Hello everyone! How’s your week so far? I had an unexpected setback and I had to sort out some issues, hence the month long hiatus. I’m determined to manage my time better from this day onward because Seth Godin drilled some sense into me with this quote: “You don’t need more time in your day. You need to decide”.
Back in my university days, I noticed my style tends to gravitate towards a combination of casual and preppy. They’re comfortable, easy to style and I look put together. Lately I found myself thinking back to my undergraduate days (I miss being a student. Not the assignments though.) and I thought why not put together a preppy lookbook but with a modern touch to it? As always, I aspire to do things differently. It pushes me to think outside the box and potentially create something that’s at times incoherent but decent.
Before we get to the lookbook, how many of you actually know the history of preppy style? If you have an interest in fashion, perhaps you knew that preppy comes from the preparatory schools wealthy kids go to before college. In the 1900s, oxford shirts, cable knit sweaters and loafers were the norm among the elites. Rebecca C. Tuite, the author of Seven Sisters Style, traced the style back to when the seven prestigious women’s colleges were founded (1861 -1889), namely Barard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley. According to Tuite, preppy style evolved as a result of changing societal ideals. The “healthy body, healthy mind” way of life, for instance, created the expectation for girls to excel in sports and studies, which led to the introduction of casual sportswear into the female wardrobes. By the early 1900s, sweater and bloomers were preferred by the girls, indicating a surging preference for comfort rather than beauty. Apparently, the older generation of females tried to integrate knickerbockers into their everyday wear but was unsuccessful due to a ban in some colleges.
When the 1930s rolls around, women began to embrace denim. After a photograph showing Wellesley college girls wearing jeans and loose fitting shirts got published in Life Magazine, society didn’t hesitate in voicing their discomfort. Besides jeans, Bermuda shorts also became popular among women, who often style them with loafers and knee length cable knit socks.
The women in the photo responded with a letter saying: “We do not sympathize with stringy hair and baggy shirts, but we will fight to the death for our right to wear dungarees on the proper occasions.”
Between the 1950s and 80s, sports culture played a major role in influencing preppy. The common ones being sailing, fencing, lacrosse and rugby. Brands such as Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, Brook Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger and Lacoste still design preppy attires but most of them have been reinterpreted to suit the modern era.
Fun fact: The official preppy handbook was released in the 1980s. Though it was created to mock the preppy culture, it became a trend instead!
Now, if I have to pull random individuals off the streets and dress them preppy style, here’s how I would do it.
1 // Girlonstyle
2 // Romwe
3 // Lacoste
4 // Samantha Willis
1 // Ralph Lauren
2 // Dr Martens
3 // Romwe
4 // Fossil
1 // Tommy Hilfiger
2 // Uniqlo
3 // ASOS
4 // Timberland
1 // Nautica
2 // ASOS
3 // ASOS
4 // Adidas
Clothes are meant to be worn by people of all walks of life. You don’t have to be a model to own these looks.
How would you style preppy?