Home Mens Fashion The Preppy Type & Garments Primer

The Preppy Type & Garments Primer

The Preppy Type & Garments Primer


Preppy model is basically linked to those that have attended or graduated from Ivy League colleges and preparatory academies within the Northeast United States. However whereas Ivy League colleges could also be unique, Preppy Type isn’t–and stays an exquisite subset of traditional model that’s accessible to anybody who’s !

Late for Class? Catch Up on the Preppy Aesthetic with Our Video Information

Caught at a late lunch on the yacht membership? Ready in line to get your ginghams pressed? Why not cross the time with Raphael who will take you thru the necessities of the preppy look, its historical past, and how one can add some collegiate aptitude to your wardrobe.

What Does “Preppy Type” Imply? Outdated (Ivy League) Cash!

Historically the phrases “prep,” “preppy,” “prepster” or every other variation have been traditionally used to explain a subculture of the upper-class youth born into outdated cash within the Northeastern United States. They might attend their household’s alma mater, usually one of many eight colleges categorized as “Ivy League:” Brown College, Columbia College, Cornell College, Dartmouth School, Harvard College, Princeton College, the College of Pennsylvania, and Yale College.

As these prestigious halls of schooling are in any other case often known as “preparatory” colleges, you’ll be able to see how the moniker of “prep” and “preppy” model got here to be.

Andy Bernard is an Icon of Preppy Style

Andy Bernard: Preppy Icon

Even informal followers of the US model of TV sitcom ‘The Workplace’ will probably be conscious that the character of Andy Bernard is an Ivy League graduate. A proud alumnus of Cornell College, Andy’s trend sense is firmly rooted in Preppy Type – though admittedly extra intensely portrayed for the sake of the display screen!

Is Preppy Type Only for Ivy League Colleges?

In the present day, the time period “preppy” is way looser and is commonly utilized in excessive colleges throughout North America and components of Europe. It nonetheless precisely describes the subculture of those that have adopted a fashion of speech, vocabulary, costume, manners, and etiquette which is reflective of the traditions adopted from these historic upper-class Northeastern households.

These days, the prep model is way extra accessible to a better vary of individuals. Simply as many different components of trend originating in wealthier wardrobes, preppy model icons similar to salmon-pink trousers, cable knit sweaters, and the standard button-down shirt have all develop into extra inexpensive to a better vary of traditional model fanatics.

F.E. Castleberry of Unabashedly Prep wearing a varsity jacket, ocbd, rugby shirt, green chinos, and tassel loafers without socks

Preppy Type in a Nutshell

Virtually like a uniform, the tradition has adopted a very nautical, clean-cut picture synonymous with manufacturers like Brooks Brothers, J.Crew, LL Bean, Ralph Lauren, and different related manufacturers. Colours and patterns could also be blended, too, and the general really feel is that of a extra relaxed formality with out being too informal. One comparatively telltale signal of a prep is that this very explicit sense of the model adopted by the typical preppy.

An Introduction to Prep Type

Taking inspiration from the Ivy League kinds of the previous and the nautical aptitude of many East Coast villages, prep model enjoys a quiet evolution, with a lot of the model’s spine remaining the identical because the mid Nineteen Eighties. Naturally, this consists of model staples similar to bow ties, boat sneakers, madras, and different such clothes that showcase the kinds of a few of America’s most established and iconic haberdasheries.

The Official Preppy Handbook Began Out As a Parody

One technique to clarify the tradition is to match it to dandyism. Lisa Birnbach’s books ‘The Official Preppy Handbook’ and ‘True Prep’ act as nice additional studying that offers you deeper information behind what it means to be a prep.

The Official Preppy Handbook originally started life as a parody
The Official Preppy Handbook initially began life as a parody. Picture credit score: The New York Occasions

What is fascinating, nonetheless, is that when Birnbach wrote The Official Preppy Handbook, she supposed it as a technique to poke enjoyable on the privileged East Coast faculty college students she grew up with, but it surely mockingly ended up glamorizing the prep tradition, thus rising the unfold and consciousness of prep tradition and magnificence all through the world.

Historical past of Preppy Type

J. Press & Brooks Brothers Kickstart Preppy Type

Preppy model truly began round 1910-1912 earlier than changing into popularly often known as Ivy Type within the mid-Forties. One of many first and most iconic preppy manufacturers, J. Press, started to develop fashions that have been bought completely to the varied Northeastern collegiate and lots of consider that it was J.Press that helped to form the preppy subculture we all know right now.

By the mid-twentieth century, the 2 most iconic preppy haberdasheries had developed storefronts on campus at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. It was Brooks Brothers and J.Press that began the traits, giving prosperous Ivy League college students onsite purchasing, which resulted in a lot of the campus sporting their clothes.

Preppy Type Turns into Good Leisure Put on

Since college students typically spent a lot of their off-campus time collectively, a lot of them traveled with their households to Palm Seaside, Florida, which actually grew to become the quintessential preppy trip hotspot. It was right here that most of the firms outfitting these Ivy Leaguers have been impressed to start utilizing the intense colours present in Palm Seaside of their clothes, a contributing issue to why preps are so well-known right now for sporting such brightly coloured apparel.

J C Leyendecker captures a preppy golfer

Sporting Influences

With the recognition of conventional New England sporting actions similar to crusing, fencing, rowing, tennis, golf, and polo, most of the fashions that have been designed on the market on campus have been reflective of those leisurely pastimes. Since a lot of the clothes bought was influenced by these actions, it stood to purpose that college students on campus started sporting the clothes to these respective occasions, matches, and video games.

Preppy Type Grows within the 60s and 70s

Hollywood was in a increase and a few of its main girls have been probably the most well-known preps of the time together with Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Jacqueline Kennedy. It’s as a consequence of their vested curiosity and subsequent promoting of the prep tradition that many credit score with the rising curiosity of the daring and colourful clothes well-known for being worn all through the Nineteen Sixties and 70s.

Within the realm of menswear, 1967 marked the discharge of arguably some of the influential movies with regards to preppy model; The Graduate. Starring Dustin Hoffman as current faculty graduate Benjamin Braddock, the movie options many preppy model staples all through the movie. Admittedly not as vivid or daring as preppy model will be, The Graduate showcases seersucker, knit ties, button-down shirts, and corduroy jackets in an undeniably preppy aesthetic.

The Nineteen Eighties Solidifies Preppy Type’s Staying Energy

By the Nineteen Eighties, preppy model was in a category of its personal with dozens of firms opening up outlets to cater to a rich clientele who handled clothes and the cultivation of a selected picture with a ardour hardly seen in America earlier than.

A vintage Ralph Lauren advertisement shoes the infamous preppy combo of pink and green
A classic Ralph Lauren commercial reveals the notorious preppy combo of pink and inexperienced. Picture credit score: eBay

Prime designers within the mid-Nineteen Eighties started to catch on to this pattern and began designing skilled put on for girls in New York who had developed a love for the prep subculture after they have been Ivy-League college students. Traditional apparel similar to tailor-made skirts, fits, and clothes started to undertake nautical and equestrian components with pops of pastel colours.

Preppy Type FAQs

Is preppy nonetheless in model?

Though some many years have leaned into preppy model greater than others, preppy model is commonly thought-about a timeless side of the general traditional model aesthetic.

What’s a preppy man?

A preppy man will possible check with somebody who embodies each the aesthetic and way of life of prep tradition. This will embrace both having been educated at an Ivy League faculty, or just being an enthusiastic onlooker of the preppy tradition, way of life, and look.

What do preppy guys put on?

Preppy kinds can embrace a spread of particular gadgets, materials, and particulars. Seersucker, linen, Madras, tweed, and waxed cotton make up the vast majority of the supplies utilized in preppy clothes. In the meantime, OCBD shirts, polo shirts, khakis and chinos, navy blazers, and tweed jackets are a few of the preppy model staples.

What does it imply if somebody calls you preppy?

If somebody ought to name you preppy, that is possible a praise, but it surely is also construed as a slight – relying on the context, in fact! These days, being referred to as preppy is usually a mirrored image of your outfit(s), and adherence to the preppy model.

What 12 months is preppy?

Whereas preppy model originated on the flip of the twentieth Century and has existed all through the Golden Age of traditional model, preppy model had its strongest increase within the Nineteen Eighties. This period nonetheless influences how preppy model is perceived and introduced right now.

What do preppy individuals put on?

Preppy individuals will put on a spread of clothes kinds, however most notable gadgets embrace navy blazers, seersucker, and tweed fits, button-down shirts, polo shirts, and rugby shirts, cable knit and tennis sweaters, chinos and Nantucket purple pants, Madras checks, and a spread of traditional equipment together with repp stripe neckties and bowties.

Is preppy timeless?

In a phrase: Sure – preppy model is timeless! It’s a side of traditional model that has been round because the early 1900s and has endured for a few years since.

Preppy Clothes Necessities

When you’re seeking to create or increase a preppy wardrobe, these are the highest must-have gadgets you’ll be able to seek for. Whereas quite a lot of retailers will possible provide variations of preppy model staples, you’ll possible discover a few of the greatest issues are present in thrift or second-hand shops, listed on eBay or Etsy, or at property gross sales.

Preppy Type Jackets and Blazers

Preston in a double-breasted navy blazer
Preston in a double-breasted navy blazer

Traditional Navy Blazer

That is maybe probably the most iconic piece of menswear worn and designed to be worn by preps. Though accessible in quite a lot of kinds, the usual is a navy single-breasted jacket with notched lapels and three brass buttons, typically with an icon or brand that’s nautical in nature or represents the model. However, you’ll be able to at all times go for the double-breasted search for an elevated nautical really feel. In fact, many firms make these blazers however the most well-liked right now appear to be from Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers.

Preppy Type Shirts

Oxford Button Down Shirts

Button-down collars have been initially launched by Brooks Brothers in 1896 and have remained standard as a approach of dressing down an everyday costume shirt. Utilizing buttons that fasten down the collar factors on the entrance of the shirt meant these have been virtually completely worn as sport shirts till the mid-Nineteen Fifties. Nonetheless thought-about a sports activities shirt in most circles, or as a technique to give informal aptitude to elegant apparel, these shirts are extraordinarily standard in prep tradition and are sometimes paired with the enduring navy blazer and a repp tie.

Polo Shirts

Polo shirts, which may also be known as golf or tennis shirts, are a well known staple in prep model. An off-the-cuff and mushy shirt with a collar, a placket, and normally two or three buttons, it may well typically characteristic a breast pocket as nicely. Created from knitted piqué cotton, it may also be present in silk, merino wool, or varied artificial supplies. These shirts are sometimes worn with a pair of shorts or trousers however may also be paired with a blazer or sports activities jacket.

Preppy Type Trousers and Pants


Chinos are trousers constructed from a twill cloth, initially fabricated from 100% cotton. Whereas they are often present in artificial blends now, one of the best are nonetheless fabricated from cotton. Brooks Brothers gives a superior collection of them as do many different effective clothiers. In the present day, they arrive in lots of colours, however the commonest is khaki which continues to be very talked-about in coastal tradition.

GTH (Go To Hell) Pants

GTH pants take some severe getting used to. It is a model of its personal and one that can absolutely internet you both appears to be like of disdain or nods of approval as you stroll round in them. These are vivid pants with typically daring embroideries on them of sailboats, anchors, lobsters, crabs, frogs, and quite a lot of different icons. They’re obnoxious however a lot enjoyable to put on! Brooks Brothers as soon as mentioned that it’s like enjoying a sport of rooster with your folks besides nobody goes off a cliff. As an alternative, the winner is seen as probably the most daring dresser round. Simply use some warning with what you pair with them.

Nantucket Reds

Nantucket Reds are an integral part of prep tradition. The purple pants, shorts, shirts, hats, and varied different articles have been initially distributed by Murray’s Toggery Store in Nantucket and are “assured to fade” to an virtually rosy pink. They’re historically pants, however right now include a whole collection of clothes and niknaks which might be extremely standard to the purpose of being legendary in Martha’s Winery, Cape Cod and their birthplace of Nantucket.

Preppy Type Knitwear

Argyle Sweaters

The argyle sweater is predominantly seen in golf attire, which is why it has develop into so ingrained within the prep tradition. Since golf has lengthy been a favourite pastime of preppies, Argyle has develop into a sample modern amongst each women and men. The sample itself can merely be characterised as being made up of diamonds or lozenges. Sometimes they may overlap in a motif which may add a way of a number of dimensions and texture. Normally, it’s used as an overlay of intercrossing diagonal strains on stable diamonds.

Cable Knit Sweaters

Cable knit sweaters are traditional and can by no means exit of favor. Regardless of whether or not they’re fabricated from cotton, wool or cashmere, with sleeves or with out, they’re a staple of a preppy wardrobe. When you put on bow ties, a crew neck is the way in which to go, whereas ties look nice with V-neck sweaters. For a mushy, informal outfit, search for a melange two-tone yarn which lends the sweater a mottled, light look.

Rugby Shirts

Though Rugby is quintessentially British, many preps wish to put on rugby shirts most likely as a result of the aesthetic of daring colourful stripes and a white collar may be very a lot in keeping with different preppy clothes gadgets.

Tennis & Cricket Sweaters

Tennis or Cricket sweaters are a must have in a preppy wardrobe. Check out our devoted Tennis sweater article right here.

Preppy Type Footwear

Boat Sneakers

Like many staples in prep model, you both love boat sneakers or hate them. Whereas many credit score Sperry Topsider with the preliminary introduction, and most of the people take into account them the quintessential boat shoe, there are numerous firms right now that make them. Boat sneakers are just about precisely what they sound like. They have been created as a non-slip shoe for crusing and are typically fabricated from leather-based however will be crafted from different supplies similar to canvas. They’re usually worn with out socks as an off-the-cuff shoe, and as such are tied utilizing leather-based boat shoelaces.


Loafers, like boat sneakers, are synonymous with coastal tradition. There are a number of loafers in the marketplace from probably the most informal kinds to semi costume sneakers. They’re usually categorized as being a low, lace-less shoe that you simply slip on and put on out, moderately than as a slipper indoors. Historically, loafers are an off-the-cuff shoe, however just lately many preps have begun sporting them with lounge fits or to work at workplaces with a extra relaxed costume code. They arrive in quite a lot of kinds, colours and supplies and infrequently will characteristic tassels or decorations on the entrance of the shoe. For an in depth dialogue of loafers in all their varieties, learn the Final Idler Information.

L.L. Bean Boots

Based in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, and shortly recognized for his or her boots. Initially, they have been searching boots fabricated from rubber and organically handled full-grain cowhide to withstand water. The attribute look was achieved by a crepe rubber sole and contrasting brown or tan uppers. Whereas most boots right now are lined with Gore-Tex, again then a easy wool lining was the norm. Many would give an arm and a leg to search out new outdated inventory boots of their dimension, however even the present model of their boots is so standard that  the annual gross sales of the corporate are north of 1.5 billion. In fact, they now promote every kind of different outdoor-related gadgets, however the Bean boots in numerous heights and variations are nonetheless a favourite with preps.

Photo of white bucks worn with seersucker
Raphael white bucks blue socks with clocks purple shoelaces Fort Belvedere

White Sneakers

White buckskin sneakers aka white bucks are a preferred preppy companion to seersucker pants, cocktail events, horse races, or anything associated to summer time. Paired with linen, chinos, or seersucker they supply the wearer with a debonair, seasonally acceptable look. Buckskin leather-based is technically from the male deer however right now typically cowhide is used as a substitute as a result of it’s cheaper and extra extensively accessible. Within the U.S. most buckskin sneakers present the bottom of the leather-based, which has a texture just like suede, however the entrance facet of buckskin leather-based will be very good as nicely. Many white bucks include a light-weight, purple rubber sole though they may also be discovered with traditional leather-based soles within the Goodyear building.

Preppy Type Outerwear

Quilted tweed jacket with burgundy suede gloves
Quilted tweed jacket with burgundy suede gloves

Barbour Wax Jacket

Barbour wax jackets are extraordinarily standard with Prep’s, and so they have been for years. Most individuals select between the Beaufort, which was designed for capturing with an additional sport pocket, and the Bedale, which was made for horseback driving. Both of those choices in both traditional navy or olive inexperienced will be just right for you inside your preppy wardrobe.

Quilted Jackets

Similar to wax jackets, quilted jackets are a preferred staple in a prep’s outerwear assortment. To be taught extra about them, learn out Quilted Jacket Information.

Preppy Type Equipment

Anchor Bracelets

Anchor bracelets are precisely what they sound like; bracelets which might be constructed from quite a lot of materials and supplies, normally rope, leather-based, or sail fabric, and fixed with a small steel or plastic anchor that operates equally to a hook. This jewellery may be very standard in prep tradition each with women and men and is about as nautical because it will get.

Whereas you will discover these patterns in stable blacks and grays, what’s hottest are the intense colours together with blues, greens, and pinks.


Colourful belts with motifs and stripes are an integral a part of a preppy wardrobe. Typically mixed with brown leather-based and a brass buckle, these roughly versatile fabric belts are mixed with chinos, Madras, or seersucker pants to create a daring look.

A group of preppy belts
A gaggle of preppy belts

D-ring or Ribbon Belts

Historically referred to as a “Ribbon Belt,” D-ring belts have been round because the mid-Nineteen Sixties when launched by J.Press. They supply an off-the-cuff and enjoyable aptitude to a usually conservative look. Some say that as a way to put on them you both want a humorousness or a small funds, since many D-ring belts are reversible providing two-in-one belts.

There’s nothing unique or luxurious about ribbon belts. They’re simply quite a lot of enjoyable with varied patterns. From the enduring tri-stripe belts and the five-stripe variations from Ralph Lauren to ones with embroidered lobsters and sail-boats lining them, the belts, though historically fabricated from polyester, rayon, and nylon, now are available in quite a lot of materials and supplies from crusing fabric to effective cordovan leathers.

Ties & Bowties

Though not unique to prep model, you’re sure to see extra repp stripe neckties and bow ties as a part of this aesthetic. Resembling the collegiate stripes and crests, daring striped neckwear is a should right here, however you may also concentrate on extra professorial choices together with heat colours and small patterns for a quieter tackle preppy neckwear.

Even Extra Preppy Type Necessities


Madras can be a cotton cloth that’s typically very light-weight and incorporates a textured plaid design. Except for pants, you may also discover many pairs of shorts and jackets fabricated from it. The Madras sample is offered in common cotton and seersucker in addition to patchwork madras consisting of a number of completely different items of Madras fabric being sewn collectively. That is very talked-about within the prep tradition and one thing extensively utilized by Brooks Brothers, amongst different effective haberdashers that concentrate on prep model.


Seersucker is one other iconic cloth utilized in prep model. As a skinny, cotton cloth that’s normally striped or checkered, it’s predominantly used to make summer time clothes similar to fits, shorts, pants, and different males’s and ladies’s clothes. Originating from India, the phrase seersucker actually interprets to “rice pudding and sugar” which is fairly nicely what it resembles.

Raphael wearing a seersucker suit and white brogues
Sven Raphael Schneider, in a seersucker go well with and white brogues, is aware of that model is aware of no age

Due to the way in which it’s woven, the threads typically bunch collectively which supplies it a wrinkled look. It’s due to this bunching that the material sits away from the pores and skin when it’s worn which helps to maintain the physique cool, because it enhances circulation and dissipation of the warmth. In different phrases, it’s improbable to put on within the scorching summer time months – particularly if you want to put on fits at work.

Sporting Leisurewear

This explicit space is kind of huge, from cricket sweaters and vests to rugby shirts and shorts, just about any merchandise of clothes you see being worn at a predominantly preppy sport will be thought-about an integral a part of prep tradition and trend. Consider traditional leisurewear from actions similar to golf, tennis, cricket, rugby, crusing, and equestrian attire.


Throughout fall and winter, a real prep can not often be seen with none type of tweed. Definitely a certain hearth technique to enliven a preppy outfit in cooler months, tweed in any capability is a welcome addition to a prep’s wardrobe. As an alternative of providing you with every kind of tweed recommendation right here, head over to our final tweed information and luxuriate in.

Four men seated at a bench with a fifth standing behind all wearing suits
Preppy Type in abundance!

Now that you know the way
to be preppy, be taught extra
in regards to the Ivy Look!

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