Something Preppy This Way Comes

J. McLaughlin brings its neoclassicism to the hamlet of Preston Center.

By Billy Fong. Photography Mark Anthony Nelson.  |  Photos by Mark Anthony Nelson
December 05, 2013
Event Date:
September 26, 2013

J. McLaughlin has long been on my radar, dating back to my days as a graduate student in New York City, when I would wander the Upper East Side to purchase a little bit of happy in the form of a cozy sweater or shorts apropos for a weekend trip to a friend’s place on Georgica Pond. So I was terribly excited to learn that this venerable purveyor of good taste was setting up shop in Preston Center — and that a portion of the opening party’s proceeds would benefit Equest. To get inspired for the evening, I popped in the DVD of one of my favorite films chronicling New York preppy society, Metropolitan. If you haven’t seen it, then shame on you. It’s the story of “haute urban bourgeoisie” from Manhattan, home for winter break from their first year of college during debutante ball season, filled with wicked repartee and a fun walk down memory lane of ’80s gowns. Presiding over the non-celluloid festivities on this particular night were Jay McLaughlin — one of the brothers who launched the company over 35 years ago — and his wife Joan. Other scene stealers: store manager Tina Breckenfeld, Judy and Steve Connatser, Cheryl Onodera, Jared Reed, Lynn McBee, Claire Dewar, Susan Posnick, Elaine Raffel, Claire Grant, Stephen James, Margaret James, and Doris Jacobs.


The embodiment of classic American style?

“Babe Paley.” — Claire Grant

“John Cheever.” — Jill Olson

“Jackie O.” — Phoebe Park

“Margot Tenenbaum.” — Kyle Park

“Tom Brady.” — Stephen James

“Gwyneth Paltrow.” — Margaret James


“Catherine Rose.” — Claire Dewar