From the laid-back Athleisure Preppy style to the rebellious Preppy Punk, there’s a world of Preppy types and style variations.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to the 13 most popular Preppy types that retain the essence of this timeless look while offering twists to make you easily stand out.
1. Ivy League Preppy (New England)
Formal & Traditional
Inspired by the Ivy League students’ uniform, this Preppy style is associated with old money, maritime culture, and elite academic institutions.
Considered the most traditional, refined, and popular Preppy style, the look comprises navy blazers, chinos, boat shoes, argyle sweaters, tweed jackets, and Oxford button-down shirts.
Given its East Coast origin, the color palette revolves around navy, burgundy, forest green, and hues of brown.
2. Southern Preppy
Relaxed, Colorful, Comfortable
Originating in the Southeastern American states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia, the Southern Preppy style has an overall summer vibe.
The American South has a vibrant culture with a rich culture of gentility, traditionalism, and a slower-paced lifestyle.
Compared to the other variations, Southern Preppy is colorful and lively, reflecting the warmer climate and the region’s culture.
Southern Preppy essentials include pastel-colored Bermuda shorts, light chino trousers, seersucker suits, bow ties, loafers, and many madras and floral prints.
3. Northern Preppy (Upper-Midwest)
Suitable for Colder Climate
Originating from the Upper-Midwest states of the US, the Northern Preppy style incorporates flannel shirts, duck boots, cable-knit sweaters, thick chinos, and heavy jackets, reflecting the region’s sporting culture and colder climate.
The area is renowned for outdoor sports, hunting, and fishing, and thus, the style infuses traditional British aesthetics into rugged, outdoorsy clothing.
Inspired by the region’s Scottish heritage, Tartan and plaid patterns are popular in the Northern Preppy style.
Layering for warmth is essential to the look; thus, the Southern Preppy style comprises vests, hats, and thick scarves.
4. Preppy Boho Chic
Countryside and Rural Vibes
This way of dressing combines Preppy with the boho style: structured, classic clothes but with earthy Bohemian colors.
Think patterned blouses tucked into chino shorts or maxi skirts paired with buttoned-up blouses.
Kate Middleton is the perfect example of a celeb mixing classic preppy elements with bohemian influences.
5. Preppy Goth
Dark and Stylish
Imagine a black and white striped Oxford paired with black chinos and loafers or a black button-down shirt matched with a white sweater vest.
Evan Rachel Wood is a famous celeb known for mixing gothic clothes and accessories into the classic preppy style.
6. Preppy Punk
Rebellious and Sensual
The Preppy Punk style combines the traditional Ivy League preppy style with the punk style’s rebellious and edgy aesthetic.
Imagine a plaid skirt matched with a tucked-in Punk band t-shirt, a pair of Doc Martens, and a leather jacket.
British model Agyness Deyn and British singer Pixie Lott have some of the best outfits that mix punk and Preppy style clothes and accessories.
7. Preppy Emo
The Emo Preppy style merges core Preppy aesthetics with the emotional and dramatic characteristics of the emo style.
Think about a graphic tee layered under a v-neck sweater, paired with skinny jeans and a pair of Converse.
Singer Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy was a big proponent of this style during the mid-2000s.
8. Preppy Grunge
Distressed and Rebellious
Preppy Grunge style showcases a ‘laid-back’ grungy aesthetic fusion with a traditional preppy style.
The alternative Preppy style is similar to Preppy punk, but generally, it uses more earth-toned, muted colors.
Imagine a flannel jacket layered over a polo shirt, distressed jeans, and combat boots.
Kristen Stewart is a celebrity known for incorporating Grunge aesthetic elements into her Preppy fashion style.
9. Streetwear Preppy
Unfoncormist Blends of Athleisure
The Streetwear Preppy style mixes the casual and relaxed aesthetics of streetwear with strict and classic Preppy elements.
Picture a graphic tee under a collegiate blazer paired with joggers and a pair of Yeezys.
A$AP Rocky’s Preppy Street style is hailed as one of the most unique and trendiest looks.
10. Pastel Preppy
Preppy Garments in Pastel Colors
The Pastel Preppy fashion style retains the traditional Preppy aesthetic but uses pastel colors instead of classic colors.
While sometimes confused with the Southern Preppy style, the Pastel Preppy look comprises pastel-colored clothes and accessories, including blazers, sweaters, and even chinos.
11. Tech Prep
Functional Garments in Preppy Aesthetics
The Tech Prep fashion style gives the Ivy League Preppy style a modern, technical spin.
The look is achieved by infusing performance polo shirts made of innovative fabrics, techwear chinos, and weatherproof outerwear.
12. Athleisure Preppy
Fitness Apparel in Preppy Aesthetics
Athleisure Prep variation sees athleisure wear and athletic apparel elevated by traditional Preppy wear.
The best example of this look is tennis dresses paired with cashmere cardigans or golfing pants styled with branded polo shirts.
13. Casual Preppy
Simple and Unbranded Preppy
The Casual Preppy style is less formal than the traditional New England Preppy style.
Following the smart casual dress code, the style combines classic Preppy clothes like polo shirts and navy jackets with casual wear like jeans and sneakers for a modern, laid-back look.
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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.