So you have decided to change your style this year and go for the “preppy” look. The fashion you were sporting last year is played out, and you want a new look that matches your upwardly-mobile attitude. Are you sure you know what you are looking for? Let's go to prep school and find out.
What is “preppy” anyway? The term conjures images of Ivy League students, games of polo or cricket, or hanging out at the golf or yacht club.
Dictionary.com defines “preppy” as either “1. a person who is a student at or a graduate of a preparatory school or 2. a person who favors or is viewed as favoring clothing style or behavior associated with traditional preparatory schools.” (Source: Dictionary.com)
Maybe you are not rich, not going to an Ivy League school and do not own a yacht, but you feel the style reflects your attitude. Zero in on the key elements of this preppy style and select some that match your own.
Preppy style invokes words like clean, classic, fresh, and educated. A quick search delivers images of clothing made of materials like tweed, seersucker, madras, corduroy and of course khaki. The color styles vary, but it is safe to stick with the classics like grey, beige, white, navy and more recently, pastels.
Starting at the feet, boat shoes or penny loafers are the quintessential preppy shoe. Go with the boat shoe – socks are optional and this shoe works for men or women.
Working upward, beige khaki or navy blue slacks, corduroy slacks or smart looking jeans are standard for men. More options come into play with men’s shorts, like blue seersucker, checkered madras or more simple cotton twill shorts. Traditionally, preppy women wear skirts or dresses, often pleated, but for sportier events don slacks or something casual like a madras skirt.
Preppy shirts are pretty easy. A classic button-down shirt, white, pastel or checkered, or a polo shirt will suffice for men or women. While talking torso coverings, you can’t forget the sweater, particularly in the fall or winter. Wool, cardigan and the legendary cashmere sweaters for women are part and parcel to the prep look.
Casual jackets are a common accoutrement to this style, with seersucker and tweed as the preppy front runners. Add sunglasses, a tie and maybe a cigar to show off your newly adopted preppy look and successful attitude. Remember, preppy is as much about the attitude as it is the clothes.