Examples of preppy clothes include Izod collared sport shirts, button down shirts, plaid pants, khaki pants, needlepoint belts, duck shoes, Top-Siders, loafers, dark blue blazers, fleece pullovers and tunics. Preppy clothing is bright and colorful. Nautical and equestrian details are popular.
Feminine preppy styles include skirt suits, low heels, wrap dresses, shift dresses, silk or cotton blouses and pearl strands. For men, needlepoint belts have leather and metal buckles and come in bright colors. Duck, horse and boat motifs are popular in preppy clothing. One example, the Barbour Beaufort jacket, is a light coat made popular when England's Princess Diana wore one in the 1980s. Preppy brands include Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste and J. Crew. Izod was a popular brand in the 1960s and 1970s.
The word "preppy" refers to students that attend Northeastern private university-preparatory schools. The word describes a person who dresses like a prep school student or alumni. Preppy dress is more conservative and colorful than other styles and denotes wealth.
In 1980, "The Official Pretty Handbook" was published. Originally intended to spoof preppy fashion and the correlating lifestyle, the book became a bestseller and a guide for people who wanted to dress and act the part. As of 2014, the book remains a reference for the preppy style and lifestyle.