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High WASP Style – IMO

I think I should give a few more examples of what High WASP style is. And is not. Because it’s a dying breed you know. As I suppose it should be.

Why High WASP is not, is preppy. Not exclusively. Not as currently defined. As in, I don’t know a single High WASP who would wear the outfit below. Now it’s possible that people from Texas or the South might prove me wrong. Another characteristic of High WASPs is that we do know that we might be wrong. Often.


Preppy in Land's End
Preppy in Land’s End – by High WASP on

High WASPs have a horror of visibly identifying themselves beyond showing the appropriate social cues. And do not believe pearl necklaces should be worn irresponsibly.

Here is the equivalent High WASP alternative, assuming of course that you aren’t living in the People’s Republic of Berkeley, California:

High WASP in Land's End
High WASP in Land’s End – by High WASP on

This, by earlier generations, would only be worn to casually dash about town. These days High WASPs might wear this to the city, to Sunday lunch at dad’s house, or heaven forbid, to the office. The style is characterized by a) an unassuming color combination since, darling, we are not at a ball after all b) fun but comfortable shoes since no external fashion cue is worth foot pain c) earrings we were given by our brother and have been sleeping in for weeks and wear independent of what clothes we put on d) skirt of a length that we believe is “appropriate”.

In the world of the High WASP, the term “appropriate’ is the shadowy villain behind the throne, the measured and heartfelt praise, the code to knowing you belong. Unfortunately, many of us to the manner born (and yes, it can be to the manor born but Hamlet said manner) never figured out what appropriate meant in terms of behavior, even though we can with unerring eye point out shoes that meet the criteria, as well as jewelry that does not.

7 Responses

  1. The top outfit is too matchy-matchy to be High Prep, to me. High Prep clothing has a certain understated insouciance. I’m not even sure I’d go with the shoes in the second outfit above; I almost want to see something a bit more run down and practical … But then again the archetype I think of — sort of the Platonic Form of Prep — is New England Prep.

  2. Well said. I have been looking at various “preppy” blogs and wondered if things had changed? Glad to see in certain places it hasn’t. Love the bit about the earrings. So true! Best, Becs

  3. I suppose I’m separating Prep from High WASP. If you imagine the classic Venn diagram, the two social/style categories overlap but not 100%. In the beginning, I believe there were three archetypes, New England/Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Now of course there are a myriad. Insouciance is clearly a hallmark. However some part of me believes there is an associated set of higher values as well.

  4. I had to laugh – and agree with you – that yes, definitely in the south most of us ladies would choose the pink. You know we’re obsessed with Lilly Pulitzer! I love your blog, by the way.

  5. Ugh, please be assured that most of us classy Texans would choose the second outfit over the first. Great blog, btw!

  6. Some of my best friends are classy Texans. No kidding. Two of my college roommates:). I'm still in touch. Just saw one of them a few weeks ago…Thank you for liking my blog. I really appreciate it.

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