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Get the Look: Preppy Style

"Preppy is as Preppy does", and that means Prep isn't just a style -- it's a lifestyle, too. Conservative, neat and prepared for anything, the Prep knows how to style a look, seeks out natural fabrics, stays clean and neat, and always carries a sweater, just in case. Below, we've broken down the elements of Prep style.

Start with YOU

Start your fresh clean look by being clean, and that means good hygiene (greasy hair = NO, shower + deodorant = YES). While it seems weird to include that, a lot of tweens and teens tend to shower less than they need to, and the preppy look really is all about taking good care of yourself. In fact, no matter what your favorite look is, when you're concerned with style and how you present yourself, good hygiene is always part of the package.

Fight breakouts before they happen with a good gleanser like Cetaphill or Clean and Clear. Brush your teeth morning and evening and do a reality check to make sure your pearly whites aren't getting stained by smoking, coffee, tea or brushing too hard and often which removes protective enamel.

Makeup Tips

When it comes to makeup, less is more. You want to create a natural, healthy look. No blue eyeshadow or glitter makeup here. We're talking a good base moisturizer with foundation to protect your skin, and a natural looking bronzer, if anything, to give your skin a healthy glow. Be sure to use a light touch and blend your bronzing powder down your neck or you'll look like an Oompa Loompa gone wild. On your lips, a natural gloss or light pink or coral with shine but no glitter.

As for manicures, the Preppy Gal keeps her nails neatly trimmed, no cuticles or hangnails, and certainly NO BITING! You don't need to add color to your manicure, but if you do, seashell pink, natural glazes or a French Manicure will do nicely. Do the toes while you're at it, too. Preppy guys shouldn't neglect their nails, either. Same rules apply about keeping them neatly trimmed and no biting. And guys, lay off the nail polish. It's not for this look.

The New Tommy GirlThe New Tommy GirlCourtesy of Tommy Hilfiger

Wardrobe Tips

For a great visual education, check out the Preppiest brands: Ralph Lauren, J Crew, J Press, Vineyard Vines, Abercrombie and Fitch, Brooks Brothers, LL Bean, Lily Pulitzer, and Lacoste.

The Preppy color scheme for men and women, boys and girls is fairly simple and uniform: white, black, navy and beige, accented by ice cream colors like light pink, baby blue, teal, light lemony yellow and peach. Patterns that work for the Preppy look are plaid, gingham, floral, stripes, and argyle. Shirts often have buttons and collars. Cardigan sweaters or blazers layer nicely over the shirts. Pants are usualy khakis in warmer weather, corduroy in winter and fall, and even the jeans are plain, usually dark-colored, straight-legged and are always neatly hemmed and pressed. Shorts run on the longer side, like Bermuda shorts, and are tailored to fall just above the knee. For girls, skirts can be pleated or straight. Summer dresses are usually sheath dresses that go straight down to the knee with a scoop neck, boat neck or v-neck -- whatever best suits your figure. Preppies rarely wear socks. Boys and men often wear Dockers, loafers, leather flip flops or boat shoes. For girls Tom's shoes are hot this season, as are ballet flats, Sperry Top-Siders, wedges and flip flops. Preppy clothes usually stick to a few natural fabrics such as linen and 100% cotton. When you're shopping, a good guideline is that clothes should fit nicely, not too loose or tight, and shouldn't be revealing, ripped or flashy.

Ralph Lauren Rugby StyleRalph Lauren Rugby StyleCourtesy of Rugby

For men and boys, the key to the Preppy look is layering. A button-down shirt is often topped with a sweater or vest, then a blazer. For girls, the look is minimal and often a cardigan tops most anything with a crisp jacket in a weight that matches the season to top it all off.

Accessories

Keep accessories simple and classy. Think pearls, real or fake, and studs, preferably small and resembling a precious stone (like a diamond, real or fake). A good rule of thumb is it should look like someone's mother, grandmother or great-aunt could have worn it to "tea". For a belt, a ribbon belt is always classic, or leather if you are dressing heavier for cooler weather. Keep colors as natural as possible with clean lines and very little flair. Avoid big logos which look more like bragging or posing and less like a personal style choice. For guys, straw hats are a fun accessory for spring and summer. For gals, look for ribbon headbands and cute little bows for your hair.

Demeanor

Demeanor, or how you behave, is the last piece of the Preppy style puzzle. Polite, well-mannered, soft-spoken behavior and a considerate nature should accompany the Preppy vibe or it won't feel authentic. Behave like a scholar, a debutante or a gentleman. Practice good posture by pulling back your shoulders every time you walk through a doorway. This simple reminder will help you stop slouching and express yourself with the confidence of a true Prep.

Preppy guys are always prepared with a sweaterPreppy guys are always prepared with a sweaterCourtesy of Tommy Hilfiger

Behave like your grandmother's watching (or if she's a bit of a Wild Thing, like someone else's fancy grandmother is watching) and you're trying to impress her so she'll leave you the family fortune... In other words, play the role if it doesn't come naturally at first, and soon it will come naturally and you'll be a fan favoite among parents, teachers, grandparents and really nice kids at school. Not a bad side-effect of adopting a cool style.

Have Your Say

Do you have what it takes to go Preppy? Comment below and share your thoughts. We want to know!

17 Comments

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Dear Dish-It In The Forums

PARTYHAT
PARTYHAT posted in Family Issues:
hey,  im so sorry about that, but one thing this reminds me of is my grandpa. he passed away when my dad was 12 years old and i never got to see him, he sounds soo nice. keep going  :thumbsup
reply about 12 hours
Littkekawaiiigirl
I have a friend, she was so nice and funny when my best friend and I met her on the first day of school. As months passed she started getting annoying. The way she texts, acts, and talks is starting to get annoying. Then she is becoming such a drama queen now. What should I do?
reply about 14 hours
Kirsteeeeen
Thank you for sharing something that has helped you cope with loss, and I'm sorry that you lost your friend and had to go through the grief and pain. I don't know what it is like, but I know there are a lot of people who do and would appreciate that you shared that way of coping. I hope that you are continuing to find more ways to deal with it, and don't forget those good memories you have with her. They'll always be yours to cherish.
reply about 15 hours
Kirsteeeeen
Hi Wonderfulcalico, I'm sorry to hear you're in such a bad situation. It must be tough, and it must be having a profound negative impact on you and those around you. It sounds like your mom has some things she needs to work out. But know that this behaviour from your parents is not okay. You shouldn't have to be subjected to this type of environment, which is toxic for your health physically and mentally. It also sounds like it is physically dangerous and it is making you live in fear, which is not okay. It is NOT your fault. If you feel that you are being abused, please get another trusted adult involved. Don't act on things that make you feel unsafe or confront your parents directly if you know they will act in a dangerous way. Your safety is number one. Try contacting another adult such as a teacher, a nurse, a doctor, a worship leader, social worker, child protective services, or call the police. Remember that 911 is also an option in any emergency, and that includes yourself being in danger from physical abuse. You can also call Your Life, Your Voice at 1-800-448-3000 , message them online, or even text them, or contact another local help line that you know. Please take care of yourself and stay safe. I know you may not want to do any of these things, and it's okay to feel that way, but also remember how important your safety is and make that a priority. 
reply about 15 hours
KayKayZ
KayKayZ posted in Friends:
Hmm, okay, well I'll try to give you the best advice that I can, Error. So you say you don't like your friend for a number of reasons: Liar, bad influence, uses swear words, too blunt, etc. I feel like some of these could be over-looked, such as the swearing and the 'bad influence' part. Really, all you have to do is just not copy her actions, and they won't be influential at all. If you disagree, it shouldn't be hard to just refuse to follow in her steps. However, lying isn't the best quality I would look for in a friend.  She doesn't seem like an enjoyable person to be around in general, which is why you are making this post, obviously. But I'm gonna ask you something here. Don't you think that, in a way, you're lying too? You're pretending to be her friend solely for purposes of monetary value because, I assume, your family cannot pay for or get you to gymnastic class themselves. If this is true, that's kind of bad, isn't it? It sounds like, to me, that your friendship isn't exactly a healthy relationship at all. But I'm gonna sympathize with you, since I know gymnastics must be important to you, and you wouldn't be doing this if you didn't have a good reason. So, what should you do about it? Well, personally I think there are a few things you could do. You could stop being her friend, therefore no longer having to deal with her; but in the process lose access to your gymnastics class and have to look for it in another way. On the flip side, you could continue to put up with her, which would probably not be in your best interests, but you'd still get to attend your class. Or, you could try talking to her about it. Ask her what she really thinks of your friendship, if she actually values you as her friend. Maybe you two can talk about problems that you're having with each other and work on fixing them. This option could have negative effects, since she might want to stop being your friend or things could become very awkward after that. But it's probably your best bet to be honest with her, as you'd hope she would be with you. How about if you tried being really nice to her? Kindness is contagious, and perhaps if you treat her well enough, she'll start doing the same to you. I feel like maybe if you complimented her, told her things that you really like about her, maybe even got her gifts or made her food once in a while, that she would come to appreciate you and all that you do for her. And in turn, she might start to respect you more herself, and become a good friend. That's about all I can say. If you're close enough with her mom, maybe you could even try asking her about her daughter and see if she can give you any advice. Hopefully that helped in some way, but if it didn't, maybe it at least made you think? I hope your problem gets resolved, Error, and you can be content with the outcome of it. :-)
reply 5 days