We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Along with plaid scarves and untucked Oxford shirts, add this prep-school accessory for autumn 2002: a District of Columbia license plate. On the cover of the fall J. Crew catalog, the usual mixed-gender grouping of fresh-faced models lounges on a tree-lined lawn, surrounded by shabby-chic vehicles: a wood-paneled station wagon, a vintage VW bug, and an orange-brown Volvo 200 Series sedan. Clearly visible on the Volvo is a D.C. tag, AX 788—a final digit seems to have been whited out. It’s a strangely local intrusion on Preppyeverland. But the picture is not from Malcolm X Park, a J. Crew spokesperson assures the public. The cover was shot at Duke University, with a student’s car for a prop. In the spirit of inoffensive retro, the tag is revealed, on close inspection, to be a “Celebrate & Discover,” rather than one of those downscale taxation ones. —Annys Shin