Buy the preppy style clothes. Just because you got some clothes from an upper class store doesn't mean they are preppy. Buy clothes that are classic, and clean-cut. Don't be afraid to splurge on these a little, as preps tend to hold onto clothes for a long time. Remember to make sure your clothes are always clean, and always match. Good fabrics are very important. Get rid of any polyester. Buy mostly 100%cotton, wool and cashmere. Wear preppy colors. Bright and happy, like green, pink, light blue, nautical red, white and navy blue and preppy patterns such as plaid, stripes, gingham, polka dots, argyle, floral, paisley, nova checks, and tartan. * Here are some suggestions for that type of clothing: * Polo shirts
* Oxford shirts (unlike polos, oxford shirts should always be long-sleeved ***if it is warm outside simply roll up the sleeves) * Rugby shirt
* Cable-knit vests and sweaters (traditional cricket sweaters) * A jacket or blazer (navy blue is a staple; try seersucker or madras plaid in summer, tweed in winter) * Chino pants-could have cuffs
* Khaki pants. The prep equivalent to jeans
* Bermuda shorts (khaki, madras plaid, seersucker, linen or preppy prints and patterns) * Skirts (khaki, madras plaid, seersucker, linen, preppy prints and patterns) * Tea dresses and summer dresses (in madras plaid, preppy colors, seersucker, or linen). A-line dresses, halters, and flowy dresses are acceptable. * Tennis- and golf-inspired shirts, skirts, and dresses * Know the right stores and the right things to buy. Check out Preppy Must Have (http://www.preppymusthave.com). There are lots of great recommendations and also a daily feature. * Color coordination is key! If you're unsure about how to put together outfits, Google "preppy outfits" or visit the Preppy Journal online (http://www.rugbypreppy.com) to see Preppy articles and styles. 2. This column grew out a discussion on my blog, Off The Cuff DC, on the relationship between classic and preppy styles. The subject quickly became an effort to identify the real roots of American preppy and what it means today. 3. New England preparatory schools, conservative protestant values and social stratification all combined to create an environment which produced the uniform we know today as the preppy look. Actually, what passes today as “preppy” is a fantasized ideal of make believe history. It is a manufactured past that distorts the classically rooted values which gave birth to the preppy culture. When a kid is called a prep today, it usually means that he wears rugby shirts and shops at Abercrombie & Fitch (I remember when A&F was, in fact a great store). There is no sense of history or understanding of the preppy culture and that’s too bad, because it’s a pretty interesting history. 4. Yes, it started mostly at New England prep schools and ivy walled colleges. But the roots of preppy style can also be traced to a focus on social achievement, uniformity of style, propriety, proper decorum and class distinction. Conformity of dress at school resulted in the basic uniform of coat, tie, button down shirt, grey flannels or chinos and loafers or lace ups. Codes, traditions and sports also helped to nurture a bond and familiarity among budding preps and instilled in them a feeling of belonging. 5. This environment helped create a culture of exclusivity that had real influence. To say you prepped at Andover (a feeder school for Harvard) or Hotchkiss (a feeder school for Yale) could win you access to the right social circle or get you into really great parties. And once in the working world, to say you were a Yale man could mean getting the right job, joining the right club or vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard. 6. As preps sought to instill that sense of tradition and lifestyle in their...