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 Preppy Style [Top Essentials of Preppy Fashion]

Preppy Style [Top Essentials of Preppy Fashion]

Preppy Style [Top Essentials of Preppy Fashion]

By: Navkiran Dhaliwal


When you think of preppy style, you think of Gossip Girl or Clueless. You think of those who attended private, university preparatory schools. Preppy fashion has long been a status symbol. It also has strong associations with the upper classes, academia, and ivy league schools.

The preppy style is timeless and classic. This is due to the maturity and intelligence associated with this fashion. It has experienced a resurgence with a fresh and modern take on the style in bright colors. Read on if you want to emerge from your work from home stasis with a new prep-inspired look. Our editorial team can help nail down the top essentials of preppy fashion in this article.

What Are The Preppy Must-Haves?

Before breaking down the essentials, you'll need to build your preppy wardrobe. There are four crucial details you'll need to mimic preppy fashion. They are attention to detail, accessories, conservative clothing, and layers. The preppy style initially pulls from specific brands to create the ensemble.

The Brooks Brothers are among the oldest brands available for preppy fashion. They introduced the concept of button-down shirts, polo shirts, and shetland sweaters. Though the preppy style faded for a while, it emerged again in the 1990s. Many designers like Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, and Tommy Hilfiger all used elements of this style in their clothing lines.

The colors of the preppy style are essential navy blue, white, nude, and black. Recently, the preppy style has come back in the form of light academia and dark academia. Light academia goes with the classic preppy fashion in light colors. The go-to are turtlenecks, collared shirts, sweater vests, and cardigans in shades of brown or beige. Dark academia leans heavily into a fusion between preppy style and goth style. It uses sweater vests, collar shirts, trench coats, tailored trousers, and oxfords. The dark academia colors are black, white, beige, brown, dark green with the occasional navy blue.

With that said, welcome to the official preppy handbook with these essentials.

Essential 1: Button-Down Shirts and Blouses

Nothing says preppy like the classic button-down. It's a versatile and functional basic of any preppy ensemble. A crisp, well-ironed button-down in any fit will serve you well. Another way to lean into the preppy aesthetic is to use blouses. Blouses are a preppy staple. You can use layers with a flowy blouse as the basis. Combine a long-sleeved blouse with jeans for summer casual wear. Another cute outfit option is to combine a sleeveless white blouse with a pleated skirt for a casual option.

Essential 2: Pleated Skirts

The pleated skirt is a preppy staple. It's typically worn in muted colors like gray or navy blue. You can also explore plaid prints for pleated skirts. Pair it with tights or cute knee-high socks for an effortlessly classic look.

Essential 3: Collared Shirts and Polos

Collared shirts can range from button shirts for a refined look to rugby shirts and plot shirts for casual wear. Both men and women can wear a polo shirt. You can wear a sweater over your shoulders atop your button-down. Pair this with shorts in shades of brown for a sporty look. Avoid cargo shorts, athletic shorts, bike shorts, or denim shorts.

Essential 4: Sweater Vests, University Sweaters, and Jackets

Shetland sweaters and sweater vests are the basics when looking to dress preppy. It's typically layered over button-downs with upturned collars for a sophisticated look. Lean into the layers with tailored trousers for an academic look.

University sweaters and jackets give you an effortless preppy look. Pair them with a solid-colored blouse for a put-together look.

Essential 5: Oxfords, Loafers or Mary Janes?

Preppy shoes are often basic, independently selected, but complement your ensemble. While any shoe design can be worn with preppy attire (except combat boots). Choose from among the following go-to shoes for the ideal prep aesthetic.

Mary Janes are flexible and comfy. They go well with jeans, a sheath dress, a blazer and slacks combo, and other outfits. Loafers or oxfords will give you a European boarding school and a preppy student vibe. These are excellent workwear choices that look fantastic with slacks, skits, and even jeans. Boat shoes are also a great summer shoes since they look great with shorts and skirts.

Essential 6: Blazers

A well-fitted blazer can make or break your outfit. If you like the oversized blazer trend, you can refresh your prep style with a necktie. Choose a bowtie or a ribbon bow for a flourish. You can also add a crest of your school to your blazer.

Essential 7: Khakis and Trousers

A well-tailored pair of pants or khakis go well with sweaters, polo, and button-downs. Wear boats without socks for a summer look. You can wear shirts in white for a dressy look or black with khaki for a casual look.

Essential 8: Accessories

No preppy outfit is complete without at least one or two accessories. Pearls are a classic choice for jewelry. Pearl necklaces and earrings can be worn with both formal and informal attire. A bold statement necklace in gold or silver may liven up a plain ensemble.

Women's headbands and hats are another popular prep item. Thin black headbands go with practically every ensemble. Choosing wider bands, headbands with pearls/jewels, and bright color headbands are no go for the preppy wardrobe. Other typical accessories are tights, delicate wristwatches, and scarves.

That was your complete guide to preppy fashion. Now that we've pared the style down to a few basics. We hope you can craft your own versions of the preppy style. It can be effortless once you nail down a few basic pieces. You can experiment with colors while maintaining conservative clothing options.

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