A Sophisticate is Preppy

Photo: vehemmag.com
"People ask how can a Jewish kid from the Bronx do preppy clothes? Does it have to do with class and money? It has to do with dreams"  Ralph Lauren

'The Preppy Handbook' came out in the 1980's. When the 'Handbook' came out, my parents were coming from a blue collar background trying to make sure that I grew up in a white collar neighborhood. Until I was 14 years old, I never had heard the word preppy nor did I know what it meant. At least, that wasn't until my parents and I moved to a nice neighborhood in Tennessee. While shopping at the mall one day my first year in High School a friend of mine introduced me to the 'Preppy' style. I liked the style immediately because it was beautiful in its simplicity. My observation was that the entire style was based on the principal that less was more. From that moment on, my make-up got less and I wore sweatshirts, sneakers, and jeans less and less.

Of course, it wasn't until I graduated from college, started making money, and officially took up residence in Villanova, Pennsylvania that I started wearing Ralph Lauren Polos and took my preppy look to the next level.  Living on the Main Line you realize that can't go to the store without being dressed in Lily Pulitzer, a Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers outfit, khakis, or a cute dress with a cardigan. In Villanova, there is no such thing as running to the grocery store in your sweatpants. or jeans. If you are wearing jeans they must be either skinny or designer jeans depending on your age. 

From the wisdom of my Great-Grandmother who raised 12 children during the Great Depression and from my personal experience, I've learned that class and Sophistication or anything you really want can't be achieved with money or with labels.  

The original conception of 'Sophisticate in the Suburbs' was a single girls survival guide to the Suburbs. The problem is that you can only write so much about living in the Suburbs. At that point, 'Sophisticate' turned into something more. 'Sophisticate' became about not just being a guide to living in the Suburbs but it became about life and life as a woman in the 21st Century.

A Sophisticate may take her pet to the spa, go to starbucks, drive an SUV, and wear Ralph Lauren but material items aren't who she is as a person. They are perks, luxiuries, and her preferences as an individual. A Sophisticate is preppy not because she has a lot of money or follows the rules of 'The Preppy Handbook' but rather because she has a Sophisticated attitude.

Even a 'Prepster' can't be truly Sophisticated without the right attitude or personality. The reality is, anyone can create the illusion of being a 'Prep' by wearing a Ralph Lauren Polo outfit or a cute dress from Lily Pulitzer. The distinction is that when a Sophisticate wears Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, or a Lily Pulitzer, the outfit doesn't wear her. 

A Sophisticate is preppy because she believes in simplicity, the idea that less is more, and that whatever may be considered less has enormous value. 'Preppiness'  in the 21st Century is not defined as what is on the outside rather what is on the inside... A Sophisticate is preppy not because she knows how to play golf or tennis but because she has manners and kicks butt while playing golf or tennis. She is preppy because she likes a style of clothing but more importantly, has the attitude of Sophistication making her a TRUE Sophisticate ;D!