Prep Craze: The Quilted Riding Vest

I am really just getting on board with the whole layering with vests for normal activities business. For as long as I can remember, down puffy vests were for xc skiing and quilted water repellent vests were for horseback riding. When I realized people wore these vests around just normally and even indoors I didn’t jump on this trend right away. I did have some fleece vests which are just so comfortable over a nice long sleeve in the cooler months, but anyways, back to the quilted vest…

I always thought that quilted vests were insulated, but not necessarily down, light and usually water repellent. Down vests are super warm but most lost their loft when they get wet. A lot of what you see at stores for people buying these vests just for everyday layering are vests that are just for fashion- they are not water repellent like a nice quilted vest and not super warm like a nice down vest.

So this is the quilted vest that I ride in, especially in the indoor in the winter for only $39.99- Riding Sport Quilted Vest. The tack stores that we buy our stuff from around here, Dover Saddlery & Smartpak have a bunch of different quilted & down vests for really great prices.

As far as what other stores are offering, LLBean has a bunch of vest options. Here is there basic quilted riding vest at $109- Quilted Vest

LLBean also has a waxed cotton down vest that I would really like to check out, a little more pricey at $149, but it looks nice- Upcountry Waxed Cotton Down Vest

Here is the very popular J. Crew take on the vest, it is quilted and insulated with down for $120 although there is a 25% off sale going on- Excursion quilted down vest This vest also comes in a gray flannel and buffalo check.

Eddie Bauer I feel is often overlooked for people shopping around for whatever the latest prep craze is. They have some nice looking quilted vests. This one is $99 and is a tweed sort of pattern Year-round Field Vest (might go on my Christmas list :)and then their other colors Year-round Field Vest in colors. These are actually really nice looking because they are insulated & water repellent.

Finally, this is the one I just recently purchased from J. Crew Factory in navy. It was on sale 35% off with free shipping which made it $63! Not too shabby! Its comfortable, warm but not too toasty and not water repellent- Quilted Puffer Vests There are other colors, some prints like the very popular herringbone, very nice for the price.

I tried the quilted vest from Old Navy  thinking I was really getting a steal, but honestly, the material felt very cheap and it was a very boxy fit on me, so I spent a little more for the J. Crew Factory vest. Here’s the Old Navy one- Quilted Vest. Its $28…its the right look but just didn’t work on me.

My advice would be to look for sales on the J. Crew vests, they are really nice but I wouldn’t pay full price. Dare to be different though! Check out the quilted vests at Dover Saddlery and Eddie Bauer! Be the one girl in your group with a cheaper vest that looks unique, don’t be afraid to stand out AND save some dollars!

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Prep Craze: Barbour Jackets & Alternatives

Years ago, I was looking for a waterproof jacket for the fall & spring. I have a rain jacket with a hood, its from Marmot and its fluorescent green…great for hiking/running, but I wanted something more muted for every day. I found Barbour! I love the waxed cotton, but I almost had a heart attack when I saw the price! J. Barbour & Sons opened in 1894 in England and made thornproof, water proof jackets, hats, & trousers. Waxed cotton came from the sailing/shipping industry. They waterproofed sails with oils, and used the same technique to make capes for the ship’s captain. Barbour originally marketed itself to fishermen and actually motorcyclists, then farmers & hunters & equestrians, and now to anyone who will pay >$300 for a jacket.

I do own a Barbour jacket. I got it at a closing sale at Fishing the Cape down in Harwich on Cape Cod. Barbour never goes on sale, ever. You can get 10% off if you buy it through Orvis.com or Tuckernuck.com if you sign up for their emails. My Barbour is an Argon, a men’s jacket, that has quilting instead of the tartan lining which makes it a little warmer than the Bedale/Beadnee/Beaufort. Now, if you look hard enough, there are MORE expensive waxed cotton jackets out there from Belstaff & Burberry, but here are some waxed cotton jackets in our beloved sage/navy that are more affordable than Barbour.

Here’s my Barbour, just got it this past summer.

Barbour Argon I got for 65% off :)
Barbour Argon I got for 65% off 🙂

Here is my favorite from Jack Murphy on countryandstable.com for $130! Darina Waxed Jacket This website has a lot of awesome deals from British labels.

Here are a couple from J. Crew: The Downtown Field Jacket for $148 and the Hooded Downtown Field Jacket for $228 that’s a little longer with a hood and a zip out vest.

Here’s one from H&M that has more insulation for $69.99 Waxed Cotton Parka

And now of course, the LLBean take on waxed cotton for $199 Town and Field Waxed Cotton Jacket and they also have a down version for $189 Upcountry Waxed-Cotton Down Jacket

And finally, this company Cotopaxi which is definitely worth checking out because of their generosity has a great waxed canvas jacket, a little longer, maybe a little snowboaderish but clocks in <$300 at $279 Bengal Waxed Canvas Jacket

Here are pics of the jackets mentioned!

I don’t know guys, I just happened to get an amazing sale the weekend I was down the cape with my friend. If a waxed cotton jacket has been on your radar, consider some of these. Barbour clearly doesn’t have the market on waxed cotton cornered 😉 When we see bloggers and instagrammers sporting Barbours, it can be hard to imagine that there will ever be a better jacket…#barbouriseverything right? Don’t forget though, they often get those jackets for free, look for the little c/o at the bottom of their post. If nobody is sending you free Barbour jackets, and you want a waxed cotton jacket this fall, do it while saving those pennies!! We all want to look like we have a family estate in the English countryside right? But what if you saved your money to actually go to the English countryside!!!

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Prep Craze: Jack Rogers/Palm Beach Sandals/Alternatives

Today I splurged on a pair of Palm Beach Sandals for my wedding day. I bought the monogrammed Aubrey in white on white with my new monogram in platinum stitching. PBSandals is in the midst of their $25 off sale til the 12th though, so I think I made a good choice getting them now 🙂

What are Jack Rogers and Palm Beach Sandals you ask? Well, a long time ago, a very influential woman we all call Jackie O went to the island of Capri and bought herself some sandals. She liked them so much she came back to the US and brought them to her personal cobbler in Palm Beach, FL. I believe his name was Stephen Bonanno. Some people that really grew up wearing them called them Bonannos. From here the Palm Beach Sandal was born. I read somewhere that Jackie O and her friend Lilly Pulitzer only bought their sandals directly from the factory in Palm Beach.

PBSandals are the original, made in the US, made only of leather with a nice thick footbed. They come with either a small stacked heel OR a wedge. Jack Rogers makes a very similar version, some synthetic materials, made in China, and the footbed is thinner. They are of comparable price ($110-$150ish), BUT Jack Rogers are sold in Nordstroms, CountryClubPrep.com, Zappos.com, and they have branched out into other footwear styles as well. Jack Rogers is extremely popular among bloggers like KellyintheCity, Carly’s TheCollegePrep, and the crew from KJP (Kiel James Patrick). Vineyard Vines and Sail to Sable models also appear to be wearing them. The hashtags, #lovemyjacks (22k posts) and #jackrogers (51k posts) far outnumber #palmbeachsandals (2.5k posts) or #pbsandals (100 posts). Why? They are similar in price but Palm Beach Sandals are much nicer in my opinion.

There are alternatives to these- so many actually! Palm Beach certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on leather whipstitching.

Here is one for $39.99 from Nautica that can be found at Famous Footwear Nautica La Plata Sandals

Here are some for $89.95 from Soft Surroundings Palm Beach Sandals

A good one if you like tan for $17.99 from LuLus Tan Whipstitch Sandals

Nice ones from Nieman Marcus on sale $39.50 Gabriel Whipstitch

These ones from Target are sold out, good deal though Merona Enid Whipstitch

Bottom line, if you see your favorite preppy instagrammers wearing Jack Rogers and you want to join in on the fun, know that there are options. Another world all together is Etsy. People hand paint these sandals in all prints, Lilly prints are very popular on them. Those are usually in the $50 range. Read reviews, some people with wider feet have struggled with this style of sandal. Some people don’t like the piece of leather with the three holes on the heel that the some of the Rogers and PB sandals have. It’s the end of summer so a lot of sandals are on sale, buy them now for your spring/summer occasions to get the savings!

Below is my little collection from over the years! I threw my Lilly McKims in because those are nice too for $88. I splurged for my wedding shoes, but trust, in the future I will checking out some of those more affordable options, got to save those pennies!

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Clockwise: Jack Rogers Georgica Jellies, Jack Rogers Hamptons in silver, Lilly Pulitzer McKims, Palm Beach Sandals in navy with white, Palm Beach Sandals in platinum with gold

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Thoughts on the novel, The Knockoff!

While I was sitting out in my campsite early Monday morning with beautiful Casco Bay (I’m obsessed, I know) in front of me, I finished “The Knockoff” by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza. I know I am a little late to the party, but this book is worth celebrating! The basis, without giving too much away, is a story of a magazine editor in chief, maybe a more kind, down to earth version of Anna Wintour, that comes back to work after beating breast cancer, to find that her fashion magazine is joining the digital age, and her Techb*tch former assistant is now at the helm. It’s a tale of the struggle between adapting to the new without losing what was good about the old. I absolutely devoured it.

Being a teacher, I see this daily. Older teachers who began their careers in the late 70s and 80s are forced everyday to confront and accept or hide from technology. Our lesson plans, professional development, licensure, schedules, evaluation tools, and all important memos are digital. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say, “What? I didn’t know about that? Oh, it was in an email?” Half the room rolls their eyes, hopefully inwardly, like what have you done all day if you haven’t read your emails, and half the room sympathizes thinking ummmm hello there are more important things to do than read emails, like teach?

The digital age has made teaching “stuff” easier to track and share, but just like Imogen, our editor in chief in “The Knockoff” feels like turning her magazine to just an app has made the content flat instead of rich, I also feel that digitalizing teaching can kill our creativity a bit. I try to find a balance between over organizing in my google forms, lesson plan templates, and online grading with those precious spontaneous teaching moments that you can’t plan for. Those moments make your teaching come alive and become meaningful for a student. With limited time and standardized testing, it is not always easy. I try to remember, our passion is really our craft and putting everything on the internet is just our new version of the craft fair. Its the way we reach our customers/stakeholders. Don’t work against the internet, work with it, and find those understanding coworkers or friends that are somewhere between eyeball rollers and complete sympathizers. You don’t need someone to patronize you or commiserate with, you need encouragement and patient instruction, we all do every once in a while.

My copy of “The Knockoff” was from my town library, it retails for upwards of $13. Buy your ebooks for when you need them, maybe traveling, use your library and save money when you can!!

c/o Mon