Monday, March 8, 2010

Cage Match: "Official Preppy Handbook" vs. "Take Ivy"



Inspired by a discussion on Twitter last week, which was inspired by the supposed republishing of Take Ivy, I have set up a poll to the right where you can vote on which book is superior: Take Ivy or The Official Preppy Handbook. No need to further expound on either book, this is a cage match, and there is plenty of info on both books floating around the internets. Without further ado, submit your vote.

27 comments:

RHW said...

Really two different subject wouldn't you say? TOPH is just that...a handbook. My tattered copy sits on the shelf in our study at home and gets far more attention from visitors that the volumes by Shelby Foote or Faulkner.

My 13 year old daughter, asked me recently for permission to refer to my copy of TOPH for style tips to share with her friends. She says mine is the only known copy among her friends. I say her friends parents are just lying about having a copy of the book.

Take that, Take Ivy.

Anonymous said...

TOPH

Unofficial Preppy said...

TOPH, without a doubt.

Schorsch said...

I just cannot get into Take Ivy. It seems to exemplify the beginning of the end of taking style seriously on Ivy campuses. The Gilligan-looking fellow is the absolute worst.

longwing said...

I haven't seen a real OPH in 20 years but that doesn't mean I'm without opinions. Take Ivy is about '60s Ivy and OPH is about 70s prep (I think it was published in the 80s but it captures the pre-Polo world). Gotta go with OPH.

Scott said...

TOPH! Without a doubt.

Phoebe said...

Regardless of actual content, TOPH is a much better read with the witty, satirical voice. But I think TOPH, in general, is more useful than Take Ivy, which espouses sometimes questionably relevant pictures. But...I will still purchase Take Ivy when the new one comes out. Just to have it. And put it along side my TOPH.

The Enthusiast said...

I can read TOPH. I can't read Take Ivy. 'nuff said.

Nicholas said...

TOPH. I still have my copy with the Barnes & Noble price tag of $2.96 dated 6/81.

trip said...

It is interesting how the number of votes for Take Ivy seems to have increased significantly in spite of the number of hits barely increasing over the same period. Also in spite of no pro-Take Ivy comments. I hope that someone isn't try to sway this thing...

Anonymous said...

TOPH is great for what it is, but it's more of a humor book than a style guide. And it's so ubiquitious it would be embarrassing to follow all the rules in it at this point (besides, are they kidding about the duck motif? That's a look that has never worked).

Take Ivy is full of style inspiration rather than rules. Honestly I would be happier if it remained rare and a bit insider, but since it's being republished anyway I have to regiseter my vote in its favor. Definitely worth checking out.

heavy tweed jacket said...

Both books are quite good at what they aim to do: Take Ivy as a style commentary on the 1960s Ivy style as viewed from postwar Japan where it became enormously popular (though it looks a bit dated today). Its value are the unstaged photos of an America that no longer exists. TOPH is a different kind of social commentary. As Longwing noted, TOPH was written about 1970s prep style. I always thought of prep as a refinement on Ivy. The book is humorous and has stood the test of time very well. I am tempted to say "a tie," but if I had to choose one it would be TOPH, perhaps more out of a sense of nostalgia...

OCBD said...

There is something strangely homophilic about many of the photos in Take Ivy. One gets a sense of a Japanese Peeping Tom hiding in the bushes.

My vote is for TOPH, hands down.

Sherlock said...

For those who would like to see the full version of HTJ's photo:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Wbd-uMYmb_4/S5PaG93byHI/AAAAAAAAFq8/drtIs6Q03L4/s1600-h/Springtweedscropped.jpg

L.A.S said...

Apparently you can vote more than one time on different computers (IP addresses?)...with that being said I just voted for Take Ivy a second time. I hope that's not cheating. And my reasons for appreciating Take Ivy more are due to photography vs. drawings than anything else.

trip said...

LAS-
I'd say once-a-day voting is acceptable. It is a cage match, after all.

Classic Curricular Trad said...

TOPH's Lisa Birnbach is back with "True Prep":

http://knopfdoubleday.com/marketing/bookseller/TruePrepBlad.pdf

Memphis88 said...

I think it's hard for most people to really say because few of us have had our hands on a copy of Take Ivy. I guess quite a few might not even have TOPH, though. I have TOPH so I am going to have to vote for it. You should do another poll like this after the Take Ivy Re-Issue and the New OPH come out. I have pre-ordered both and can't wait for August to come.

Stephen Belden said...

It is hard to say because, as others have pointed out, OPH is basically a parody. The author is taking the piss, albeit affectionately. But the book is so good and on point in its attention to detail, that it has ironically ended up being something of a style guide. Take Ivy seems more like The Sartorialist for '60s Yalies, in that it has an affection and fascination with its subject. I'd say, in the end, I could probably cull more from OPH for my personal style, but if forced to look at one all day, it'd be Take Ivy.

Thibaut said...

I loved Take Ivy, it's definitely worth checking out !

Anonymous said...

I'll take Ivy please. The original The Sartorialist! I suppose one might say the Japanese Bill Cunningham. Any way you put it, TOPH is easily available in this internet age, while not so for TI, which is why i salute its being published in English for manyl to finally enjoy.

Skip said...

I voted for TOPH simply because I read it from cover to cover for the 10 years.

However, I did pre-ordered Take Ivy so we'll see if my vote changes this fall.

L said...

It's probably not fair to compare the two until the English translation of Take Ivy is out. All we have so far is a bunch of scans and Japanese characters. That said, there is something about the self-mockery of the OPH that I enjoy.

TWA said...

The single greatest comment on here is from Classic Curricular Trad. True Prep- also coming out in August, the real cage match will ensure. Till then it is TOPH all the way.

SP said...

TOPH is a part of American culture and vernacular. TOPH wins, no contest.

Anonymous said...

I always preferred The Sloane Ranger Handbook.

Pink Martini said...

Owning my original TOPH from when it was published I devoured it because I was living it in college. I was only introduced to Take Ivy recently and nothing compares to the actual photos taken in the 60's. From what I can remember, all kids dressed like this in the early 60's. I don't think it was considered 'Prep' then, was it? Up until '68 I don't think there were any other choices in style until the hippie movement came along. This is always a question I've wondered about. I would be very interested in your thoughts so I invite you to email me. My older bro graduated HS in '68 and was the classic prep and stayed that way all during college. The only alternative was to grow his hair long and grab some love beads. Although my era was the TOPH and it was a hoot to read, for authenticity, I give TI my vote.