Preppy style, instructions for use

From 1950s American colleges to the catwalks: the history of a style that is gaining more and more followers and instructions on how to achieve it with the right mix & match.

A nostalgia for adolescence or simply for the timeless Eighties, the preppy style is making a comeback on the catwalks of all the most popular designers of the moment.

Characterised by a predominantly youthful mood and a mixture of different elements, often borrowed from other styles, preppy is not just a collegiate style, but can take on very different nuances, which can make it even elegant and chic or push it to the limits of kidcore.

Let's take a look at when, where and how the preppy style was born, how it has evolved over the decades and how to achieve it through a selection of Strike items.


Preppy Style: from American colleges to catwalks around the world

 If we had to give the preppy style a symbolic date of birth, it would probably be the mid-1950s, when the uniforms of the most prestigious American colleges were freed from the role of simple school uniform and began to be included in the wardrobes of young Americans for their free time, as a symbol of belonging to a specific social class - the upper middle class - but also as a sign of rejection of the etiquettes and rigid dress codes of the time.

However, the real consecration came in the eighties with the publication of a book: The Official Preppy Handbook, still considered a bible for this style, a constant source of inspiration for stylists and preppy lovers all over the world.


Iconic items and mix&match: the Preppy DNA

The most iconic garment of the preppy style is undoubtedly the jacket – or varsity bomber, like this proposal by Uniform Bridge: made of cotton, with snap buttons, characterised by the classic "college" green with contrasting sleeves and rib-knitted collar and cuffs.

In short, the classic collegiate jacket, which comes out of campus and classrooms and makes its appearance in streetwear, mixed with contemporary and lively details, which make the preppy style fun and playful.

Other elements that distinguish preppy are:

  • tweed and tartan jackets
  • polo shirts, sweatshirts and cardigans, colourful and oversized, proposed in the new Uniform Bridge collection, where the polo shirt with maxi horizontal stripes and contrasting collar and sweatshirts with front embroidery stand out.
  • logomania, on t-shirts, caps, socks and trainers: the perfct example is the new Autry collection, from the vintage-look trainers to the socks and caps with embroidered logo, but also the T-shirts with embroidery and the knitted pullover with back logo by Axel Arigato  
  • stripes, tye dye fabrics, patchwork

The key concept to create a preppy look is undoubtedly mix&match: mixing and matching different styles is the best way to approach this style.


Preppy chic

Because of this mixture, preppy can also take on a more chic, even sober connotation, depending on the mood of the wearer.

As evidenced by the looks of celebrities such as André 3000, Pharrell Williams, Tyler the Creator and golfer Tiger Woods, each with their own interpretation of preppy, this style is also characterised by its versatility and ability to range from exaggerated to trendy to chic.

Those who prefer to opt for a sober preppy look will find inspiration in the new Stussy collection, which, alongside printed t-shirts, offers clothes  with a more traditional flavour, such as these tailored pinstripe pants, which don’t renounce an original touch despite their classic cut, or the chunky  cotton knit pullover, simple but not banal, the ideal starting point for creating a preppy look by combining contrasting accessories.


Accessories for Preppy Style

Accessories play a crucial role in giving personality and character to every preppy look. Bags, belts, shoes, hats, sunglasses, jewellery: it is the accessories that give preppy a classic, chic, sporty or even punk connotation.

Among all, it is impossible not to mention Kangol, the iconic British preppy icon brand whose hats have conquered illustrious personalities, from The Beatles to Princess Diana, crossing generations and cultures.

At last, it is impossible not to mention another preppy icon: the timeless loafer, which thanks to its versatility lends itself to being interpreted, according to requirements,  in a classic and elegant or more casual and modern key, such as the College Mocassin proposal in the clog version, with an open back.


Create your own preppy style with us: visit for more inspiration!