So, a couple of weeks ago, OTC received a simple brown envelope. Inside was an advance copy of the most anticipated book in the world of Prepdom. True Prep is the highly anticipated, or dreaded, based on your world view, follow-up to the eternally classic The Official Preppy Handbook.
I was genuinely ambivalent about this book. How you could do a TOPH “Part II?” so, my inclination was to sit back and see if lightning could again be bottled (in a madras bottle, of course, sitting next to a nice G&T). My verdict? Yep, Lisa Birnbach did it.
It’s a fun book that picks up right where the original left off. She and co-author Chip Kidd happily point out that it’s been 30 years since TOPH first hit the shelves and a lot has changed. From my black-and-white photocopied pages, I see the familiar lifestyle vignettes updated to reflect the Blackberry toting preps of today and read about the democratization of prep schools.
I’m also happy to see mentioned the importance of “modern” prep brands like J. Crew and Ralph Lauren alongside stalwarts J. Press, Brooks Brothers and L.L. Bean. In fact L.L. Bean Signature, the newest ‘vintage’ market brand gets brief, favorable nod.
Equally refreshing is the focus on upstarts and small preppy labels that may someday be at retail’s forefront. So to that end, OTC gives a big hand to Tucker Blair and its founder Taylor Llewellyn. His needlepoint belts are all over this book and they have a nice write-up on how he started the company. Very Vineyard Vines (Shep and Ian are also profiled).
What I also like is that I can just open the book to any page and start reading. That’s always a good sign and something I love about TOPH too. All in all, I can’t wait to see the finished product. Cheers.