Guest post: Preppy knows best – Tommy Hilfiger’s global Prep World tour lands in London

Nothing quite sums up summer for me than the opportunity to ditch the boots and knits for a Bass Weejun and a bare ankle. Preppy fever has hit London with the arrival of Tommy Hilfiger’s pop up beach house, so retail consultant – and author of Bish-Shops blog – ALISON BISHOP (my first ever guest editor!) went to the opening to report…

Dressed in my best prepster attire, last week I was intrigued to check out Tommy Hilfiger’s new pop-up ‘beach house’ store that has just landed in Covent Garden’s Piazza. Preppy is an enduring style that I’ve always admired but not necessarily followed and at Tommy’s Prep World I felt indoctrinated into a world where all are welcome, contrary to popular belief.

“The best thing about preppy style is that it’s so democratic,” co-Prep World curator and author of True Prep, follow-up to The Official Prep Handbook, Lisa Birnbach told me. “From Reagan to Obama this American style has a legacy where everyone is welcome. It doesn’t matter what age or class you are, everyone can do prep, it’s easy style dressing for every occasion.” Now I love a good style tribe and who better than Tommy Hilfiger for Birnbach to partner with for a retail tour to promote her new book? Or should that be the other way around, where Tommy asked Lisa to lend an authoritative voice to his global pop-up tour that sees his Hamptons-inspired beach house (I felt like I was in Montauk) travel around the world from New York to London, Paris, Milan, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Madrid and Tokyo.

Actually it’s the dedicated Prep World 60-piece collection that’s sold in the beach house that’s the main event here. I love a well styled Breton stripe, crisp white shirt, natural fibre blazer, pinstripe pleat, rolled up chino, boat shoe (all the classics!) and they are all there for quite reasonable price points. Did I mention the Breton stripes in plentiful T-shirt dress or boat-neck sweater options?

The visual merchandising in-store (I mean beach-house of course) left no collar unturned; each rail was styled to an inch of its life and if customers are left bereft of ideas it’s not through lack of display ideas. Tommy’s take on accessories also caught my eye – don’t miss the PrepGammon board, Prep ice-cube trays and a whole array of bow-ties, neckerchiefs and delectable high-heel boat shoes. So aside from the pop-up Prep World location – don’t miss it in London, only in town until the end of May – the book is a must read. Birnbach’s True Prep update crosses those ts and dots the i’s with a modern spin that leaves the reader in no confusion as to how to nail the prepster look for an internet-driven New Millennium generation.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Prep World is at the East Piazza in Covent Garden until 15th May