Flaunt Your Preppy Style
The preppy look is a classic one, and never really goes out of style. If you need some new ideas when it comes to putting together preppy outfits, here are a few must-haves in your beauty and fashion arsenal.
A feminine blouse or two is always a must in a preppy wardrobe, but you do need to make sure that these are in line with the style that you are going for.
In terms of fit, you want your blouse to be loose enough so that it does not stretch at the chest, but not too loose, as you need to be able to tuck it in to pants or a skirt.
Lightweight, breathable fabrics are great, as these work all year round, while feminine details, such as ruffles or bows, are great as long as they are quite subtle.
The translucency of your blouse is something else that you can play with. Sheer blouses work really well, but you do need to make sure that you are wearing appropriate undergarments with this.
For the cooler months, opaque tights are a must with a preppy outfit.
You may be tempted to save some money here, opting for a cheaper pair, but this is something that you should not do.
Because while your tights may not seem like a significant part of your outfit, a pair that are snarled or not properly opaque will only cheapen your overall look.
Opting for a quality pair of tights will also help to give your legs some extra support, which is perfect for when you are wearing a lighter-weight dress or skirt.
Every preppy wardrobe contains at least a few blazers, usually in more than one color.
Blazers are an item of clothing that can really be transformed through the accessories that you pair with them, and you can find so much information in Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf, who managed to really dress up her standard school blazer.
Add in some feminine extras, such as bows, scarves and headbands.
Wondering which color blazer to go for?
If this is your first blazer, stick to a neutral color, such as black navy or gray, as these will be much easier for you to style with the items that you already have in your wardrobe.
However, once you are confident in how to wear a blazer, do not be afraid to try a bolder color, making your blazer the focal point of your outfit.
You should also not be afraid to wear a blazer with a dress, as this really works well when creating a preppy look. Sheath dresses are best, especially when paired with a printed scarf and some pearl earrings.
Stripes are a print that are a must in a preppy wardrobe, and you will likely want to have a few different striped garments that you can turn to to add some contrast to an outfit.
Striped sweaters and t-shirts are the easiest to style, and these can be worn casually as well as to the office.
While striped pants may seem tempting, these are just slightly too trendy for the preppy look, and are best avoided.
While blouses and shirts are great for the warmer months, you will need some extra coverage in the fall and winter, and this is where lightweight sweaters come in.
Since these are thin, they can be layered over a shirt or underneath a blazer, and can be worn with both pants as well as skirts.
Not into sweaters?
Try a cardigan instead, as these add an extra bit of feminine flair into any outfit.
However, keep in mind that cardigans come in so many different shapes and styles…
The length of the cardigan that you choose depends on the part of your body that you want to accentuate. Here are a few examples to guide you:
- A cardigan that falls at the waist will highlight the waist, making this great for hourglass or pear body shapes
- Longer cardigans work well for square or apple body shapes as they accentuate the hips
- Cropped cardigans work for both slender and wider waists, but accentuate the bust, so may not suit those who have smaller chests
Try to opt for a more fitted style, but one that is not too tight, as this will work best when putting together a preppy look.
TOP TIP: To preserve the shape and softness of your sweaters and cardigans, try washing them by hand and letting them air dry rather than using machines.
Sheath dresses have been mentioned a few times already, but what exactly are they?
Just like the sheath of a sword, a sheath dress refers to a dress that is quite slim-fitting and encases the body.
They tend to be quite thick and structured, and can come in solid colors as well as patterns. If the majority of your wardrobe features pastel and neutral shades, then this may be an area in which you want to take more of a risk, going for a richer, bolder color instead.
When it comes to the length of the dress, opt for something that either falls at your knee or just above it, as you need to keep it quite conservative.
Wondering what shoes to wear with your preppy outfits?
Pumps are great, but Mary Jane heels will really help to up your game. Plus, with the extra strap around your ankle, they offer more support and will be more comfortable.
Pairing your Mary Jane heels with a sheath dress is always going to be a great look, while a pair of slim pants and a feminine blouse will also work well.
If you do not like wearing high heels…
Try on some wedges instead. These are much more comfortable but will still give you some extra height.
In addition to having a pair of Mary Jane heels in your wardrobe, you should also invest in some quality ballet flats, as these are such versatile shoes, but are in-keeping with your preppy look.
Penny loafers will also work well, and can be styled with so many different outfits.
Brogues are another style of footwear that work so well with preppy outfits, and these come in a variety of colors, making this a great way to inject some vibrancy into an otherwise conservative outfit.
Now that brogues have really become quite a trendy item, designers have created them in such a variety of styles, featuring everything from high heels to studded detailing. While these may be tempting, you would be best off sticking to more conventional styles, as you do not want them to look out of place in your otherwise preppy outfit.
Headbands deserve a section all to themselves, as they can really add so much preppiness to an outfit.
They are also great for bad hair days, as a wide headband and a ponytail can totally mask greasy roots.
When it comes to the more feminine headbands out there, such as those featuring bows and other similar details, there is nothing wrong with opting for one of these, but you need to make sure that you also wear an item or two that will balance this out, such as a heavy watch or some brogues. Make sure that you never pair a bow headband with clothing that also features bows or similar details.
If you want to add a touch of glamor to your preppy look…
Try adding a pouf to the front and crown of your hair, before spritzing it with hairspray and then using your headband to hold everything in place.
When it comes to accessorizing your preppy look with jewellery, you do need to keep this relatively simple.
However, pearls will never go amiss, and can instantly dress up even the scruffiest pair of jeans.
If you do not feel quite ready yet to invest in some real pearls, as they can be extremely pricey, there is nothing wrong with purchasing a few lookalike pieces. They key to ensuring that they look as real as possible is picking pieces that have some weight to them, as well as pearls that are not too iridescent, as these can look quite tacky.
Here are a few pearl jewellery ideas that you could go for:
- Pearl stud earrings – simple and understated, these will work with any outfit
- A pearl brooch – make this functional by using it to hold a scarf in place
- A string of pearls – worn around your neck, these will instantly add some class to your look
To really pull off the preppy look, your nails should be well-manicured, and you should avoid using acrylic nails.
In terms of polish colors, stick to classier shades, such as pastels, deep reds, or a simple French manicure. It does not matter whether you have this done professionally or do it yourself at home, so long as it looks neat and tidy.
Stay away from nail art and any non-conventional nail colors, as this will only detract from your overall look.
Just like with everything else in your preppy look, your makeup should be kept quite simple, and should be as natural and clean as possible.
When choosing a foundation, make sure that it is a lightweight formula that really matches your skin tone. A layer of mascara and some tinted lip gloss are the only other things that you really need, but you could also opt for a cream blush, a light eyeliner, and a matte lip stain.