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Ralsten Ltd.jpg

Courtesy of David Smith Ralsten, Ltd. opened at 1531 4th Ave. in 1963. Owners Murrell and Helen Ralsten died in the Marshall plane crash.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 343rd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

UNTINGTON — One of the most enduring styles in modern American dress is the preppy look, based on attire favored by young people who have been to an expensive prep school.

For men, that means a blue blazer, button-down shirts, narrow ties with regimental stripes, khaki pants, cotton polo shirts, tasseled loafers and crew-neck sweaters. For women, it’s solid-colored skirts, cardigans, blazers and pastel shirts.

In the 1960s, the unofficial Huntington headquarters for preppy clothing was Ralsten, Ltd., a small shop at 1531 4th Ave.

Murrell Ralsten and his wife, Helen, opened their shop, located just a stone’s throw from Marshall’s Old Main, in 1963. There they offered, as their advertising proclaimed, “Fine Clothing In The Traditional Manner for Young Men & Ladies.”

A member of Huntington City Council, Murrell Ralsten was born in Beckley in 1931. A graduate of Greenbrier Military Academy and Marshall, he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, the Huntington Rotary Club and the Guyan Golf and Country Club.

A former Chesapeake school teacher, Helen Ralsten was born in Weirton in 1938. A graduate of Marshall, she was a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, the Junior League of Huntington, the Assembly Club and the Regency Club.

The Ralstens were among the two dozen Herd fans who were on the jetliner carrying the Marshall football team when it crashed at Tri-State Airport on Nov. 14, 1970. All 75 people aboard perished in the crash.

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