Prep Culture

By Emily Grant

Like many style tribes, to be a “prep” isn’t simply classified by the clothing you wear, but rather the life you lead.  It’s a lifestyle, not a mall trend.  This culture was borne of east-prep1coast elites who attended private college preparatory schools (hence “prep”) that often fed into the Ivy League.  The uniforms worn at school, paired with the attire of your typical extra-curriculars such as polo, sailing, and equestrian pursuits all influence the wardrobes of WASPs old and new.  These factors, mixed with conservative protestant values, an emphasis on social climbing, and a strong sense of entitlement come together to form what it means to be a true prep (Off the Cuff, 2010).  

In 1980, Lisa Birnbach’s Official Preppy Handbook hit the shelves, and suddenly everyone wanted a piece of prep (Off the Cuff, 2010).  Layered polos with popped collars anyone?  Pictures of my dad from college are pure gold.  The tongue-in-cheek “handbook” was meant to be a satire of the privileged East Coast collegiates, but was seen as preppy gospel by the general public (Preppy, n.d.).  The style that had been the norm forprep2 generations of Blue Bloods was now moving into the mass market (Off the Cuff, 2010).  These were the people doing Ralph Lauren before Ralph Lifshitz had even left the Bronx.  Now, a spiky haired kid with poor manners and an Abercrombie polo might be considered a prep, but don’t be fooled!

Brands like Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Gant by Michael Bastian, and L.L. Bean are absolute emporiums of all things preppy and can be a one-stop shop for someone looking to emulate the lifestyle, as the essentials of a preppy wardrobe are many.  Historically, a prep3preppy male could be found in his school blazer, a rumpled white button down topped with a repp-stripe tie, chinos, and Weejun penny loafers worn without socks (Chemsvold, 2013).  This look still exists among the true prep devotees, but can be easily translated into any wardrobe (Off the Cuff, 2010).  Why not try for a classic fit polo, club shorts secured with a needlepoint belt, and Sperry top-siders?  For the ladies, try a nautical inspired dress, your grandmother’s pearls and some Jack Rogers sandals.  Need more inspiration?  Check out the various and sundry preppy blogs that have sprung up in recent years like Ivy Style, or Unabashedly Prep.  Though this style tribe might seem inherently exclusive (because it is), it’s easy to blend in, and even you can have a taste of the prep culture. 

Work Cited

C. Chemsvold. (2013, January 7). The rise and fall of the Ivy League look. Retrieved from http://www.ivy-style.com/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-ivy-league-look.html

 Off the Cuff. (2010, September 9). The roots of American preppy – redux. Retrieved from http://offthecuffdc.com/roots-american-preppy-redux

 F.E. Castleberry. (2013, July 29).  Back to school giveaway.  Retrieved from http://www.unabashedlyprep.com/site/topic/category/Style/

 Preppy. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2013 from the Preppy Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preppy

 S. Vickers.  (2013, August 19).  Some girls have all the sun.  Retrieved from http://www.classygirlswearpearls.com/2013/08/some-girls-have-all-sun.html

 Vanity Fair.  (2011, September 23).  Photos: from J.F.K. to Ralph Lauren models, the hallmarks of preppy style.  Retrieved from http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2011/10/preppy-slideshow-201110

Bronycon

By Abbey McNeill

Imagine a place without judgment, a happy place embracing ponies and rainbows: a place where friendship is cultured and a place where wearing wings and a unicorn spike is acceptable and normal. This is BronyCon: a society of adults who frequently gather to discuss all matters pertaining to My Little Pony.

brony1Some would consider it a fan club; others consider it a cult. You may be thinking how this club came to be; so a little background. Hasbro is a world famous toy producing company who produced My Little Pony in the 1980’s, targeted at girls ages 2-7. Hasbro’s first hit was Mr. Potato Head; following were many well known toy lines such as: GI Joe, Transformers, Easy-bake oven, Cabbage patch kids, Furby, Lincoln logs, Pokémon, Tinkertoys, and last but not least, My Little Pony. You get the idea: this company has had tremendous effect on the toy industry. They launched a My Little Pony TV show in October of 2010 in hopes to reach children and promote a new line of pony toys. They were successful in reaching the children and parents, but the show also attracted a much unexpected audience of people as well.brony4

Three-day conferences are held annually and are comprised of men, woman, little boys and girls who are My Little Pony enthusiasts. There’s a twelve hour concert for entertainment, and plenty of vendors selling pony-phernalia. So come one, come all, with brightly colored hair, body glitter, face paint and a pony costume, you’ll fit right in.

The anything-but-ordinary movement has been labeled “men’s version of feminism”.  Founded in the metropolitan area of New York in 2011, the fans consist primarily of male teenagers and adults.  The term “brony” was adopted by the group, which is a married expression of the brony2words “bro” and “pony”.  Some critics say that these men, who are sometimes upwards of age 25, have perverted motivations, to which a brony answered; “they just don’t understand. Ponies bring happiness to my usually stressful life” Another said; “The show is about friendship and happiness and life lessons. There aren’t many positive shows on these days, this is a show that families can sit down and enjoy together”. 

Being a brony is about adopting a lifestyle. The people that are really involved in BronyCon often dress up like ponies regularly to attend meetings and congregate all around the city to socialize about the show and their favorite ponies. This is what qualifies them as a style tribe: they dress in a distinctive manner to portray their membership. It is definitely nothing less than distinctive and memorable.BronyCon1

This groupie fan club is actually getting quite popular in the northeast. The very first BronyCon conference had around 100 attendees and has grown immensely. Don’t believe me? The most recent event in August of this year had over 8,000 attendants. Certain aspects of their culture seemed to have made it to mainstream style, such as their brightly colored hair: which many celebrities and others have adapted. The bronies have inspired several independent styles, perhaps even your next Halloween costume

Works Cited

 Amy, L. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/08/style-tribe-the-grown-up-kids-of-bronycon.html

 BronyCon. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved August 10, 2004, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BronyCon

Chavs

By Ashley Frost

chavs1Ah Burberry, the iconic look of elegant trench coats, warm scarfs and of course plaid. A little over a decade ago a group of working class youths in England became obsessed with the classic Burberry plaid print. Now I don’t mean obsessed as in ‘ask for Burberry for every birthday and Christmas’ way, but these people started wearing mass quantities of fake Burberry. I’m talking Burberry hats, strollers, jackets, pants and even cars and houses were starting to be painted plaid. Soon Burberry had a total PR crisis on their hands.

Chav is a stereotypical name for young people in Britain who are not well educated, typically violent and wear fake designer clothing. When Burberry was experiencing a huge revival in popularity in the early 2000s a group of young and rowdy citizens began wearing massive amounts of beige plaid in an attempt to look cool. And thus Chav “culture” was born.  chavs2Soon after this cult-like obsession with the print began, Burberry responded. In 2002 the beige plaid was visible on one fifth of Burberry’s products, three years later in 2005 the classic check was only visible on around 5% of products.

It didn’t help Burberry’s problem that pubs started banning people wearing the pattern, in fear that they might be violent offenders. As a response Burberry stopped selling the plaid baseball caps that had become a Chav favorite. When a Welsh band tried to auction off a plaid car, Burberry took legal action and demanded that the car be destroyed. One man even had his house painted plaid, and no I am not kidding. He really thought that was a good idea.  It isn’t just knockoff plaid that makes these thugs so recognizable, they have a pension for large gold jewelry, and are almost alwayschavs4 wearing some kind of sportswear. Track suits, sweat pants, wife beaters, fake Nike tennis shoes, they basically look likeAmerican rappers but with fake Rolexes.

In the Unites States, Chavs could easily be compared to the Guidos of Jersey Shore.  Both groups love a good track suit, designer goods (either real or fake), have a tendency to look a little trashy and have anger management problems. Chavs are currently much more disrespected in the UK than Guidos are in the US, several books have been written and movies created about the rise of these designer-loving thugs. All his does make me wonder; if the cast of Jersey Shore were a tad more violent or a little trashier would Americans still love them? Or would our government learn from Britain and try to find ways to keep them off the streets?

In every society, in every country and in every era there is going to be a group of working class citizens whom the rest of the social sphere looks down upon. I cannot think of a group more fascinating and with so much character than Britain’s Chavs and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this fascinating group.chavs3

References

 Bothwell, C. (n.d.). Burberry versus The Chavs. BBC News . Retrieved September 22, 2013, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4381140.stm

 Burberry fashion brand reports 40% profit rise. (n.d.). BBC . Retrieved September 22, 2013, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13557085

 Burberry perfume, burberry clothes, seen Burberry HOUSE before?. (n.d.). sianTown.net. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from http://news.asiantown.net/r/12133/burberry-perfume–burberry-clothes–seen-burberryhouse-before

 Nostalgia for Old Labour . (n.d.). The Commune. Retrieved September 22, 2013, fro http://thecommune.co.uk/2012/02/02/nostalgia-for-old-labour/