Pulling Off A Preppy Style

The Preppy Look
The Preppy Look

The Preppy Look

The preppy look utilizes bright bold colors, especially cyan. The look is clean, neat, and affluent. The stigma to looking preppy is one must be a snob, but wanting to look good, and show others that you feel happy through your clothes is not a bad thing.

The preppy look uses patterns, in conjunction with bold colors. The accessories with this style could be clothes themselves, such as a sweater. wrapped casually around the shoulders. Remember the most important rules of preppy style.....class, elegance, and neatness.

Basics and Hair

Preppy guys and girls strive for prim, and neat. Guys need to make sure they put their ProActive on overdrive. The preppy guy is cleanshaven, with clear and smooth skin. Hair is bouncy, usually long, and shiny.

Girls, long straight hair, ready to be put in a cute ponytail is a must. Highlighting is popular, but a prep stays away from bright unnatural colors such as pink and red. Stay with natural colors like platinum blonde, and brown. Makeup to hide blemishes and acne is also essential. So borrow your boyfriend's ProActive, lol.

A caution to girls, wearing too much makeup shows, and it ruins the clean look. A caution to the guys, don't let your hair grow too long. It's not attractive when you and your girlfriend are being mistaken.

Cute Hair Bow for Girls
Cute Hair Bow for Girls

Preppy Clothing

Preppy clothing is bright, bold, and uber neat. Burn your t-shirts, and baggy jeans, preps like fitting and expensive (looking) clothes.

Guy's should have have a stock of polo shirts, chino pants, dark denims, bermuda shorts for the summer, and comfortable cable knit sweaters always at hand. During the summer, instead of wearing brown loafers, a comfortable pair of flip flops will suffice and keep the preppy feel.

Girl's, preppy means confident, and bright. It doesn't mean to be overly exposing. Form fitting cardigan sweaters, and oxford shirts are popular too wear. Large tote bags as a purse, single colored large plastic bangles, long bohemian earrings, shell necklaces, and cute bows for a quick ponytail are great accessories to use. A preppy girl should wear fitting slim jeans, or when feeling dressy wear a pleated skirt.

The Prep Attitude

Being a prep doesn't mean being a snob. Sure the confidence of a prep can overshadow any nice qualities, and only a big snob comes through. But a prep is an organized, happy, and meticulous individual.

One should be friendly to everyone, with a smile pasted on the face 24/7. If you can't smile without looking fake, try a small grin. Preps are organized inividuals, and at times maybe too self concious, due to their meticulous personality.

A prep has a certain subtle swagger showing self confidence. Exaggerating it though will backfire, so keep it natural. Staying confident, but being humble towards people will work out well for both.

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Comments 88 comments

sarah 8 years ago

well ya i dress like a prep but i ain't no prep i like the clothes they wear.. no way in heck do i have the attitude


tata 7 years ago

well, in my year book i wanna try a preppy look cause it's different i think


elizabeth__ 7 years ago

This article is great! :) Thanks!


Amber 7 years ago

This atlicle is good...but really, do u have to have an attitude? -_- no offense... but no one really likes a bitch...or a jerk..


ms.preppy profile image

ms.preppy 7 years ago

omg i mean my screen name says it all im ms.preppy yay me!


TruPrep 7 years ago

I was alerted to this article and the comments by a friend and could not keep myself defining the term “prep” because it is clear that there is confusion out there.

The state of being a prep is something that one is born into; not something that one can become.  Preps are born in the New England area and live in places like Boston, Wellesley and Greenwich and summer in places such as Nantucket and Newport.  We attend boarding (or Prep schools – hence the term preppy) like Phillips Academy and Choate and go on to college at Harvard, Dartmouth and Yale.

Preppy clothing is classically styled and well made of natural fabrics and materials.  True preppy clothing is purchased at places such as Vineyard Vines, Brooks Brothers, J. Press, Ralph Lauren and Lilly Pulitzer.  There are many mainstream stores (Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle to name a few) that try to imitate preppy style, but they fall well short of their goal.  Lest you become confused, preps never wear denim (dark or not) or long bohemian earrings as this article suggests.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I agree.  I am happy that many people see our preppy lifestyle and want to imitate it.  So if you want to live like a prep – get out the solid color polos, pop those collars, jump into your Range Rover or Volvo and head out to a great house on the ocean in Nantucket, Kennebunkport or Newport this summer!


bre 7 years ago

yeah and im pretty sure we don't say 'aint' either sweetheart


camilla 7 years ago

Preppy is a false label in America, whoever boasts it - in my opinion only English people can ever be properly considered 'preps'. You are, afterall, the product of one of our colonies :) We have Eaton, Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge. We have stately homes(hundreds of years old) and titles. We invented prep - you simply immitate us because we are, awsome.


Matt 7 years ago

Ok i am a prep but i don't go around telling people that they have to live up north to be a prep. I live in the south, and i have everything you said "truPrep". Being a prep consists of looking your best all the time, but never be too cocky. Just remember its a competitive world out there, and if you want to stay on top you are going to have to fight for it.


marcus hall 7 years ago

this is unbelievable hahahaha, im a local lad, live in norfolk, not from the slums but i don't have money to splash! but i love my clothes and cant help but walk around in a pair of chinos everyday. what i cant understand is that you have to be a prep to be preppy?

we have been given a definition of a prep earlier which actually frustrated me, below i have picked out just one definition

Jump to: navigation, search

Preppy, also spelled preppie, is a shortened version of the word preparatory. It is a chiefly North American adjective or noun traditionally used in relation to northeastern private university-preparatory schools, as well as those who attend Ivy League or other prestigious colonial era colleges and universities. The term is used to denote a person seen as characteristic of an attendee of these schools.[1] Characteristics of preppies include a particular subcultural speech, vocabulary, accent, dress, mannerisms, and etiquette.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preppy

it clearly says the preppy look is gained through characteristics of these people so don't put people down cos you have the money, your saying they cant be a prep if they arent born into it, its just like learning another language or fitting into another culture


Alair 7 years ago

omg i thought preps were stuck up and snotty ! i thought they were all that. but when i read this article i realized this is totally me. the personallity and the clothing... i do like being... out there and i hate colored hair and i never wear makeup and always stay natural. this article helped me sooo much ! thank you !


alex 7 years ago

i agree with camilla but it is a shame she mispel Eton


julia 7 years ago

Camilla, first of all you spelled awesome incorrectly and second, ms.preppy,get over yourself if you were really a prep you wouldn't be screaming it to the whole world.


Jack 7 years ago

preps are dicks.


Jack 7 years ago

preps are dicks.


Bumby profile image

Bumby 7 years ago from DENVER /DARK HARBOR

Talem, Super article.

Between yourself and TruPrep,you have made a very good start in the conversation of being a preppie.I can only speak from my own knowledge,experience and observation as a Princeton educated('85 GR'87) Preppie-male-WASP.

The two of you have addressed the clothing issue quite well, so I will not belabor this point. What I wish to discuss is the "attitude" reality and the perception.

There is a vast difference between those of us that are true Preppies and those that merely pretend and just wear Preppy style clothing. The main underlining issue is a matter of breeding. There are somethings that are hereitary to the WASP. ie. Effortlessness, and there are somethings that are learned over time. ie. Ennui.

In my experience; being a preppie is a natural extention of or if you will, the prerogative of being a WASP. Take as an example the Peahen and the Peacock....The peahen(WASP) is very plain,white bread,bland and boreing. on the other hand, the Peacock(Preppie) is anything but boreing with his large beautiful plumage that must be noticed,and he struts .

Both the Pehen and the Peacock need each other to survive. So, also the WASP and the Preppie need each other to survive

In regardes to clothing, the Preppy look can be imitated if you follow the basic rules. The ability to successfully pull it off is much more complex and vexing. As the saying goes " It is not the clothes that make the man, but the man that makes the clothes." There is a quality an ability to dress perfectly without trying to, appearing to do everything well with ease . This is a quality that you can only learn form your parents and their peers.This is something that can only be learned from your own kind.


Phil 7 years ago

I am a Prep. And super kudos goes to the writer of this article. I loved reading it. It was super great


Amanda 7 years ago

Ms. Camilla,

I beg your PARDON, but for your information we beat you in a war. We are the most powerfull country in the world. So the fact that your a total poser is just a whole bit stupid. I would cuss your but off but you wouldn't be able to comprehend it. So get your poor but to your little townhouse and jack off.

(GO USA!)


Maurice  7 years ago

If your a prep that is fine yet there is no reason to belittle those who are not.I feel that if you want to imitate being a prep it means that those of you who are should feel a little special that they want to embrace the lifestyle and rich history that makes a person a prep. It's just sad that so many of the people who have comment are acting just like the misconception that people hate preps for being. I'm not rich and yet I'm not poor ,but if anything at least be humble if you are a true prep learned


Bumby profile image

Bumby 7 years ago from DENVER /DARK HARBOR

Maurice, Thank you for your thoughts. Our thought process is very disfuctional. On one hand we need new blood to survive,but despise anyone who tries to enter our tribe. You suggest, that we should feel special that non-Preppies want to imitate us, the fact is that we as a whole wish that you wouldn't. We know that we are powerless to stop you from trying. As to items of clothing,as they become popular with the masses we tend to switch back to old forms example.. lacoste.. we switch back to our own monograms. We are a small tribe, and wish to remain so. We have held the foundation of power in this country for over 200 years.And no matter how far to the right or left that society moves at any given moment in time,we hold that foundation firm. That is our lot in life. So, if you wish to imitate our dress, please do. If you aspire to take on our mantel, please know that the road is not easy and the yoke is not light.


Michal 6 years ago

I totally agree with Camilla

yes indeed , "Preppy is a false label in America"

and Amanda you're pathetic !!

" powerfull country in the world " ha ha take your Prozac, and go back to your doll's hospital.


Jack 6 years ago

Being "preppy" isn't something to brag about. You will be seen as a poser or a fake if you do this. Being a prep is all about trying hard at everything you do and looking your best. It doesn't matter whether you are from England or America or have lots of money or very little. It's the attitude that you need.


Christine 6 years ago

I really like the preppy look and how they're always organized and stuff (: !


Dave 6 years ago

Im far from preppy! Im more.... Indie then anything! hahahaha had great fun reading this and the comments! I got called "an affluent little preppy prick" today and wanted to understand what I was being accused of! half of you guys commenting seem way to snobby (TruPrep, Bumby etc) and the other half of you seem like try hards! (Michal Camilla etc)

In my honest opinion, if your on this webpage and claim to be a prep.. the only person your kidding is yourself! i mean... based off the articles I have read, if you truly are preppy you wouldn't be here :)

anyway I must retire to the library for some study surrounded by the rich mahogany and abundance of leather wrapped books! ah for tomorrow I'm off to the country club for a quite drink with the fellows, HURAH!

haha cherio boys!


Kristen 6 years ago

This is interesting. Where I am, "prep" is thought to be uptight and not very liked. Maybe your preppiness is something you are proud of, when really most people here would probably hit one. Anyways as for the, "fake prep" technically you can't really be a poser because people will still percieve you as a prep and you achieve your goal. As well as being many different definitions of a prep it widely varies in regions.

Also, where I live we bully preps. A lot.


dana  6 years ago

hey i read this article and i was wondering if i should shop at Aeropastale cuz this really popular gilr at school wears there clothing!!!!!!


Ashley 6 years ago

I agree with 'TruPrep and Bumpy'. It IS something that you are born into, i myself live this lifestyle (i guess you can call it). However don't live in the USA or England, im from Canada, in my last year at a prep school. I have been accepted to both Oxford and Harvard. You don't have to live in a specific area to be a prep. I do have a house in Wellesley and currently looking in England if i decide to go to school there. Although i agree that you can not BECOME a prep, its something you carry from birth.

It concerns me a little that girls that have read and commented on this article are willing to shop at a store just because a "popular preppy girl" shops there. Bumpy you are right, you can imitate this 'style' if you get the right pieces. You are still not fully a prep unless you are raised that way.


Natalie  6 years ago

While I agree that the majority of preps are preps from birth, there are other ways to, I suppose, "become" a prep. I am seen as a prep due to my relationships I've had with people born as preps, the people I associate with, and merely my hobbies. If you live in the culture long enough, despite your upbringing, being a prep will come as naturally to you as someone who has been living in it their whole live.


... 6 years ago

This article is absurd. Be who you are; never aspire to be anyone else.


marilyn manson once said 6 years ago

“A lot of people don't want to make their own decisions. They're too scared. It's much easier to be told what to do. Americans talk so much about being individualistic, but they don't want you to be an individual because if you think for yourself then you're not going to be a part of any trend that they want you to be a part of. They don't want you to think for yourself. They tell you they do so that you're happy and you're stupid and you're sheep. Anybody intelligent enough to realize what America is, is not going to sit around and do nothing about it. They're going to be the same way that I am. They're going to be the same way our fans are. They're going to be pissed. These people are artists. These people are musicians. They're taking it out and trying to express it that way. The rest of the world, who are just willing to accept it, are gonna be doing their everyday jobs, and they're going to be trapped in a rut, and they're never gonna see it until the day they die, and they're gonna be disappointed when they don't go to heaven anyway 'cause they were too stupid to realize that it's not going to happen.”


english 6 years ago

to be honest, i like the preppy style because i think it looks nice, which is why i came on here. I think confidence is good no matter what, but this whole thing about how only a certain type of person can be classed as a prep is slightly childish. Im from Engalnd and i go to a private, all girls school. I go riding and try hard in most things i do. Some people would call that preppy or snobby, but some wouldn't. Is partially about perspective.


cece  6 years ago

so i go to a small middle school in texas and preppy is areo and rue21, pac sun, ect. with cowboy boots tight jeans and i have all of that but her you have to pass the test if you do fit your an outcast retarded huh, yea. if anyone should be one i should cause i am going to be a fashion desinger when i grow up!!


Blondine 6 years ago

I am Australian, living in Kensington...one of the richest and most exclusive suburbs of London. While I admire the prep or 'posh' (as they call it here) look theres no way I would have the money, meticulous attitude & discipline or breeding to truly pull it off. I have seen many wealthy, classy and well dressed men and women around here - including Tom Parker Bowles (Prince Charles's son-in-law). There are many snobs and try-hards around who think it is all about being snobbish and how much money you (or more likely your parents) have. I can say 100% from my experience bragging about (or even mentioning) how much money you have, where you went to school or the number of houses your parents own is a clear indication of vulgarity and impoliteness and not true to the ideals of the prep style in any way. I think Jack makes a good comment that 'its about trying hard at everything you do and looking your best'. This is also a real American trait where trying hard to achieve is celebrated whereas in the UK it is sometimes considered an arrogance. Truly prep means class and elegance - including not dissing anyone else or being mean or dismissive towards them.


johnty  6 years ago

can anyone tell me where i can buy some typical preppy trousers. I have most the look natural blonde hair desighner polo's brown loafers am privately educated but am struggling to find preppy trousers they all a tad of class for my liking. any websites would be most appreciated.


liz 6 years ago

umm try americaneagle, ralph lauren, or Abricrombie and fitch. but btw you don't hav to be blond to be preppy, but im assuming that u didn't mean it that way :)


liz 6 years ago

oops... I mis spelled A & F srry :)


liz 6 years ago

but no offence to anyone realy i think in MOST cases preps are born like that it just comes natural to them but i believe that anyone can be a prep if not then we would be excluding people and that is mean and preps are not like that i believe that if you follow the right steps you can go from emo animay(sp?)freak to a prep and be included like all the other preps


liz  6 years ago

Im bored some one comment


Max 6 years ago

Though I agree with what a lot of you have said in regards to the origins of prep style (having gone to prep school in New England myself), I think that the question here is not "how do I become part of the tradition of prep society?" Rather, it is a question of fashion and style, and lifestyle doesn't have to dictate that: Afterall, how many of us still play polo in a polo shirt? And who still hunts for sport in a sport coat or sails in a blazer? Origin and tradition are fascinating, but that doesn't mean anyone can't just wear what looks good. Cheers


Bumby Scott 6 years ago

With the book Tru Prep coming out soon, there has been a high interest in what it means to be a Preppy. In my case I am a Preppy and a WASP. The coment section of this hub is not the place to explore this in great detail. There are some very good web sites out there mine included I suggest to all that read this hub Explore.

Thank you all that have read my comments, and have responded.

Always Bumby


Adler Knight 6 years ago

It is a shame that this 'Prep style' has also found an attitude. The evidence can be found in the above posts.

The Prep look is great if you want to project simplicity and elegance. Having good manners is far more important and it takes work! Correcting people's spelling mistakes would also be rude. How do you know if they have dyslexia or not?

When a person is rude or crass, it just shows a lack of class.

You can't buy class.


England's Rose 6 years ago

You can't buy class, or style.

Being preppy is not about 'attitude' it is about being well bred, and well mannered, and above all, well dressed. It is not rude to correct spelling mistakes, it is helpful, and we know that preppy girls and boys are helpful.

Preps are not 'born like it' they learn. As the style dictates, it's origins are from traditionally British prep schools in England. It has since grown to gain a worldwide following.

Not everyone can pull of a preppy blazer and polo shirt, but those of us who can pity those who cannot.

Try Jack Wills for a perfect preppy outfit.


Wow. 6 years ago

To everyone that is TRYING to sound smart...try using the right forms or your (your/you're) or to (to/too) or but (but/butt).


Alex 6 years ago

preppy is the new look in europe! But not classic, just fashy ... all are imitating ... h&m, scandinavian designers etc.

I'm from Europe to, and I like the clothes, but only the classic ones and I have to buy them in america. thats not easy, but no one else here got it.


dan 6 years ago

Which is more preppy lacoste or ralph lauren polo shirts?


Becky 6 years ago

It's quite a shame; I like the style but just reading this page has put me off it. I think I'll stick to not being a snob, thank you very much.

PS I'm privately educated... to anyone reading this, please don't think that the dicks on this page represent everyone in private schools. There are snobs, but there are also awesome people who are accepting of people of many backgrounds.


Dinali 6 years ago

I can talk about this as an outsider(Indian- South Asia, that is) that it is pathetic how white people are so politically correct when it comes to black people or Mexicans.. That is because you want to appear polite and educated. Yet, you feel the need to prove yourselves superior (being born into the prep lifestyle, WASP..)And the very reason you are here is to be acknowledged for your pretended superiority.I see racism, and segregation all over this. And seriously, Camilla, along with your true prep blood friends.. get over yourselves already. Life is short. Be nice to people around you.

Hey, just remembered.. India was also under Britain for a while.. :) Not one person there in their right minds tries to achieve prephood. Did you hear how curry is England's national food??? ;)


your crazy 6 years ago

most of the stuck up preps on this page have alot of pride of themselves and one they will regret bein so retarded by thinkin they are better just because there parents got them in to a fancy school and a fancy job. grow up and shut up


Tyler 6 years ago

I'm not born a prep, though I hold the same values and like the same clothes and such. I'm an aspiring fashion designer and hope to one day have my kids born into a preppy lifestyle.


6 years ago

born a prep? oh and range rover? volvo? and here i thought preps have taste..


CollarsUp 6 years ago

One needn't live in New England to become a prep. For generations, the affluent have sent their children to a variety of boarding schools in the Northeast, even if they themselves had their powerbase elsewhere.

I would also point out that many affluent families (my own, as an example, Texas landowners, to Chicago socialites, to affluent residents who summered on the Northeast and became part of the landscape over a series of generations) retained powerbases elsewhere while still being inconically

The Kennedys derived much of their affluence and influence from Chicago, but no one could argue that the family isn't iconic of classic "prep." They're also Gaelic (not Anglo-Saxon) and Catholic (not Protestant), and started off neither rich nor powerful.

Affluence and influence can be earned and purchased by families willing to put in the effort, and providing a much increased standard of living and station to their children. This is what separates us from the Brits I see have earlier commented. I'm afraid they have yet to learn that power, prestige, and titles should be earned.


Bumby profile image

Bumby 6 years ago from DENVER /DARK HARBOR

Hello Bumby here, I have been taken to task. I have misspelled the word comment in my last posting. These days I spend most of my computer time working on my site. The Preppy Chronicles, that I have fallen behind on the Hub. I will try to check more often.

Always Bumby Scott


Jorey 6 years ago

Bumby: one thing that still isn't clear to me is how you indicated that being a prep and a "WASP" are closely connected. Does this mean that people of other races can never technically fit the prep lifestyle? (Sort of along the lines of Dinali) I understand that prep is a sort of label that you are given at birth, and how important family history is. Just something I was wondering. I've slowly been shifting to more of a true prep look and style, and my friend pointed it out to me.

On the other hand, I try my best at school and academics and extracurricular activities, and I am aiming for a very good university (Ivy if I can). It's good to know that preps are achievers!


NP 6 years ago

It was so comical reading all the theories behind what being a prep is. I have always gravitated towards this style as a child growing up in Key Biscayne, Fl. For those of you who do not know, it is an island in South Florida. Yes to own property here is expensive and most people that reside there are well off. The style we had growing up was not done with the intention of being "preppy", it was simply how we all dressed. When I was in elementary I attended a public school because that was the only one available. Moreover, I did attend a private middle school because that was the only middle school available. Later in life I realized that the way we dressed was "preppy", but that is all I ever knew how to dress! Yes my peers and I were neat, polite and all had good manners and we actually frowned upon those that were not. However it was the times I grew up in the 80's where this style was at it's pinnacle and the style was readily available. A style that has stuck with me ever since. After reading this and other publications I will have to accept the fact that I was and I'm a prep although I live in the South East and I'm from a Cuban ethnicity. But it is was is natural to me and not something I force or have to do a conciouse effort to do.


Sandra 6 years ago

I like the preppy look, but i think some ppl are right, u have to be born...a prep to be able to be like that... I am from Romania and I would like to get "The Official Preppy Handbook" just for what it stands for, and what it can teach you. but from what I saw and understood, real preps should not act like some do in here, writing such bad comments. (I appologise for my spelling and grammar mistakes, I am not a native speaker). Anyhow, i think it is a great style and i think more ppl should learn some parts of how to be a prep, if not most of them.


Fran 6 years ago

I think some of you ('Bumby', for example) are just having a laugh here. I sincerely hope so.

For those of you trying to pass your selves off as Preps while completely misunderstanding the use of a comma and the appropriate time to use a semi-colon: snobby, boastful and bad writing is, first and foremost, a sign of a true wannabe.

I hope you learn to love who you are and stop trying to pass yourself off as someone else.


Miffy 6 years ago

Well, I thinks its rather comical that all you little dears are trying just so hard to be one of us. I'm just sitting here in my stately home (Blenheim Palace, for those of you with connections) in Oxfordshire, England. Its rather lovely, I must say. But this morning I had the most terrible upset - I broke my Grandmothers pearl necklace! It really was the most terrible shock, or course! Daddy has had them sent of to Tiffany's, New York, to be fixed. Daddy says that is the best place, and of course I agree. Daddy is awfully clever!

I'm going to see my fifth pony now, I got him as a present last week, from Daddy. I'm playing polo tomorrow, so I really must get a good sleep before I set off to my school; Cheltenham Ladies College. My boyfriend, the Duke of Westminster's son, is here I think, one of the servants just rang the bell to say there's a visitor. We have, of course, over 100 rooms here. The Queen is like a second Grandmother to me, and I'm 19th in line to the throne of England. I'm really terribly tired today - I had to carry 5 rather heavy Harrods and Chanel bags all the way back to Charles' and Beatrice's third home in Chelsea before I could get driven back to Blenheim! It was really very awful, but I gave my new iPhone to a homeless person, because daddy says we must be generous, and so I couldn't call for one of the chafferers to come and fetch me. And of course I couldn't get a taxi - I don't like touching doorknobs other, dirty, people have used. Daddy's calling me to come and see the new heli-pad in the grounds, next to tennis court eight and the smaller stables. So I really must dash! Perhaps I'll pick up Baskerville (my favourite hound) from the kennels on the way over. I feel like a quick stroll!

I think you really do all seem awfully sweet!

Lots of Love Darlings,

Miffy


fatima 6 years ago

this article and the comments are very interesting, it displays very well how narrow minded a lot of people are. although a lot of you are correct about the style, ultimately it belongs to a class of people that are born into luxury. i can understand why people could want to immitate them they styles are classy, i personally love the clothes, i wear them but i do not consider myself a prep. the clothing style described in the articles are actually a tv version of prepps, nothing like the real clothing. it seems that a lot of people confuse style and class with being rude and snobbish and caring for insigficant things is not true style or class. true style and class come from being a person of substance and intelligence not the clothes you wear.


asd 6 years ago

preps can be born anywhere, anytime. a classy, respected & dignified person can pull off ANY type of clothing...whether that's considered "preppy" in the typical sense or not.


katherine 6 years ago

This is more of a primetime teen drama prep, where you can pick out the preppy girl because she's wearing all pink and is smart, motivated and over involved in extra-cirricular activities. It's a very apt description of a suburban high school's definition of "prep".

In reality, the WASP's among us who went to private or boarding schools and are accustomed to a certain lifestyle are more than a little different. Yes, we work hard and attend good colleges, but we're typically not all that outgoing and friendly. Impeccably polite, yes. Welcoming, no. Most of us have an air of boredom about us.

Imitating the clothes is tricky, because american eagle and abercrombie don't count. we mix high end designers with common lables like lacoste and jcrew to create the prep look. It's classic, its old money and it is not achieved by anyone who dresses like a real housewife of fill in the blank or an OC character.

We drink endlessly, and in true prep culture its not unusual to see high school students nursing gin and tonics or martinis, but pretty fair to find us swilling boxed wine. Cigarette smoking is not uncommon, nor is drug use, especially at boarding school.

The attitude can never be taught. It's old money and traditions passed down by generations. The key to distinguishing the true WASPy prep is the effortless. We're comfortable with ourselves and even completely done up never look like we're trying too hard.

Bottom line is, unless you were born into it, it's incredibly hard to fake.


Angel 5 years ago

I don't care much for American so called preps and I live here. They all think they are so much better then everyone else, but they are not. I have not had the chance to meet a European prep yet and would very much like to get that chance one day, so that I can form my own opinion on them. American preps if you ask me are just sluts, they think it is so cool to dress like a slut but it is just grose. I don't know how to be one because I am not one and never will be but from this article I have learned a few things. I know see that the girls that go to my school that we call preps are nothing more then sluts! I really like this article.


Angel 5 years ago

Dear Miffy,

Its simply great that you have all that nice stuff but no one cares how much stuff you have, or how nice it is. All you are doing is gloating about your place in the world. Have you ever stopped to think about those in 3rd world countries? About the kids that starve? You should try doing something nice for those who are not a fourtunate as you without being asked. People under you socialy are not dirty, just because we don't have the money or anything as such does not mean we are not just as clean and classy as you. Furthermore if you lack the thought of equality, where all people are equal not matter money or power! Get over yourself!!!!!!


Angel 5 years ago

Sorry about that I had a gramatical error Miffy, I meant to take out the if in the second to last sentence.


Bumby profile image

Bumby 5 years ago from DENVER /DARK HARBOR

Hello Bumby here, wow two months have gone by. I will try to address all of the various questions starting with the oldest.

@Dan, Between the two options you presented, Retro Lacoste. I suggest the retro for the one simple fact that it has the long tail which keeps it tucked in.

@Jorey, My distinction between being a WASP and Preppie is a simple one. A WASP by it's very definition is very exclusive, we are considered an ethnic group. The word Preppy was first coined in the book and movie 'Love Story' and stems from the verbiage " To Prep " as in where did you Prep.( this refers to a system of private preparatory schools) The system was developed in response to the need of elite universities to have a qualified body of men ready enter, all having the same values and backgrounds, all being on the same page and level educationally. These "Elite" universities could then attract a handsome well bred monied clientele. ( Mostly WASP families. ) Now to the dress, Prep-school dress was and is a basic uniform. The uniform stays the same year after year, it does not change as you move through your life. The materials are natural, easy to take care of, and are practical. BORING. So to spice things up a bit, some young lad no doubt in a state of rebellion, decided to go against the rules. Thus the modern Preppy was born. The difference in styles between WASP and Preppy... WASP is plain, stable, bland and solid. Preppy is wild, crazy and expressive. One may be a Preppy with out being a WASP, but inside every WASP is a PREPPIE just yearning to show off. I hope that gives a bit more clarity to your question.

@Sandra, First let me welcome you to the USA. It has been suggested that if you like the style, ease into it, make it your own. Do not attempt to be someone that you are not. TOPH is a great starter kit, just remember the golden rule. Have Fun.

@Fran, Thank you for your kind words. The truth is that as a general rule WE (that would be the collective WE) are an egotistical, self centered, narrow minded, bigoted group of people. OH, did I mention dysfunctional. I highly recommend that you read a book titled ' The Wordy Shipmates ' by Sarah Vowell, her slant is liberal but the info is spot on, after reading it you will have a better understanding of our psyche.

@Katherine, well said. Please find me over on FB...BumbyScott .

I hope that I have been of some help.

Always, Bumby


Me 5 years ago

this and all of you are pathetic ..


teejayemm 5 years ago

I’m just not sure about the exclusivity of this preppy culture, in comparison; you don’t need to be of Celtic decent to wear a kilt, nor have shorn sheep for a living to wear a tank top.


Prep_10_11_ PA 5 years ago

Yeah um....well all of yins are just retarted for trying to "act like a prep"! god...i can tell that 1/2 of yins are just faking all this shit to make yourself sound "rich, cool, preppy, and snobby"....well I am only 12, and EVEN I CAN TELL A FAKER!! so just be yourself! yeah i am a prep....kinda, and I am not filthy rich or anything cause i live in penncylvania, but you do not have to live in this huge estate with other rich asses to be concidered "preppy"! I fit into the category of "preppy but still down to earth". most preps (my point proven in about 3/4 of the comments above) are just bitchy, think they're all cool, claim to be rich, and think only about trying to SEEM perfect!!!!! well guess what....... IF YOUR TRYING TO BRAG ABOUT YOUR LIFE THEN YOU ARE FAKING IT!!!!!! My house is only two stories and it is not gorgeous white and shit.....its brick and its very nice inside. I do not live in this gated community where people hang out with tea and freaking biscuts..... now i am starting to beleive that you guys weren't lying cause most preps are bitcy, and think bout themselves!!!!! hmmmm sounds like your comments! SHUT THE FUK UP AND GET A FREAKING LIFE ALL YOU FAKERS!!! we all know what a real prep is like....they DO NOT have to go to a Prep-school... I go to a friking public school and I am the BIGGEST prep... was voted most friendliest... and have 3 A', 1B, and 1C! it don't matter how smart you are cause I read almost all of the comments.....especially Tru_Prep made me wanna just find them and drop shit them!!!! god stop acting all fancy like yins grannies cause yins don't talk that way in real life..... at least I hope not cause if you ever came to my school, you'd get beat up on the first day. I hope you learned something from this paragraph.... as i was typin this, i was listening to We R Who We R by Ke$ha..... listen to it..... MAYBE YOU'LL LEARN FROM SOMETHING OTHER THAN YOUR ASS-HOLE PARENTS THAT TAUGHT YOU THIS WAY OF LIFE. again, YES I AM A PREP BUT I AM KINDA A BITCH SOMETIMES. search Stephanie Rodgers on Facebook. thats me. I always appear as a prep, but i have nice people around me who keep me grounded.

im pissed now. bye


Mark 5 years ago

Having preppy style and being a prep are separate things.

You can be a prep and have no style, good looks, intelligence or anything.

The idea that there's a clear distinction between rich prep kids and everyone else is ridiculous.

The traditional definition of a prep kid is a kid at a private junior school between the ages of eleven to thirteen, in the British education system; one who is preparing for the more important stages of secondary education.

The key point though, is that they are kids at private school.

This doesn't mean that you have to be at private school to have preppy style, but you probably need to be at or have been through private education to be a true prep.

Fair enough.

The thing is though, you could dress like a prep, get a good job, make loads of money and then send your kids to private school, where they might meet people whose parents were preps, move in those circles, and maybe even marry and have kids with someone like that.

So then you've got a kid who goes to private school too, has parents that did too, but only one set of grandparents that did.

What does this mean? Are they a true prep?

Of course they are, because it's got nothing to do with heritage, only whether you have been to a prep school or not yourself.

And what happens if this kid's parent has a sibling who didn't have the money to send their kids to private school?

Well... their kids aren't preps.

The style point is a completely different issue.

The origin of it comes from normal, often working class British kids imitating American collegiate style, which in itself is an imitation and development of British private (we call it public though) school style.

The development of it is interesting too, if you're talking about class (and even race) warriors. For instance: chinos are an Asian style trouser that GIs brought back to the US, and was adopted by British kids imitating Americans imitating Brits.

Oxford shirts are obviously from Oxford.

Striped shirts originate in India, became popular in Britain and fed into the preppy style.

Polo shirts are actually tennis shirts and were invented by Rene Lacoste (tennis champion). A Frenchman.

Boat shoes come from the Native American moccasin.

And lately we've seen preppy style reinvigorate British farming wear.

So it's clear that preppy style, whether worn by a real prep-school kid or not, is just a style and has little to do with actual prep school.


mr grey 5 years ago

@ mark, very well said. being a prep is more to do with having attended a private school, and being brought up in a certain lifestyle. but in time its changed, theres not an aweful lot of people who actually attended private school who care about it, but they love the prep style, and i think in this day and age and to a large percentage of people, being preppy is all about your clothing style, and if you have the drive and upbringing, then good on you


Marty 5 years ago

Dear Camilla, Preppy was invented in the Ivy League schools in the UNITED STTATES, dear muppet. So NO, it is not English in origin. Go into a bookstore, or a library, a new experience Im sure, and look for a book called Take Ivy. Its a 1960's documentary of the preppy style when it started. It was written by a Japanese photographer on the campuses of those 8 schools.


Ganini 5 years ago

Actually,although much of the prep iconic characteristics are nowadays american such as ralph lauren has truprep stated, the prep style is derivaded completely from english culture and society. Why does this style new england related? Oxford and Yale? Aren't those Cambridge wannabes? The figure itself! Is totally english in style and maneirism, it cries out norfolk, york and wales! naturally, those first americans were eagger to reproduce the society they lived in and wanted to be part of! polo shirts are an fashion icon in england and british preps only stopped using them because mods ruined it with their cool sharp street look to wich they wouldn't wanted to related with! who invented the weejuns shoes? a big flaw in this article - not mentioning the footwear such has weejuns or sailing shoes! as an example i would like to say that in japan, the weejun is a must have for schools uniform and a fashion icon as well but i don't supose it would be fair to say that they were the ones who trully defined the object as an icon since it was already and they just figured out it was exactly what they wanted to establish as a code. Before the U.S.A there was England! It's just simple as that. Naturally an ex-colony allways faces trouble acepting this but i'm sure that when you prep boys sit around having lunch with your grandfathers you still listen about your family origins and guess what... some of you have origins in England and that's bloody prestigious isn't it?

ps: i'm not American or English by the way!


Idk 5 years ago

Ganini,

I know, ur Scottish


deniz 5 years ago

I actually cannot believe what i read above

I live in Turkey.I saw "preppy style" in a magazine so i googled it. The article was great i think, but some of the people that were commenting was so medieval.

First of all the guys that saying that they are preppy, and being preppy is something you born into; you are pathetic.And you say nobody can be like you, you see yourself superior to anybody and you talk about family histories WAKE UP! you are in a globalizing world what you are defending are becoming much more meaninless every single day.

There are lots of people dying because of hunger, there are lots of people living like they may not be able to survive the next day, but you are talking about your really expensive belongings.Are you not ashamed of yourselves when you see the kids in Africa in TV's? I am not rich or poor but i try my best to help them.

I thought the European people and the American's were more open minded but you still care the birth circumstances, who the parents are.It's just offensive and against the universal declaration of human rights.You just live in a dream.Go back to reality.Open your eyes.The world is not pink.

ps: Miffy you are hilarious!:)


Kimora 5 years ago

This article is hilarious. The "preppy" look is a fashion trend. Just because one's looking preppy doesn't mean they wanna be a real-born prep. Geez, lighten up it's fashion and it's supposed to be FAB-u-luzzzz!!!


Catherina 5 years ago

Oh dear, oh dear. I cannot believe you guys are fighting over who is the better prep! Why don't you let people be preps if they would like to be or look one? And by the way: the United States used to be the world's hegemon, but it has been secretly replaced by China in the meantime, at least in economic ways. My father is an Indian diplomat and we have lived in Switzerland, England and many other countries, and I know so many other diplomatic families; everybody went to Harvard, Yale or whatever elite school there is, and everyone wears those so called preppy clothes, but NOBODY ever boast about being preppy! This is ridiculous really, surely those comments must result from nouveau-riche and wannabe classy people


Etonian 5 years ago

Camilla, you were almost right, except Harrow is not a good school, anyone could go to harrow . Plus Dana do not shop at aeropostale, that girl does not know anything be your own person


micheal 5 years ago

i grew up with some preppy kids in washington state they wore swatches and ocean pacific beneton striped polos,banana republic shirts aligator shirts bum equipment. tshirts words on them one of them said "feet in the sand head in the clouds" on the shirt.they were into skating surfing, tennis, golfing, punk collecting cards modeling.and rock later on rap they were kind of confused or independent dressers.i saw the tailend of the preppy era on into 1980s early 90s.then people sort of broe off from there lost that disipline somewhat and became more independent styles today's dressing trends has split off from there into traditional styles and what is new in the stores its kind of a slump in quality... and they didn't get as far as excepting my group.haha


5 years ago

I'll refrain from calling anyone out by name, but I feel compelled to respond to certain comments with a few points: First, misuse of the word "breeding" is a sure sign of a lack of it. Second, no one who takes pride in his colonial heritage calls himself a WASP, which is a term that implies only negative stereotypes. Third, "egotistical, self centered, narrow minded, bigoted" don't fool anyone; they just broadcast their low social standing.


Bumby profile image

Bumby 5 years ago from DENVER /DARK HARBOR

@J, thank you for your comments. The fact that you did not seem to understand the satirical aspects of the term "breeding", suggests the mind of a dill weed. Second, if you feel that WASP implies only a negative stereotype, then I do feel sorry for you. Please, do not confuse my feeling sorry for you, to imply that I actually care about your feelings. The fact that I am even responding to your dribble, is because I am bored and you happen to have taken a potshot at me. You have had your moment in the sun but without contributing anything of substance to the overall thread. Come back to the discussion when you have finished wiping your butt, washed your hands and can add something of value.

Always, Bumby


4 years ago

Bumby, you won't hurt my feelings if you choose not to take my advice, but do yourself a favor: Throw out your well-worn copy of The Official Preppy Handbook, and then replace it with a book on etiquette.


4 years ago

You might also want to read The Protestant Establishment by E. Digby Baltzell to learn why the term WASP is pejorative.


Bumby profile image

Bumby 4 years ago from DENVER /DARK HARBOR

@J. What are you bringing to the table? If you must insist on this line of inquiry, let it not be said that I have not given you a fair shake. Although, TOPH is a fun read it is not my source material.My family settled in this country 376 years ago. With that history comes an enlightened realization that unless it is your history, one can not expect others to understand. Yes, let us look at Digby. A St Paul's boy, a Democrat,schooled at Columbia and let us not forget, a fellow at Harvard.Let us also look at the poor choices of subject matter, the Roosevelt's, a family so dysfunctional that they named one poor child Roosevelt,Roosevelt. Then we also have the family of... can't seem to keep it on the straight and narrow, who were Catholic. Digby, rest his soul, did not coin the term WASP. He was an outsider much like T.C.,who for a short while enjoyed a bit of notoriety. Much like T.C and his study subjects, Digby, has enjoyed a level of fame well beyond what is deserved. And like other outsiders, holds no fondness for us, only contempt for what they can never be. That is not to say, that there is not some validity to what he writes, just that it must be taken as seriously as TOPH. or True Prep.


4 years ago

Bumby,

It sounds like you've really studied how to try to pull this off. I bet you even changed your name from Schwartz to Smith.


Bumby 4 years ago

J, again you have soiled yourself, and again,you sound like a Dill Weed.So,that you don't hurt yourself I will give you a definition: Dill is an aromatic herb with delicate, feathery green leaves. Sometimes referred to as dill weed, dill is a member of the parsley family. While it is possible to buy and use dried dill, dill is one of those herbs that loses its flavor rapidly.

Bring something useful to the table.


Andrew Scharf 4 years ago

The Preppy or Ivy League style is timeless in its elegance and distinctly American voice. It is interesting with the craze for vintage and a return to heritage that this style has gathered much steam with the publication of several books within the last year or so.

The key to mastering this style is ease and comfort.


Bumby 4 years ago

@Andrew,Nicely put.


Dan. 4 years ago

I just spent my last half hour researching preppies. Firstly, don't hate on spelling/grammar mistakes I make... I have more important things to spend my life on. One good thing I like about you people is that you are against fads and gimmicks. I do my best to acquire people and things that are genuine and real as a keen industrial design undergraduate, who was born from a slightly poor working-class family. One type of people I do not consider to be genuine and real is Preppies. I however, came from a notoriously uncultured degenerate town called Hartlepool, England, GB.

Since reading your comments I now have a strong vision of self-absorbed, egocentric, nay-sayers who lack an open mind which prevents you from seeing other peoples perspectives. Just because you live a life with a beautiful image does not mean you contribute to society. Just because you look like you work hard on being vain doesn't mean the working class appreciate it. Not that I imagine you guys care about the working class since you guys appear to bask in the glory of this romanticised heritage. In fact, is it my belief that many of you will offer the world little in comparison with the cash you absorb from the rest of the economy; riding on heritage of capitalists who's only aim is/was to get what they want without compassion or thought for those who it may affect. I dare you to watch a documentary on capitalism with an open mind and then tell me that your heritage comes from a good way of life. You people derive from 19th century arrogant colonies who have inflicted much pain on the earth. The fact that you people think that you deserve to splash such cash to catalyse your already inflamed egos; irritates me more so. Think of where the clothes came from, all the resources that had to be used for it, the people affected and the price considering all of the needy in the world. Are such luxuries that important today when kids are starving? The guardian says "Earth 'will expire by 2050'". This is due to capitalistic greed of those who valued the image of their life over the rest of the world, and will sabotage the planet in order to get what they want in their lifetime. They are in denial too, and don't want their little dream or perfection to be ruined. I apologise for arrogant imposing claims, but I must ask that you look at conspiracies and challenge sources or information that is funnelled your way. Some conspiracies are bogus nonsense clearly, but use your gut and intuition. Be world conscious past mainstream teaching and media.

As the fictional character in Morpheus explained in the Matrix:

"You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe... You take the red pill [develop independent intrigue]; you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."

A slither of the world population owns the majority of the wealth. Is that something to feel good about? Hell, I'm in debt and I feel embarrassed and shamed for atrocities committed by my fellow homosapien intellectuals who in their greed have put their own people and others in a worse position. We are all connected. Disconnection is a sign of not being human but being like a killer or psychopath. Higher class often maintain the idea that if you really want something you can get it... but at what cost? Why should a financially crippled family have to pay for health care or education in a system that traps and confines them to work most of their life only to yield a fraction of what you "rich kids" get. Things that make you successful cost a lot and take major investing. Investment which the poor don’t have. Good thing you “real preppy’s” are well off. About being poor... It's not always a choice; you could have been born in Africa...so be grateful and humble. Be the change in the world that you wish to see. Why do the mass poor pay for the financial crisis, which was caused by the wealthy minority? Why do governments insist that they will bring in equality; yet still give the wealthy huge cash bonuses? The same bonuses which actually come from hard working tax payers money! Just some points to think about if you think you’re superior and frown upon those who struggle. I can imagine that could easily be the case if you were born into a life with more assets and opportunity.

Throughout my life I have tried to live with compassion for others and understand their motives. My atheist advice on how to be good; “don’t be a cunt.” However, I do believe that the preppy style is a remaining essence from a lifestyle of hypocritical ideologies ... but fuck it long as you guys look pretty and have money which comes from inherited status its all good. The past controls our future, and you people cling onto it like babies with blankets. I have worked hard all my life only to get to the end of my course to realise...if I want to proceed in my chosen industry I will practically have to get fucked in the ass and throw away all my free time, leave my family behind as well as my life and freedom. If I don't... well I have a highly specialist set of skills which is irrelevant to the fast area of North-East England.

To think this has been exasperated, weakened, by capitalistic bankers…

"The Rothschild family (German: [??o?t.??lt]), known as The House of Rothschild,[1] or more simply as the Rothschilds, is a European dynasty, of German-Jewish origin, that established European banking and finance houses starting in the late 18th century"

-Wikipedia- ...very interesting info and documentaries on this. Basically this family/aristocracy control the world. Check it.

Sorry HAH. I went of on a tangent at points but regardless, I would like to share that info with you people and wish to enlighten. I think you guys are in your own little bubble proving that ignorance is bliss. Good job too, because if you had the compassion many others and I do you would feel that there are more important things in life than your fancy cardigans and would discard them. What pointless self-absorbed nonsense. Prepy’s have no edge. I could see the toughest rugby/football playing preppy and would still think he looks like a pansy for acting and dressing like that. I have lived a life of lower class so far, but my god...I've seen some things you guys will never get to see and I could guarantee that. Mankind is so dumb it is in the process of killing itself off, yet squabbles over knitted pretty little accessories. We as people need to get over ourselves and help others. Plus your clothes are so boring with very little creative flare. Be bold...live a little. Please try to understand that whilst dumb people are irritating, it is probably a result of your “oh so great” ancestors somewhere down the line! Also, humble people tend to be the nicest and most interesting people in my experience. Intelligence and prestige seem to cause snobbery and cynicism, have you noticed? I maintain the belief that we can live with more important things to seek than status, material hoarding & money. Why can an African lady who has nothing but testing circumstances and her family smile more than people on the city streets?

Also see the girl that silenced the world for 5 minutes:

http://youtu.be/TQmz6Rbpnu0

I realised I have also been a bit hypocritical to generalise so I am pointing out that I understand not all preppies are obnoxious. From my experience they tend to be however. The also seem to miss out on real “life” and are so up tight like robots. This was aimed at those types that have given me that impression. If I had a preppy friend who was a good guy…I would still say “dude seriously what the fuck are you wearing, you massive ponse”, in a joking tone.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish. – Steve Jobs


i want to be a prep 3 years ago

You do NOT have to be born into the preppy life style. I know because I am a prep (well next year I'm really taking the leap). And preps are NOT JERKS. AND NEITHER ARE POPULAR PEOPLE(I am one so I know) !

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