Welcome to Boogzel Clothing! 💝 Discover Aesthetic Outfits + FREE Standard Shipping, NO Minimum!🌴

The PREPPY AESTHETIC Guide: All the Tips You Need to Know

Written by Helen Boogzel


Posted on August 07 2023


Preppy Aesthetic Outfits

Skin may be in right now but the classic preppy aesthetic will always be in fashion. But before we delve into the characteristics of preppy clothes, let’s take a little history lesson on the origins of preppy style.

Preppy 101

When we say history lesson, we do mean that quite literally. The preppy aesthetic can actually trace its stylistic roots to around the 1890’s and the 1990’s. 

Preppy style was recognized as the fashion that wealthy students attending preparatory schools and Ivy League universities would wear. Hence, the term “preppy” came to describe fashion seen worn by preparatory school students. Because of this, wearing preppy clothes became a kind of status symbol, a signifier of wealth and class.

So, what exactly made their preppy style so distinguishable? Back in the day, there were a few key clothes that were essential to the preppy aesthetic.

A preppy outfit would not be complete without knit sweaters, oxford shirts, and loafers.

Once women began walking around with their own preppy style, it was all about the pleated skirts, loose shirts, and trousers, which was quite unconventional and a surprising style for women at that time.

Throughout the decades, the preppy aesthetic has evolved but it continues to be associated with classic, conservative, and collegiate style.


Unlike free-spirited bohemian fashion that’s usually characterized by loose, lightweight fabrics, flowy silhouettes, floral designs and abstract shapes, preppy outfits are all about structure, layers, and patterns. 

The preppy aesthetic is also a far cry from streetwear or grunge style that typically has an urban edge. Preppy fashion is distinct for its refined, chic yet casual appearance.

Preppy and Popular

There are a number of fashion brands that are closely associated with the preppy aesthetic. Brooks Brothers is among the original proponents of the preppy style with the brand’s wide range of preppy clothes that are offered for both men and women. Lacoste is another longstanding preppy brand that continues to deliver the preppy aesthetic with a French flair


Preppy brands have not been the only promoters of preppy fashion.

Famous public figures, celebrities, and well-known characters from hit television shows and movies, who have donned preppy clothes, have also made the style not only popular but highly covetable. Everyone from Olivia Newton John in Grease to Reese Witherspoon in Pleasantville, Cher and Dionne in Clueless to Serena and Blair in Gossip Girl, from the late Princess of Wales Diana to the current Princess of Wales Catherine, Taylor Swift to Victoria Beckham, and countless other icons of popular culture continue to make the preppy aesthetic extremely fashionable and desirable.

preppy outfit examples

Characteristics of Preppy Aesthetic Style

While the conservative nature of preppy clothes may be a far cry from the risqué, body baring, and sheer fashion that’s highly popular today, it’s one style that will always stand the test of time. 

Today’s modern preppy aesthetic has a number of defining characteristics and signature designs, which are easy to incorporate into your own wardrobe. You can effortlessly create the perfect preppy outfits for your everyday wear with these wardrobe staples and timeless designs.

1. Knit Tops

A knit top can instantly give your outfit a preppy style. Whether it be a pullover, a uni sweatshirt, a cardigan, or a vest, wearing a striped, patterned or even a solid colored knitted top will give you that preppy vibe. Make your outfit even more collegiate but wearing your knit top over a button-down shirt with your collar popped out.

2. Plaid and Argyle

You can’t go wrong with plaid and argyle patterns when it comes to preppy aesthetic. The checked stripes and diamond patterns instantly evoke a preppy flair. Plaid and argyle can come in virtually any color. Go for pastels in the spring and summer and darker, jewel tones for the fall and winter seasons. Argyle vests and plaid pleated skirts are especially synonymous with preppy outfits. Channel your favorite high school or college television show characters for the quintessential preppy outfit.

3. Statement Collar

A statement collar may seem unexpected but it’s one design element that can instantly inject a little preppy style to your outfit. Whether it be a rounded Peter Pan collar, a ruffled collar, a pointed Chelsea collar, or an oversized style, a top or a dress with an eye-catching collar is all you need for an easy preppy outfit.

4. Pleated skirts and dresses

No academia look is complete without a pleated skirt. Make it a plaid pleated skirt and you’ll be taking the preppy style to a whole other level. Ace the private school girl look with a plaid pleated miniskirt paired with a knitted vest and a blazer worn over a classic collared button down top. An alternative to the pleated skirt is a full-on pleated dress featuring a collared neckline. 

Whichever you prefer to wear, either preppy outfit will have you looking like you’re ready for your next class

5. Mary Jane’s and Loafers

When it comes to preppy kicks, nothing says school girl quite like classic loafers and Mary Jane shoes. Whether you prefer the shoe styles as flats, with heels or with high platforms, stepping into Mary Janes or Loafers will have you giving every preppy school girl a run for their money. Just don’t forget to wear socks, especially knee-high versions, for the full preppy effect.

6. Headbands, Berets, Bows, and Socks

The devil is in the detail and when it comes to the preppy aesthetic, small accessories can make a big difference to your overall look.

Wearing a ladylike headband or a chic beret can easily complete your preppy outfit. You can also opt for a girly bow clipped to your hair or ribbon tied on your top. Last but not least, slipping into socks, especially patterned, ruffled, or knee-high styles will have you walking, not just with an extra pep but with an extra prep in your step.


There are countless ways to incorporate the preppy aesthetic with your own personal style. At Boogzel, we have everything you may need to channel the sociable prep student of your dreams. Only the school books are sold separately.

Check out also Related Aesthetics:

Keywords: preppy aesthetic, preppy aesthetic clothing, preppy aesthetic outfit, preppy style



Leave a Comment