Preppy Style Staples for Women

Fab Sakker
by Fab Sakker

I’m going to show you my preppy style staples. The preppy style is very classic, clean, and crisp and it’s not really influenced by trends. The term “preppy” originated in American prep schools, but for me, there are three main looks or vibes that I think of when I think preppy. There’s North-east American, Southern American, and then that classic British look. Let’s take a look at some of the key pieces.

Style preppy clothing

White shirt

The first style staple for a classic preppy wardrobe is a classic white shirt; it just automatically adds a clean and crisp look to any outfit. You can pair it with jeans, a skirt or some chino pants. I find white blouses to be an excellent starting point, and once you have one, you can start branching out into other colors to change up your outfits. Over the top of your white blouse, you can add a sweater - having a little white collar pop out of the top is adorable. 

Styling preppy clothing

Also, adding a vest on top of the white blouse will give it that little equestrian look.

How to dress preppy

Shift dress

Next is the shift dress. The bright colors of this dress definitely embody the southern preppy style. It’s so fun, so summery, so colorful, and the shift dress is also very practical - you basically just throw it on, and your outfit is done. I get so many compliments; people think that I’ve really dressed up for occasions when all I’ve done is throw on a dress. 

DIY preppy style

If you don't want to go for such a bright and bold dress, you could get a shift dress in a simpler design. This one is one of my favorites.

And then there are versions of the shift dress that are a bit more suited towards an hourglass figure, a bit more feminized, I suppose. I love this dress, it embodies that classic British preppy style, and it's very sweet with its floral design and the lovely bows on the side. 


Embracing preppy style means embracing patterns. A preppy style staple is tartan (or what Americans call plaid). Tartan can come in lots of different colors. I personally prefer tartan with green in it as it complements my auburn hair.


The next pattern, which also gives off a British vibe, is houndstooth. It's so fun and automatically adds a classic element to an outfit.

Nautical stripes

Then, of course, we have our nautical stripes - a very New England preppy look.

Ballet flats

Preppy shoes are sensible, nothing too crazy. They go along with that classic style. I would say that a really simple pair of ballet flats is a great place to start, and black is a color that will go with lots of things. Black flats with black tights look great; it helps you to create the longest line possible with your legs.


The heels that I get the most wear out of are these Mary Jane mid-heels in a flattering and versatile nude color.


Jack Rogers sandals are a staple for your shift dresses or your summer wear. 

Another preppy shoe staple is boat shoes. These aren't for everybody, but they are super comfortable, and they are a really good transition shoe for between seasons. They just add that casual look to an outfit.

Trench coat

The next preppy wardrobe staple is a trench coat. I feel like I wouldn't be able to live without a Burberry-style trench coat in my wardrobe; it is so classic.

Now let's talk preppy accessories. The first one is a pearl necklace; this is just quintessential preppy. Then we have our headband, which instantly gives a sort of schoolgirl vibe to every outfit.


The last accessory is a good practical, everyday bag. I think that leather looks really nice, either a satchel or a leather tote like this. Mine is monogrammed with my initials which looks very preppy indeed.

Lastly, let's talk about color palettes. There is a very traditional preppy color palette - red, navy blue, cream, camel, and black. There are also those bright southern American colors - the pinks and the lime greens and the bright blues. If you stick with a color palette, it makes it really, really easy to have pieces in your wardrobe that you know will go nicely together. I also have my own color palette that I like to stick to when buying clothes, so I encourage you to branch out once you have your staple items and buy things in colors that look good on you.

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