon around it in a bow. It's not a large bow and I use about a 1 1/2 inch ribbon. I also like the thin fabric or ribbon covered head bands that have the bow attached. The bow portion is also very small (my favorite is a beige Burberry head band).
At any rate, a friend recently told me that she overheard someone say that I should wear something more age appropriate. I was embarrassed, to say the least, at the suggestion. It made me consider, however, if wearing hair ribbons and head bands is not age appropriate for someone my age (40ish).
I've worn hair ribbons and head bands since as long as I can remember, so maybe I'm wrong here. I would love to know what your "Preppy" opinion is on this.
My 84 year old mother's bling (Eliza B. headbands and Angela Moore bracelets).
One of the flag-raising terms for the over forty set (and I am 48) is "age appropriate". Most "age-appropriate" wardrobes can, funnily enough, visually age one pre-maturarily. Paradoxically, deliberately trying to look younger, via sartorial means, can do the same.
An ageless, timeless look, combined with functionality, has always held the most appeal for me. My 84 year old mother wouldn't dream of leaving the house without one of her trademark Eliza B. headbands as well as her Angela Moore bracelets, winter or summer. To be sure, she gets her share of compliments from the under five set, but also from the young males bagging her groceries, and scores of strangers who shop her in the aisles and in town. The common thread of all the compliments is how cheery and uplifting it looks.
Another example is one of the "grandest" of all grande dames, who was never seen, up until she died in her mid nineties, without a tiny grosgrain ribbon holding her tiny silver ponytail in place. It was her trademark look.
I love headbands and ribbons, and regardless, you do what you like and what makes you feel good.
I'd like your opinion on whether sweater vests are preppy/ trad or not.
In Australia (where I hail from, and where they are also called "sleevelesses") preppy is an adjective commonly thrown around to describe them, but looking at pictures of people from American trad or prep circles I have only once ever seen them worn (and then by a girl).
Are sweater vests trad on men, and in what circumstances? Thanks!
While I am not an expert on all things trad, I can say I am very fond of sweater vests. I think they look especially good in lambswool and my favorite colors are Navy, Hunter, Burgundy, and Charcoal. I also like them in cotton, but with a strong preference for Navy.
My sister-in-law just announced that she's expecting her first child. For her baby shower she has asked that everyone bring some name suggestions. Do you have any guidelines for naming?
I may be too late but I always love to find good family last names and use them as first names. Cheers!
You were just in time! Thank you so much. My sister in-law liked the family names I found with your advice.
Dear Ms. Aldrich,
First of all, I would like to say that your blog is wonderful. I've learned so much from reading your posts and you have made me become a more stylish man. But I have just one question: why buy roomy oxford shirts rather than trim fit ones? I find that when worn under a sweater the silhouette is much better. It also doesn't help that I have a smaller frame (5'7" 140 lbs) and with regular fit oxfords, there is way too much ballooning around the waist. An answer from you on this matter would be much appreciated.
Hi Ms. M,
Regarding commandment #5: do you feel that those with a more slender physique should still wear a roomy OCBD? I have been wearing the Brooks Brothers OCBD in the Slim Fit (gasp), but I'm willing to try a more roomy fit as long as it does not look too billowy. I'm 6'4" and thin at 185 lb.
I vastly prefer shirts with a roomier fit,. both for the old school aesthetic, but also for function. (And perhaps the aesthetic comes out of the function.) I don't like clothing that restricts movement and I think men risk looking more affected wearing trim-fit clothes. Although it can favor some physiques today, I think looking back it will seem as dated as shoulder pads. Having said all this (as always), if you like it and feel good in it, then you should wear it. While I like classics, there is a joy in being "of your time" that is, ultimately, inevitable.
Do you have any suggestions as to where I can find nice wool scarves. What kind do you like and where can I find them? Thank you!
I wear both lambswool Tartan Scarves as well as University Scarves and I get them both from the same source, a British shop, Bridgham and Cook, in Freeport, Maine. They are the real deal, made in the U.K., and are extremely reasonable in price. I will occasionally pick up a Schoolboy Scarf from J.Press as well.
I have recently been looking to pick up a Cable fishing style sweater, the particular sweater I have been looking at does not refer to it as such but I believe it would be appropriately described as an Aran knit pattern. I do not own any sweaters with a shawl collar and also avoid mock collars or anything other than v necks (in sweaters) for the most part with a few crewneck exceptions (almost anything other than v necks gets hung up on the collar of my OCBDs or polos). What are your thoughts on a man wearing a shawl collared sweater? I have seen many examples where they look as if the sweater could have been designed a hundred years ago and others where they make the wearer appear quite feminine.
Thank you for your thoughts.
I too have wrestled with what I think about this style sweater. I never buy them for the men in my family or myself, which says something I suppose. However, on many of the Scottish BBC shows I watch, including Hamish Macbeth and Monarch of the Glen, I see male characters wearing them and think they look terrific! Perhaps this is a situation where you really just cannot get away with a lesser quality garment.
Dear Miss Muffy,
I'm seventeen years old. I love your blog and there is not a day that goes by that I do not read it! I even keep notes from it in my purse when I go shopping. I am going off to college next year and I am trying to form my wardrobe. I share most of my clothes with my mom and my sister, so I am sort of starting my own from scratch. Although I have been raised wearing preppy clothes, I am trying to establish my own preppy, classic wardrobe, while still looking youthful and I tend to have an issue when I am shopping. I buy things because they are "cute" but then, when it comes to putting outfits together, I'm stuck. Being that I am a teenager, I am on quite a tight budget. If you happen to have a moment out of your busy schedule and it would be possible to help me with some suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for reading this!
I completely understand your dilemma. It seems like one either has a choice of something "cute" as you say, or something uninspiring and dreary.
To start, what I often look for are items that are fairly classic and simple in style, but come in some great, bright colors like hot pink, kelly green, and my favorite, navy and khaki. I think the best buys are at the outlets. If you can get to a Polo Ralph Lauren outlet, that is where I would start. Sign up for their coupons, and then, if possible, combine those with a sale. I find the Ralph Lauren shirts and sweaters to be of very good quality and wear well. You might even try the Gap outlet. I haven't been there in years, but if I needed some basics, I would probably give it a look.
Lands' End and Lands' End Canvas can have some great markdowns, and if you sign up for emails, you can often get free shipping. I can't remember the last time I paid for shipping there. I used to get a lot of tops from Hanna Andersson, because of their fabulous colors and simple designs, but lately they also have been heading down the cute path. But I still look, especially at sale time.
One can also get away with more plain basics if one pairs them with accessories that "pop" like bags, headbands, bracelets, etc.
If I can think of anything else, I will let you know. Thanks again so much for writing. If you find anything good, I would love to know.
Hi Miss Muffy,
Thank you so much! I really appreciate all of your input. My midterms just ended so I will be going up north to the outlets on my long weekend and I will definitely use your advice. If I find anything good, I will certainly e-mail you!
Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you again!