Friday, January 13, 2012

Questions From the Audience - Outerwear

Not long ago, the Daily Prep covered the topic of preppy outerwear - Patagonia vs. the North Face. Given your anti-prep position, what's your take? 
First of all I'm certainly not anti-prep, I just don't enjoy the preppy fashion trend of the past year.

I'm not partial to either brand. At my high school, North Face jackets (black on black) were quite the prevalent status symbol for guys and girls. I never owned such a jacket and never will. I saw brands like Patagonia and Penfield neither in high school nor college. Locally, it seems those brands are relegated to year-round wearers of flannels and carpenter jeans. Lands' End, L. L. Bean, and Eddie Bauer also weren't popular through my schooling, personally or amongst my peers. Although, L. L. Bean boots and monogrammed backpacks have always been a preppy staple. Not to call it preppy either, I've noticed Columbia to be immensely popular across the board.


I don't find the use of Polar Fleece or any such techy material to be very preppy. Perhaps this is more a trad standpoint, based on neo-prep (another contrived term) oppositional convention to use newer materials. I feel nylon windbreakers or anoraks, even quilted nylon/polyester hunting jackets, even super-techy ski coats have a proper place of use among the most traditional of us. These modern synthetics provide weather protection unlike anything natural. However, I take issue when synthetic fibers needlessly fill the rolls of natural ones. Why wear Polar Fleece when wool, cashmere, angora, even camelhair are just fine?

If we can agree that preppy lifestyle revolves around tradition, sartorial sameness through generations, why ditch that J. Press Shaggy Dog when it will always outclass a North Face Denali?

As for my personal outerwear choices, I'll cover the topic with some photos in my next post.


  1. Someone hasn't been reading closely if they think you are anti-prep. You don't care about the label, and you have strong opinions on the "preppy trend" but if you were anti-prep you likely wouldn't read Kyoto Maiko or The Daily Prep, as Muffy and I choose to associate with the word given certain shared values, heritage (we even discussed once possibly being related through the Pooles...), and style. It doesn't matter much what you call yourself. I like what I see.

    As to the North Face/Patagonia debate, I don't really have a dog in that fight because as I've stated before, I grew up with most foul weather gear in the house being LL Bean and I'd say a good 50% of it still is, if I were to check the family closets. We have bits and pieces by Columbia and Coleman. No North Face, no Patagonia. Muffy and YWP like Patagonia because of the business practices and quality, and those are values that transcend the utility of the piece itself.

  2. I'd planned on answering a different question until I received this one yesterday via email. I have a feeling the reader was brought to ask this after reading my Problems with Prep post. Thanks for backing me up on my position. Of course I enjoy reading your blog, and Muffy's blog has long been one of my favorites.

    Though I don't have any Coleman clothing, I enjoy the company's camping equipment. It's well-made and quite affordable.