Differences between Trad and BCBG

KenCPollock

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
When in Paris recently I stopped in Berteil, capital of BCBG and bought an olive heather herringbone (with windowpane overplaid) tweed sport jacket and some argyle socks. The jacket was very J. Press, except for a very squared-off and somewhat built-up shoulder. The argyles are first-rate. I noticed a big stock of Alden tassels loafers. All in all, the place seemed more Trad than not, but what are the main differences between BCBG and Trad?
 

Horace

Senior Member
quote:Originally posted by kencpollock

When in Paris recently I stopped in Berteil, capital of BCBG and bought an olive heather herringbone (with windowpane overplaid) tweed sport jacket and some argyle socks. The jacket was very J. Press, except for a very squared-off and somewhat built-up shoulder. The argyles are first-rate. I noticed a big stock of Alden tassels loafers. All in all, the place seemed more Trad than not, but what are the main differences between BCBG and Trad?

I've been there -- I didn't see the argles but plan on going back there. Some nice tweeds. I thought the jackets rolled to the top button not the second, right?

Ken -- I found some Canali and Zegna at 279Euro -- "I give you the price". Let me know.
 

xcubbies

Super Member
To me, BCBG is a look, Trad is something we just grew up with and either decided to maintain as we grew older, or move away from. For me, Trad is the ultimate neutral way to dress. BCBG is a style which is self-conciously elitist.
 

Trimmer

Super Member
Is BCBG what we Brits call 'Sloane' (American 'Preppie'?) and Trad what we call 'fogey'?
I think the former is the uniform of a social class ('they don't know any different'); the latter a style adopted by those who like it ('they like to be different').
 

Vettriano Man

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Trimmer, yes you are correct, and although I cannot speak authoritively about American 'Trad', I can about the English term 'Sloane' which only became apparent at the time Lady Di came into being in the early eighties, which is basically the same as the French 'BCBG'. However I believe the term 'bon chic, bon genre' is used more for females than males, but it is undoubtedly the natural inherent style of those with old class and breeding - families that stretch back hundreds of years - hence the word 'genre' and is what is sometimes referred to in modern terms as the 'Notting Hill' style which took over from the 'Sloane' label for those who inhabited the Sloane Square area where Diana lived before marrying Charles.

Particularly for females, the 'BCBG' term is as much about what is under the skin as what is clothed over it, such as complexion, bone structure and deportment which is derived from the genes - however when it comes to breeding, no amount of 'Roedean' or 'Cheltenham Ladies College' can genuinely create this from nothing for the nouveau riche.

For males it is basically the same and they continue to wear the styles that their father's and grandfather's wore - sometimes referred to as the 'Hackett' style - but always worn with the 'signet ring', of course, (with the genuine family crest - not one's initials, oh no!) and the smart casual look can be cavalry twills or jeans with tweed sports jackets and brogues - all in a tradition which just really cannot be bought!
 

Trimmer

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by Vettriano man

Trimmer, yes you are correct . . . modern terms as the 'Notting Hill' style which took over from the 'Sloane' label . . .

'Notting Hillbillies' - that'll confuse our American friends!
 

globetrotter

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by xcubbies

To me, BCBG is a look, Trad is something we just grew up with and either decided to maintain as we grew older, or move away from. For me, Trad is the ultimate neutral way to dress. BCBG is a style which is self-conciously elitist.

BCBG, like sloan rangerness and trad, is something that somebody else grew up with.

of course, there are a lot of people, on both sides of the atlantic, that take up the look even though they didn't grow up with it.
 

shuman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Forgive my niavate, but I thought BCBG was simply a womens designer label! How interesting... Please keep the discussion going. Is this what is discussed in the Sloane Ranger Handbook? I cant find a copy on this side of the pond, but am interested in its contents.
 

Rich

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by Vettriano man


Particularly for females, the 'BCBG' term is as much about what is under the skin as what is clothed over it, such as complexion, bone structure and deportment which is derived from the genes - however when it comes to breeding, no amount of 'Roedean' or 'Cheltenham Ladies College' can genuinely create this from nothing for the nouveau riche.

Quite right, V man: pedigree is an essential part of BCBG (more so of Sloane). As the old European elites favoured prowess at sport, natural selection ensured that the girls were slim and "leggy". Add good posture and deportment - needed to walk about gracefully in large rooms, and inculcated at an early age, the self confidence conferred by an ancient family name, and an upbringing among horses and dogs. This produces the "debbie" look. The effect of this breeding on males is less immediately obvious, I find.
 

KenCPollock

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Twenty years old, but of interest:

The Rules of the Game - French preppies are bons, chics and a genre in demand

Time, March 3, 1986 Reported by Harriet Welty Rochefort

Dear Muffy,

What a hoot! Here I am just bumming around in good old Paris on winter break from Wellesley, and guess what? The French have gone absolutely overboard for all that old preppy stuff! I cruised over to Angelina's tearoom, on the rue de Rivoli, and do you know what I found? The place was packed with all these French people in plaid skirts and tweed jackets, chatting very quietly about the "right" schools. Meanwhile, at Carette's, the tearoom on the Place du Trocadéro that Mummy loves, it looked like a loden cloth convention; everybody had one of those cute green coats. Isn't that a stitch and a half?

Remember when that ridiculous Official Preppy Handbook came out in the U.S. six years ago and sold more than a million copies? It had all that junk about what shoes to wear and what prep schools to attend. You simply couldn't get into Brooks Brothers because all the nouveaus (hey, listen to that fractured French!) were fighting to buy button-down-collar shirts. How rude. Then the British came out with the Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, named after those elegant young things who shop around Sloane Square in London. Now the Parisians have joined the crowd with a guide for their own preppies and Rangers: BCBG, Le Guide du Bon Chic Bon Genre, by Thierry Mantoux, who works at the Saint Louis Crystal Co. (the outfit is 400 years old and it is not in Missouri). Bon Chic Bon Genre (B.C.B.G. for short) sort of means elegant and well mannered and is what the call preppies here. The term isn't really new, and it wasn't always fashionable to be B.C.B.G. But now it seem that everybody here is trying to look and act just like the British gentry, Muffy. Do you remember how inconvenient it was when our lifestyle became a fad? Well, Mantoux's book has already sold about 100,000 copies, and there's going to be a paperback edition next month.

I met this très straight guy named Adrien in the Bar Saint-James (acceptably B.C.B.G.), and he explained the whole business over his fruit juice while I got absolutely wrecked on Dom Pérignon. Adrien explained that B.C.B.G have nothing to prove because they already know and possess everything that's important. They have been around for simply ages and have their own way of dressing, talking, growing up and going to school. You get the feeling that one can become rich, but one is B.C.B.G

Money is O.K. for B.C.B.G. to have, particularly if it's Mummy's or Daddy's money, but the real important stuff is family background, education and manners, which take longer. Real B.C.B.G.s hate showing off. A non-B.C.B.G. would say something tacky like "I bought this château ten years ago". A real one would just tell you that the house has been in the family a long time. A B.C.B.G. simply never discusses money or personal problems, never wears loud colors and is never seen on the Champs-Elysées during the week-end.
The names are a riot, Muffy.It's proper to call your daughter Florence, Capucine, Emilie and Tiphaine; but Odette, Chloe or Deborah seem to be out. For boys, it's Alexis, Henri, Thibaut and, of course, Adrien; but never Albert, Alfred, David and Jonathan. B.C.B.G. children are flung by their parents into rugby, polo, ballooning, field hockey and scouting and steered away from such dangers as television, chewing gum and jeans. A solid B.C.B.G family has a member in the military or the Roman Catholic priesthood; pacifism and anticlericalism are definitely out. B.C.B.G. sex is extremely discreet, if you know what I mean. But they still marry each other in church, and the brides wear white. Adrien says the B.C.B.G. life style became popular, ironically enough, when François Mitterand, a Socialist and definitely non-B.C.B.G., was elected President in 1981. Premier Laurent Fabius is B.C.B.G., however, as is former President Valery Giscard d'Estaing.

Adrien, like a lot of B.C.B.G.s is a "nap"- meaning someone who lives in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly or West of Paris in places like Auteuil and Passy. The kids are prepared for elite schools like the Ecole Polytechnique, Sciences Po (as in Politics) or the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (E.N.A. for short and its influential grads are known as énarques). Young B.C.B.G.s gravitate towards jobs in finance or government. Bo--ring! But that's the B.C.B.G. style. They eat at solid restaurants like Julien, Chez Jenny and Le Petit Machon, drive aging Renaults and 2 CV 6 Citroëns and wear clothes that your grandmother would love.

They're really into loden green and navy blue. They hate our colors like lime, green and pink. But they do wear our favorite tennis shirts with the little alligator. Adrien says he couldn't walk without his "Weston's", clunky British-made shoes like his daddy wears. He shops at Mettez, on Boulevard Malesherbes, and Berteil, on Place Saint-Augustin, when he absolutely must have new grey flannels. Adrien says you spot a real B.C.B.G. woman at 20 kilometers because of her Hermès scarf- the bright one with horseshoes all over them. But that's about it for color; the rest is plaid and Austrian dirndl skirts right out of The Sound of Music. The only acceptable jewelry: perfect pearls and a ring bearing a coat of arms.

Just when Adrien and I were about to partir back to his place on the Rue de Passy to see his Daumier drawings (he just hates abstract art, and Andy Warhol is passé), someone really not our kind came over and asked, "Hey, how can I get to be a B.C.B.G.?". Adrien was too reserved to respond but told me later, "It's easy, just wait four or five generations." Well, gotta run now, Muffy. Adrien and I are going off for the week-end to a chateau he says has been in his family for a long time. See you in four or five generations.

Love and stuff, Corky.



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marc_au

Senior Member
Thanks Mr Pollock! l really do appreciate the input you put into this forum Sir.

From: one of your fans, The shoeman.

GR8MAN (The shooman) B8MAN.

 

ice

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
quote:particularly for females, the 'BCBG' term is as much about what is under the skin as what is clothed over it, such as complexion, bone structure and deportment which is derived from the genes - however when it comes to breeding, no amount of 'Roedean' or 'Cheltenham Ladies College' can genuinely create this from nothing for the nouveau riche.

For males it is basically the same and they continue to wear the styles that their father's and grandfather's wore - sometimes referred to as the 'Hackett' style - but always worn with the 'signet ring', of course, (with the genuine family crest - not one's initials, oh no!) and the smart casual look can be cavalry twills or jeans with tweed sports jackets and brogues - all in a tradition which just really cannot be bought!

quote:Quite right, V man: pedigree is an essential part of BCBG (more so of Sloane). As the old European elites favoured prowess at sport, natural selection ensured that the girls were slim and "leggy". Add good posture and deportment - needed to walk about gracefully in large rooms, and inculcated at an early age, the self confidence conferred by an ancient family name, and an upbringing among horses and dogs. This produces the "debbie" look. The effect of this breeding on males is less immediately obvious, I find.

This is laughable. I can't believe anyone still believes in these old 18th century ideas of class. Have you two missed the past 150 years of history? Come on - natural selection? genes?

Roman nobles were considered crude Etruscan peasants by the Egyptians. Frankish kings were barbarians to the Romans. The most upper crust English families are descended from the homeless, penniless Norman knights who came over with the illegitimate King William the Conquerer. The current American elite families started as poor immigrants from Scotland and Ireland.

Hereditary class is an illusion. Throughout history, certain people have found themselves in a position of wealth and power. They invented this notion of class and breeding to make themselves feel better about being richer than everyone else, and continuing to act in their own self interest by passing their wealth and privilege on to their children. This is all luck, greed, and circumstance, nothing to do with the mythical abilities of one family being greater than another. The past 150 years have proven this so completely that I do not need to provide any examples or proofs. It is self evident.

However, class as a set of mannerisms, beliefs, and circumstances, does still exist. But it is not exclusive, and can be attained by anyone who wants it, or most often, is taught it by their parents. Likewise, it can be lost and disappear within a generation. It does not confer any special abilites or unique qualities. Class is just a way of wrapping a person. It isn't the person.

Every person in this world should be judged by their actions, not who their parents are. To do otherwise is folly.
 

crazyquik

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by shuman

Forgive my niavate, but I thought BCBG was simply a womens designer label! How interesting... Please keep the discussion going. Is this what is discussed in the Sloane Ranger Handbook? I cant find a copy on this side of the pond, but am interested in its contents.



---------------------


Beware of showroom sales-fever reasoning: i.e., "for $20 . . ." Once you're home, how little you paid is forgotten; how good you look in it is all that matters.
 

Doctor Damage

Connoisseur
I always get a kick out of people (thankfully no-one on this forum) who fret about 'breeding'. From a practical standpoint, family trees look like pyramids, which means a whole lot of watering down over the long-term and family branches which may be shunted aside but are no less legitimate. Thus breeding, from a geneological standpoint, is meaningless.

Breeding in terms of good manners, etc., is another matter.

Hopefully we'll hear from Harris on the Trad issue.

DD
 

Fogey

Elite Member
Unfortunately my ancestry suffers from a great deal of pedigree collapse. Not only are my siblings my siblings, for example, but they are simultaneously my cousins...3rd once removed, 4th twice removed, 5th, 6th, 7th, and so on to such degrees God only knows. It has seemed to produce the effect of distilling by repeated accumulation both the best and worst traits of our forebears. Some might say only the worst. [8)]

quote:Hereditary class is an illusion. Throughout history, certain people have found themselves in a position of wealth and power. They invented this notion of class and breeding to make themselves feel better about being richer than everyone else, and continuing to act in their own self interest by passing their wealth and privilege on to their children. This is all luck, greed, and circumstance, nothing to do with the mythical abilities of one family being greater than another. The past 150 years have proven this so completely that I do not need to provide any examples or proofs. It is self evident.

This is not quite as axiomatic as some would wish to believe.
 

LabelKing

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
quote:Roman nobles were considered crude Etruscan peasants by the Egyptians. Frankish kings were barbarians to the Romans. The most upper crust English families are descended from the homeless, penniless Norman knights who came over with the illegitimate King William the Conquerer. The current American elite families started as poor immigrants from Scotland and Ireland.

The elite families of the US mostly started out as Protestant emigres on a rickety ship.

Look to the royalty of Japan or China for centuries of breeding.

"In truth, I am not altogether wrong to consider dandyism a form of religion."

Charles Baudelaire
 

Horace

Senior Member
quote:Originally posted by ice
Hereditary class is an illusion. Throughout history, certain people have found themselves in a position of wealth and power. They invented this notion of class and breeding to make themselves feel better about being richer than everyone else,

Just to split hairs in your definition, the below proves the existence of the above.

quote:
and continuing to act in their own self interest by passing their wealth and privilege on to their children.
 
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