Cocktail time takes the sting out of sobriety. Now that it’s summer, it’s the perfect way to welcome a new season. Now take my cousin Muffy. She knows a good frozen daiquiri when she sees one. What I love most about my dear cuz is she doesn’t let small stuff get to her head, know what I mean. Open a newspaper and you’ll catch my drift. Reading current events and you feel buffaloed: riots, revolutions, horrid weather and the like. I wonder, do buffalo celebrate cocktail time?
So, Muffy dear, you will be pleased to know that Summer 2015 is going to be pure cocktail time. Everyone in Paris is wearing their chinos above the ankle. If that’s not enough reason to celebrate cocktail time, pink and kelly green are style favorites. Now where was I? Oh yes, looking for the crackers. Can’t eat chopped liver without crackers, what. Now, I remember. It’s about Muffy. She is so Madras, don’t you know.
I mean, even in winter she is up to her eyes in plaid. Cocktail time can do that to a person. My Mum says she is adorable. True she is most at home on the golf course or at our summer cottage off the coast of Maine. She is however, in her element anywhere, particularly at cocktail time. Can you imagine, it’s all down hill now that we’ve hit summer. It’s raining in Switzerland according to Louis. And in India, they’re heading to +100.
My gosh, I think I need a drink at this point. Wait, it’s too early for a G&T so I better stick to a cup of tea. Over the last few years, the tribe has seen the publication or re-edition of many books on the lifestyle and dress sense of American classics. These include “Take Ivy” by T. Hayashida, “The Ivy Look” by Graham Marsh & JP Gaul, “Preppy: Cultivating The Ivy Style” by Jeffrey Banks & Doria de la Chapelle, and “A Privileged Life” by Susanna Salk. By far the biggest hit has been the sequel to the Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach.
With the craze for everything “vintage” reaching new heights, a new readership will feel right at home cuddling up with the OPH. It is perfectly suited to our troubled times. The humor alone makes this volume worth a couple of drinks. The book addresses all things Preppy: attitudes toward money, the right schools, pukka careers, suitable sports, political correctness, reality TV, and believe it or not even polar fleece.
The book has the charm and verve of the older version, but has been re-tuned like a grand piano. With artisanal gin such as Hendrick making the rounds at all the hip parties in the London last weekend, Lisa’s book has brought back into focus the tribe of Americana beloved the world over for its fascination with labradors, G&T soaked cocktail time, Camelot, yacht clubs and the old school tie.
It is probable that a copy sits permanently on the night table of Ralph Lauren, who has fashioned his empire on a dream established in 1635 on the rocky shores of New England.
Today’s new readership won’t remember the 1980s, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, or those all night parties on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard when the OPH came out. True Prep’s renewed attraction harks back to a Golden Age of American life. Think of those TV chestnuts such as Leave It To Beaver.
To get into the mood, why not go over to the drinks tray. There’s plenty of ice still left, and the shrimp cocktails are simply fab. Cocktail time must be the best time of day. Even my own memories are a bit fuzzy. Pink Gin can do that to a fellow. I can attest to being there. Well, someone carved my name into the balustrade at the Asticou. Thursday nights was the Biggie during the summer. Swing orchestra and fine dinning. The guys all sported deck shoes, Nantucket Reds, blue blazers and button down collar white shirts.
The gals were elegant, suntanned and wore a lovely pearl necklace handed down by their grandmothers. Nobody talked of name brands. However, we all knew where to get our clothes, which were formally or casually worn with nonchalance. With the endless rounds of drinks and smoke, everything was picture perfect. Nobody smoked electronic cigarettes at cocktail time. Like Audrey Hepburn once said, “It’s like kissing through a veil”. Sailing by day and imbibing at night to sounds of clinking glasses gave us a rhythm and many occasions for much laughter.
Summer brings al fresco lunches on secret island coves, the smell of pine and salt in the air, and the endless rounds of touch football on the beach. On other days, we would head over to Beals’s Lobster Pound with its wooden picnic tables for steamers, corn on the cob, and homemade blueberry pie. Can’t you just hear the voice over the PA, “Ah, numbah 54, your lobstah is ready!”
All these images are frozen in time not like margaritas but on the Internet for the intellectually and culturally curious. It’s an American version of the world of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. Now the original readers are be a bit older today. Some are inter-married and some have traveled the world. The good news is they’re all still partying their boat shoes off.
So why has this trend for all things ivy come bouncing back? Well, for one thing, “vintage” is super trendy in fashion circles. Secondly, this lifestyle provides a good template not to loose your moral compass. Everyone needs sense of humour in a crisis, don’t you think. Thirdly, when it’s all said and done, it’s about “ease and confidence”. My own grandmother would have used one of those terrible politically incorrect adjectives, and said it was a question of “breeding”.
However, like with all luxuries, lifestyle “branding” has gone democratic in our global village. You might have a cottage in Hyannisport or Portofino. It doesn’t matter any longer what is your spiritual persuasion or the origins of your family. You can call your dog “Toussaint” or “Gladstone”. Nobody is fussed. It is about style, savoir-faire, and behaviour.
Even across the pond in towns such as Florence, a city of elegance, gentlemen can be seen wearing lime green or coral trousers, white polo shirts topped off with an old tweed jacket or linen blazer. On their sockless feet are loafers or boat shoes. Wrists generally sport an inherited old gold watch obviously inherited from Dad. No one pulls off style better than the Italians. So much so that certain Italians have purchased some of the very companies who manufactured the original clothes. Think of Brooks Brothers.
To sample today’s preppy style at its best, take an online visit with Ralph. You needn’t have been born to the Ivy spoon to glide into his vibe. All it takes is a little imagination. Lisa Birnbach will teach you the ropes; the rest is up to you.
Article Title: Summer Is Cocktail Time
Photographs: curated by ES
About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency the WCW Group brand.
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