Friday, June 19, 2009

Immigrants Returning Home

Oh America, the home of Hemingway, airplanes and reality television. At one time it was also the birthplace of boat shoes, seersuckers and button down oxfords. It seems though that these elements of Prepdom have migrated to land far away, becoming warmly welcomed immigrants to Japan. The New York Times ran a a very interesting article on how the WASP uniform has become oh so very Japanese. After it's outburst in the 80's Preppiness in America has been viewed as boring, cookie cutter and circumscribed to a certain stratosphere in class. Yet according to Coleman, the Japanese have embraced our thrown ot style and worn in it extremes, from head to toe with vivacity. And well it doesn't look boring or unoriginal on them.

Looking at the photographs in the 1960's Japanese book "Take Ivy" is almost surreal. It's strange to see college kids dressing so thoughtfully and put together. But the paradox is that though the outfits seems polished and orchestrated they seem simultaneously unassuming and nonchalant as their owners walk across the lush green lawns. And I guess that's the appeal of the sartorially preppy way of life. There is this innocence and naivete to it but at the same time a security. While the leather pants and the bomber jackets may make us feel like we are living life on the edge we feel safe and secure buttoned down in our collar shirt and madras shorts. I guess the streamlined clothes make us in turn view life more simplistically, or as simplistically as clothes can make us feel. In these times the decadence of the 80's nightlife is coming back, with neon colors and exaggerated silhouettes. But as the one side of the fashion rope pulls the other side must as well. Which is the prep style is coming back into play with brands like the Band of Outsiders and magazines such as Prepidemic. Both of these looks provide us with an escape but with two entirely different mindsets. Seeing pictures of the preppy collegiate students one gets a sense of confidence that is entirely different from the 80's nightlife look. A confidence that everything will be fine, that life is always peachy through Rayban wayfarers. So take out your boat shoes and your navy blue blazers, the immigrants are finally returning to their homeland.

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