How to Be a Preppy Girl

Four Parts:Preppy ClothingAccessoriesPreppy GroomingThe Attitude

Perfect your preppy style today. Preppy isn't just a style though––it can become a serious art too. The clothes, the attitude, the look and the people all add up to what makes a girl preppy. It shouldn't be a hard choice every time though––once you've grasped the basics of the preppy look, it'll become natural and second nature to you.

Part 1
Preppy Clothing

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    Get the clothes. Although you won't be able to preppy-up your wardrobe with just five dollars, it shouldn't be too expensive to change your clothing style. Preps dress in a very modest, clean-cut way. They always look presentable, and their style isn't "Sexy" or "Hot". When looking for clothes, look for cute, well-fitting, and well-made items.
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    Save up some extra cash and go shopping. If you are thinking about purchasing something, always ask yourself the below questions. If you answer no to any of these questions, the piece is either not preppy or not right for you.
    • Does this fit me right?
    • Does it have a modest cut?
    • Do I have other clothes that match it?
    • When will I wear this?
    • Is it an okay price for me?
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    Be brand conscious. Preppy girls care about brands, it's all part of the effect and the style. Some popular preppy stores would include: Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Lacoste, Lilly Pulitzer, Tommy Hilfiger, and J. Crew. These are only some of the biggest names out there for preppy clothing, but it's easy to find preppy items at stores such as Target, Old Navy, and T.J. Maxx.
    • Additional popular preppy brands: Southern Tide, Southern Marsh, Kate Spade,Hunter, Jack Rogers, Kendra Scott, Simply Southern, Krass and Co., Ann Taylor Loft and Jadelynn Brooke.
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    Get staple items. Preps love to mix and match clothes. Before you go and buy a ton of bold statement items it's a good idea to stock up on some staples. Preppy clothes rely on standard items that never go out of style and are endlessly classic. Preppy clothes would include:
    • Plain colored t-shirts: T-shirts from preppy brands (Vineyard Vines, Southern Tide, Simply Southern, etc.)
    • Striped shirts
    • Solid belts
    • Plain dark-wash skinny jeans
    • Solid colored blouses
    • Basic-color formal dress
    • Corduroys, khakis and skinny jeans
    • Plain colored polo shirts: Polos and cardigans (stay away from polos that are too long/tight though; also stay away from polos in weird colors, patterns, or fits. Basic colors are safest.)
    • Oxfords
    • Chinos: Solid color chino shorts (any color is fine, but start with the basics- khaki, navy, white)
    • Khakis (make sure they fit properly).
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    Choose suitable shoes. These include:
    • Sandals
    • Riding boots
    • Boat shoes/Topsiders (Sperry Topsiders are most well-known, which means more recognizable for preppiness).
    • Basic ballet flats: Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, or Chanel recommended. It must be brand-named. Nothing trashy, ugly or one-season shoes.
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    Select the right colors. Navy is best for all clothes, and recommended. Pair with white, pastels or conservative blues, greens and yellows.
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    Add in some fun Items. Once you have all the staples, it's time to have some fun. Some ideas for additional clothes include:
    • Patterned/bright colored chino shorts
    • Lilly Pulitzer printed items
    • Printed shirts, skirts, and dresses
    • Colorful sandals/tennis shoes
    • Shiny Statement necklaces, bracelets, and earrings
    • Colored sweaters, jackets, and cardigans.
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    Create outfits. Below are some examples of preppy outfits that you can try out:
    • Semi-formal dinner out (summer): Lilly Pulitzer skirt, solid shirt (color matches skirt), Bright statement necklace, Jack Rogers sandals
    • School (winter): Red and white striped sweater, light chambray shirt under sweater, dark-wash skinny jeans, brown leather riding boots, ruffled socks peeking out of boots.
    • School (spring, warm weather): Floral chino shorts, matching colored polo tucked in, brown belt, Sperry's.
    • Casual spring/summer day: Short sleeve preppy t-shirt, white chino shorts, matching color Converse, statement headband
    • Casual fall/winter day: Long sleeve preppy t-shirt, dark wash skinny jeans, matching color hunter boots, cute head wrap, Northface jacket
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    Get fashion inspiration on-the-go. A good way to get style ideas is to go onto a social media (YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and search something along the lines of "prep", "preppy", or "preppy style". You can also just google it and see what comes up. There are a lot of bloggers who share their preppy lifestyle on the Internet, you just have to look for it.

Part 2

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    Accessorize. Accessories are extremely important, and will help pull your preppy look together in a polished, attractive style. Some great preppy accessories include:
    • Tote bags: A nice monogrammed canvas tote from L.L. Bean is owned by every prep, get it with your initials. Or, with a small bow, collegiate-looking stripes, or even just plain
    • Ribbon belts
    • Anchor belts
    • Statement necklaces
      • diamond stud earrings, grandmothers jewelry, classy earrings, Rings, Bracelets, and nice pretty necklaces. Remember, dress to impress.
      • remember also what Coco Chanel told us: take off at least one accessory before you leave the house. Do not overload.
    • Another great accessory is the nautical bracelet - in either rope or metal (preferably gold). Keep it simple and only wear one or two at a time. Kiel James Patrick's are best when it comes to a great and chic bracelet.
    • Anything from Vera Bradley
    • Kate Spade accessories in gold or silver

Part 3
Preppy Grooming

Preps are always well-groomed, and try to look their best. You'll never see a prep who has messed up hair, is stinky, and just looks messy. This part will teach you the poise and polish of a prep.


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    Get the preppy hair. The classic look for preppy hair is long, straight, and clean. Of course, there are variations on this. Lots of preps have short hair, curly hair, of anything between. Good colors are just basic, natural colors. As long as it looks well-groomed, shiny, and fresh, your hair is fine. Preps style their hair is basic, tasteful ways. Some ideas are:
    • Worn down with a barrette or bobby pin holding some hair off to the side
    • Curled with a cute headband
    • Neatly french braided down the back
    • Medium-height ponytail with a fun bow
    • Low braided pigtails or just one side-braid (Be careful with these; if you have layers big chunks may stick out the side and that doesn't look good.)
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    Make sure your hair is clean and well-combed/brushed. Well-groomed, shiny and clean hair is essential -- a lank, tangled and oily mane is not going to pass you off as preppy. Your hair should be kept up with.
    • Try a simple hairdo, or just leave your hair natural.When you have styled your hair, add a few accessories. The essential preppy hair accessories are:
    • Headbands -- also in a bright color, or a sophisticated, plain one. If you're willing, try a simple print one.(If you have curly hair, a headband is a great idea.)
    • A simple but pretty hair clip. If you have irritating bangs or a bump in your hair, brush them back and smooth it back with a pretty hair clip.
      • Hair should look neat (not too fussy), and natural.


  1. 1
    Keep it simple. Preps often wear only light or no makeup. Never put too much dramatic makeup on. Remember- the purpose of makeup is to enhance your natural beauty, not cover it up. As for your nails, they should be cut at a short length in their natural shape and painted in basic colors like pink, white, red, or French Manicured. However, they do not have to be painted, just keep them clean.
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    Fix your face. Little breakouts and acne are sometimes inevitable, but you should do whatever you can to keep your face as clear as possible. Cover any problem areas with concealer. Also, For your teeth, keep them as well groomed and white as possible. Get braces if they are too crooked.
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    Perfect the makeup.
    • Make sure your face is clean before you apply makeup. Also, make sure your eyebrows are well done and well combed.
    • Apply concealer. Make sure your concealer's texture is either cream or liquid - they are the best, and solid concealer always creases and looks caked.
    • Face powder or translucent powder, pressed or loose, no matter which, always apply it with powder brush, as the application will be a lot more lighter, softer and will give a natural result.
    • Stay away from bright eyeshadow, or many layers of eyeshadow (different colors on the lid, crease, and corners). Stick with pastels and neutral colors, lightly applied.
    • Eyeliner and mascara are good, just make sure they don't smudge or clump. Also try to pick brown eyeliner and mascara over black, it's classier and more natural. Also, when applying eyeliner, apply it as close to the lash line as possible, or else it will look ugly!
    • Don't go overboard on the blush either. if anything, use a cheek tint to get that rosy glow, but nothing more.
    • Lipstick can look very classy if used with the right colors. Nothing too dark or bright; stick with lighter, more neutral pinks; if you're going for a bright red, make sure it has blue undertones to make your teeth look whiter.
    • What also works, if you have a nice complexion with no zits, spots, shadows or eye circles, try not wearing skin make-up if possible, only eyeliner, mascara and lipstick so you won't look plain.
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    Maintain your hygiene. Every preppy girl must have flawless white pearls for teeth. Get braces or night-retainers if necessary, and brush and floss at least twice a day. Use mouthwash as well for extra freshness.
    • Shower at least once a day; preps are well-kept and fresh. They smell the way they look: neat and clean. Wear a light perfume (think Chanel No.5, not a muskier or richer scent but not too much)
    • Keep your nails neat as well. You don't always have to wear polish , but make sure they're nicely filed and trimmed. Too-bright nail polish will make you look too high-profile. Stick with French, light pink, pearl creams or clear.) This is to keep the perfect prep-like image, remember to keep your areas of your personality.

Part 4
The Attitude

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    Be confident. Preppy girls are not shy-faced little lambs. They are completely unafraid to be daring with their fashions and express their opinions. If you find yourself staring at the floor and blushing when you talk to somebody, this needs to stop-right away. Build up your self esteem and be confident within yourself. Don't put yourself down - at the same time, nobody likes a brag. Strike the balance. Hold your head high, talk in a confident, quiet voice, stand tall, and don't be afraid to be yourself. Try not to become loud and annoying, just polite and happy with yourself.
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    Be classy. Being classy is not exactly a solid rule to becoming preppy. However, as preppy girls will never fall under the label of "sleazy", "tacky", "impolite" or "unpleasant", it is safe enough to assume that picking up some overall class will certainly up your preppy bar. Don't fall into the waiting trap and become a snob. Being classy simply means being polite, pleasant, and relatively well-educated. You don't have to have been born a genius or beautiful to be considered classy. It is a skill and a trait that can be picked up quite easily. Do not use foul language frequently; it makes you come off as trashy and impolite.
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    Try some preppy sports. Again, you do not have to play a "preppy" sport to be considered preppy. It's not a solid fact, and forcing yourself into sports will simply earn you the label "poser". However, sports can be enjoyable, especially if they fit into your preppy style. Some sports and activities you may want to consider: rowing, tennis,volleyball, Lacrosse, sailing, golf,track and field,ballet, swimming, field hockey, soccer or horseback riding, softball, cheerleading, or any dancing too. The official preppy sport is fencing because of its old-world charm. Don't restrict yourself to these -- just give them a go!
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    Be nice. Preppy girls are never rude or obnoxious, so don't be. Being nice doesn't mean sucking up to teachers or making friends with everyone. It simply means being pleasant, smiling to everyone, and not participating in nasty activities such as gossiping or bullying. Being nice comes with practice, and after a while it will come naturally. With your newly gained confidence and class, try striking polite conversation with the neighbors, or helping someone with homework. Try not to take out negative emotions on others -- it comes back to bite.


  • If you're planning on using this as a makeover, try it during summer holidays. You have a lot of free time and it will be less of a hassle.
  • Be happy with yourself. If you manage to pull off the preppy look but are genuinely unhappy with what you've become, change back. The important thing is being happy with who you actually are.
  • Don't be a snob. Snobbishness defines as having an air of condescending superiority and looking down on other people and thinking that you're better than them and they're not good enough for you, and it can definitely be hurtful. Avoid having a snobby attitude, because preppy females are never, never, ever snobs. Be kind, polite, and considerate to everyone, don't rudely ignore others, and remain humble and modest.
  • Don't try too hard. Like many other subcultures, being preppy is a lifestyle. Usually, you can either be preppy or you can't. If you begin stereotyping yourself and trying too hard, you'll end up a poser.
  • Keep all your stuff organized. It is very unclassy to have a cluttered, messy bag or papers flying everywhere.
  • Preps are big into education. Check out your local art museums, read classic literature, and watch international sports. it is very important to preps to be able to hold their own in any social situation. That means having knowledge about a vast subject base.
  • Don't classify and enclose yourself. You're still you!
  • Don't spend a fortune. Forking out thousands of dollars on a new wardrobe just so people will think you're preppy is simply not worth it. Save up a little extra cash, and then buy what you need.
  • Keep in mind that this is the adult kind of prep, not the middle school or high school kind. If you're still a child you can still wear a preppy-colored polo with khakis though
  • Don't wear knock offs. That doesn't just mean that fake coach purse. It also means don't wear anything pretending to be something its not. No fake pearls, no cubic zirconium. A real amethyst or even just a glass bead is better than fake diamonds. Fake diamonds mean that you wanted the real thing, but couldn't have them. Glass beads just mean that you liked the look of the necklace.
  • Keep a hankie on you at all times. You'll look classy, and you'll always be able to fix your make up or catch a running nose because sometimes tissues just aren't available where you are.
  • Don't worry about only wearing things from expensive stores. If you can find some simple oxfords on sale at J Crew, and splurge on a Lacoste polo. Most preppy people don't mind wearing stuff from middle class stores right along with their Louis Vuitton.
  • If you're in grade school still, try not to go overboard with foundation it will look caked on. And be sure its the correct color for your skin tone!
  • It's fine to wear fake pearls: unless you're working at a jewelry store, few people will know the difference.
  • Preps are friendly to everyone (but still not besties with everyone) and love to have fun. They keep an organized balance between social and work events and are never late to an event.


  • A prep knows when a party is going downhill, and stays a safe distance from illegal drugs and tobacco.
  • Preps have excellent grammar. This is not negotiable. If you cannot spot the errors, don't add the information.
  • Don't completely change your style all at once, or people will think that you are poser.
  • Don't buy the same things as others. For example, try a Lilly Pulitzer Tote rather than the classic Longchamp tote, to show you are very versatile.

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