Monday, December 12, 2011

Trad v. Prep v. WASP

Now my boy B.F. (in red)  is anything but TradPrep in this photo but he is, in all of his Scottish kit, one well turned out cat. And in addition to our shared Palmetto state heritage, (our mammas grew up in the same general neck of the woods) B.F. likes to scriven a yarn from time to time and like me, he’s crazy about clothes. When someone over at my tumblr axked the following question...Wasp style vs prep vs trad: what differentiates each?  B.F. opined.

So for now, his answer to the question of Trad v. Prep v. WASP style is indeed, my answer…

“This is like the menu at a burger joint. You can slice and differentiate and subdivide until your fingers bleed. Southern prep, Anglo prep, can we get a big shout out for SURFER PREP? On the great Style Continuum, we are talking about a few centimetres out of a couple of city blocks. Pretty soon, it comes down to each person's style, and even that, of course, varies over time and space. ADG style, WT style, JFK style, A. Canine Dogg, IV, style...

I think there is something youthful-boyish about prep that may not necessarily be true about other forms of Trad. I am guessing "WASP" implies a little bit of proud New England stodginess and maybe a little more formality, though it would probably depend on what milieu we are discussing.

Much of our host's style is what we might call Dandy-Trad and I mean no disrespect when I observe that he seldom appears (at least in these pages) in the sober cloth of bankers and lawyers. But surely many of them are Trad to the Bone, aren't they? So if we take ADG in one of his houndstooth confections and plop him into the lobby at Brown Bros or the County Courthouse, it is pretty clear he is a client. But put one of those grey flannel guys in the reception area at Bushwood Country Club and people will assume he is there on business. And not the fun kind.

I do not intend to usurp the powers and prerogatives of the Mighty Mighty ADG, but I hope my opinions and thoughts may offer him at least a straw man to knock over as he expresses his own. Even though I find the distinctions fuzzy and ultimately unnecessary, I would say that Prep grows up and matures into Trad, while its cousin WASP may be more confident and playful, though sometimes a little down-at-the-heels. And damned proud of it.

You may print this out and take it, along with $5 to your nearest coffee house, diner, or eatery. They will probably give you a cup of joe in exchange, but I can't guarantee that.”

14 comments:

Main Line Sportsman said...

St. Andrews Society dinner??

j.mosby said...

ADG you'll have to model your kilt and Prince Charlie garb for us laddie! Going regimental well I don't want to know if you're are or not...I'll leave that to the all the lassies to ask!

Reggie Darling said...

BF nails it! I once was a prep, now I'm a trad, and will always be a WASP, regardless of what I wear, because that's what I was borned of. RD

ADG said...

MainLiner...it was probably a Shriners Go Kart team rehearsal.

j.mosby...I can't go regi/commando. There's an issue wiff my do-dads.

ReggieDarlingMon... "borned of"...I'll be using that this week.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Greater Winnsboro Drinking and Drinking some More Society to me...


Sandy McThrift

Death Bredon said...

How about throwing "Ivy League" into the mix? (Just kidding -- great post.)

Nolan said...

Excellent summation. When I think of trad or ivy league, I think of J Press (a little too stodgy). When I think of preppy I think of Vineyard Vines (a little too cute 'n fruity). Ralph and the boys seem to blend the two and add dashes of English and Italian heritage to make the "Polo look". I've always thought of WASP as more of a social status, like the Kennedys, than a particular style of dressing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Sirs! 'Twas I who axked--- as an outsider to the ''trad'' world, uncertain of how interchangeble the words may or may not be. Overall this has been quite helpful in my garnering a better understanding, necessary or not: I am an abject clothes maniac and I tend to want to split fibers, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Oh...'tis me again. Forgot to ask but is BF's sporran cheetah? Very wild.

Anonymous said...

Ahem, Nolan... I think the Kennedys are not P as in wasP, but decidedly Roman. They surely used to be.

I am betting some poor bunny rabbit suffered the secondary indignity of having his hide stenciled after first having it removed, though he might have done it in reverse order, all before it landed on the front of that sporran. But you never do know. Cheetah, leopard, bobcat, stenciled cow?


One More currently impoverished WASP.

ADG said...

Sporran? Dat's a rental.

Anonymous said...

"I would say that Prep grows up and matures into Trad". Just so.
-Muffy
aka Madeline

Anonymous said...

"I once was a prep, now I'm a trad, and will always be a WASP, regardless of what I wear, because that's what I was borned of." RD

Yes, RD is absolutely right.

(Personally, I was once collegiate, now I am a trad woman. To my sorrow, I don't feel that I can ever say that I was a preppy because I didn't go to prep school *public school does not count* just like a Catholic can never be a WASP. My Protestant children - who ironically attend Catholic prep schools (one so far in the Ivy League)- will be all three: prep/trad/WASP. It is what they were born to.

Nun Ya, what of it? said...

I knew I liked you. You and F.E. Castleberry have been a great muse for my own style, which I now can put a name to, and this is why I read you every chance I get. No braggery, political psyco babble, or racism just plan good old fun, with spin of style. OH and I also love the way you don't take this serious. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORKS. I'm going to miss you if ever you are gone.

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