Elegant clothes (again) took over the world of style in 2022 | Popgen Tech
In October, Avery Truffelman, host Interesting articles podcast from Radiotopia, decided to follow a trend that, she said, “against everything seems to come back again and again.” The following seven chapters—each a 30-minute episode in Season 3—follow the prequel style from its inception to the present day, chronicling what prompted its release and what made it ubiquitous.
And in 2022, preparatory clothes are simply abundant. “Yes, hedge funds and catering clubs are as exclusive and unattainable as ever, but my pet theory is that Ivy clothing has become everything that Ivy institutions themselves are not—they are accessible; they are relatively affordable; and they’re friendly,” Truffelman says in Chapter 7, which dropped on December 7.
This view goes against the original intent of those who wear the style. They used OCBD and Step and Repeat Ties to denote wealth, something that for many was a completely unattainable, exclusive and downright unimaginable destiny, even if it seemed so everyone yet was rich. For the middle class, preparation has become a costuming, a method of assimilation to higher stature. But then prep became cool, with subversives like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Miles Davis and John Caltrane remixing prep for their own purposes.
“Black Ivy’s style has become a thing in itself, separate from Ivy but always connected to her. Ironically, the characterization of Ivy League clothing as quintessentially cool owes much to the enormous, yet undocumented influence Black Ivy style has had on mainstream culture—past and present.” —Jason Jules, Author Black Ivy: Rebellion in styletold GP in 2021.
And at the end of 2022, the preparation remains quintessentially cool. Style is arguably bigger than ever, and Google’s Year in Search, an annual roundup of user queries, backs them up. The number of searches that have increased this year include questions about prep wear and how to style it.
- Elegant aesthetics
- The aesthetics of old money
- How to style a white button
- How to style loafers
And these inquiries coincide with our coverage, which has seen a surge of stories that focus on prep styles: profiles on J.Crew (it’s back!) and news notes on Le Alfré, the Oxford-only shirt company, Blackstock & Weber (Black-owned brand of loafers), Rowing Blazers (an inclusive label founded by an Oxford academic). But they also match information from other online services, such as TikTok, where videos with the caption #oldmoneyaesthetic have amassed a combined 462 million views. On the other hand, #preppyaestethic hits a staggering 1.9 billion views.
Whether you’ve noticed it or not, fit is back, but in a new way — see: Giant-Fit Chinos — making a seemingly timeless trend new again.