Book Review: Preppy

I like cardigans—a lot. And I have a particular weakness for the camel-coloured wool variety. My penny loafer collection is gaining ground. I find argyle bowties to be the perfect accessory. It’s time to come clean: My name is Jenny and my wardrobe is heavily under the influence of prep. And while pearls may not win any attention in a crowded bar, Jeffrey Banks and Doria de la Chapelle’s Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style helped me feel more loving towards the boring (I mean classic) garments that have overrun my closet. Their book explores the roots and history of the classic collegiate look and its evolution into a clean-cut staple that’s, well, kind of everywhere.

The book has the basics to share: prep was born and bred in the early 1900s by Ivy League boys on the East Coast who paired athletic clothes with refined classics and emblems of their school pride (pins, ribbons, badges). To be a true prep, conformity was key, and often membership to the exclusive clubs came down to getting the details just so, like the roll of a cuff or the colour and print of your necktie. By the 1930s, the style was adopted by women and quickly spread to the leisure loving upper class who wore kooky, clean-cut frocks to Palm Beach and the golf course. In the book Thrift Score, Al Hoff perfectly describes some of prep’s most iconic looks, when she suggests throwing a preppy themed party where attendees should don “blazers, madras shorts, polo shirts (Lacoste only please, Ralph Lauren is an interloper), green belts with whales, monogrammed crewneck sweaters with a pattern of little ducks,” and anything nautical.

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Me and Mrs. Jones: An Interview with the Editor of Plus Model Magazine

When fashion rags start promising a new me, my body begins to feel less like flesh and bones and more like a construction site. “With a little work,” the magazine covers promise, “this house will be ready for sale and looking fabulous before you can say summer. But…it’s gonna cost.” Thankfully this year, I’d already found Plus Model Magazine, a monthly online publication that sings to a completely different tune. In the editor’s letter of a recent issue, Madeline Jones wrote, “I truly hope this is the year that big changes will be made. Not just in the modeling industry, but in all of our personal lives. Stop the persecution of your arms, bellies and thighs and celebrate the bodies you were given by loving them inside and out.” Along with messages of body acceptance, Plus Model Magazine provides fashion inspiration for the curvy woman, information about the plus size modeling industry, gorgeous editorials, and interviews with strong and smart women, like the managing editor of BUST. I got a chance to interview Jones, the strong, smart woman behind Plus Model Magazine, to hear more about the publication and her thoughts on the fashion industry.

Plus Model Magazine, in its own words, “inspires you to thrive in your curves, crave contemporary fashion and design your life on your own terms, sans apologies.” Why do you think it’s important for a fashion magazine to have this message?

Many people underestimate the power behind fashion, especially to how it relates to women. Plus size women lack the images they need to inspire them daily; they do not have it in television, movies, or magazines. Have we seen more of a push towards acceptance in the last few years? Absolutely. However, this is all it has been, a step closer, but we are not there yet. Plus Model Magazine published it’s first issue six years ago. Without truly knowing whether this was a publication that would be accepted, we took the initiative and the feedback from brands, designers, and plus size women was overwhelming. It was clear to us, plus size women and this industry in particular was ready to grow with us and allow us to explore where it would take us. It was important for us put the goal of this publication out there for all readers to see. It would not only inspire us, but it would hold us accountable to our very own words.

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Jenny Wornette

It’s my first day in the office and I realized that today is my worniversary. Four years ago today I dragged a group of drunken kids from residence with me to attend the launch party of Issue 5 in Montreal. They ditched me soon after for a club, but I stayed, and marveled at the pages in front of me. My worniversary is pretty fitting, considering that my main job here as a publishing intern will be to get the word out about the magazine, so that more fashion lovers around the world will get that same tingly feeling I had when I realized that this kind of magazine exists.

I have recently graduated from the creative writing program at Concordia University in Montreal and am back in Toronto now, rediscovering the city I grew up in. In my free time I like to scour second hand shops for vintage dresses, old school barware, and records. I’m trying really hard to replace my television streaming habit with reading the books our editor has recommended.

Current Inspirations:

Elsa Billgren
I love this unique Swedish blogger’s style—most notably her rotation of vintage gingham dresses, stunning photos, and use of colour.

All This Happiness
Kater is a Toronto blogger with an antique look, a thoughtful writing style, and an adorably bookish personality.

Awkward Girlhood Style
My biggest fashion regret is that I didn’t experiment with my style at all when I was a teenager. (If I could go back in time I’d like to get back the money I spent at Aritzia.) I love Allison’s article where she describes her awkward girlhood and use of style as a “revolving door of identity.”

Here’s Looking at Me Kid
I get so lazy when it comes to interior design, but Amanda’s vintage home has inspired me to do something with my place… one of these days.

Martin Reich’s Films for Citizen Vintage
Citizen Vintage puts out innovative photos and videos to promote their shop. You can spot me in one inspired by the teen angst oeuvre The Craft.

photography by Jessica da Silva