Preppy style – the style of elite American college students

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The preppy style can be described as sporty yet luxurious. We like to share with you our tips on how to dress according to the preppy style. One thing is for sure: top quality materials are essential.

Preppy history

Preppy is one of the classic fashion styles and its origins date back to the 1930s-50s. It took its inspiration from the clothing and uniform of the students of the Ivy League, which consisted of eight elite American universities, including Harvard and Yale. All elements of their closet were elegant and made of the highest quality materials, and thus – expensive and with labels of very famous brands.

Moreover, preppy style is referred to as sporty elegance. It’s no coincidence that these students practiced rugby, tennis, polo and cricket, so their outfits featured sporty elements.

With time the style began to be imitated also by young men studying at less prestigious universities, until it finally “entered” the everyday fashion.

The style gained its greatest popularity in the 1980s thanks to the book “Official Preppy Handbook” written by Lisa Birnbach. Although the book was supposed to ridicule the style of dress and lifestyle of the elite part of the society, it became a kind of ready handbook for everyone who wanted to be “preppy” – because it turns out that it’s not just clothes and accessories, but also behavior and a way of being.

The icon of the preppy style was undoubtedly the president of the United States, John Kennedy, whose styles were always perfectly matched. Today, however, it is worth taking a closer look at the looks of David Beckham and the characters from the popular Netflix series ‘School for the Elite’.

What are the characteristics of the preppy look?

Preppy clothing, accessories and accessories must be clean, perfectly ironed and well-fitted. The color palette is predominantly white, beige, navy blue and brown, but also includes bottle green, mustard, orange and red. Juicy colors dominate the summer outfits. As far as patterns are concerned, there are stripes, polka dots, diamonds, scotch checks and tennis stripes.

The most important thing is the quality of materials, preferably natural – wool, cotton, linen, silk.

Anyone who wants to dress in a preppy style should look at brands such as Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Gant, Morris, Barbour and Jack Donneley Khakis. The good news is that many items of clothing can be purchased not only from these well-known and luxurious brands, but also from popular chain stores, especially when preppy is “in” again.

Preppy closet

Preppy is not complicated, so it should not be a big problem to create outfits. The classic look includes such closet items as:

  • baseball jacket,
  • harrington jacket,
  • navy blue blazer or jacket,
  • herringbone tweed jacket in grey or brown,
  • sweater and cricket sleeveless,
  • shirt with club collar,
  • club tie with diagonal stripes or stripes,
  • jacket, shorts and madras cotton shirt,
  • rugby shirt,
  • polo shirt,
  • t-shirt and sweatshirt with university symbol,
  • beige cotton or corduroy chinos
  • straight chino shorts in light color, often white,
  • saddle shoes,
  • classic sneakers,
  • sailor moccasins and penny loafers
  • brogues.

The contemporary preppy closet is distinguished above all by stronger colors, a wider palette and cuts closer to the body. This includes, for example:

  • baseball jackets,
  • quilted husky jackets,
  • puddle jackets,
  • cardigans,
  • hoodies with college or club prints or patches,
  • colorful chinos,
  • classic jeans,
  • colorful belts and plaid belts,
  • vichy and gingham shirts,
  • plaid ties,
  • cotton and tweed flies,
  • polo shirts in intense colors like pink, green and turquoise.
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