Comprehensive Northern Preppy Style Guide to Master the Look

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What is Northern Preppy Style?

Northern Preppy style is a distinct take on traditional preppy fashion comprised of clothing, footwear, and accessories designed for the colder and rugged landscapes of the Northern United States.

While the Northern Preppy style retains the Ivy League’s classic style of well-fitted garments, it is built around thicker materials designed for warmth and durability.

Reflecting the style’s roots and natural surroundings, the colors lean towards earthy tones, while texture and layering add form and function to the look.

Northern Preppy Style

Northern Preppy Style Origin

As a variation of the Ivy League style, the aesthetic origin of the Northern Preppy draws influences from the British countryside activities – hunting, sailing, horseriding, American college uniforms, and their sporting life.

The style’s use of traditional fabrics like wool, tweed, and flannel comes from the sporting and hunting wardrobes of the British elite, while the footwear, shirts, chinos accessories, and casual layering from American outdoor and workwear.

How to Dress Northern Preppy?

To master the Northern Preppy way of dressing, it’s essential to identify the distinctive garments, footwear, and accessories that embody the look.


You also must be aware of the go-to Northern Preppy brands that excel in creating garments, footwear, and accessories specific to this style.

From luxurious cable-knit sweaters to rugged Bean Boots, these are the main pieces you need to create impeccable Northern Preppy outfits.

Northern Preppy Style Clothes

1. Houndstooth Plus Fours

Knee-length trousers in a houndstooth pattern, ideal for countryside gatherings and activities like golf and hunting.

Recommended Brand: Farlows

Farlows Ladies Lined Loden Shooting Breeks Farlows Ladies Light Olive Cord Shooting Breeks

2. Pencil Skirts

Derived from the sleek office attire of 1950s American corporate culture, these slim skirts ending above or below the knee are ideal for business meetings or upscale dinners.

Recommended Brand: J.Crew, Ralph Lauren

Pencil skirt in Italian stretch wool Fair Isle Wool-Blend Knit Pencil Skirt Save your Wishlist

3. Chinos

Designed for the army, cotton twill pants were adopted by Northern Preppy fashionistas as casual pants for semi-formal office settings, countryside weekends, and relaxed parties.

Recommended Brand: J. Crew, Brooks Brothers

J Crew Chino Pants Garment Washed Stretch Cotton Chinos


4. Cable Knit Sweater

With aesthetic roots from British and Irish fishermen’s cold-weather attire, cable-knit sweaters are ideal for ski trips, winter barbecues, and academic events.

Recommended Brand: Ralph Lauren, Barbour

Cable-Knit Cotton-Blend Crewneck Sweater in olive green Barbour Perch Knitted Jumper

5. Striped Rugby Shirt

Originating from the rugby fields of British boarding schools and universities, striped rugby shirts are critical in the Northern Preppy style for collegiate events, Ivy-League tailgates, and autumn apple-picking weekends.

Recommended Brand: Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines

Striped Lace-Up Jersey Rugby Shirt Heritage Striped Rugby

6. Striped and Flannel Shirts

With aesthetic origins in British workwear and American lumberjack attire, striped and flannel shirts are a staple of Northern Preppy activities like New England fall festivals, boating excursions, and fireside holiday gatherings.

Recommended Brand: Woolrich, Pendleton

Flannel Check Overshirt in a Cotton Wool Blend Women's Boyfriend Board Shirt

7. Varsity Bomber

Adapted from the American college sports culture of the 1950s, the varsity bomber jacket is a staple at prestigious Northern Ivy colleges for homecoming weekends and fall gatherings.

Recommended Brand: Ralph Lauren

RL-Logo Reversible Bomber Jacket Royal Blue Wool Body & Bright White Leather Sleeves Letterman Jacket

8. Crew Sweatshirt

With roots in American athletic wear, Crew sweatshirts are the go-to tops in the Northern Preppy style for less formal occasions like study groups, weekend brunches in college towns, and scenic fall drives.

Recommended Brand: J.Crew, Champion

Cashmere shrunken crewneck sweater Reverse Weave Oversized Crewneck Sweatshirt, C Logo

9. Tweed Cloth Sportcoats

With solid British hunting heritage, tweed cloth sportcoats are a Northern Preppy essential for visiting art galleries and winter weddings in vintage estates.

Recommended Brands: Harris Tweed

Elise, Harris Tweed Hacking Jacket Wool Suede Tweed Tattersall Riding Jacket

10. Quilted Field Jackets and Vests

With stylistic roots in the British countryside and American hunting and fishing attire, quilted field jackets and vests are quintessential outerwear in the Northern Preppy style, suitable for rowing competitions or weekend trips to mountain cabins.

Recommended Brand: Orvis

Barbour Summer Beadnell Quilted Jacket Crest-Patch Diamond-Quilted Vest

Northern Preppy Style Footwear

1. Bean Boots

Based on British equestrian attire, Bean Boots are a Northern Preppy style staple for trekking through snowy college campuses or attending winter football games.

Recommended Brand: L.L. Bean

Bean Boots Bean Boots

2. Riding Boots

With aesthetic roots in English horseback riding, riding boots are a Northern Preppy essential, perfect for leaf-peeping excursions or upscale weekend brunches.

Recommended Brand: Frye

Melissa Double Sole Button Lug Tall Carson Piping Tall

3. Moc Toe Loafers and Boots

Inspired by the design of Native American moccasins, the moc toe loafers and boots are essential footwear in Northern Preppy style, suitable for lakeside gatherings or autumn forest walks.

Recommended Brand: Minnetonka

striking suede boots Taren suede upper boots

Northern Preppy Accessories

1. Argyle Socks

With patterns in the Scottish tartans, argyle socks are a signature accessory in the Northern Preppy style, frequently used at holiday dinner parties to add flair to academic ceremonies.

Recommended Brand: Grenson, J. Crew

Argyle trouser socks ARGYLE SOCK

2. Irish Walking Hats

With aesthetic origins in traditional Irish headgear, Irish walking hats are a popular accessory in Northern Preppy style for strolls through fall foliage or outdoor theater performances.

Recommended Brand: Hanna Hats

Walking Hat Patchwork Tweed Walking Hat Tweed

3. Flannel Blanket Scarves

Influenced by traditional Scottish tartan patterns and American logging workwear, flannel blanket scarves add a touch of ruggedness to the Northern Preppy style, perfect for weekend trips to the cabin.

Recommended Brands: Barbour, Woolrich

Barbour Tartan Cashmere Scarf Double-Face Scarf in Pure Virgin Wool

Other Similar Styles

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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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