Fresh Off The Boat

Anchors Away!

Those of us who were children of the ‘80s all remember when Preppy reigned supreme.  And the ubiquitous Preppy outfit for both girls and guys was gently faded Levi 501’s, Ralph Lauren or Izod polo shirts – layered with collars flipped up, a coordinating sweater draped rakishly over your shoulders, Vaurnet or RayBan sunnies on your head, and on your feet –Sperry Top Sider boat shoes, no socks.  It was nearly a school uniform where I went to school.

This spring Preppy is back with bright/pastel pants, polka dots and stripes, semi-tailored layers, brass buttons, and most notable of all – the boat shoe.  But for us girls this is not the boat shoe of our misspent youth, indeed not.  Back in the day Top Siders– for men or women – were dark brown, oiled leather with a white flat sole.  I do recall someone sporting them in an obnoxious Kelly green at one point, but otherwise brown was it.  But not this time around.  No girls, not any more!

THE boat shoe – the Sperry Top Sider  – has reinvented itself and is clearly having some fun doing it.  Sperry is taking their go-to shoes and making them truly fashionable.  You can now get the traditional boat shoe styling but in a myriad of fun media – quilted or woven leather, suede, patent, fun canvas prints – super preppy plaids, tropical prints,  or bold leopard, metallic leather, sparkle – even sequins!  To further amp up their style “cred” they have partnered with fashion house Milly to create – Milly by Sperry.  Featuring super cute colors, prints and some great shoe styles – including a fab platform cum loafer that still sports a deck shoe vibe – these little guys are so kicky and amusing they scream “wear me!!!”.

Best of all, they are readily available at major retailers and online.  A quick scout of Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and the Sperry site itself yielded me with a bunch of fabulous choices for every mood and moment.  In the definitively preppy category I liked the Milly traditional versions in uber-on-trend coral or the fun tropical print.  For comfort the Angel Fish or Blue Fish styles reign with structure and support that is more like a running shoe; while they don’t come in the super fab media they still have some good colors and prints.  If you are looking for something a bit less traditional the Milly platform in the signature print is a standout, as is the fun leopard print wedge that really doesn’t look like it will say “Sperry Top Sider” on it.  If you are looking for a nautical vibe but don’t want a boat shoe the Milly wedge, which comes in several colors, is just the thing.  And last but not least my favorites – traditional boat shoe styles in silver sequins which would rock with jeans and the black or grey sparkle versions with the lacings in velvet – such a witty riff – both designs make me want to cuff my pants and wear a playful hat. 

While these boat shoes are great to make the most of the preppy trend or spice up a nautical look, I think I like their sense of irony even more.  How fun to have bright flowery, shiny silver or sparkly black deck shoes!  They are such a fashionable way to spice up traditional weekend or vacation wear. 

Bravo to Sperry!  They have done a great job of keeping up with the changing tastes of the marketplace while still delivering on their tradition with tried and true basics. Now myself, my family and countless sailors like us have who have worn many pairs of Top Siders over the years will suddenly be super-cool alongside the Fashionistas.  Check it out Dad – Sequins!!!!

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