Dressing Preppy Doesn’t Always Mean Looking Dorky

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By Lauren Deloach, Editor of Category 5

Hideous twin sweater sets, three button fitted polo style tops with a sweater around the shoulders like you just left the country club, horrific plain khakis with zero stretch…AKA preppy. While there was a time when it was considered “so money” and status to look preppy, these outdated styles have become nothing more than an indicator that you never joined the land of the style living in 2012. The true definition of preppy has changed, and even the name shortened to allow for a more significant impact. No longer preppy, it’s all about “prep,” and how you can take what was once considered super conservative style and mix and match those principles into genres such as edgy-prep, chic-prep, and prep in its purest form…fab-prep. Let’s break down the idea of prep, and say a quick prayer that every chick rocking out that SO LAME cream shell and cardigan with single strand pearls to boot will take this style memo to heart!

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(Pictured Above: Free People Earned Stripes Sweater Jacket- $148, www.freepeople.com; J.Crew Jacquard Dot Popover- $88, www.jcrew.com)


Beginning with edgy-prep, the idea behind this look is mixing the rocker chick with the preppy chick and morphing the two into a dark and twisted fab version of herself. So if you’re wearing a pink and white striped collared shirt, you would pair that with a Rag & Bone leather accented black blazer and metal studded wrap bracelets. Instead of boring khakis, you could pair that look with pacific wool stretch cropped pants (think Tibi Beatles Cropped Pants), and add some edge back in by closing with a black metal cap-toe pump. It’s mixing the dark with the light that makes this look so appealing. In addition, this type of look is for the chick that while conservative in some areas of life, is no one to be played with as the edge within her is just looking for a reason to come out.

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On to the chic-prep chick, this look is all about taking pieces that are very classic and free-flowing, and pairing them with preppy picks that create a sense of structure. For example you would be considered chic-prep if you paired a polka dot popover top (think J.Crew) with a black and white striped rugby boatneck top over it. To really shut it down you would add on a bright solid color scarf wrapped around your neck, with your collar popped and peeking over the top of your scarf. You would pair the top part of this ensemble with a pair of boyfriend broken-in destroyed jeans (think Current/Elliott) to give off the vibe that “I’m just so go-with-the-flow, I could really care less about all the craziness running amuck.” For this vibe alone, a chic-prep chick would pair this look with flats, likely something Kate Spade-esque to cement her sense of prep.

Last but never least we come to prep in its most pure form…the fab-prep chick! This is the chick that can look all prep, and beyond fabulous at the same time. This is the chick with bows atop her bright pointed toe flats and rows of lavender beads twisted into a fab statement necklace because there’s no need to make the world of prep revolve around basic pearls. This is the chick with her hair in either a flawless bun or super straight, who knows Theory makes amazing dress khakis and that a row of tasteful bangles and bracelets, on one arm only, is essential. She is the new version of prep, rocking out her collared shirt with it buttoned all the way to the top and a statement necklace over it, paired with wide cut colorful khakis and super feminine shoes (think Kate Spade’s Cora Flats in Rose Gold). She knows that if there’s a chill in the air it will be her Free People Earned Stripes Sweater Jacket, which is our version of prep 2012, that’s her go-to to keep warm.

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I gotta say, on any given day of the week I can be any one of these chicks depending on my mood. That’s what it means to have versatile style: that you never live in one function of it, and that with every changing day your style continues to change with it. With that responsibility to change comes an even heavier realization, which is this: Just because they’re selling it doesn’t mean you should be actually BUYING IT!!! Put down those single strand pearls unless you plan to mix them with metal necklaces to be edgy-prep or to add on even more pearls for fab-prep. Take off that sweater wrapped around your shoulders, because this isn’t the 80s and your style just isn’t that cool to transcend 30 years of growth in the world of style.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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