“Take Ivy” — Primo Sourcebook of ‘Prep’

Image rights owned by powerHouse Books, from Take Ivy, Teruyoshi Hayashida

Entire industries and economies have sprung from this curious book.

People who belong in country clubs in America today and get excited about hunt season in Virginia may scorn how big-name fashion brands have mined the preppy look, thereby homogenising it and destroying it for those who really are. But “Take Ivy” clears the air on many scores — it was the first documenting of the prep uniform, un-staged and nuanced and big on the nitty-gritty.

Image rights owned by powerHouse Books, From Take Ivy, Teruyoshi Hayashida

White socks, white trousers paired with dark tan tassel loafers? Rugby sweatshirts with brogues ? Those dandies pulled it off without breaking a sweat. Catch a fleeting glimpse of it in this weighty tome, full colour, splayed across which is an almost anthropological documentation of the terms, dorms, days & evenings.

Looking at the crew in a boathouse or letter men cycling to classes, one sees that casualness and utility were preppy cornerstones that retail never fully translated in a pair of deck shorts. Nor lobsters on perfectly good barn red pants.

“Take Ivy” tells us don’t try too hard, because those who originated the look, clearly didn’t.