Tie me up …

Chances are, “True Prep” will approve of this: vineyard vines, a 13-year-old company based in Stamford, Conn., (yes, its company name is lowercased) announced this week that it has signed a licensing agreement with the NHL, and will create a line of ties, tote bags and belts using the theme of current NHL teams and former NHL teams – including the Hartford Whalers.

And you and I know about the appeal of the Whalers.

Ties, anyone? Samples from vineyard vines’ NHL collection: http://www.vineyardvines.com/category__39614_39614_____13050

But there’s a certain amount of sports-meets-pop-culture in the collaboration between the Stamford, Conn.-based business and the NHL.

“True Prep,” circa 2010, profiled vineyard vines on page 92. The company began after brothers Shep and Ian Murray, disenchanted with corporate life in New York City, took to selling their ties out of their Jeep in Martha’s Vineyard.

Hanging with them at their Stamford headquarters or over lunch in downtown Greenwich, you think: They are two brothers who grew up on your block, or were a grade ahead or behind you in school, or rode the same bus, took the same tennis clinic, or played on your brother’s hockey team. They are familiar …

“True Prep” is the updated version of “The Original Preppy Handbook.” Written in 1980 by a quartet of writers, it’s a tongue-in-cheek cultural study of “prepdom.” Think Ralph Lauren polo shirts, madras, Docksider shoes, BMWs, prep schools in Connecticut, something kind of Kennedy or Crowninshield …

(Note to readers: Take the book with a grain of salt. Even if you are a true prep.)

In writing about “True Prep,” NPR’s J.J. Sutherland has a great analysis of and harkened back to “The Official Preppy Handbook”:

To me it was a catalog of things I did not have and people I wish I could become.

Spencer Bailey – a professed preppy – explained “True Prep” in a Daily Beast piece as a guide to the proliferation of the preppy culture, one I thought was only confined to my high school:

I discovered a culture far more widespread—and diverse—than I ever imagined. In the 21st century, prepsterdom is pervasive.

Yes, even I own a pair of madras shorts and have shopped at trunk shows. (The madras shorts match my faded Tulane Law baseball cap. And can you beat a designer’s trunk show?) If I lost my BlackBerry, I would be lost. As page 86 in “True Prep” explained it: “My whole life is in it.” And back in the day, I even dated a guy from the Gilman School.

These days, I might even buy a vineyard vines NHL tie for my husband. But at $75 dollars a tie, it begs one question … what would Sean Avery do?


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