Preppy style has a long history with roots dating back to the 1910s. Think Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney movies where they wore college attire. However the most recent wave of preppy style came in the 1980s.
Madras plaid shorts, button down shirts, knit polo shirts, penny loafers, oxford cloth shirt dresses, plaid ties, and argyle socks and sweaters were hanging in most closets when I was in high school and college. In particular, elements of nautical, equestrian and/or collegiate designs play a large influence on preppy style.
Fast-forward to today, and you will see many of the same elements coming back. Shirt dresses made a comeback last fall. For this fall, there are a lot of riding boots being shown in catalogues and fashion magazines.
If you want to emit the preppy vibe without investing in a new wardrobe, simple ways of styling your existing pieces will give your look some prep. Pop the collar of your button down shirt. Or maybe tie a cardigan sweater around your shoulders or waist. Wear loafer shoes with walking shorts (longer straight leg shorts). Tuck your shirt in and add a belt.
So, yes, it does seem that preppy is back! And in some ways, preppy never went away. From pastel colors and nautical stripes to ribbon belts and chinos, many components of a preppy wardrobe are fashion classics.
It seems that even some of the make-up looks from the 1980s are back with shiny faces and heavy blush. I just hope we can skip the mullets and crazy big hair!