Monday, February 25, 2008

Puritan Dressing: in Paris; on the Cape

On one hand, “Puritan dressing” calls to mind the pilgrim-buckle shoe, beautifully designed by Roger Vivier and worn with perfect ennui by Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour. I think this shoe is a perfect accompaniment to ankle-length skinny black trousers and a boat-neck navy sweater.

But speaking of boats, there’s a famous vessel called the Mayflower that also has a good deal to do with Puritan style. I’ve been to Plymouth, MA, have seen the historical clothes at the living museum there, and can attest that Puritan dressing also has a great deal to do with sobriety and steadfastness.

(Although there’s often a Hester Prynne in every crowd, with her gorgeously embroidered letter A.)

Puritan dressing today, however, evokes more than bored Parisian housewives and faithful (and not so faithful) pilgrims. One of my favorite summer stops is Puritan of Cape Cod, an elegant women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing store that has been in business for over eighty years.

It’s been run by the same family for three generations, and offers clothing that looks and feels perfect on the Cape—cool pastels and patterns from Vineyard Vines; classic Lilly Pulitzer florals; Sperry Top-Siders; and madras galore.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I don’t go all out in one style, but love some well-chosen accents: vibrant green and pink Lacoste golf socks (but not for golfing—I had my fill coming from a line of champion Canadian women golfers); a sea-blue running cap from Vineyard Vines; anything in Nantucket red.

I can’t wait to get back to the beach, where all the above colors look so right in the light. And then to PJ's for lobster rolls and ice cream, of course.


K.Line said...

Sperry Topsiders - I haven't thought about these in years... (I was such a marginal preppy!) K

riz said...

Belle de Jour is perfection. I almost bought a Vivier shoe in New York btw, this post makes me regret that decision...

miss cavendish said...

K-Line, When I was younger I wanted a paid of suede Topsiders--I thought they were the ultimate in cool.

Riz, Wouldn't it be lovely to slip on a Vivier shoe? If you'll pardon the lapse into grammar again, they really do punctuate a look properly!

And thanks so much to both of you for the link on your site!

enc said...

That sounds like all the stuff I grew up wearing. Until I got my hands on a Clash record.

miss cavendish said...

Hi enc--

Two summers ago I flew directly from the Cape (well, Boston) to Palo Alto, where the coastal cultures and styles couldn't be more different. I loved each in its own way, but there was absolutely no crossover in terms of clothing!

enc said...

Isn't it funny how insular the cultures can be? I agree that there isn't much crossover—especially when you're talking coast-to-coast.

I did heinous things: like layering a fair-isle shetland sweater over a vertically-striped oxford-cloth button-down shirt, over a Lacoste polo (with upturned collar), over a ditzy-print turtleneck (unfolded, scrunched neck). All at the same time. All color-coordinated, of course. Levi's 501s. We wore a certain kind of belt, and no socks—we wore the soles off our Topsiders. Deviation from this norm was unacceptable.

Until . . . well, you know.

The only carryover from those days are the scrunch-neck turtlenecks. I still wear my t-necks that way.