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Some fashion trends occupy a fleeting existence, whereas others boast comeback after comeback.

 The preppy renaissance is testament to the Ivy League-inspired aesthetic's everlasting appeal.  

 And who could possibly object? Looking like you belong in a vintage Ralph Lauren advert is honestly such a vibe… 

What is preppy style? 

Miu Miu SS24 model wearing navy blazer, shirt and polo top combo © Spotlight
Miu Miu SS24

The term derives from "preparatory", associated with the private university-preparatory schools attended by Ivy League aspirants. It embodies a subculture, upper-class students with a taste for exclusivity and old-school elegance. 

The trend's origins are rooted in the early 1900s. For menswear, the preppy look has much in common with the "Ivy" style, taking its name from the group of prestigious northeastern US universities. 

MORE: How to style a pleated skirt: 4 ways to ace the classic piece 

READ: We over analysed Meghan Markle's Invictus Games wardrobe and it was giving elevated preppy

The quintessential Ivy look had much to do with elite, aspirational pastimes. A fusion of sportswear and everyday apparel – think golf, polo, cricket, tennis, rugby and the like – evolved over time into what we now think of as preppy. 

By the time the 1980s rolled around, the style had flourished, owing much to the publication of 'The Official Preppy Handbook'. The satiric guide gently ridiculed the subculture, but many unironically fell hard for the aesthetic, especially when labels such as Lacoste, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger cottoned on and catered preppy to the masses. 

Is it on trend for 2024? 

Miu Miu SS24 model wearing pleated mini dress © Spotlight
Miu Miu SS24

 Miu Miu's cool-girl micro minis have been doing the rounds over the past few seasons, and again for SS24, the Italian luxury label advocated barely-there lengths.  

Boxy jackets, pleated shirt dresses and Mary Janes were all on the agenda, as were layered classics: navy blazers, check shirts and polo-style tops. 

Fendi SS24 model wearing jumper tied around her mid-section © Spotlight
Fendi SS24

At Fendi, models borrowed an age-old preppy styling hack: the tied sweater accessory. Tailored trousers also feature, styled with crisp frontal pleats running down each leg for added polish. 

Pearls, padded headbands, plaid, loafers, cricket sweaters and the all-important rowing blazer: it's giving grown-up Gossip Girl mixed with country club chic, and we're into it.

How we chose:

  • Style: We've scoured the internet's top fashion sites and the pieces we've highlighted below are all in keeping with the preppy aesthetic, and yet feel utterly wearable in 2024. 
  • Variety: We've honed in on a range of preppy essentials, from cricket sweaters and tennis dresses to the must-have pleated skirt. 

Hello! Fashion shares the preppy pieces to have on your radar: 

  • The Tailored Bodice

    Because Of Alice White Bodice

    Strapless Peplum Bodice

    Why it's a preppy essential...

    Waistcoats and other tailoring pieces align perfectly with the uniform-inspired aesthetic. 

    With a focus on timeless, Because Of Alice is a new label find for me, and this strapless bodice fits the preppy bill just perfectly. I love the elegance of the fabric-covered buttons and the subtle peplum shaping. 

  • The Loafers

    Church's black loafers

    Kara 2 Loafers

    Why it's a preppy essential...

    Refined and glossy, loafers are a preppy footwear must-have, working seamlessly alongside socks - either sheer or cashmere ribbed. 

    Derived from the penny silhouette, these loafers by Church's are crafted from fine brushed calfskin. The slip-on fit evokes a relaxed air, but the fumé finish adds a more formal shine, rendering them ideal for all number of dress codes.

  • The Polo Top

    White polo top

    Ribbed Polo Neck Top

    Mint Velvet

    Why it's a preppy essential...

    Polo tops are a preppy staple because of how they blur the boundaries between sportswear and everyday wear. 

    With a slightly vintage air, this piece by Mint Velvet is highly chic. It's giving 1930s golfing attire, in the best possible way. I love the contrasting accents for added dimension. 

  • The Pleated Mini Skirt

    Zara beige pleated skirt

    Box Pleat Skort

    Why it's a preppy essential...

    OG fashion icon Cher Horowitz was a fierce advocate for the pleated mini. Extra points awarded for plaid. 

    This mid-rise mini skort by Zara is super cute, and would look great styled alongside biker boots and a cool-girl cami. The light camel colour feels infinitely wearable, and I love the skinny belt moment.

  • The Tennis Dress

    Tory Burch Tennis Dress

    V-Neck Tennis Dress

    Why it's a preppy essential...

    The tennis dress epitomises country club chic, just pair with white trainers and a cool-girl cap to complete the look. 

    Inspired by 1970s activewear, Tory Sport is the perfect label if you're on the hunt for elegance. Cut from performance jersey, this V-neck tennis dress features the classic dropped waist and graphic colour accents. 

  • The Cricket Jumper

    Ralph Lauren cricket sweater

    Cable-Knit Cotton Cricket Jumper

    Why it's a preppy essential...

    Ideal for a balmy spring afternoon spent on the pitch, the classic cricket jumper captures the essence of sports chic. 

    Preppy specialist Ralph Lauren was one of the OG brands to pioneer this particular aesthetic. Created from chunky cotton yarn, its cable-knit jumper features a relaxed, boxy silhouette and a joy-inducing pop of sky blue. 

  • The Headband

    Prada blue padded headband

    Re-Nylon Headband

    Why it's a preppy essential...

    The headband. It's giving Sloane Ranger, and we're here for it. Team with a string of pearls and glossy loafers for maximum impact. 

    Prada's hair accessory offerings never disappoint. Created from regenerated nylon yarn, this baby blue headband is features the iconic enameled-metal triangle logo and would not look out of place on Blair Waldorf. 

Why you should trust me:

Orin Carlin is Hello! Fashion’s SEO Content Writer. Promising to leave no stone unturned in the name of fashion and beauty journalism, she is the proud creator of our ‘Try The Trend’ series. With a particular interest in formula innovation, microtrends, royal and bridal beauty, perfume, rituals, treatments, fashion history and vintage icons, she can either be found interviewing major industry names (previous subjects include Georgia May Jagger, Mary Greenwell and Sam McKnight) or scouring the internet for must-have pieces. It's not just a job; it's a personal quest to unearth noteworthy pieces that resonate with style and beauty enthusiasts.

HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.