Browsing our site, you may have noticed a prep-onderance of Jolly Roger-themed items and may have said "Shiver me timbers, what does that have to do with prepdom?"
It's been nearly a decade since the skull-and-crossbones motif swept the fashion industry, but like most things in preppy style, the tradition goes back a lot farther. The symbol has deep collegiate roots going back to the 19th century, where it's served as the insignia for fraternities, athletic teams and secret societies, the most notable being Yale's Skull And Bones Society.
The origin of the skull-and-bones symbol goes back to the late Middle Ages, when it was used on tombstones. It became associated with pirates in the 18th century, and in modern times serves as a symbol for poisonous substances. In 2004, Ralph Lauren launched the Rugby brand, whose logo was a skull-and-crossbones, in keeping with English rugby teams of the 19th century. In 2013 the brand was axed, returning the skull-and-bones full circle to a symbol fit for a tombstone.
Here are some of our favorite Jolly Roger items, perfect for starting your own secret society.