Finally, A Barbour!

Since as long as I started dressing preppy, a Barbour Beaufort has been on my radar. They seem to be the be all end all of preppy outerwear, and I wanted one! I remember distinctly the first time I saw one. I was living in Germany at the time and it was the first day (of MANY) that it had rained. My host dad was about to take my host brother and I to school. He pulled this old green jacket out of the coat closet and threw it on. It was the most beautiful piece of clothing I had ever seen. Green waxed fabric and a brown corduroy collar. And the lining… goodness! The jacket was awe inspiring, not to mention it just looked cool. My host dad had impeccable style and the jacket complimented it perfectly. The more I looked, the more Barbours I saw. My host mom had one, a few kids in school did, and it seemed like every single person alive in England had one. I knew I needed one. I searched Pinterest and found some pretty awesome photos of folks in Barbours

Prince William and The Dutchess of Cambridge Take a stroll in their Barbours ©BAUER-GRIFFIN.COM

Prince William and The Dutchess of Cambridge Take a stroll in their Barbours ©BAUER-GRIFFIN.COM

Young Prince William and Prince Harry in Barbours and wellys.

Young Prince William and Prince Harry in Barbours and wellys.

KJP impeccably dressed in his Barbour

KJP impeccably dressed in his Barbour

This one speaks for itself.

This one speaks for itself.

For the next three years I lusted after every Barbour I came across. I would make trips to Orvis just to put one on and see how it looked. However, a Beaufort just seemed like a distant dream. At $400 dollars, the waxed green beauty seemed as though it would never become a reality. I had seen some on eBay but they were all either too trashed or too expensive, I just couldn’t win. Then, I read a post on Red Clay Soul talking about vintage Barbours and having them reproofed, this allowed me to reconsider some of the jackets that had previously seemed too trashed. I found a few options on eBay and then asked for one for my birthday. I got one.

The fabric had a lot of the wax worn off and the jacket had a distinct musty stench that would clear a room. I made sure it fit well and immediately repackaged it and sent it to New England Reproofers. It was $100 to have it rewaxed and de-stunk, this left me with a final cost of $215 for a pristine Barbour Beaufort. After about two weeks, I received an email saying my jacket was on its way, two days later a USPS parcel was on my doorstep. I ripped open the package like a kid on christmas and inside was my stink free, re-waxed Barbour!

It was practically a different jacket. I was noticeably darker in color, it was heavier, and most importantly, the stink was a thing of the past. I have been wearing it every single chance I get (which hasn’t been a lot, winter is dragging its heels to get here). It seems to go with everything, I’ve worn it with dark jeans and desert boots, khaki chinos and Bean Boots, and sneakers and jeans. Admittedly, I don’t have any picture of myself in my Beaufort yet. Pictures are definitely the reason why this blog hs been laking in posts. I always make time to write, but I never make the time to take the photos I need.  However, below are some before and after pics of my new coat.

Before Rewaxing

Before Rewaxing

Before Rewaxing

Before Rewaxing

Rewaxed Beauty

Rewaxed Beauty

After

After Rewaxing

Over the coming weeks I’ll post some outfits with me in my Barbour. There are also some awesome posts (waiting on pictures of course) on deck to be posted.

Stay preppy,

Spencer

The Woes of Summer Courses

To start this post off, I’d like to apologize for how sleepy the blog has been. I made the awesome decision to take Organic Chemistry One and Two this summer and MHP has definitely taken a back seat.

When the spring semester ended, I thought “Awesome! I’ll finally have more time to post some awesome blog posts about preppy style.” As a student, it’s hard to blog as regularly as some other fashion bloggers out there. I do my best, but school definitely takes the priority more often than not. I thought that despite taking summer classes that I’d be able to post a little more than during the semester. Little did I know, I was about to enter the gnarliest, most awful summer of my life. It was a summer full of benzene rings, Diels-Alder reactions, frantic, coffee fueled study sessions, and t-shirts, shorts, and Chacos.

Last summer I went to EMT school and in hindsight it really was not that bad, I went to school three days a week for about nine hours a day. I had days off and had time to work, work out, and I would’ve had time to blog had MHP existed back then. This summer, something far less enjoyable was on the docket, Organic Chemistry One and Two. That’s ten credit hours of courses taken over the course of about eight weeks. Normally, those two courses are taken over the span of two full semesters, about 14 weeks each.

I was sorely mistaken about having more time than during the normal semester. I had a two hour lectures five days a week, three hour labs three days a week, and finally, one hour recitations three days a week. On top of all this, I had three test over the course of four and a half weeks, and three lab reports due each week.

The TA’s and even the professor told us constantly how crazy we were to take such a challenging course over the summer. Encouraging right?

On the up side, due to my hard work this summer, I am going to be able to graduate a full year early and have a year off before heading to medical school. Enough Organic Chemistry talk, I’m excited to finally be able to write posts about clothing and living a preppy lifestyle.

Stay tuned for some awesome posts in the near future!

 

Summer Wishlist

On the heels of our (distant) article on thrift, here is a list of my most coveted items this summer. Enjoy! Click on each item name for more info.

Huckberry Explorer’s Cap

Wishlist Spring

Having a good cap is an essential part of a summer wardrobe. This a handsome, classic flannel baseball cap. Wear it while exploring the Rocky Mountains (as implied in the name), driving across the country, or hanging on the beach.

New Balance Connoisseur 996



These New Balance 996s are part of an awesome collection that’s made right here in the U.S.A. The colorway on these bad boys is light and versatile. You could wear these with shorts and a polo (or T-shirt if you’re lazy like I am) or pair them with jeans or chinos and an OCBD for a night on the town.

Patagonia Stand-Up Shorts

57227_BRBN

I recently bought a pair of used Stand-Up shorts on eBay and could not be more happy with them. I’m a pretty big guy and the 7-inch version of these fits absolutely perfectly. They’re short without looking ridiculous and they’re generously cut in the thigh area. I can’t see how I’ve lived without these shorts for so long. With summer finally here another pair of Stand-Ups are definitely on my wishlist.

 

Boast Tipped Court Polo

tipped-court-polo-in-white-with-red-and-royal-tipping-fixed_d21506a6-4cb8-4cd7-9417-e3e99943b06b_1024x1024

Boast is a newly revived classic 70’s-80’s tennis brand. I love how simple this polo is and the classic styling. The long tail and the tipped sleeves and collar give it that classic look while the material is that of the wicking variety, perfect for summer athletic pursuits.  Boast has a hilariously subversive logo (it’s really a japanese maple leaf, not the other leaf you may be thinking).

Leave a comment and tell us what’s on your wishlist this summer!

Stay tuned for an article on Patagonia. It’s been in the works for a long while and the final revisions are finally being made!

-Spencer

Values: Thrift

This post marks the beginning of a hopefully enduring series here at Mile High Prep. This series will focus on values that Andrew and I hold to be quite important when trying to live a preppy lifestyle.

Salvation Army: a common thrift store

Salvation Army: a common thrift store

What is thrift?

Thrift, what is it? I can tell you right off the bat that thrift is not merely a term associated with stores that sell second hand clothing. Thrift means: to use money or resources carefully and not wastefully. The original (pre 1500’s) definition of thrift is as follows: the condition of thriving; prosperity, savings. The definition used today originated in the mid 1500’s. I’d be willing to wager that when most people my age think of the word thrift, they think first of thrift stores, followed possibly by thoughts of their elderly grandmother (who grew up during or at the tail end of the great depression) talking about being thrifty and frugal. For now we will focus on the sort of thrift that your grandma talks about.

Thrift is, in the modern American middle class world I grew up in, a seemingly archaic, unnecessary value for a person to have. Why go try to track down a quality OCBD for a discounted price when you can just ask your parents to buy you a Polo one? Getting to college, however, forces one to buy clothing and other items more mindfully. This might mean, again, skipping the hunt for a discounted, quality OCBD and simply buying one from Old Navy. Yes, the college student is thinking more about the cost of an item, but they are sacrificing quality, which is as equally unthrifty as buying a brand new Polo OCBD. By the same token, who would want cook their own food to save a few dollars when they could spend less time and just go buy food at McDonalds.

The age in which our grandparents learned the value of thrift.

The age in which our grandparents learned the value of thrift.

 

Why in the world do we need to be thrifty?

We live in a world plagued by consumerism and unless we attempt to do something to combat the allure of consumerism, we are all-consumed (pun intended). We buy and buy. And when we finally become aware of money, we think that buying cheap clothing, shoes, bicycles, food, etc. and replacing those things when they wear out (albeit quickly) with equally cheap items, is somehow helpful to our wallets.

Thrift means, literally in the words of my Grandma, to “use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.”  This saying is something that all preps (and ALL people) should attempt to live by. Doing without, however, seems to be a bit of a dichotomy for those of us interested in the sartorial pursuits of life. When applied to clothing, I take this statement to be referring to each individual item of clothing. For example, if you don’t ever wear jeans, don’t own them. But, if you do wear jeans, wear them and wear them until you can’t wear them any longer. The whole premise of wearing clothing until you can’t anymore is defeated when all your clothing comes from Target or similar stores. Sure they’re cheap, but part of the fun in wearing an article of clothing into the ground is defeated when that process only lasts a matter of months.

Just because you need a blue and white gingham shirt and Target happens to have one, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wait to find one that fits better, will last longer, and is of a higher quality. Being thrifty is about being patient and mindful.

When a person get interested in style, there is an overwhelming temptation to build up their wardrobe hastily. This sort of buying is the exact opposite of thrift. You can’t really start dressing preppy if you don’t have a few OCBDs, chinos, and a pair of Weejuns (Sperries for our younger readers). Instead of going to the mall and blowing tons of money or visiting one of the aforementioned retail stores, I implore you; spend the time to peruse eBay, go to your local Goodwill, Savers, Salvation Army, what have you and find articles of clothing that are quality, inexpensive, and coolest of all… have CHARACTER.

Once you get past the basics, the inevitable will happen, you’ll start wanting other things like, a Barbour coat, a Patagonia Snap-T, some Nantucket red chinos, maybe some Clark’s (our FAVORITE shoes), etc. As these items begin to pop up on your radar, make a list and slowly but surely search for these items, be that on eBay or your local thrift store. When you finally find that Barbour Beaufort for $150  you’ve been looking everywhere for, I promise it’ll feel much more satisfying than if you had simply driven to Orvis and had gotten a new one off the rack. You may be worried about buying used clothing or shoes, don’t be. The clothing that you should be eyeing should be something that will last longer used than an article of clothing bought brand new from Target or Old Navy.

Once you own articles of clothing the best way to emanate the principle of thrift is to wear your clothing. That’s right, WEAR it and wear it into the ground before you replace it. If you are able, repair it before replacing it. Nothing looks preppier that a shetland sweater with elbow patches that have been sewn on out of necessity. Granted, there are some articles of clothing you want to repair and wear with the beat up look, however, certain items like suits, dress pants, dress shoes, should be replaced before the incredible worn in look occurs. It’s cool to wear a pair of Levi’s on the weekend that have been patched and faded (Kate Spade’s husband, Andy Spade, has Levi’s that he has been wearing since high-school). It is most definitely NOT cool to wear a pair of suit pants with frayed cuffs and worn down knees to work. Wearing beat up clothes with panache is one of the most preppy things in the book, but use your judgement. If you think you’d feel really out of place and wouldn’t be confident wearing your shetland with elbow patches to work, then save it for weekend wear.

Enough words, here are some rocking thrift store/eBay finds that Andrew and I have recently procured. (Incase you didn’t know, Patagonia is really supportive of this sort of thrifty mindset. Check out Worn Wear.)

IMG_6203

Two vintage Made in the USA Patagonia Snap-Ts that Andrew bought on Craigslist

IMG_1287

Patagonia Better Sweater full-zip ($12-Saver’s), Barbour Liddesdale ($45- eBay), and Patagonia Retro-X Vest ($70-eBay- Brand New)

IMG_1292

G.H. Bass tassel loafers ($9-Goodwill), Cole Haan penny loafers ($20-eBay), and Clark’s Wallabees ($30-eBay)

IMG_1290

Four shirts from the prep powerhouses of Polo, Brooks Brothers, and LL Bean. I don’t remember the cost of these but they were all found at Goodwill

IMG_6198

Brand new Barbour Beaufort that Andrew found on eBay for more than half off retail cost. The Aran sweater was purchased at Goodwill for less than $10.

As you can all see, Andrew and I have both found some astounding items at Goodwill, on eBay, or otherwise. If you have the patience and persistence you will be able to find high quality items for way under retail cost. Enough blathering, just remember: 1) Buying used quality clothes is better than buying new, cheap clothing, 2) WEAR your clothes, they’re meant to be worn like you mean it, & finally 3) Repair before you replace.

W.I.P.

ti13-1

Just a random shot from Take Ivy for your viewing pleasure

Work in Progress. This is what happens when two busy college guys start a style blog. We are still learning what it means to curate a blog that is frequently updated. This update does not at all mean we are stopping our efforts on Mile High Prep, quite the contrary.  Despite having been lazy for the past month or so, we have numerous posts in the works for you all to look forward to. These include but are not limited to a post on thriftiness as well as an open love letter to Patagonia. We will also be featuring our second guest post, and it will feature a short history and some advice about the wearing of ties. Look for new posts coming later this week!

Essentials: Bean Boots

Bean Boots, sometimes referred to as Duck Boots or Maine Hunting Shoes, have enjoyed an impressive resurgence over the last three or four years. In the past, Bean Boots were worn mainly in the eastern and southern United States. Today, however, they have become a staple on college campuses, and have even been featured in The Guardian, which claims that people in the UK want these boots just as bad as people stateside. As of early December 2014, there was a waiting list of 100,000… so you can expect yours to come in time for Easter 2015 (if you live overseas) (The Guardian). That being said, it is my intention to get readers excited about wearing their backordered boots before they arrive.

The L.L. Bean Boot is the product that has allowed Beans to become the company it is today, now creating skis, bikes, and a whole heck of a lot of other outdoor gear. The Bean Boot was originally designed for the cold and muddy hunting season in Maine, and L.L. Bean set out to create a warm, dry boot that has always been backed by a lifetime guarantee.  Maine Hunting Shoes were the first and for a long time the only product sold by L.L. Bean, and it laid the foundation for what the company would look like for the next 100 years and onward.

Me working on my bike in Denmark in a Patagonia Snap T and cords

Me working on my bike in Denmark in a Patagonia Snap T, cords, and 8 inch bean boots

Still made in the U.S.A. and costing $109 for the 8 inch tall version (my personal favorite), it is difficult to come up with a reason not to buy these boots. Honestly, I was not a fan when I saw them for the first time. Coming from Denver, I had never seen Bean Boots until I was well into my 19th year on Earth, something no person from the East Coast can relate to. After realizing my Clarks Desert Boots could not handle the salt and snow that accompanies the midwest winters, I asked for a pair of 8 inch Bean Boots for Christmas last year. Like the thousands of people who have waited before me to receive their boots because of the demand, I finally received my boots in March.  With much excitement, I was able to break them in just before Spring’s arrival, a meager two weeks.

An awesome outfit from the book Take Ivy. A turtleneck beneath an Aran sweater, dark denim, and Bean Boots.

An awesome outfit from the book Take Ivy. A turtleneck beneath an Aran sweater, dark denim, and Bean Boots.

The offerings for these indispensable and versatile boots come in Thinsulate-lined and shearling-lined versions and in all different heights, including a moccasin version (which I recently acquired because I loved my first pair so much). The iconic and functional chain sole tread on the bottom of these boots provides traction and attraction. These boots keep your feet dry in the wettest of conditions. In my own experience, the 8 inch boot without any liner keep my feet plenty warm.  However, if I slip the boots on and don’t tie them, cold air gets in more easily and tends to chill my feet. After much research and conferring with fellow Bean Boot fans, some have found the Thinsulate-lined boot make their feet overly hot in mild conditions.

Semi-formal attire: White OCBD, a shetland sweater, chinos, and Bean Boot Mocs.

Semi-formal attire: White OCBD, a shetland sweater, chinos, and Bean Boot Mocs.

My mom sported a pair of these boots back in the 80’s at Auburn University along with her southern sorority sisters and fraternity friends.  Any day of the week, a student could be spotted wearing an OCBD, Duck Head khaki shorts, and a pair of Bean Boots with sporty socks.  Fashion repeats itself and now 30 years later, the Bean Boot is back and trendier than ever on college campuses.  Once intended for the common Mainer in the early 1900s, the Bean Boot has now become a unique and functional staple of the prep’s wardrobe.

An ad from a few decades ago featuring a few of the different styles and colors Bean Boots come in. Not pictured: Bean Boot Mocs.

An ad from a few decades ago featuring a few of the different styles and colors Bean Boots come in. Not pictured: Bean Boot Mocs.

This special product is time-tested and lifetime guaranteed. There was a time when wearing the Bean Boot felt like being part of a special club. Like it or not, that club has grown substantially, and L.L. Bean deserves the attention.  They have a return policy that is unmatched in today’s marketplace. They believe in their products and are one of the few companies left that allows customers return a used product no questions asked for a full refund.  When you call their headquarters you will be connected immediately with a real person in Freeport, Maine.

Gettin the 'gram in Ireland in AG Jeans, a Patagonia Torrentshell, and 8 inch Bean Boots.

Gettin the ‘gram in Ireland in AG Jeans, a Patagonia Torrentshell, and 8 inch Bean Boots.

These boots stand the test of time; whether it be the chill of Autumn, the snow of Winter, or the bloom of Spring.  Hold on to these forever! This boot is a worthwhile investment. They look good; they last a lifetime. Enough said.

 Essentials: Ode to the Oxford

Oh the oxford cloth button down. Never have I encountered a shirt more versatile, more handsome than the oxford cloth button down, henceforth to be affectionately called the OCBD. As you may have seen a few weeks ago, Mr Woolsey wrote a little bit about the oxford shirt in his 2nd edition of [Wise Words With Woolsey]. This post will simply expand on his description of the OCBD and will show just how versatile the OCBD really is.

The OCBD originated originated in the 19th century as a sportier alternative to the stiff collared stifling shirts available at the time. Traditionally the OCBD features a button down collar originally designed to keep the collar from flapping in the faces of polo players as they tore around the field on their steeds. Brooks Brothers still refers to the button down collar as a polo collar. The proper length of the collar is a much debated topic, but the classic lengths range from 3-3.5 inches. One of my favorite blogs, coincidentally named The Oxford Cloth Button Down, has a wonderful write up on all things related to OCBD collars.

The OCBD has a very characteristic basket weave. Up close it looks almost checked as it is traditionally woven with two different colors of thread, with white almost always being the accent color. The basket weave is incredibly robust and thick yet comfortable all the same. If taken care of and treated properly an OCBD can last years. My personal favorite aspect of oxford shirts is that they get better with time. The longer you keep it and the more you wear an OCBD, the more comfortable it becomes. Just like a good pair of leather boots, the OCBD is at it’s best when it has been used and broken in.

OCBD and shetland (2)

A close up of Oxford fabric

The most traditional colors of the OCBD are by far light blue and white, with the red and blue university striped varieties coming in second. OCBD’s however are not limited to the traditional aforementioned colors. As you may have seen in the WWWW article, Mr. Woolsey has a handsome pink OCBD (as well as many other colors I’m sure). My personal collection of OCBDs is far from a traditional range of colors, the majority of them lean more towards the GTH end of the color spectrum with my fun shirt being the most extreme.

My OCBDs

My OCBDs

You might imagine that a shirt originally made for polo playing would be quite versatile. Let me tell you, you are not wrong! The OCBD is one of the most versatile items of clothing in my closet. It can be tucked in (or not) and paired with a shetland sweater and chinos for a truly classic ivy league/ preppy look. The OCBD is not limited only to such outfits. It can be worn un-tucked with shorts and some classic (white) plimsoll sneakers (i.e. Chucks, Vans, Keds, Adidas, etc) with or without socks in the summer. It can also be worn along with jeans and a casual pullover and boots for a preppy look of the true Mile High variety.

 

Living in Colorado, the OCBD is essential. It is at home on a light afternoon hike or at dinner with the fam, in the classroom or out on the town. It can be worn all year round (which is important because, as you all know, we can experience 4 different seasons of weather in one day). You can wear it with the sleeves rolled up and in a matter of seconds have the sleeves rolled down with your Patagonia pullover on and then when the inevitable happens and  weather is warm again, shed that ‘Gonia and roll the sleeves and BOOM! But don’t take my word for it. First look at all these pictures of people wearing OCBDs, lookin’ like handsome devils. Then, go out and buy yourself an OCBD (or four) and put it through the ringer that is living in Colorado.

Before you are burdened with Andrew and I’s OCBD mirror selfies (scratch that, I just stole a few pictures from Andrew’s Facebook and my lovely girlfriend graciously took picture of me), I’ll let you feast your eyes on some of the greats of prep-dom.

 

First we have a pic of a young Papa Bush wearing an OCBD with a tweed coat

First we have a pic of a young Papa Bush wearing an OCBD with a tweed coat

 

enhanced-buzz-29170-1367010285-17

41 doesn’t need to be young to exude class and those cheerleaders know it

 

JFK is the king of the untucked OCBD and shorts vacation look

JFK is the king of the untucked OCBD and shorts vacation look

My point exactly

My point exactly

 

Some random Ivy Leaguer trying his best to look serious

Some random Ivy Leaguer trying his best to look serious

 

Old green Polo OCBD with Jeans and Wallabees

Old green Polo OCBD with Jeans and Wallabees

 

Andrew trying to look contemplative in a vest, chinos, OCBD and Desert boots

Andrew trying to look contemplative in a vest, chinos, OCBD and Desert boots

 

FullSizeRender-5

VERY spring-y outfit with some GTH yellow pants (that desperately need to be tailored before spring), a blue Lands End OCBD, blazer, and penny loafers

 

FotorCreated

Thrifted Tommy Hilfiger OCBD Fun Shirt with khaki shorts and two different examples of shoes. One more mature and dressed up, the other, more at home in college

Now for that little Mile High flair

 

White Lands End OCBD with Carhartts (that I pulled out of the dirties), a Patagonia pullover, and Bean Boots

White Lands End OCBD with Carhartts (that I pulled out of the dirties), a Patagonia pullover, and Bean Boots

 

Andrew in an OCBD with a Patagonia Snap-t (from eBay) and some Adriano Goldschmidt jeans playing playstation with his host brother.

Andrew in an OCBD with a Patagonia Snap-t (from eBay) and some Adriano Goldschmidt jeans playing playstation with his host brother.

 

-Spencer

Preppiness as an English Garden

Recently in my German philosophy and literature class, we spent the whole class period chatting about the differences between 17th century gardens that were typical in France and the 18th century English gardens. French gardens during the 17th century showed a mastery over nature with patterns cut into the hedges and angular, straight paths that showed a great deal of symmetry. The English gardens, however, were the exact opposite. They were designed (often by a fellow named Capability Brown) to look as if they had been there forever with very little distinction between the designed landscape and the natural surroundings. The house (castles, really) stood somewhere on the massive estate, covered in ivy. The French castles however would sit directly in the middle of the property with the gardens designed around the castles. The photos below do a better job of portraying what I am trying to say with my limited architectural, landscape, and historical knowledge (I’m a science major after all).

img_0076

Garden at Sheffield Park designed by Capability Brown

orangerie-gardens_6714_600x450

The gardens at Versailles

These gardens seem to have very little to do with clothing, let alone preppy clothing. However, as we were hashing and rehashing out the various aspects of English gardens, I had an epiphany. I have often tried to explain the central element behind preppy style to friends and family, to no avail. As many of you may know, dressing preppy is about dressing as if you have always worn the same clothes, almost as if you had been born in them. There is an inherent effortlessness of dress that many strive for and few achieve. The design concept behind the English gardens perfectly sums up (granted, in terms of plants and houses) how preppy clothing ought to be worn.

Just as the gardens were designed to look like they been there for ages, so too is the clothing arsenal of a true prep. The fabrics are natural and develop character that make them almost quickly indistinguishable as new clothing, similar to the way the ivy in English gardens would quickly intermingle itself into the natural landscape. Finally, in English gardens, the placement of plants and structures was paramount. They were to look like they had (again this phrase) always been there. A prep ideally wants their clothes to look put together and nice, but not like they had taken time to do so, almost like one had hopped out of bed, thrown on some clothes and walked out the door. Bean boots are often left untied, OCBDs are more often than not rumpled, and pants are perfectly worn in.

Enough of my rambling. I hope you all enjoyed this little look into my mid-German-class thought stream. And remember you wear your clothes, they don’t wear you.

-Spencer

Wise Words With Woolsey: Colorado—A Preppy State? Part II

snap Ts

My Patagonia Snap Ts (Note the Denver Broncos color scheme)

Let me try to convince you further by enticing you with a common thread between the prep’s wardrobe and the closet of a Coloradan: the Patagonia Snap-T. In Colorado Patagonia rings true for its durability, its commitment to responsible and sustainable production, and for the legendary life of its founder, Yvon Chouinard. Many here in the Mile High State may be surprised to learn that nearly the same qualifications have held the brand in equally high esteem among the preppy community. The snap T is a favorite of both camps because it is easy to wear, comfortable, and practical. That, and it comes in approximately fifteen thousand color combinations.

The list of items equally suitable to the preppy and the Coloradan only grows from there, building like layers you pile on to combat a freakishly cold Colorado day (a phenomenon capable of happening any time between September and May).

OCBDs

Two of my OCBDs in Blue and Pink

OCBD and shetland (2)

Close up of an OCBD

Let’s start with the oxford cloth button down shirt (OCBD for short). Yes, it is collared and it is frequently tucked in, but that does not make it too formal for our Coloradan sensibilities. Oxford cloth is a durable cotton fabric that is typically woven with a mixture of white and colored thread. It gives the fabric a slightly speckled appearance. Blue is the most common color, but pink, white, and yellow are also easy to find. Oxford is sturdy but feels great against the skin. Best of all, it honestly looks better a little wrinkled and imperfect. Coloradan men and preppies alike will stand for a shirt that lets you go from an afternoon of light hiking or a pickup game of ultimate, right to a nice casual dinner with your wife/girlfriend.

OCBD and shetland (1)

Shetland with an OCBD

OCBD and shetland closeup

Textures of OCBD and Shetland

The next layer after that would probably be a Shetland sweater. After all, you need something to keep you warm after you leave the ultimate pitch and your body temp drops but before you get to the heated restaurant. Shetland is a dense, fuzzy wool that provides excellent warmth without being overly thick. It also has a casual air to it that plays well in Colorado and the fuzzy texture makes it less formal (and less prone to pilling, pulling, etc.) than more traditionally woven sweaters. Granted, it is a little scratchy, but that is why you’re wearing the OCBD, you see.

Barbour

My Barbour Bedale

It is time to top off our Mile High Prep look with a good jacket. I will give you three options here: a Barbour Bedale jacket, a naval pea coat, and the classic British duffle coat. Starting with the most rugged, the Bedale is a jacket made from waxed cotton and produced by the Barbour Company in the UK. Though the fabric is not as water and wind resistant as many modern synthetics, it also looks better and ages more gracefully than many of its contemporaries. Do a quick google search and you can find loads of pictures of distinguished British dudes and their well-loved Barbours. Be warned, though, this is a light layer. You do not want to be caught out in this when it is beginning to dip toward freezing.

peacoat

My Navy Issued Peacoat

peacoat interior

Soldier’s name stenciled in peacoat interior

Next comes the naval pea coat. These are made by very nearly every clothing company known to man, so I don’t think they need much introduction. If you want something unique, try tracking down an actual Navy-issued model. Not only will it come with a cool backstory, but it will set you apart from all of the J Crew/Gap/Ralph Lauren clones running around. My pea coat (pictured here) actually saw duty in the Korean War. I bought it from a veteran who was clearing out piles of his old clothing. A love of vintage clothing or really all things that show age, love, and adventure, is another commonality between many true preps and Native Coloradans (yes, you capitalize Native). I also really like the strong shoulders on the true pea coats. They serve to give a more masculine appearance.

duffle coat

My Gloverall Duffle Coat

Finally, the least common (but perhaps coolest?) of these jackets is the duffle coat. It is characterized by the unique fasteners, called “toggles,” on the front and its longer length. It also typically has a hood and patch pockets, meaning that the pocket is sewn to the outer side of the jacket rather than just appearing as a slit. The best ones are made by a British company named Gloverall, but you can find serviceable copies at J. Crew and Brooks Brothers. If you have the time and patience, they also show up on eBay with some frequency. Anyway, the duffle is nice because the toggles allow you to easily layer it over sweaters and even other jackets. They are also a cinch to close. If you have ever tried to button a button or start a zipper with gloved hands, you will think that toggles are the greatest of all God’s creations.  Duffle coats are usually made of thick, hardy wools that are both warm and stand up well to punishment, required criteria for the Coloradan prep.

 

Hopefully this 1,400-odd word pile of blather has provided you with some entertainment and maybe even a little education. Thank you for reading my entry and thank you to Spencer and Andrew for allowing me a slice of their online project. Now, close your browser, shut off the computer, and get outside. You do live in Colorado, after all.


PS- If you don’t live here, you should. So there.

Wise Words With Woolsey: Colorado– A Preppy State? Part I

Flatiron Snow Fence 1

The Flatirons- Mike Barton

In high school Andrew and I had a social studies teacher named Mr. Woolsey. Mr. Woolsey was always impeccably dressed and that stood out to me even as a little sophomore in high school when I wore tennis shoes and jeans everyday. I remember a pair of white bucs that he had with a neon green sole. When I became more interested in fashion, I looked at Mr Woolsey’s Facebook profile in hopes to catch a glimpse of some of his glorious clothing, turns out that was the majority of what he posted. Clothes. Preppy clothes. Classic American menswear. He had fabulous pictures of all sorts of clothing and shoes accompanied by articulate and intriguing captions that displayed a wealth of sartorial knowledge. Well, enough of my horrible blathering (it’s 8 o’clock and I just got done reading my anatomy text book). Mr. Woolsey has agreed to write us a series of (AMAZING) posts and without further ado, here is our first installment of Wise Words With Woolsey.

Thirty years in Colorado have provided me with the opinion that it is a perfect state for the preppy lifestyle.

If, like me, you have spent most/all of your life here that will probably come as a surprise. Whenever I heard “preppy” in my formative years it was essentially a synonym for “wealthy” (at best) or “snobby” (at worst). It was used as a way to describe someone that had everything they could ever want and did not mind telling the rest of the world about such a status. In Colorado preppy just meant a person who spent money freely and, most erroneously, wore/looked/acted however s/he pleased. Drive a BMW in 11th grade? Preppy. Have the latest Nike Fly Knits (today) or Air Force Ones (my day)? Preppy. Yoga pants? Preppy nirvana.

This often contrasts with what so many of us love about our state. We live here for the unspoiled nature, the sense of freedom and adventure, and an abiding sense that people here just treat one another “right.” We like substance, utility, and purpose. Materialism and snobbery are things best left to coastal dwellers with too much money and too little open space.

The truth, however, is that the sense of preppy was born for places like Colorado. It started with children at private boarding schools, prep schools, back on the East Coast. Yes, these people were very wealthy, but they were also incredibly practical and down to earth. Original prep was born of old money, the kind that you hid modestly and kept quiet rather than flaunted. These were generations of young men and women that had been explicitly raised to recognize that many things in their lives had been handed to them, to which they had a sworn duty to protect and uphold. It is no coincidence, then, that members of these old schools would become the basis for American conservation movements. Teddy Roosevelt, though he preceded the notion of “preppy” by a generation or three, embodied this perfectly. The preppy mindset was about appreciating what was around oneself, not in acquiring more or squandering what he or she had been left.

Bald-Mtn-skiers-final-600x360

In relation to clothing specifically, preppy as a style was about comfort, utility, and ruggedness. The original preps in those boarding schools of long ago lived surprisingly Spartan existences. Their boarding houses look like sketchy youth hostels compared to most any modern dorm room. Weekends were spent not on private jets or out at clubs, but skiing, hiking, and sailing. Your clothing needed to be versatile, it needed to be built to last, and it needed to fit a wide variety of occasions. A day spent on the trails in the wilderness may end with a semi-formal (as in jacket and tie) school dinner. Any clothing that the prep chose to wear needed to be able to meet all of these needs. In other words, the prep had to be ready for an epic trip to Colorado.