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L.L. Bean's New Signature Line: The Preppy Look Gets a Risky Makeover

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When L.L. Bean first announced its plan to launch a hip new clothing line targeting 20- and 30-somethings last August, I quickly joined the chorus of voices crying foul. After all, Bean isn't just a brand; it's an institution, a torchbearer, a monument to a bygone lifestyle. Along with Brooks Brothers, Sperry and a few other labels, it represents one of the last survivors of the great age of prep, when vast herds of preppy clothiers thundered across the American retail plain, dispensing tweed and bespoke throughout the land. While brand names like Abercrombie and Fitch still survive, the company's offerings would be completely unrecognizable to its earlier adherents. Yet, somehow, L.L. Bean managed to stay true to its core mission and survive, a tribute to classic clothing and New England perseverance.

Would you purchase from L.L. Bean's signature line, or are you rooted in the brand's core vintage image? WalletPop's writer Bruce Watson discusses what goes into this new signature look and the possible effects on the company's brand. Visit to view this article in full.