Three words that sum up preppy style: crisp, clean, and classy. For outfits that appear simple, there are a lot of things you need to consider in order to pull off an effortlessly classic style.
Need a bit of help with your preppy outfits? Don't worry, we've got everything you need right here in this article.
We're going over 6 tips of how you can perfect your preppy outfits. Let's get started!
1. Never Enough Blouses
Feminine, delicate, and flowy blouses are a staple in preppy fashion. You can find them in long- and short-sleeve, patterned and plain, colorful and subdued, etc. Essentially, you can always find a way to fit a blouse into your outfit.
Some classic silhouettes include a collared blouse underneath a sweater, a feminine blouse with a pussy-bow tied in the front, flowing blouses with ruffled sleeves, and more.
Pair a long-sleeve blouse with a pair for blue jeans for a summery casual look. Or, combine a crisp and clean white sleeveless blouse like this one with a pencil skirt for a look perfect for a day in the office.
2. Shoe Options
Preppy shoes are usually simple, but they complete your look and make you feel like you're power-walking wherever you go. While you can make any shoe style work with a preppy outfit (except combat boots, perhaps), the following should be your go-to shoes in your perfect prep world.
Mary Jane Heels
Names after the shoes worn by a comic book character in the early 1900s, these shoes became a staple of preppy style beginning in the 1920s and 30s. These patent leather heels have also been seen on the runway for famous preppy brands like Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.
The great thing about Mary Janes is that they are versatile and comfortable so you can pair them with jeans, a sheath dress, a blazer/slacks combo, and more.
Ballet flats are another must have that effortlessly go with almost all preppy outfits. They usually come in basic colors like navy blue, black, and white, but you can also find nudes, bright colors for a "pop", and preppy patterns like plaid and polka dots.
Loafers and Oxfords
For British boarding school and preppy student vibes, go for loafers or oxfords. These are great work options and pair well with slacks, skits, and even jeans.
Would this be a preppy list without mentioning boat shoes? We think not.
Turn a regular outfit into a preppy one by throwing on a classic pair of Sperries. Men can pull off boat shoes for "fancier" outfits, but most girly outfits with boat shoes are more casual in nature. Pair them with white jeans and a blue and white striped button up for an outfit that has you ready for a day out on the sailboat or at the country club.
Boat shoes are also a perfect summer shoe that goes well with shorts and skirts.
3. Preppy Style Patterns
While white, black, navy and nude are the most common colors for preppy clothing, patterns play a key role in preppy outfits.
Stripes, polka dots, plaid, and florals are all common patterns seen on tops, pants, skirts, and accessories. Look for dresses with all over patterns to go bold with your patterned style.
Or, combine a patterned cardigan, blouse, or accessory with mostly plain and clean colors to create the perfect balance.
4. Color Options for Preppy Style
We mentioned the four main colors of prep style in tip #3, but don't let that limit you. Bright colored pants like yellow, pink, white, and red are all common in girl's prep outfits.
You'll also find that many famous prep brands like Lilly Pulitzer use bright neon pinks, greens, yellows, and blues in many of their clothes and accessories.
Pastels are common in preppy style as well: pinks, yellows, greens, and blues especially.
5. Accessories Make the Outfit
Speaking of accessories, preppy outfits aren't complete until you throw on at least one or two accessories.
For jewelry, you can't go wrong with pearls. Pearl necklaces and earrings can work for business and casual prep outfits. Spice up a basic outfit with a large statement necklace made of gold or silver.
Headbands and hats are another common prep accessory for women. Skinny black headbands work with almost every outfit, but take a bit of a risk with a larger band, headbands with pearls/jewels attached, or bright color headbands.
Bad hair day? Try a classic Black Dog or Vineyard Vines hat in pastels like blue, pink, and yellow.
Tights, dainty wristwatches, and light scarves are other common accessories.
6. Look for Inspiration in These Preppy Icons
We saved the best tip for last: look to and emulate your favorite preppy icons. These women are considered prep icons for a reason, so why not take the chance to style yourself after them?
Jackie Kennedy is perhaps the most famous prep icon to ever throw on pearls, sharp blazers, and all-white Cape Cod summer outfits. She embodies everything preppy girls strive to be.
So take a look at some of her most iconic outfits and see what you can do to modernize them.
Blair Waldorf is the famous prep from the hit show Gossip Girl. She successfully took the classic preppy look that Jackie made famous and made them modern. She rocked tights, blazers, white gloves, sharp button-ups, pumps, pearls, etc.
Watching even a couple of episodes of the show will give you outfit ideas that could style you for the next month.
Emma Watson might not be as traditionally preppy as Jackie and Blair Waldorf, but she definitely embodies the modern preppy look. Collared shirts, sheath dresses, and simple color schemes define her style. She's also one of the faces of Burberry, which should clue you into her modern prep style.
Need More Preppy Fashion Inspiration?
Preppy style can take a while to refine and personalize to your own likes and dislikes. If you need a bit more help putting outfits together, check out our guides on how to style popular preppy clothing items.
Keep checking our new arrivals page as well to stay up to date with the latest modern prep styles.
Yes too am older 66 but have always loved the put together look of Bass weekend with black, white, simple clothing. I’ve been in a fashion slump but think I’ve found my niche! I wore bass weejuns in the late 60’s and early 70’s. My favorite look.
I like the suggestions that I read. Its awful hard for me to find a blazer and as for jewelry I like dainty earrings, braclets,and necklaces. You almost described me to a tee. But I’m in my 60’s and no short skirts for me and I dont look my age. It’s funny most people think I’m 40. Thanks for the suggestions. 😇