Preppy Style Breakdown

Keeping with our style breakdowns, this week let’s take a look at the preppy look. Preppy style is a bit of a spinoff from the classic look. Both wardrobes are built on a collection of quality, solid basics. But the prepster generally takes the classic look a step further sporting brighter colors, fun prints, and pieces inspired by preppy sports like tennis, rugby, and polo. So if you find yourself obsessing over Lily Pullitzer prints, swinging a tennis racket, or feeling the need to tie a sweater around your neck, read on for more advice on achieving a polished preppy style!

Style Icons:

Grace Kelly – From Hollywood actress to Monaco’s princess, Grace Kelly was always stylish. Love this neck scarf on her 🙂

Blake Lively – while I can’t say I watch Blake’s show Gossip Girls, I do think she has great personal fashion. Here she dresses up a simple button down with a great necklace!

Michelle Obama – Most people agree, the first lady has style. It’s classy, preppy, and sophisticated… she could be a model for J. Crew!

Wardrobe Essentials:

  • Keep It Simple –keeping your outfit and accessories simple and tasteful is the key to achieving a preppy and “put-together” look. Another bonus of simplicity… it’s friendlier to our wallets!
  • Keep It Clean & Fresh – looking fresh and groomed is another essential piece to the preppy look (especially compared to the bohemian look). Keep clothes ironed and neat, and choose fresh happy colors for your pieces.
  • Polo Shirt – a staple amongst prepsters, but please know when to pop that collar. We love Lacoste polos (great quality, fit, and colors), but if you are looking for a budget friendly option you can find polos at just about any story.
  • Oxford Shirt – start with a classic white or light blue shirt that can be paired with just about anything. If you want some more pizzazz explore other colors or simple stripes like the one Blake is wearing above.
  • Jacket or blazer – In the spring/summer give seer-sucker or madras a try, and in the fall/winter explore corduroy or tweed blazers!
  • Polka Dots – tasteful polka dots can be found in almost any preppy wardrobe. Consider a polka dotted top like Mrs. Obama’s or opt for a polka dotted pencil skirt!
  • Chino Pants – chino pants, capris, and shorts are a must have. Invest in great quality pieces like those offered by J. Crew or Banana Republic. Choosing a few pairs in basic khaki, navy, or black color is great, but also consider adding fun pastels and cheery colors.
  • Dark-Wash Straight Leg Jeans – skip the embellishments and invest in a quality piece of dark-wash denim. Straight leg or skinny cut work nicely – but remember to dress for your shape!
  • Tea Length Dresses – Choose a cut that is figure flattering and in cheery prints, madras plaid, seer-sucker, or linen!
  • Ballet Flats – these are a must have shoe for most wardrobes. Go for at least one pair in a basic neutral (nude, black, or brown) and add some in cute prints and bright colors as you expand your wardrobe.
  • Boat Shoes – we love Sperry’s top-siders, and now they are available in a huge array of colors and prints!
  • Pearl Necklace & Earrings – try sporting your grandmothers or mother’s old pearls for a simple and put-together look.
  • Small Simple Handbag – choose a small structured purse in a simple happy color, large unstructured bags don’t usually jive with the preppy look.

Favorite Places to Shop the Preppy Look:

  • J. Crew – Great pieces, sometimes reasonable prices, and really it’s hard to not walk out of J. Crew without sporting a fresh and preppy look!
  • Banana Republic – I bought a trench coat here that I adore. They carry just about everything a preppy dresser could want.
  • Ralph Lauren – great polos and button downs, check their outlet for more affordable prices (you still get great quality!)
  • Vineyard Vines – cute preppy prints and styles.
  • Lacoste – again we love their polos.
  • Lily Pulitzer – adorable preppy prints to be had here!
  • Burberry – pricey, but some things are worth spending the money on, like a great coat or handbag!
  • Nantucket Brand – Great staple pieces for any prepster.
  • Forever21 – you can find great deals on preppy looks here. Just remember to check the quality of each piece. I also love Forever21 for affordable accessories and handbags!
  • Department Stores – Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Saks & Bloomingdale’s all carry pieces to round out any preppy wardrobe
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