True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World

Image of True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World
Release Date: 
October 31, 2011
Reviewed by: 

Hailed as the sequel to the 1980s cult classic, The Official Preppy Handbook, True Prep is a new outlook on all things preppy. From the classic staples you will need for your wardrobe to when to wear your diamonds, this new book tries to address all things preppy in a time when prep has evolved—but in many ways remained the same.

While holding true to many preppy institutions such as prep schools, seersucker, where to summer and “the family” model, True Prep also opens itself up to a whole new kind of prep in today’s high tech world. Needless to say, the prep of the 1980s is not the prep of today.

The tongue-in-cheek humor will leave you laughing out loud in your pearls; which, by the way, are appropriate at all times—unlike diamonds. However, there is a flow that is missing to the work. True Prep often seems scattered, the subjects not quite connected. The book is also heavy on labels and brands—which is preppy—but breaks a cardinal prep rule. Just like with money, brand names are never flaunted or talked about, so seeing them so displayed so ostentatiously in the book seems a bit contradictory—or un-preppy.

The book is broken down into a readable format that is almost magazine-like, including multiple pictures and illustrations on almost every page, making it easy to browse different sections out of order. It’s a fun look at a lifestyle that many can relate to, but some will be disappointed in what it includes—or fails to include.

As the author suggests, prep has changed over the years. It is not as easily definable as it once was. This shows in the way the book tries to cover a little bit of everything, but leaves us feeling as if we’ve really missed out on anything of substance. Adding to this sensation is the fact that True Prep seems to follow the very letter of political correctness and inclusion—perhaps that is what left this reader without a concrete concept of what the author considers “true” prep.

Fans of the former classic may be disappointed. But new readers may find the book interesting enough to skim.