The ultimate guide to the preppy aesthetic – everything you need to know.
Since the gossip girl reboot and honestly long before that, the preppy aesthetic has been on the rise. We’ve seen it cropping up practically everywhere. From Tiktok to real life, items like sweater vests, white shirts and pleated skirts are worn by increasing amounts of people. With the right items in your wardrobe, the preppy style is very easy to achieve.
A Guide To The Preppy Aesthetic
What Is Preppy Aesthetic?
The preppy style is best characterised by “the old money aesthetic” that is currently trending all over Tiktok. It encapsulates the upper-class lifestyle of preppy school teens striving for ivy leagues school and to uphold their family’s reputation. Think about the lifestyle of Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass from Gossip girl if they existed in real life: classy, ambitious, natural leaders and luxurious.
Origins of The Preppy Style
The preppy aesthetic was born in the late 1950s and became super popular in the 1960s. It reached its peak as graduates of northeastern preparatory schools preparing for Ivy leagues schools started wearing the clothes of J.Press and Brooks Brothers.
Lisa Birnbach published ‘The Official Preppy Handbook’ in 1980 detailing the complete preppy lifestyle as a joke to mock the people she grew up with. However, many people swear by this book as it details the ‘speech, vocabulary, dress, manners and etiquette’ of this lifestyle.
If you want to learn check out this article from Instyle about the evolution of the style.
Just to clarify, the tips I present to you today are to help you achieve the modern-day preppy aesthetic rather than the original style.
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Must-Have Items For The Preppy Aesthetic
These are perfect when layering and all you need are 2 or 3 white shirts and your set.
Shop a similar outfit: Jacket / Button Up / Miniskirt / Hat
- Polo Shirts
If you don’t like button-ups are don’t want to wear them all the time polo shirts are a great alternative. This item has key links to traditional new England leisure activities like horse riding.
Shop a similar outfit: Polo Shirt + Skirt
- Knitted Sweaters, Cardigan and Sweater Vests
Stick to neutral colours like black, white, cream and navy blue and layer them with the button-ups and polo shirt.
Shop a similar outfit: Cardigan / Shirt / Tie / Skirt
The easiest way to style this aesthetic is with blazers. All you need are one or two and they can make your outfit perfect.
Shop a similar outfit: Blazer / Belt / Hat / Shirt / Boots / Bag
- Varsity jackets
If you don’t like blazers or want to switch it up, varsity jackets are great.
Shop a similar outfit: Jacket / Skirt / Shirt / Headband
- Plaid skirts
My favourite items are plaid skirts! They are so versatile and can be styled easily. They can literally be paired with everything. Plaid skirts are perfect to help emulate that school look.
Shop a similar outfit: Jacket / Top / Bag / Skirt / Tights
In terms of shoes, simple black shoes like Mary Janes are perfect. If not then a pair of boots would be fine.
- Accessories: bow ties, headbands, handbags, pearl necklaces
To pull off any look, the accessories that you choose are very important. For the preppy aesthetic, you should invest in headbands, ribbons, bow ties, handbags, tights with patterns and pearl necklaces.
Shop a similar outfit: Bow / Skirt / Top
Shop a similar outfit: Cardigan / Shirt / Skirt / Tie
Shop a similar outfit: Sweater Vest / Shirt / Skirt / Headband / Glasses
Shop a similar outfit: Sweater / Shirt / Hat / Skirt / Bag
Shop a similar outfit: Blazer/ Top / Skirt / Hat
Shop a similar outfit: Blazer / Dress / Boots/ Bag
Preppy Aesthetic Clothing Stores
If you have the money I would recommend, sticking to the original pioneers of the style. These brands include Brooks Brothers, J Crew, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch and Tommy Hilfiger. I would check out this article on Ape To Gentleman for more information.
If you are on a budget, I would recommend your local thrift/charity stores to see if you can find items at a discounted price.
If you can’t find anything Yesstyle is your next best shot. They sell clothing that is Korean, Japanese, aesthetic, grunge, soft girl, e-girl, literally everything. You can buy amazing items that cost under $20 and they run sales every single week where you can get items up to 80% off. A lot of the items you need can be easily found on their website so I would definitely check them out.
That’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful. Comment below which outfit is your favourite.
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