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Preppy Clothes

Insanely Useful Dos and Don'ts of Wearing Preppy Clothes

Preppy clothes are all the rage now, thanks to shows like NYC Prep and Glee. If you want to learn, how to dress in this unique style, read on to learn about the various elements and fashion tips regarding this style.
Tulika Nair
Last Updated: Jul 14, 2017
Think Blair Waldorf or Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl or Charlotte York from Sex and the City. If preppy fashion is what you want to emulate, then these fictional characters from television shows have to be your style icons. The term preppy or its alternate version, preppie, are abbreviated forms of the word preparatory. These clothes tend to deviate towards the more traditional, and to the untrained eye a person wearing prep school clothes may seem to be wary of experimenting with fashion.
However this fashion, though seemingly inconspicuous, is more brand conscious and expensive. It is difficult to find someone wearing inexpensive clothes, due to its unavailability, but you can try and model the look out of those you already have in your wardrobe. If you want to don this style, you need to remember that the look is predominantly formal, to the extent that even teenagers try to emulate the appearance of a young professional.
Important Dos and Donts
Anyone who swears by this fashion follows some golden rules. If you have been newly enamored by this style, then here is a quick overview of some cardinal sins that you should never commit. Always remember that you should never wear gold and silver together. The same rule applies to wearing black and brown. You should always match your shoes, belt, and purse. Always tuck in your shirt. If you are wearing a skirt or a dress, you should always wear pantyhose, unless your shoes are open toed. Similarly, always wear socks when you are wearing either shorts or pants, unless you are wearing open toe shoes. For women, preppy fashion dictates a preference for skirts and dresses over pants and other masculine clothing items. Conservative, classic, and clean cut - these are the three C's that are synonymous with this fashion trend.
For Women
Pearls, diamonds, skirts, dresses, and a school girl like fresh-faced look - these are all requisites of preppy fashion for women. The key women's clothing items for any girl who wants this look are listed below.
  • Skirts and dresses are what make up most of the wardrobe. One should remember that the length of dresses and skirts should never be much above the knee. Even if you are wearing shorts, the length should always be just a little above the knee.
  • Polo shirts, oxfords, and blazers are also functional items in the wardrobe. They should always be fitted, but not too tight. Many women who wear preppy clothes also have ties in their wardrobes.
  • Accessories that need to be a definite part of your wardrobe are headbands and ribbon belts. Jewelry should be classic and follow vintage patterns and designs. Carry tote bags to complete the look.
If you are still confused about what to pick out, then we suggest that you consult shoppers assistants at stores of brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Abercrombie, etc.
For Men
If your future plans are focused on going to an Ivy League school and a career in politics, then the perfect style for you is preppy fashion. Though the style peaked in the 80's, this style still remains the best option for someone who is traditional yet trendy. The essentials of such a wardrobe are given below.
  • When you are out buying shirts, remember that the few basics you definitely need in your wardrobe are Polo shirts, long sleeved Oxford shirts, and rugby shirts.
  • Chinos, Khakis, and Bermuda shorts are a must-have for any guy who dresses in preppy clothes. Khaki pants are equivalent to jeans, but lately jeans is also being accepted. However, remember that your jeans cannot be the loose, ill fitting, acid washed variety. In fact they need to be in plain colors, neat, ironed, and teamed with buttoned shirts.
  • Another fashion clothing item that is synonymous with the style is a vest, the kind that cricketers wear. If you need a jacket or a blazer, then stick to the one that is navy blue in color. In summers, the jacket should be made of a material like seersucker and in the winters, you could opt for either tweed or corduroy.
  • Options for footwear include moccasins made of leather, boat shoes, and leather flip flops.
The most important thing to remember about preppy fashion is that the style is brand conscious. You may never be able to get the style quite right without being a regular at these fashion portals. However, if you like the style, but do not have those deep pockets, then you could always buy a few basics and then team the rest with clothes that you can either make yourself (depending on your sewing abilities) or shop at second hand stores, that could have some great deals. While it may seem like this style is conformist and makes you feel like a clone, you could always individualize the look by smart thinking and creativity.