Monday, April 5

Permission to frat

Two summers ago, we packed all of our frattiest clothes and headed off to Cape Cod and Nantucket for our honeymoon (we also went to Boston and Maine, it was an awesome trip full of lots of nerdy historical stuff.) When we rolled up to Cape Cod we were expecting something like this:

So naturally, we were really surprised to find that pretty much everyone looked (and acted) like this:

The Cast of MTV's Jersey Shore

It was NOT fratty. As we sat at dinner one night, clearly out-fratting everyone in the restaurant, we decided that the true home of frattiness is not the exclusive beach towns of Cape Cod, it is the South. (I really don't know why we ever even questioned that fact.)

Here in the South, we strictly adhere to these rules, no matter how hot it may be outside:
  • No white bottoms after labor day. Unless it is made of wool or it is a wedding dress, it is not allowed.
  • No seersucker, eyelet, madras or linen after labor day. This applies to both sexes.
  • No pastel colors on men until the temperature is 65 degrees or until Easter arrives, whichever comes first.
  • I don't really like white shoes, but if I did, there would be no wearing them after labor day.
  • No straw purses or natural fiber on shoes until Easter. That means espadrilles are out (I know, this is a tough one.)
  • You may wear a bathing suit at any point during the year however, your suit and/or cover up cannot be made out of any of the above fabrics mentioned in the first bullet point.
It has been a long winter of rule following and so I am please to announce that today is a day of celebration! The rules are officially off for the next 5 months. I am currently outfitted in both white and linen. Hubby is in pastel. Huckleberry, being a hound, is naturally fratty. We are a hard fratting family.

So, in honor of today, the day after Easter and the Frattiest Day of the Year, I would like to introduce you to Art History's Top Ten Most Fratty:

10) The Gibson Girl

Illustrator Charles Dana Gibson invented female frat when he introduced the quintessential American girl-next-door to the world. Gibson Girls were the female ideal at the turn of century, dominating magazines and the advertising world from the 1890's to the 1910's. They were beautiful and well-mannered while being competitive, athletic and sassy all at the same time. The wore all of the latest fashions and had men wrapped around their fingers.

9) Hamilton's Coca-Cola Girls

Much like Gibson's Girls, Hamilton King's advertisements for the Georgia-born soft drink are as classic as the refreshing drink they advertise. This King ad was circulated in 1912.

8) George Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1886

Hanging out on the Island of La Grande Jatte was the 19th century Parisian equivalent to tailgating. Dress up, get there early, sit, drink and repeat.

7) Anything by Guy Harvey

Rainbow Country by Guy Harvey

Guy Harvey artwork is best displayed on the back of a men's t-shirt, worn with slightly too short khaki shorts and Costa Del Mar glasses.

6) Dogs

That, my boy, is a duck by Ross B. Young

A portrait of your hunting dog makes excellent office/ man room art. (Why yes, we do have a oil painting of a Basset Hound in our house.) Some of my favorite depictions of hunting dogs are by English romantic painter George Stubbs (1724-1806.) Stubbs really set off the trend of sporting dog art, but he is just now gaining recognition as a masterful dog and equine painter, 200+ years after his death.

A Couple of Foxhounds by George Stubbs

5) Marine Art

Sailing Regatta by Catalina Decaire

Where would fratty people be today without the sailboat? Afterall, the sailboat gave birth the frattiest shoe known to man, the Sperry Top-sider.

Marine art has actually been around a long time, making it the most historically fratty on this list. For as long as people have been building ships, artists have been painting them. The Dutch, who were the world's best shipbuilders during the 17th and 18th century, were particularly keen on marine painting.

4) Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre- Auguste Renoir, 1881

The French and the American South share many cultural similarities (I'm sure my husband could explain all of the historical reasons behind this, the French connection to the American Civil War yada yada but I'm not going to get into that today.) Being able to slow down and relax like the Boating Party is very fratty.

3) The Official Kentucky Derby Commemorative Poster

Each year an artist is picked to commemorate the second frattiest day of the year, Kentucky Derby Day. This year, French artist Linda Le Kinff's colorful, Henri Matisse inspired painting was selected as the Official Art of the Kentucky Derby.

2) Bacchus by Caravaggio, 1597

The frat flip! The toga! The beverage offer! As far as fratty art history figures go, Caravaggio's Bacchus is as fratty as they get.

1) SEC Football Stadium Panoramas

Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn University

Can you honestly get any frattier than a framed panorama of 87,451 of the frattiest people in America all fratting together? Of course you can't.

Honorable Mention: The Lynch Bench Series by Johnny Lynch

(Just look at it. I couldn't leave this off the list.)


  1. I love it - Summer is here! My dad's house is filled with art in #6 and #5 categories, some of my favorites on the frat list too :)

  2. This post is ridiculous. Also, I disagree with all your rules and would venture to say that the South is the only place in the country that can break these rules. Don't get me wrong, wearing a seersucker suit at Thanksgiving is unforgivable, but its still in the 70s in October so why should we not be able to extend the seersucker/white shoes/pants into the fall a little bit. Also, the first football game is typically the first week in September. So you're telling me I can only wear seersucker shorts to the first game even though I'm still gonna be sweating my ass off at the homecoming game in October? Go talk to Stacy London. She's with me on this one.

  3. Hilarious. Wes, that's what Columbia PFG's are for! And I think the fact that Stacy London probably lives in New York is a strike against her.

  4. HAHA What a gem. This is great. Bacchus was such a good call...what a bro. & white shoes should never, EVER be worn past Labor Day.

  5. I LOVE this post! I mean I love the whole blog, but your frequent usage of the word "frat" was pretty great! The Boating Party is one of my favorite paintings, so I was pretty excited to see it considered as "fratty." I also agree that white shoes should not be worn after Labor Day & neither should seersucker.

  6. The video cracked me up. I love this post, the painting and the discussion it created. You guys all make me smile!

  7. Again, I defer to Stacy London on this one.