A Preppy State of Mind
This past week, I traveled to Oxford, Ohio to revisit my alma mater- Miami University. It’s nearly a yearly tradition of mine- returning to campus in the fall and walking the leaf-strewn paths, spacious lawns, and echoed archways. Something about the change in the air, perhaps donning a cardigan sweater, has me craving a handful of textbooks and a couple of essays due. I hear the crunch of leaves under my foot, and the sound transports me to an earlier time, somewhere I carry a book bag on my shoulder.
In addition to this, the text-filled libraries, red-bricked Georgian architecture, and hints of Greek life scattered throughout campus only lend to these wistful feelings. As a result, I feel a preppy kind of mood taking over, compelling me to dust off some of my favorite reads. In the season of cozy, no less…in my opinion, the perfect time to curl up with a plaid-adorned, pearl-bearing book.
This reading list goes well with a cut crystal glass of scotch and a deep caramel leather chair with traces of pipe smoke lingering in the air. Or perhaps you envision reading on a crisp blue-sky day with your back against a favorite tree, under a canopy of pinky oranges and lemon yellows- your favorite sweater on, well-worn with sleeves draping your knuckles. Wherever you find yourself needing to curl up with a collegiate-inspired read, here are some of my favorites.
Lindsey’s Preppy Reading List
For the sarcastic reader, True Prep by Lisa Birnbach
A follow-up to the original The Preppy’s Handbook. Part satirical, part socio-economic commentary. Sometimes it’s fun to poke fun at the preps whether you are one, in the most classic sense, or not.
For the business-minded, Guaranteed to Last: L.L.Bean’s Century of Outfitting America by Jim Gorman
I love a good business book, especially if it comes with pictures as rich as this one. You’ll get a peek at the first blueprints of America’s favorite boot company. The phrase “They don’t make ‘em like they used to” doesn’t apply to L.L.Bean who still boasts of a solid 100% satisfaction guaranteed policy.
For the style guru, Ivy Style: Radical Conformists by Patricia Mears
Just the pictures in this beautifully tartan-covered coffee book alone will satisfy those who love the classic preppy style. The book delves into a fascinating history of classic pieces that seemingly never fall out of fashion.
For the prim and proper hostess, Etiquette by Emily Post
I found this gem in an antique store in Troy, Ohio. The outdatedness of the text tickles me every time I flip through its pages. But what remains true to this day is the intent of warm hospitality, which will never go out of style.
For the naturalist, a collection of Robert Frost’s Poems
Classic prep partly defines itself with a life spent in the great outdoors- something that inspired Frost’s poetry, especially the New England states.
For the dark mystery lover, The Secret History by Donna Tart
Donna Tartt knows how to tell a story with layers and depth, like a cable knit sweater. The Goldfinch is one of my favorites, which has a touch of preppy-ness itself. I found The Secret History after needing more from Tartt and found myself doubly impressed with the mysterious and compelling author. This story takes place on a college campus in Vermont, busying itself deep in Greek fascination and dark mystery. It will get you in the mood for hunting down secret societies in unmarked cavernous tombs.
For political enthusiast/D.C. lover, The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
D.C. is its own elite town. Status is measured by security clearance and the closest number you have to the Oval Office. A young couple navigates the pros and cons of Washington’s rat race, relatably loving it and hating it at the same time.
For the romantic feminist, Emma by Jane Austen
It’s a classic with a spunky twist. After all, if Emma inspired the movie Clueless, it’s rightfully earned its way onto a preppy reading list. Just don’t be expecting a damsel in distress with this Jane Austen heroine…as if!