College Trad: advice to young men, from another young man.

joenobody0

Super Member
I realize that Polo RL isn't the most trad label, but I think they do "young prep" better than just about anyone. I can't imagine any wife complaining about their twenty-something husband wearing the nicer casual clothes that PRL puts out.

If you don't want to shop with PRL at least take a look at how they style and combine their clothes. They are very much not "dad like".
 
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I would also avoid cardigans if you are in your 20s.

Although I agree with most of this post (and have taken quite a bit of advice from this thread), I have to shoot this part down.

On my campus, I see a ton of cardigans. They're usually too tight and too thin, but they're everywhere. I see them mostly with t-shirts and skinny jeans, but sometimes with chinos and buttondowns. They're not seen as nerdy and old-mannish, but as a slightly dressier alternative to a hoodie sweatshirt.
 

Jovan

Honors Member
In my day, that would have been a real compliment. Sad to see how things have changed. Today, the ultimate compliment would be that you dressed like your kids.

It's a shame because the essence of Ivy dressing is a kind of casual, youthful insouciance. I agree with the advice that Valkyrie provides above: slimmer fits and more colors. Also, don't be a slave to socks. Wear your shirt untucked under your crewneck sweater. Don't worry too much about matching colors. Wear slip-on shoes, not tie-ups. Don't iron everything to death (unless of course you are wearing it to work).

There's also a set of items out there that have found their way into "trad-dom" that I am on record as saying are too nerdy for words and that your wife would be justified in ribbing you for: things like tie bars, wingtips, saddle shoes, argyle sweaters, etc. I would also avoid cardigans if you are in your 20s, and, although I know I'm in the minority here, pocket squares. Save those until you make partner.
I'll never wear a shirt untucked under a sweater.

So... I look too nerdy for words AND like a wanker according to you. I'm glad my girlfriend disagrees.
 

Sartre

Senior Member
...On my campus, I see a ton of cardigans. They're usually too tight and too thin, but they're everywhere. I see them mostly with t-shirts and skinny jeans, but sometimes with chinos and buttondowns. They're not seen as nerdy and old-mannish, but as a slightly dressier alternative to a hoodie sweatshirt.

Interesting. I see that as good news.

I'll never wear a shirt untucked under a sweater.

So... I look too nerdy for words AND like a wanker according to you. I'm glad my girlfriend disagrees.

What can I say? It's a matter of personal taste. I'm not offended that you don't like horsebit loafers or Belgians. You shouldn't be offended that I don't like all that retro stuff.
 

Jovan

Honors Member
The difference is that I'm not making accusations about the people wearing them.

"It's a matter of personal taste" -- but then you express your personal taste by saying the people who wear what you dislike are "too nerdy for words" and "look like a wanker". If someone said your friend looked like a junkie because he had a tattoo, wouldn't you take issue with that?

So... why the vitriol? I'm not personally offended, just honestly curious.
 

Sartre

Senior Member
The difference is that I'm not making accusations about the people wearing them.

"It's a matter of personal taste" -- but then you express your personal taste by saying the people who wear what you dislike are "too nerdy for words" and "look like a wanker". If someone said your friend looked like a junkie because he had a tattoo, wouldn't you take issue with that?

So... why the vitriol? I'm not personally offended, just honestly curious.

Hold on there. I did not say that the people who wear what I dislike are too nerdy for words -- I said that the clothing items mentioned are too nerdy for words. And I stand by my opinion that the items are nerdy, just as I assume you stand by your opinion that Belgian loafers are "effete."

I did not call you a wanker. I said you risked looking like a wanker, and I would not even have said that had you not implied that the reason I did not like said items was that I did not have the "courage" to wear them. I felt that snide comment deserved one in return. I'm willing to put up the white flag if you are.

Sartre, in addition to Jovan's query, I'm curious what you think about the fact that the things you mentioned in your post as being "too nerdy for words" (tie bars, wingtips, , argyle sweaters) are all the rage on the blogs and at the mall. It might be your opinion that these things are nerdy, but they're far from being "old man."

This is not much of an argument; the blogs and malls are full of stuff I wouldn't be seen dead in a ditch with. I acknowledge that there is a retro Mad Men vibe out there that's brought all this kind of stuff into the malls, and the blogs, but that doesn't make it any more attractive, in my opinion, or youthful, despite the fact that youth may be wearing it. There is a Pee Wee Herman/Dagwood Bumstead flavor to it all that is completely intentional -- you get that, don't you? I mean, have you seen the eyeglasses people are running around with today? I understand that it's a "look"; and I don't care for it.
 

hardline_42

Honors Member
This is not much of an argument; the blogs and malls are full of stuff I wouldn't be seen dead in a ditch with. I acknowledge that there is a retro Mad Men vibe out there that's brought all this kind of stuff into the malls, and the blogs, but that doesn't make it any more attractive, in my opinion, or youthful, despite the fact that youth may be wearing it. There is a Pee Wee Herman/Dagwood Bumstead flavor to it all that is completely intentional -- you get that, don't you? I mean, have you seen the eyeglasses people are running around with today? I understand that it's a "look"; and I don't care for it.

I get that you, personally, don't like that stuff. It didn't come off as clearly to me in your original comment. I was also assuming that "youthful" was precisely what the "youth" is wearing, in this context.
 

Jovan

Honors Member
Hold on there. I did not say that the people who wear what I dislike are too nerdy for words -- I said that the clothing items mentioned are too nerdy for words. And I stand by my opinion that the items are nerdy, just as I assume you stand by your opinion that Belgian loafers are "effete."

I did not call you a wanker. I said you risked looking like a wanker, and I would not even have said that had you not implied that the reason I did not like said items was that I did not have the "courage" to wear them. I felt that snide comment deserved one in return. I'm willing to put up the white flag if you are.
It was intended as a light hearted joke...
 
Thanks for this thread. I'm going to acquire a pair of Levi's 501s. Sounds fun!

I got Wrangler 936s instead, and I think they're pretty great. I prefer them, because I bought mine unwashed and it came to under $30 including shipping. That was from Sheplers, a cowboy outfitter in Kansas City, during a sale.
 

Jovan

Honors Member
I'm very close to trying a pair of Wrangler myself. The Levi's 501 STF are okay, but definitely not as they used to be. Plus, the front rise listed on the website is rather misleading. It does in fact measure 12.25, but the waistband is pitched forward and the back rise is comparatively short, making them the same as every other company that has lowered their jean rise. Although they were of lesser quality, I preferred Lee jeans, fit wise.
 

chadwick

New Member
How to know when someone, whether old or young, is definitely not "preppy":

1. Whenever someone describes themselves as preppy or even brings it up in the context of it being a part of their lifestyle or something they are interested in portraying to others.
2. AND ESPECIALLY if they are representing themselves as an expert able to help others "pull off the preppy look".

The bottom line - you most likely aren't preppy and you never will be and if you have to talk about it then congratulations on removing all doubt.

...Now let's get back to talking about nice clothes we enjoy wearing....
 
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How to know when someone, whether old or young, is definitely not "preppy":

1. Whenever someone describes themselves as preppy or even brings it up in the context of it being a part of their lifestyle or something they are interested in portraying to others.
2. AND ESPECIALLY if they are representing themselves as an expert able to help others "pull off the preppy look".

The bottom line - you most likely aren't preppy and you never will be and if you have to talk about it then congratulations on removing all doubt.

...Now let's get back to talking about nice clothes we enjoy wearing....

I think worrying about "prep credentials" (or "prep-dentials," as I hope no one in the world calls them), is far from "preppy," or even worthwhile. For goodness sakes, it's a term that was popularized by Love Story. The other popular term from that is "love means never having to say you're sorry," which, as anyone who's ever referred to a significant other as S.W.M.B.O. knows, is just not true. :smile:
 

chadwick

New Member
I think worrying about "prep credentials" (or "prep-dentials," as I hope no one in the world calls them), is far from "preppy," or even worthwhile. For goodness sakes, it's a term that was popularized by Love Story. The other popular term from that is "love means never having to say you're sorry," which, as anyone who's ever referred to a significant other as S.W.M.B.O. knows, is just not true. :smile:

But truly, who even really knows what "preppy" is supposed to mean anymore? Credentials aside, the silliness is in the ideas ascribed to the term and the subsequent striving for it.
 
But truly, who even really knows what "preppy" is supposed to mean anymore? Credentials aside, the silliness is in the ideas ascribed to the term and the subsequent striving for it.

I agree. I think it's a term that doesn't mean very much, and which means different things to different people, so I rarely use it.
 

Essential

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
This is a beautiful post. I'm currently a senior in high school and have wholly embraced the whole "College Trad" idea. I'm still working on my wardrobe and plan to use your checklist to acquire a few more core pieces. However, I don't think I'll be able to give up my T-shirts yet (don't worry, they aren't too shabby). I need to work on wearing more Trad clothing instead of switching back and forth between Trad and T-shirts. I didn't really like your fit in the pictures though. It appears to have the characteristics of the whole American exuberance thing- meaning that the clothes fit albeit they allow for a lot of wiggle room. Like many youngsters nowadays, and even some adults, I like a slim fit. To me, it gives a cleaner look and looks better overall. Anyways, I don't want to write too much yet so I'll let this post be for now.
 

MicTester

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I am still stuck on the missing socks. To me, once the shirt gets tucked into pants, socks have to be there. Add baptism or easter to the mix, there is no doubt in my mind.

A finer point which may escape a casual reader. You do not want to be spending $40 worth of your time to save $20. The reason why people of this forum spend such time is because they enjoy it, not necessarily for saving. Most of us can actually save more by paying full price if we factor our time cost. Thrifting and deal hunting is not economical. It is only for the committed and involved enthusiasts.
 

Tilton

Elite Member
I am still stuck on the missing socks. To me, once the shirt gets tucked into pants, socks have to be there. Add baptism or easter to the mix, there is no doubt in my mind.

A finer point which may escape a casual reader. You do not want to be spending $40 worth of your time to save $20. The reason why people of this forum spend such time is because they enjoy it, not necessarily for saving. Most of us can actually save more by paying full price if we factor our time cost. Thrifting and deal hunting is not economical. It is only for the committed and involved enthusiasts.

There are times when socks are necessary and times when they are not. Similarly, there are shoes that necessitate socks and shoes that do not. It's really a matter of occasion. I can say that when I was in college, outside of pledging, I never once wore dress socks and indeed only wore socks with athletic shoes or boots. If I was dressing up for a college event, socks were just not part of the equation. I wore loafers (sockless) or western-style boots (with boot socks) and I was never out of place or straying from the norm. Most college guys consider Sebago penny loafers to be formidable dress shoes for any occasion outside of a job interview and most college administrators feel the same way. There's a huge difference between academia and the real world, of course, and in the year since graduating I have rarely NOT worn socks when wearing a blazer or a tie.
 
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