13 Most Popular Preppy Types and Style Variations

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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

New England Ivy League dressing style

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

Southern Preppy style dressing

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.

Outdoor activities like horse racing influence the style, hence the bright colors and playful patterns showcased by representative brands like Vineyard Vines and Southern Tide.

3. Northern Preppy (Upper-Midwest)

Suitable for Colder Climate

Upper Midwest Northern dressing style

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

Boho Preppy style clothing

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.

OVERSIZED TIE BACK SHIRT Mid Waist Floral Maxi Skirt
Studded Western Belt T BAR PU LOAFERS

5. Preppy Goth

Dark and Stylish

Goth Preppy Style

The Preppy Goth style blends the crisp cuts and lines of the Preppy aesthetic with the dark and mysterious aesthetic of the Goth style.

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.

Frenchy Striped Print Button Front Shirt High Waist Solid Tapered Trousers With Belt
Script chunky mid heeled loafers in black patent Lilith silver Necklace

6. Preppy Punk

Rebellious and Sensual

Preppy Punk style dressing and oufits

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.

Stay Wild Jersey Round Neckline Graphic Letter Short Sleeve Tee Tartan Pleated Chain Mini Skirt
Dr Martens 1914 quad harness leather boots in black Leather Biker Jacket

7. Preppy Emo

College Vibes

Emo Preppy Style fashion and outfits

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.

POPLIN RELAXED SHIRT Frenchy Ribbed Knit Drop Shoulder Cricket Sweater
PETITE HIGH RISE DISTRESSED SKINNY JEANS Vans Old Skool Stackform sneakers in black and white

8. Preppy Grunge

Distressed and Rebellious

Grunge Preppy style fashion outfits

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.

Lettuce Trim Rib-knit Polo Shirt Plaid Print Drop Shoulder Shirt
Denim Solid Straight Leg Jeans lace up chunky flat boot in black

9. Streetwear Preppy

Unfoncormist Blends of Athleisure

Street Style Preppy fashion outfits

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.

Solid Knotted Jersey Trousers adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Static Non-Reflective

10. Pastel Preppy

Preppy Garments in Pastel Colors

Pastel Preppy Style Fashion Outfits

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.

Striped Trim Cable Knit Sweater NYLON SUPER OVERSIZED SHIRT
Fold Pleated Slant Pocket Suit Pants Workwear QUILTED SQUARE TOE MULE SANDALS

11. Tech Prep

Functional Garments in Preppy Aesthetics

Tech Prep Style Dressing Fashion Outfits

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.

 Letter Pattern Striped Trim Drop Shoulder Cricket Sweater Plaid Print Lapel Neck Flap Detail Single Breasted Blazer
Low Rise Camo Print Flap Pocket Cargo Pants adidas Originals Nizza platform sneakers in black and white

12. Athleisure Preppy

Fitness Apparel in Preppy Aesthetics

Athleisure Prep Style Fashion Outfits

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.

Polo Collar Drop Shoulder Letter Graphic Pullover Knit Mid Waist Contrasting Binding Pleated Mini Skirt
Cider Social Club Graphic Crew Socks adidas Originals Nizza Platform sneakers in triple white

13. Casual Preppy

Simple and Unbranded Preppy

Casual Preppy Style Dressing Fashion Outfits

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.

Solid Knit Polo Zipper Cardigan High Waist Belted Wide Leg Shorts
Vans UA UltraRange VR3 sneakers in vintage white Square Frame Fashion Glasses with Box

Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with the latest in fashion, beauty and style!

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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