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Go classic with a preppy look

Unleash your inner executive with this style

Thango Ntwasa Columnist
A guest wears a white felt/wool hat, white turtleneck pullover, and a fluffy coat at the Paris Fashion Week.
A guest wears a white felt/wool hat, white turtleneck pullover, and a fluffy coat at the Paris Fashion Week.
Image: Getty Images

As lockdown levels ease, so does the way we dress. While we’re not abandoning masks completely, it seems the uniform we wear with our masks has culminated in other patterns in clothing choices: the preppy style.

Wearers are distinct in their appreciation of formal wear that resembles school uniforms. While neck ties and pressed shirts barely dominate the pieces you will find, wearers of the preppy style use clothing that is not as varying to create a uniform that they can follow.

With so many people needing stability and control, preppy clothing is often associated with those who have it and reflect it in how they eliminate the fuss of picking out clothes. You would certainly wear street-wear inspired garments if you were trying to be taken seriously in hip-hop circles so it should come as no surprise that you want to unleash your inner executive with this look.

Since the style has changed from its 20th century origins, here is a look at how you can rock a preppy look for the modern day while still staying warm this winter.

A model at Paris Fashion Week in all-white.
A model at Paris Fashion Week in all-white.
Image: Getty Images

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Relaxed shoes

Moccasins, designer slides and sandals are staples that just won’t shake off of the retail chain. With many still opting for the shoes even though now would be a good time to trend-chase items that are appropriate for winter, the pieces complement loose fitting suiting.

The navy granddad slippers might be a thing of the past that would actually work with the look; this gives space to different colour options and designs to experiment with.

Polished

Gen Z has had more than enough fun with many a trend that predates 2020 and prep-wear is no exception. As an aesthetic, the look has become a lot less polished, marrying other trends like street-wear and athleisure, resulting in ensembles that are often clunky and busy. Lovers of prep can keep it polished with crisp fabrics and cool tones in monochromatic outfits.

A guest wears a black high-neck pullover in Paris.
A guest wears a black high-neck pullover in Paris.
Image: Getty Images

Hers

Androgyny

Fashion is constantly reacting to its environment and in this case, it’s embracing the ever-challenged gender roles that exist in today’s society. There are multiple ways to achieve an androgynous look with a preppy style. Try boxier fits that prioritise comfort over appeal. Play with olives, khakis and greys to capture the matured look and layer with contrasting structured garments like tailored coats or harnesses to avoid aging yourself too much.

A guest looks glamourous at Paris Fashion Week in France.
A guest looks glamourous at Paris Fashion Week in France.
Image: Getty Images

Padded shoulders

The aesthetic also lends itself to 1980s glamour with its strong shoulders. Give the style choice an update by having fun with how you style the look. Belted jackets can help accentuate your body, distressed garments can give your look a unique edge and up-cycled pieces can give a refreshing look to vintage or thrifted garments without getting bored of them.

Guests rock the London Fashion Week wearing a Grey Ensemble in February.
Guests rock the London Fashion Week wearing a Grey Ensemble in February.
Image: Getty Images

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V-neck sweater

No preppy style is truly complete without V-neck sweaters. Take it back to its '50s origins with letterman knits. Update it by layering with patchwork letters and personalised emblems. Use the sweaters to colour-block or create striking textures. The latter can sound a little tricky but you can achieve it the same way you mix and match prints by identifying a simpler fabric and pairing it with one that is slightly more detailed. The item also works for those who love sporty apparel.

Two tones

Affluence plays a big part of this trend so don’t be surprised that part of its modern-day interpretation challenges the wearer to keep it minimal most of the time. Familiar checkered prints from brands like Gucci or animal prints like Rich Mnisi’s Zebra are bound to pop up. Logomania, which consists of pieces riddled with a brand’s logo, is a trend often found in preppy wear as well. Opt for statement pieces to avoid outfits that might swallow you up.

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