The preppy look is a conservative style of dress that combines muted colors with surprisingly bold hues, vivid stripes and lighthearted prints in pieces with simple but classic lines. Preppy style can be worn year-round, and it can be dressed up to a level appropriate for a cocktail party or dressed down to mingle with friends at a backyard barbecue. Best of all, men can achieve the preppy look with a few basic, quality wardrobe pieces.
Chino for All Seasons
Preppy style provides an easygoing, stylish look for college students. Anchor a campus outfit with well-fitting khaki chinos. Choose dark khaki shades for fall and winter; go with off-white or light gray for spring. In warm weather, pair your chinos with an aqua or pink polo, an embroidered print belt of corresponding color, and slip on a pair of classic brown loafers. When temperatures drop, exchange the polo for a blue or white Oxford button-down shirt and switch to a brown leather belt. Add an argyle -- or other print -- wool sweater in fall hues. For more warmth, choose a camel-color sports coat and a coordinating, plaid, wool scarf.
Impress With No Press
Preppie weekend wear allows for wrinkles. For a warm-weather casual affair, grab a pair of Bermuda-length Madras patchwork shorts -- no ironing needed. These shorts can act as the foundation piece for several outfits. Pair them with a white cotton polo, and add a pastel, crew-neck, cotton sweater that picks up one of the colors in the shorts. Or choose a pastel polo and, for a smart casual look, add a navy blazer. Turn this look upside down with a Madras patchwork blazer and a white polo or white (un-ironed) Oxford button-down shirt. Add khaki shorts to stay subtle, or make the outfit pop with shorts in a bright hue pulled from the blazer. A brown leather belt and moccasins completes this look.
Preppy and Polished
Take preppy style to the workplace with neutral pieces, adding a pop of color with your tie and pocket square. Team a navy blazer with gray flannel trousers and a white, button-down, Oxford shirt. Brighten up this neutral palette with an orange, navy and white striped tie and an orange, silk pocket square. Add a black leather belt and black brogues. A gray tweed blazer is a worthy investment because of its flexibility. Pair it with black wool slacks, a blue button-down Oxford and a red and blue striped tie. Add interest with a red, paisley-print, silk pocket square. Opt for a white, button-down Oxford to create more contrast. Mix textures by wearing a knit tie that has a dark blue and thin, yellow stripe and coordinating it with a print, silk pocket square.
Party On, Prep!
For dressy occasions, take the traditional preppy route with a seersucker suit, a white, button-down, Oxford shirt and a light-blue and navy striped tie. A khaki suit paired with a blue, button-down, Oxford shirt and a blue and yellow striped necktie or bow tie is another timeless preppy look. Finish both looks with a black leather belt and black dress shoes. In summer, opt for white bucks. If eye-catching color is your preppy style, pair a pale green or light-gray sports jacket with a white dress shirt. Add a mint, white and Kelly-green striped necktie and solid, mint pocket square. Pull out all the stops with coral slacks. Add a brown leather belt, then go boldly forth with brown and white saddle shoes, or stay grounded with brown loafers.
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