Preppy Men's Styles

Argyle sweaters and button-down Oxford shirts are preppy essentials.
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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.

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

Laura Leddy Turner began her writing career in 1976. She has worked in the newspaper industry as an illustrator, columnist, staff writer and copy editor, including with Gannett and the Asbury Park Press. Turner holds a B.A. in literature and English from Ramapo College of New Jersey, with postgraduate coursework in business law.