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The American preppy style came into fashion in the 1950s and is currently on everyone's lips again - but what exactly is it? The number one Preppy fashion rule is: Prepsters wear sportswear. Combine a pleated skirt, cashmere sweater and ballerinas or chinos, polo shirt and boat shoes with a silk scarf, a vintage it bag, pearl earrings and wear your hair down - the preppy look is ready.
60s: The preppy heyday
The preppy style came into vogue in the 50s of the last century and flourished in the mid-1960s. It stands for an East American way of life that was exemplified by John and Jackie Kennedy. The hippies put an abrupt end to these post-war ideals with their bohemian attitude. Their way of life now became a model for culture and fashion. However, the preppy style was never completely forgotten.
It mingled with the fine English county wear and continued to be worn with pleasure, especially in Anglophile circles. In the 80s the preppy style experienced its big comeback, because Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren achieved the breakthrough with their preppy college chic. And although the '68 generation of protests declared etiquette rules to be outdated, even though they had questioned all social traditions, part of the youth acknowledged old values and proudly carried them out. A greater provocation was hardly possible.
The preppy lady does sports - shorts and boat shoes are therefore an essential part of the wardrobe
Preppy Style Today: Back to the roots
Today we live in a world of extremes in society and in fashion. Perhaps that is why there is again a longing for conservative values such as decency, style, willingness to educate and moderation. In any case, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren are currently committed to their roots with collections such as “Preppy with Pop”. The TV series Gossip Girl brings American upper-class college chic to Europe and Mad Men brings the elegance of the Kennedy era back into our closets.
Evil tongues describe the preppy style as a nerd look, it is often associated with American upper-class families. Overall, the style is more traditional, formal and conservative. The preppy lady worries about her appearance, but not so much that it looks put on: a prepster doesn't have a hairstyle, but hair. If they look disheveled, it's not because of a night of partying, but because of a sailing trip.
Patterned trousers are (almost) always good - of course preferably with nautical symbols
Preppy Style Make-Up & Patterns
The make-up is also very natural. Apart from a tinted day cream and mascara, the prepster only uses a little blush and lip gloss. The clothes are clean and classic. The preppy lady likes to wear her friend's Ivy League shirt or her father's cricket sweater over her shoulders. The age of the clothes doesn't matter, what matters is the quality. Primarily used fabrics are cotton, (virgin) wool, canvas and cashmere.
Prepsters maintain a positive attitude towards life and show this through their clothing. Polo shirts and pants are bathed in clean white or cheerful green, pink, light blue, navy blue and red. The fabrics are often striped, dotted, decorated with diamonds, flowers or checks. Elbow leather patches are popular. Thanks to the discreetly used monograms and other embroidery, the outfit can be reminiscent of a school uniform.
The preppy lady wears her hair naturally and does without too much make-up
This belongs in the preppy wardrobe:
• Blouses and polo shirts from Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Lacoste
• Oxford and bow tie blouses
• Rugby shirts
• V-neck sweaters and tank tops
• Cardigans in many colors
• Navy blue blazer (seersucker in summer, tweed or corduroy in winter)
• Pleated skirts and A-line dresses
• Khaki pleated and chinos, Nantucket Reds
• Bermuda shorts
• Sailing shoes, ballerinas, rubber boots
• Pearl necklace and earrings
• Nerd glasses
• Large tote bags (carrier bags) with a monogram
• Headbands and headbands
The preppy wardrobe is colorful and classic: a blue and white striped blouse goes perfectly with red shorts
Popular Preppy Fashion Companies
Most Preppy brands are difficult to obtain in Germany. However, you can now order many items of clothing in online shops. Or you can pay a visit to Bloomingdales and Saks on 5th Avenue on your next trip to New York. Probably the most sought-after preppy brands are Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, Timberland, Brooks Brothers, Lilly Pulitzer, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, and Gant. But also L.L. Bean, Vineyard Vines, Elizabeth McKay, J. Press, Jack Rogers, Nantucket Brand and Lands’End are very popular. In Germany, for example, you could count 3 armadillos, Linodi, byMi and Paul Hewitt among the preppy brands.
A silk scarf not only looks great on the neck, but also as a belt
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