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The good book...then and now.

Am I the only one who’s been noticing plaid all over the place? I can’t help but think that this sudden resurgence of all things tartan has a little something to do with Lisa Birnbach’s brand-new sequel to her iconic 1980s title, The Preppy Handbook.

Once upon a time, that little paperback was my holy bible; especially, since I was dating a guy who actually owned a grosgrain whale belt and didn’t understand why everyone was suddenly making a fuss over his wardrobe. As the perfect preppy girlfriend, I made certain to match. Think: tartan skirt, Bass Weejun penny loafers, and a cumbersome series of layered shirts that would render most people’s upper body immobile. (If memory serves, it was something like Fair Isle sweater-over-L.L. Bean-oxford cloth-shirt-over-Izod polo-over turtleneck. I thought I looked hot. I probably did. Like 108 degrees hot.)

Mind you, plaid has a sort of upper-crust appeal, which is why it’s always been—and continues to be–a huge component of Ralph Lauren and Burberry collections. Fortunately, the pieces I’m seeing lately are modern-looking and affordable…sometimes, dead-ringers for their costly counterparts. Case in point: The cool, tartan “Wayfarer” specs, below,  from

Ralph Lauren's "Ricky" glasses; $250.

Wild Plaid "Wayfarer" Sunglasses Red Gradient; $7.99.

Will Ferragamo's "Freeze" rain boots ($250) soak your budget?


Target's Merona "Zanta" doppelgangers ($32.00) certainly won't.

Alice + Olivia's "Ryan" coat costs $597 at Saks.


Be glad this plaid--from only $59.99.


And top it all off with makeup to match…from MAC Cosmetics Holiday Tartan Tale Collection ( After all, eyeshadow’s always more cost-effective than a coat.

MAC's fabric compacts do a preppy proud.

I urge you to grab some plaid this season…but leave the excessively layered look to the prepsters of seasons past. (I am curious, though: Did anyone else partake in the wearing of four layers at once? Care to share?)


1 Comment
  • cettlinger

    LOVE this!!!

    November 6, 2010 at 9:35 am