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LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy & Preppy

Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy

LL Bean has long been known for doing classic New England prep. But in a market alongside "classic American" brands like Banana Republic, J. Crew and American Eagle, Bean can seem old and staid. Hence the "signature" collection!

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Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy

LL Bean Signature offers "new classics" inspired by the LL Bean back catalog. In other words: Our usual clientele is old now, and we need new, younger customers, so we're going to try to be "hip," but our way. This means plaid, and lots of it.

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Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy

A tweed riding jacket is reminiscent of Bean's hunting and fishing heritage — and if you have your own horse, you may not flinch at the $225 price tag. Stretch corduroy pants, on the other hand, are so very now.

Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy

In my mind, LL Bean shills natural fibers for natural people, so a rayon shirt — even a super cute one like this — doesn't seem right somehow.

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Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy

But it makes sense to take an LL Bean staple — the famous waterproof boot — and give it a little update. It's taller and lined with shearling — perfect for crossing the quad at Colby. At $299, it is not cheap, but it is guaranteed. By the way, LL stands for Leon Leonwood. Impress a friend!

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Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy

These wool tartan pants might be controversial — this kind of thing can seem clownish in the wrong hands — but I love them. According to the copy, they are "a modern reworking of the Black Stewart Men's tartan slacks from our 1970 catalog." LOVE.

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Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy

There's no doubt whatsoever that this alpaca/wool turtleneck is incredibly warm. And in my experience, LL Bean sweaters last forever. The herringbone check skirt seems like the perfect thing to wear when you're hosting a Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner and it's snowy outside.

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Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy

Cute? Dorky? School-girl-ish? FLDS chic? So hard to decide.

Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy
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Opinion: Accessories are not this collection's strong point.

Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy
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But you will find cozy, wearable, durable pieces you can mix with stuff you've already got.

Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy
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But really: Beyond the waterproof boots, skip the accessories. Really.

Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy
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Some of the men's stuff looks pretty good — nothing earth-shattering, but sturdy, well-made basics like a wool trench and flannel pants are important to any wardrobe.

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The jeans, however, are a nightmare.

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But since we're experiencing a return to beards, butchering your own meat and other retro-manly stuff, a lot of the things you may have seen on your grandpa — a shawl-collared sweater and plaid trousers — suddenly look very cool, comfy and now.

Illustration for article titled LL Bean Signature: A (Kind Of) Youthful Spin On Woodsy  Preppy
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And if you're a true New Englander, some of this stuff never really went "out."

LL Bean Signature [Official Site]

Earlier: Bedding Porn For Sleepyheads
Witchy & Wenchy Halloween Ideas From People Who'd Know
12 Depressing Ensembles From Urban Outfitters' Apocalyptic Wasteland
39 Crazy Christmas Ornaments To Make You Dread The Season

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See also: All previous catalog posts

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DISCUSSION

phillylass-old
PhillyLass

And Lands End has created their "Canvas" collection to compete for their share of the young-and-cool market. I must say, I'm glad for it since I can't swallow J. Crew's absurd prices.

Edited to add that these prices are almost as crazy as Crew's! I'll have to stick to Canvas!