"Preppy" is defined as a person who favors a certain clothing style or behavior associated with traditional preparatory schools. The preppy look evolved primarily from Ivy League origins and was first adopted in the early 1900s by America's East Coast elite. Today, preppy is referenced and modernized as classic American style. It's widely popular in the fashion world for men and women, as well as boys and girls.
Preppy Girl Key Pieces
Even though classic preppy used to involve buying upmarket clothing from American brands such as Ralph Lauren and Vineyard Vines, it's now become more accessible thanks to more affordable retailers like J Crew and Gap.
The preppy girl aesthetic for toddlers through tweens is easy to achieve if you know how. Simply start with the following key pieces and build your wardrobe from there.
The Tailored Blazer
Whether formal and classic or casual and relaxed, the tailored blazer is a staple in any preppy girl's closet. Layer over a printed shirt and miniskirt for a dressier occasion, or a sweater and jeans for the epitome of casual preppy girl cool.
The White Shirt
Ideal for smarter events, the preppy-style button-up white shirt can be dressed up further with a tailored blazer and miniskirt, or dressed down with neutral chinos and sneakers. Long sleeves are great for winter whereas short sleeves reign supreme in summer. Add a funky bowtie to enhance the preppy girl aesthetic.
The Tartan Miniskirt
Tartan is a popular fabric in the preppy world, especially in the form of a pleated miniskirt. Rich, classic colors like red and blue look fabulous on little girls when paired with neutrals. Alternatively, you can opt for a tartan mini skirt in a more distinctive hue like pastel pink or sunshine yellow to add interest to a preppy outfit.
The Turtleneck Sweater
Turtleneck sweaters are a great addition to any little girl's wardrobe for the winter months. You can create extra warmth by layering other key preppy girl pieces, like throwing the turtleneck sweater on over the white shirt and under the tailored blazer, for example. Invest in cream, black, and tan options as they will go with an outfit in almost any color palette.
The Nautical Top
Nautical stripes are instrumental to the preppy girl look. Usually in the form of a long sleeved top, and a navy and white color way, they look fabulous when combined with neutral chinos or jeans.
The Neutral Chinos
More formal than skinny jeans, slim-leg chinos naturally add to the preppy girl ensemble, especially when combined with a turtleneck sweater, white button-up shirt, or nautical striped top. Perfect for smart casual occasions, they look clean and classy and go with almost any other pieces.
The Pinafore Dress
Pretty and feminine, the pinafore dress is another key staple in any preppy girl's closet. Whether constructed with denim and paired with a nautical tee for summertime in the park, or made from black cotton and teamed with a white shirt for a more classic appearance, pinafore dresses are cute, sassy, and undeniably preppy.
Preppy Girl Footwear and Accessories
There are many different styles of footwear and accessories you can combine with the above wardrobe staples to create the preppy girl aesthetic. Sometimes the outfit itself might only contain neutral hues, so you can use footwear and accessories to add a splash of vibrant color to your ensemble.
Loafers are great with pants, like the neutral chinos, and put an androgynous spin on the standard preppy appearance. When it comes to tartan miniskirts and pinafore dresses, Mary Jane shoes or flats polish off the look nicely.
A classic leather or faux leather backpack will add an extra touch of preppy to this aesthetic. Knee-length or ankle socks pulled up high can also tie everything together, whether they're in a block hue or a multi-colored funky print. In addition, quirky bowties and headbands put an edgy twist on the classic preppy girl look.
Putting the Look Together
The trick is to use preppy girl clothing staples and accessories and mix and match them to create a unique take on the traditional aesthetic. By all means, shop around, have fun, and experiment with the look. But, when you're shopping for preppy girl fashion, remember that clean and chic works every time.