In honor of August and the back to school vibes in the now crisper air we decided to address the always popular preppy aesthetic. Grab your book bags, rimmed glasses, cable-knits, navy blazers, madras bow ties, and loafers and lets get started!
The preppy style evolved from quintessentially Ivy League origins, first sported by America’s East Coast elite in the early 1900s. Originally preppies were more formal than the looks we often see today. This style began as a way of dress for students attending prestigious universities like Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
The preppy look became more mainstream in the late 1950s iconically worn by hollywood legends such as Steve McQueen, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Ryan O’neal and Paul Newman. The collegiate style suddenly became the hottest street style clothing that anybody could wear, while still looking smart and stylish.
Today, the preppy look is widely worn and can be dressed up or worn leisurely. It can also be achieved by adding an item to a rather neutral ensemble, like a varsity jacket or pair of loafers. Less is more, it’s important not go too overboard and in turn look like you are in character from Harry Potter or practicing for Halloween. Building the preppy look around a staple piece, like a varsity jacket or madras check shirt is a great way to maintain control of the situation. Also remember you are an adult not an actual college student so it’s important to maintain some sophistication. Don’t get carried away with bright collegiate colors, better to be safer and stick to neutrals for a more grown-up version of preppy.
A good rule of thumb is to always keep it Classic. Think of those vintage shots of the 1960s Ivy Leaguers, their look was and remains timeless. Sticking to classic preppy pieces like cotton cable sweaters, chinos, navy blazers and loafers will always make the trend look timeless.
The preppy look is clean and polished, so if you are into a looser more tucked out and “laisser faire” kind of look, this is not for you. If preppy is your game then make sure each piece fits perfectly and tuck in your shirt, making sure everything looks neat and tidy. Finishing touches like monogram embellishment on shirts and sweaters will also elevate your prep.
Another signature of the preppy look is a hint of an unexpected color. This is something you can see in the brands like Paul Smith, Psycho Bunny, J.Crew and other preppy pedigrees. Layer in some bursts of color in your shirts, knits and socks – think lemon, peach or mint green for ultimate old-school preppiness.
Must Have Items in Your Closet to Get the Look:
- Oxford Shirt
- Navy Blazer
- Cable Sweater
- Varsity Jacket
- Polo Shirt
- Collegiate Striped Tie
- Leather braided belt
- Nautical style watch