/ 7 March 2023

Objects of Desire: Prep in your step

Chanel L Eau No 5 1
Chanel No. 5 ... a perennial favourite fragrance.

Preppy has transcended trend level. The global resonance of preppy and Ivy League-style clothing keeps it in the zeitgeist through fashion and decor that signal wealth and status, style and comfort.

While TikTok is obsessed with the “old money” aesthetic, what they’re really punting are images of educated American white men walking to lectures through arched buildings, girls who play tennis, and crewnecks worn by rowing teams. This style is more Ivy — where the rich kids of high society get an education —  making prep another version of Ivy that may have aged better than Ivy style. 

Think the Ralph Lauren sweater vests, vintage JCrew chinos and pastel-coloured Lacoste polo necks sported by New York City’s Upper East Siders in Gossip Girl or André 3000.  

Modern penthouse 

Ralph Lauren collaborates with Burleigh Pottery for a homeware collection that speaks to the American heritage of the man behind Polo. Pieces for the preppy home renaissance are giving off garden vibes, with midnight skies and peonies, inspired by Lauren’s vintage navy bandanas. Available through Apsley House, Hyde Park

Chanel No. 5 

The classics are just that for a reason — they have stood the test of time. Since 1921, Chanel No. 5 has remained a staple in the repertoire of the world’s elite and those who covet the square bottle as a treat. Synonymous with old-school glamour, the bold fragrance was even worn by Nina Simone. Available through Chanel, Sandton City

Up in smoke 

Wealthy preppy folk know how to drop some serious cash on the smallest and largest objects available. Why not adorn your tabletop with an Hermès moment? The Les Jardins D’Armenie ashtray is for the ballers in pursuit of elevating the home lifestyle. This piece is more cash tray than ashtray, with its velvet goat-skin base. Available through Hermès

Preppy revival

Run to your nearest outfitter, pack your copy of the menswear preppy bible Ametora and put on your Lacoste jumper for your preppy style revival. Prep rose to casual-cool prominence with Lacoste’s poloneck shirts in the 20th century. Before her recent exit, designer Louise Trotter revived Lacoste’s modern knitwear with asymmetry across classic fits. Available through Lacoste