10 Northern Preppy Brands for an Authentic Prep Style

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Northern Preppy style has an air of casual elegance rooted in America’s Northeastern elite traditions and built around quilted jackets, cable-knit sweaters, and classic boat shoes.

Given the style’s unique origins in outdoor activities and North American social clubs, just a few genuine clothing brands are known for this distinctive look.

In this article, I’ll present the 10 best clothing brands renowned for shaping, defining, and representing the Northern Preppy style.




1. Brooks Brothers

Best for Oxford shirts, navy blazers, and cable-knit sweaters

Brooks Brothers Northern Preppy style clothing

Origin
Founded in 1818 in New York City, Brooks Brothers is the oldest men’s clothier in the United States and a pillar in American fashion history.

Why it is Northern Preppy
Brooks Brothers has been a standard-bearer for classic American style, offering a range of clothing that includes iconic Oxford shirts, navy blazers, and cable-knit sweaters, all essential to the Northern Preppy aesthetic.

Best for
Specializing in tailored suits, dress shirts, and timeless knitwear, Brooks Brothers is the brand of choice for formal events and professional settings where a polished appearance is essential.

2. Barbour

Best for waxed cotton jackets and quilted vests

Barbour Northern Preppy style wax jackets and quilted vests

Origin
Founded in 1894 in South Shields, England, Barbour is a clothing brand associated with British heritage and outdoor pursuits.

Why it is Northern Preppy
Durable and stylish, Barbour’s signature waxed cotton jackets and quilted outerwear are integral to the Northern Preppy style.

Best for
Barbour specializes in waxed cotton jackets, quilted vests, and tartan accessories, making it a go-to brand for outdoor activities and social gatherings in colder settings.

3. Eddie Bauer

Best for Parkas and Down jackets

Eddie Bauer Northern Preppy style jackets

Origin
Founded in 1920 in Seattle, Washington, Eddie Bauer has a long-standing reputation in crafting outdoor apparel and gear.

Why it is Northern Preppy
Eddie Bauer’s iconic down jackets and parkas are of high quality, durability, and a cornerstone in the Northern Preppy style.

Best for
Specializing in down jackets, flannel shirts, and khaki pants, Eddie Bauer is the brand of choice for outdoor activities where comfort and style are paramount.




4. Nautica

Best for polo shirts, chinos, and sailing jackets

Nautica Northern Preppy style clothing

Origin
Founded in 1983 by designer David Chu, Nautica is an American brand inspired by the sea and everything nautical.

Why it is Northern Preppy
Nautica’s maritime-inspired clothing, featuring classic stripes and navy blues, aligns perfectly with the Northern Preppy aesthetic, which often incorporates sailing and coastal living elements.

Best for
Nautica excels in polo shirts, thick chinos, and sailing jackets, making it an ideal brand for casual and semi-formal occasions where a nautical touch adds to the ensemble.

5. American Eagle

Best for casual preppy tops and loungewear

American Eagle Northern Preppy style clothing

Origin
Founded in 1977, American Eagle Outfitters is a U.S.-based brand known for its casual and trendy clothing for a younger demographic.

Why it is Northern Preppy
American Eagle brings a youthful twist to the Northern Preppy style with its range of casual staples like graphic tees, hoodies, and denim, which can be easily mixed and matched with more traditional preppy items.

Best for
Specializing in denim, casual tops, and loungewear, American Eagle is the go-to brand for laid-back weekend wear and informal social gatherings where comfort is key.

6. L.L.Bean

Best for iconic duck boots and flannel shirts

L.L.Bean Northern Preppy style bean boots

Origin
Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, L.L.Bean is an American brand headquartered in Freeport, Maine, known for excellent outdoor apparel and gear.

Why it is Northern Preppy
L.L.Bean’s iconic duck boots and flannel shirts are quintessential elements of the Northern Preppy style, embodying a rugged yet refined aesthetic suitable for outdoor adventures and social events.

Best for
L.L.Bean excels in outdoor gear like duck boots, flannel shirts, and fleece jackets, making it an ideal choice for those who appreciate functionality and style in colder climates.




7. Grenson

Best for leather brogues and preppy loafers

Grenson Northern Preppy style footwear

Origin
Founded in 1866 in Northamptonshire, England, Grenson is a British footwear brand with a rich history of crafting high-quality traditional shoes.

Why it is Northern Preppy
Grenson’s leather brogues and boots align with the Northern Preppy aesthetic, delivering traditional craftsmanship for a modern lifestyle.

Best for
Specializing in leather brogues, boots, and loafers, Grenson is the brand of choice for formal occasions and social gatherings where polished but relaxed looks are a must.

8. J Crew

Best for tailored blazers and knitwear

J Crew Northern Preppy style fashion

Origin
Founded in 1983 by Arthur Cinader and Emily Scott, J.Crew is an American brand synonymous with preppy’s clean-cut fashion style.

Why it is Northern Preppy
J.Crew’s tailored blazers, crisp button-downs, and classic chinos are quintessential elements of the Northern Preppy style.

Best for
J.Crew’s tailored suits, casual shirts, and knitwear are versatile for office settings where a business-casual style is appreciated.




9. J.W. Hulme 

Best for briefcases and travel bags

10 Northern Preppy Brands for an Authentic Prep Style

Origin
Founded in 1905 in St. Paul, Minnesota, J.W. Hulme has been crafting high-quality leather goods for over a century.

Why it is Northern Preppy
J.W. Hulme’s briefcases and travel bags add a rugged elegance to the classic Northern Preppy style, emphasizing craftsmanship and durability.

Best for
Specializing in leather bags, briefcases, and accessories, J.W. Hulme is ideal for Preppy-style business travel accessories.

10. MSGM

Best for statement-making sweaters and tailored trousers

MSGM Northern Preppy style designer clothes

Origin
Founded in 2009 by Massimo Giorgetti in partnership with the Paoloni Group, MSGM is an Italian clothing brand that brings a contemporary twist to traditional preppy style.

Why it is Northern Preppy
MSGM infuses the Northern Preppy look with modern trends, striking colors, and innovative fabrics in a fresh take on the classic Preppy staples.

Best for
MSGM excels in offering statement-making sweaters, precisely tailored trousers, and one-of-a-kind outerwear, making it a top choice for a modern Northern Preppy style.

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3 Key takeaways

  • Wear Authentic Brands: With unique origins contributing to the style’s unique look, these ten clothing brands epitomize the Northern Preppy style.
  • Craftsmanship Matters: From Barbour’s waxed cotton jackets to Grenson’s meticulously crafted leather shoes, each brand’s craftsmanship sets the standard in Northern Preppy style.
  • Understand the Historical Narrative: These brands offer more than clothing, footwear, and accessories but a cohesive style narrative that embodies the Northern Preppy ethos, exuding confidence and sophistication.

Professional Styling Advice

Are you looking to improve your fashion style and unsure where to start? Are you into relaxed-casual, E-girlY2K, or VSCO looks, but Northern Preppy resonates with you, and you wonder why?

Contact The VOU’s Style Experts to receive your free and personalized styling advice based on your current way of dressing, preferred outfits, colors, aesthetics, age, gender, body shape, location, and event you seek to attend.

Your dedicated stylist will meticulously select essential garments, footwear, and accessories to craft a wardrobe that complements and enhances your style.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to experience a transformative fashion adventure, all at no cost to you.

After years of managing hundreds of fashion brands from London's office of a global retailer, Mandy has ventured into freelancing. Connected with several fashion retailers and media platforms in the US, Australia, and the UK, Mandy uses her expertise to consult for emerging fashion brands create top-notch content as an editorial strategist for several online publications.

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