Being the fashion-conscious male that you are, you probably own a few pieces of men's preppy clothing. If not, maybe you're considering adopting the look - or at least a few of its elements. No matter what the case, there's no denying the classic spirit of preppy attire.
The word "preppy" is typically uttered in the same breath as words like country club, golf, and Ivy League. Yet the truth is that no one need be associated with any of these things in order to pull off preppy style like a pro. In fact, take a close look at the clothes that define preppy to some degree, and you'll find that the majority of them are timeless, enduring pieces that are part of just about every man's wardrobe at some point or another. The hallmarks of a true preppy wardrobe include color, nautical themes, clean-pressed garments, and a generally neat, tailored presentation from top to toe.
Elements of Men's Preppy Clothing
So many clothes come to mind when one thinks of men's preppy clothing. There are the sweaters tied loosely around the shoulders; the brightly colored polo shirts; and the always-reliable khaki shorts, to name but a few. Of course, there's more to this year-round style of dressing than a handful of shorts and shirts. The look enjoys updates from season to season, incorporating trends from time to time while remaining true to its inherent penchant for timelessness.
If you're building a genuine preppy wardrobe, consider the following items, all of which are essential to achieving an authentic look:
When it comes to shirts, nothing is more synonymous with preppy style than the ubiquitous polo shirt. They're must-haves when it comes to building a complete preppy wardrobe, so don't shy away. Opt for bright shades like yellow, pink, blue, and kelly green, to name a few.
Another essential is the ubiquitous oxford button down shirt. This is appropriate to wear to the office, of course, and to other formal occasions when a polo shirt just won't cut it. Again, don't be afraid to wear colors - those pink and yellow button downs are just made for the preppy dresser.
A great selection of sweaters is a must. Fitted styles are neat, clean, and classic, so steer clear of anything baggy and loose. In the end, think proper fit, and opt for materials like cashmere and lightweight cotton, which flatter the figure and wear well over the aforementioned shirts.
A preppy wardrobe isn't complete without a few pairs of chinos. These versatile pants move easily from the office to after hours, and they also fulfill weekend casual wear purposes well. Opt for khakis or dark browns or tans for everyday wear.
Don't discount jeans, though. That's right - denim has a place in the preppy man's wardrobe, too. Note that they shouldn't be baggy and loose, though. The key is to select a pair that is straight legged and slim; essentially, the perfect preppy jean is formal and clean cut.
Shorts practically define the quintessential summer preppy uniform. These can be slightly baggy if you wish, but don't go oversized - this only looks sloppy. Wear your shorts with everything from polo shirts to lightweight sweaters.
A tailored sports coat adds polish to a well-rounded preppy wardrobe. Try one that is fitted for a flattering look, and stick with shades like navy and chocolate for guaranteed versatility. Feel free to slip a bright handkerchief into the breast pocket for an intriguing touch.
When the weather calls for a jacket, throw on a lightweight windbreaker or pullover that's just large enough to fit over your lightweight sweater - remember that anything too baggy will just look sloppy and break from the aesthetic of preppy cleanliness.
Winter's harsh chill demands a smart coat made with a rich, classic material, such as tweed. The pea coat is an old favorite, in a dark shade that corresponds well with the rest of your wardrobe. Worn over a crewneck sweater and paired with jeans and smart shoes, it contributes to the perfect preppy ensemble.