A True Testament to Prep

Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions. ~Coco Chanel

Ahh, fall.  The time of the year for rich color palettes, suede and back to school.  The season brings thoughts of gold and orange leaves lightly dusting the streets.  And, the younger generation begins another year of education.  I naturally associate back to school with a traditional uniform (perhaps because I had dreams of attending preparatory school in my earlier days).  You know the look – chinos, white oxfords, navy blazers and, of course, ties.

To most, a striped tie is a striped tie.  Yet one of the most recognizable, and my personal favorite, is the repp tie.  Although you’d think this style began in the U.S., you’d be mistaken.  This particular accessory was inspired by the British Army, prestigious universities and exclusive clubs.

In the 1902’s Brooks Brothers reassessed the repp tie by reversing the direction of stripes to go from right to left, distinguishing them from British-inspired patterns.  In the 1950’s this iconic style of became synonymous with “my Ivy League look.”  Ralph Lauren, JCrew, Rugby and Band of Outsiders are just a few labels who’ve continually made this item an American staple.

The fabric production makes it unique in that the weft (the top of the tie material) floats on the surface of the structural material from which the tie is made; and the underside of the tie fabric is always a darker color then the front.  The tightly woven silk ribs produce sharp, intense colors which are easily associated with essential prep.

Making a bold statement within the traditional space, the repp pairs nice with a suit or navy blazer.  You can also relax things a bit.  Try it out with a tweed jacket, or dark jeans and a cardigan.  It’s been said the striped tie is “recognized as adding strength and definition to the softer or wider face.”  Strong patterns and a good sense of style do nothing but exude confidence.

Oh, and one more thing.  While researching this article, I came across this Newsweek article on the new prep.  True Prep:  It’s a Whole New World, out this month, is a complete overhaul on the cheeky The Original Preppy Handbook written almost 30 years ago.  Take a look at author Lisa Birnbach and peek into the new prep of today – all from Greenwich, CT.



  1. This is such a great look for Fall!! I love the layers and the dimensions with the striped tie! Sometimes I am a sad fashionista here in Florida. I think, there’s nothing like fall in the midwest. Then I go to the pool 😉


  2. Love this style! I so wish it would come back for the younger set. With two small boys that will soon enough be picking out their own clothes, I’m dying for them to choose this!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I’m sure the look’d be great for the boys. Brooks Brothers has an amazing kids line (they just do the Ivy Look so well)!

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