Acne Studios Shows Us How to Wear Nantucket Reds

If you haven’t seen The Devil Wears Prada, having watched a pivotal scene in the movie is the key to understanding today’s rant. If you haven’t seen the film yet, I recommend it as an enjoyable, popcorn-worthy chick flick (even though I’d probably only give it about a 2.5 today). Yes, I know that scene was written using information that isn’t true. And no, it doesn’t escape me that that fact really makes the entire film lose its message, but that’s a tirade for another day.

Acne Studios recently dropped their SS19 collection, and I’m loving the mixture of off-beat colors, punchy patterns, and subtle twists on neutral basics, all of which the label is known for. But something really bothers me about how they’ve marketed the pair of pants seen in the above pictures. Okay, they’re not exactly the same. The one on the left is a runway piece made of ripstop while the one on the right is ready-to-wear made of twill. However, they’re obviously meant to be the same color, and that is why I’m channeling Miranda Priestly today.

What you don’t know is that these pants are not just orange, they’re not ginger orange, they’re not dark coral, they’re actually Nantucket red. You see, in the 1940s, Murray’s Toggle Shop on the little island of Nantucket began selling chinos in a brick red color which sold like hotcakes. Due to the amount of sailing the residents of the prep style capital did, the salt spray and sunlight began bleaching the pants into a salmon-like shade. The popularity of the pants lead Philip C. Murray to trademark the name Nantucket Reds along with the color, selling them exclusively at his shop. The faded red trousers have been a staple in preppy wardrobes ever since, with the garment serving as something of a badge of honor for the Ivy League types.

The fact is Murray’s pants are not designed well and fit like crap, and after several years, the made-to-fade red pants start looking rather…well…pink. Fashion labels like the color and its history, but they want to be able to tweak the pants to coordinate well with their looks. Thus, similarly colored pants tend to show up in the collections of labels known for preppy clothing like Polo Ralph Lauren and J.Crew or in other labels every decade or so when prepwear becomes popular again. Now is that time. Of course, no one can actually call the color “Nantucket red” because of the trademark, so they have to invent other color names like tropical orange or dusty berry. I really wish they all would just stick to one color name instead of making us guess.

It’s odd that I was just recently trying to figure out how one was expected to mix this preppy staple into a modern-looking outfit. (I don’t always feel up to wearing a white OCBD and navy blazer.) Acne is reading my mind, and now I have some inspiration. For your consideration, you’d probably be safe to mix in pieces from other modern prep fashion labels such as Noah, Rowing Blazers, or Kent & Curwen. Mix it up and don’t take the color too seriously.

Rant over.

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