What is preppy style?

30 November, 2020

In preppy style, structured silhouettes, pastel colours, basic garments, plaid prints and embroidery reign supreme. Keen to learn more about this trend? Keep reading—we’ve got you covered!

The origin of the preppy style: preparatory schools in the United States

In the 1920s, children of wealthy families went to the best private schools in the country. These institutions were inspired by traditional English dress codes, and incorporated uniforms in block colours with shields. After graduating from secondary school and university, alumni continued to wear preppy clothes.

In the 1950s, the preppy style defined the American lifestyle and became synonymous with success. This trend gave rise to brands like Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Gradually, it became a trend worldwide.

How to create a preppy look

Preppy style is both classic and contemporary, feminine and ironic. Here are our DOs and DON’Ts for creating the perfect preppy look.

  • Choose basic garments and play with the colour or fit—whether oversized or crop.
  • Invest in fun, new pieces or breathe new life into a classic with techniques like patchwork, tie dye or illustration.
  • To make an outfit more practical, opt for minimalism.
  • Avoid strong necklines and clothes that are ripped or those with an edgy, rocker vibe.
  • Don’t wear a preppy outfit from head to toe.
  • Avoid excessive femininity. Contrast your look with a track-soled sandal
  • Avoid dark colour palettes.
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Types of preppy style

While similar to a classic look, preppy style has its own nuances. Each person has to find their own definition of preppy, whether it’s inspired by Clueless, Gossip Girl or brands like Kule.
To create this type of look, stick to classic basics and introduce feminine or sporty elements. Mix and match or play with colour and bold styles like prints or tie die.

Preppy clothes

The perfect preppy outfit comes from combining contemporary basics with the following items. Take note!

  • Knitwear in pastel colours.
  • Tennis, polo or golf clothes.
  • College apparel.
  • Playful logos.
  • Ties, pearls, headbands and Ray Ban sunglasses in the wayfarer or clubmaster styles.
  • Classic handbags like the Chanel 2.55, the Hermès Kelly or the Birkin bag in a strong colour or contrasting print.
  • Flat shoes like Mary Janes, the classic Roger Vivier shoes with a buckle, canvas or leather trainers, clogs, woven wedges and mules, etc.

Preppy skirts and dresses

Skirts and dresses prevail over pants, but shorts win by a landslide. In preppy trends we find:

  • Shirt dresses and pinafores.
  • Short, simple dresses with a clean neckline.
  • Fifties-style dresses./li>
  • Pleated skirts or skorts./li>

Skirts and dresses prevail over pants, but shorts win by a landslide. In preppy trends we find:

  • Shirt dresses and pinafores.
  • Short, simple dresses with a clean neckline.
  • Fifties-style dresses.
  • Pleated skirts or skorts.

Shirts and tops

Shirts and tops in light colours, pastels or simple patterns and with a conservative neckline. Traditionally, preppy looks opted for slim cuts, but now the trend is heading towards looser, cropped clothing.
Cardigans and sweaters should be short, classic and in neutral or light tones. They can be plain, diamond patterned or accented with an embroidered shield. Oversized, maxi styles are gaining ground.

Preppy outerwear

Outerwear is the key to a preppy look. We see navy blue blazers with gold buttons, classic beige trench coats, varsity bomber jackets, plain or plaid coats and fifties-style capes.

Preppy style icons

  • Taylor Swift: She combines her preppy roots with minimalist, casual touches.
  • Charlotte York: This Sex and the City character adopts the classic American style with retro nods.
  • Poppy Delevigne: Her look mixes several styles, but always with a preppy touch.
  • Blair Waldorf: The iconic Gossip Girl character has looks that are so creative, we at Lookiero say she’s the epitome of preppy.
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