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What is the difference between a Preppy and a Trad?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Eustace Tilley, May 12, 2013.

  1. Eustace Tilley

    Eustace Tilley Senior member

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    Just a silly question I was thinking of. I'm guessing they're very similar, with the Trads focused on formal clothing from the 50s / 60s, with the prep look based on pastel colored casual clothing.

    Anyone?
     
  2. Kenneth Cole Haan

    Kenneth Cole Haan Senior member

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    I thought it was the opposite; preppy is the high school 50's & early 60's "good guy" style, in contrast to the "greasers" (leather jacket, cigarette case in t-shirt)

    Trad is just the general type of American menswear, that predates preppy and outlasts it.
     
  3. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    One's young and dressed up. The other's old and washed up.
     
  4. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    That's close. But as one who actually lived in that era and went to an Ivy League school, it's a bit more subtle.
    Pastel clothing as such was not widespread in the late 50s early 60s, except for maybe madras jackets.
    Preppy or Ivy for college guys was chinos or jeans an oxford shirt, crewneck sweater a "trad" sport coat,
    white bucks, or penny loafers and a bit later, tennis shoes (falling apart). Outerwear included a balmacan
    collared, raglan shouldered, rain coat or a barracuta or Londoin Fog jacket. For cold weather Loden or
    Duffle coats were common. Down jackets and their ilk date the 70s. A wide rage of snow boots were worn
    at my school. Except for LL Bean boots, none could be said to by Ivy or Preppy per se.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  5. Eustace Tilley

    Eustace Tilley Senior member

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    Thanks - my understanding was that 'preppy' was very much an invention of the 70s / 80s (and hence, distinct from the Ivy look described here.) Perhaps I'm mistaken.

    Interesting - thank you.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  6. Ianiceman

    Ianiceman Senior member

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    I am absolutely no expert on this but still I might suggest that if you were to draw a Venn diagram of Preppy, Trad, and Ivy, you would probably find that the area common to all three would be greater than the areas common only to themselves.
     
  7. Roycru

    Roycru Senior member

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    It might be that one begins as "Preppy", morphs into "Ivy", then graduates and goes to work and morphs again, into "Trad", and then retires, and in one final morph, goes back to "Preppy" (but even 'Preppier") than at the beginning.

    At least, that's the way it's been with me, although most of my morphing took place before the words "Preppy", "Ivy", and "Trad" were invented. We all just looked that way, but we didn't know that some day people would invent words for the way we all looked.
     
  8. jrd617

    jrd617 Senior member

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    To me, "Preppies" are a douchebag subgroup of "Trads."

    "Preppy" evokes images of pastel shirts, Nantucket reds, and madras.

    Trad is more subdued Americana. Like what Comrade described a few posts up.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  9. eluther

    eluther Senior member

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  10. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    To me Trad is interested in recreating the precise details of Ivy League dress. Preppy is inspired by Ivy League dress but also includes the social class and lifestyle connotations, or at least the desire for it.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  11. calcoast

    calcoast Well-Known Member

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    This always looked preppy to me...

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    You are correct. I am not a canonical source of knowledge but as a participant observer, that is my recollection.
    I also still dress in a style derivative of prep/Ivy/trad. However, I haven't owned a button down shirt in decades.
     
  13. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  14. Kei-bon

    Kei-bon Senior member

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    United Arrows' Kamoshita Yasuto was asked a related question in this interview. I guess Japanese "Ivy" is more or less "Trad" (a "to a distant observer" interpretation of it):

     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  15. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    At the risk of being overly etymologically simplistic, 'Preppy' comes from Preparatory School (i.e. US private high schools), whereas 'Ivy' refers to Ivy League (the socially elite US universities) - both with a particular relationship to the WASPy North-East of the USA, although there are outposts elsewhere and other ethnic variations. So perhaps the difference between these two is one of age and sophistication - 'preppy' is essentially a more aspirational, naive, informal version of Ivy. Both of these come into being mid-century and their reference is still very much to this period. Trad ('traditional') has no necessary connection to either phrase but expresses a more general nostalgia for American gentleman's clothing of that period. If you look at it this way, one can have Preppy Trad and Ivy Trad but also Trad that is neither Preppy nor Ivy.

    I guess this accords with Ianiceman's Venn diagram comment. But I would say that 'Trad' is the biggest circle and, being more general, may indeed include the other two...
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  16. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum Senior member

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    Da fuq?
     

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