digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Not to be confused with Prepper.

Preppy or prep (all abbreviations of the word preparatory) refer to a subculture in the United States associated with the old private Northeastern university-preparatory schools. The terms are used to denote a person seen as characteristic of a student or alumnus of these schools.[1] Prep has become a colloquialism in the United States and has largely replaced preppy in modern usage. Characteristics of preps in the past, include a particular subcultural speech, vocabulary, dress, mannerisms, etiquette, reflective of an upper class upbringing.[2]


The term preppy derives from the private, university-preparatory or prep schools that some American upper-class and upper-middle-class children attend.[3] The term preppy is commonly associated with the Ivy League and oldest universities in the Northeast, since traditionally a primary goal in attending a prep school was admittance into one of these institutions.[3] Preppy fashion derives from the fashions of these old Northeastern colleges in the early to mid-twentieth century. Lisa Birnbach's 1980 book Official Preppy Handbook, which was written to poke fun at the rich lives of privileged Ivy league and socially elite liberal arts college students but ended up glamorizing the culture, portrays the preppy social group as well-educated, well-connected, and although exclusive, courteous to other social groups without fostering serious relationships with them. Being well-educated and well-connected is associated with an upper-class socioeconomic status, a status that emphasizes higher education and high-income professional success.[4]


Preppy fashion has its roots in the Ivy League style of dress, which started around 1912 and became more established in the late 1950s.[5] J. Press represented the quintessential Ivy League style, stemming from the collegiate traditions of Ivy League schools. In the mid-twentieth century J. Press and Brooks Brothers both had stores on Ivy League school campuses, including Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. Preppy fashion emerged in the 1970s with cues from the original Ivy League style.

Some typical preppy styles also reflect traditional upper class leisure activities, once associated with the wealthy English who once had a strong political and social position in the Northeast and New England, such as polo, sailing, hunting, fencing, crew rowing, lacrosse, golf, tennis, rugby, and swimming. This association with old English inspired outdoor activities can be seen in preppy fashion, through stripes and colors, equestrian clothing, plaid shirts, field jackets, and nautical-themed accessories. By the 1980s, mass marketing of brands such as Lacoste, Izod,[6] and Dooney & Bourke became associated with preppy style in many areas of the US and Canada.

For professional women, preppy-influenced fashions emerged in the 1960s, a trend led by designers such as Perry Ellis, and influenced by designers such as Oleg Cassini.[7] These classic ensembles of the 1960s and 1970s include tailored skirt suits, low heels, wrap dresses, shift dresses, silk or cotton blouses, and jewelry with a refined style. Such clothing often includes elements drawn from typical preppy style, such as nautical stripes, pastel colours, or equestrian details. Some "cultural icons" of preppy style for professional women include Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and 20th century New York socialites Gloria Guinness, Babe Paley, Slim Keith, and C. Z. Guest, all women whose style is often referenced by designers.[8]

Through traditional interest in preppy style has fallen in the last 25 years, some of the newer outfitters such as Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, Vineyard Vines, and Elizabeth McKay are frequently perceived as having preppy styles, with designers such as Marc Jacobs and Luella Bartley adding the preppy style into their clothes in the 1990s.[9] The usage of the term "preppy", came back into widespread use in the late 1990s through mid 2000s, but took on a much different meaning from the original term.

Examples of preppy attire include argyle sweaters, crewneck sweaters, grosgrain or woven leather belts, chinos, madras,[2] Nantucket Reds,[2] button down Oxford cloth shirts,[6] pearl necklaces and earrings, gold bangle or large chain bracelets, penny loafers, and boat shoes.[2]

Pop culture[edit]

The term "preppy" is famously used by Saved by the Bell character A.C. Slater, originally as an insult, and later as a term of endearment toward rival-turned-friend Zack Morris.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dictionary.com definition of 'preppy'
  2. ^ a b c d Colman, David (17 June 2009). "The All-American Back From Japan". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ a b Fashion Encyclopedia article
  4. ^ The true roots of preppy
  5. ^ Elements of Fashion and Apparel Design. New Age Publishers. p. 25. ISBN 81-224-1371-4. Ivy League: A popular look for men in the fifties that originated on such campuses as Harvard, Priceton [sic] and Yale; a forerunner to the preppie look; a style characterized by button down collar shirts and pants with a small buckle in the back. 
  6. ^ a b Peterson, Amy T., and Ann T. Kellogg (2008). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing Through American History 1900 to the Present: 1900–1949. ABC-CLIO. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-313-04334-5. 
  7. ^ Peter R. Eisenstadt, Laura-Eve Moss, ed. (2005). The Encyclopedia of New York State. Syracuse University Press. p. 550. ISBN 978-0-8156-0808-0. 
  8. ^ MacDonell, Nancy (2007). In the Know: The Classic Guide to Being Cultured and Cool. Penguin. p. No page. ISBN 978-1-4406-1976-2. 
  9. ^ "The preppy look a brief history". Retrieved 25 April 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preppy — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

67151 news items


Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:18:45 -0700

Americans in need of short pink khakis, lime green fleeces, and koozies of various hues, often turn to Vineyard Vines, a store that's outfitted the young Tates and Sloanes of this country since 1998. Now, a lawsuit alleges one store covered up an ugly ...

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Tue, 16 Jun 2015 10:41:06 -0700

Gap will close a quarter of its North American specialty stores over the next few years, including 140 closures that will happen during the 2015 fiscal year. With slumping sales, what does the retailer need to do to turn things around?


Fri, 12 Jun 2015 09:52:07 -0700

Some kids dream of growing up and becoming President of the United States, or going into outer space. I, on the other hand, always dreamed of becoming a writer. That's why I started my very own lifestyle magazine in first grade. That publication has ...


Mon, 15 Jun 2015 08:47:03 -0700

Remember when preppy fashion was cool? I'm talking back in say 2005, when nothing seemed to go better with green than pink, no collar seemed wearable unless it was popped, no shoes seemed to look cooler than a pair of boat shoes. Now, in 2015, just ...

Town and Country Magazine (blog)

Town and Country Magazine (blog)
Mon, 08 Jun 2015 15:53:09 -0700

Insider; Follow. Follow; facebook · twitter · google+ · pinterest · instagram · Win · Philanthropy · Style · Beauty · Weddings. Follow. Subscribe · Give A Gift · Digital Edition. Jun 8, 2015 @ 6:45 PM. Leisure · Arts & Culture · Prep · Preppy · Dating ...

New Haven Register

New Haven Register
Fri, 03 Jul 2015 08:56:15 -0700

Her clothing company, Independence Day Clothing (ID Clothing), offers versatile, attractive pieces “meant to mirror a preppy All-American style that's always in fashion.” They are made of soft, stretchy fabric, with no zippers, buttons or irritating ...


Sat, 27 Jun 2015 04:26:15 -0700

If your idea of going-out attire doesn't include body-con dresses or towering stilettos, we're right there with you. Assembling an outfit that's appropriate for the nightlife scene but still feels cool stumps even the most creative girls. This weekend ...


Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:33:45 -0700

"Backyard barbecues kind of have that fun, preppy look, kind of nautical." The picnic-inspired print gingham is especially popular right now, Larson says. O'Day would opt for a floral dress and flat sandals, joking that if you spill, everything will ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight