How to nail the preppy clothing trend without looking like a schoolboy

Published: 03rd October 2011
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The so-called "preppy look" is one of the most timeless looks in modern fashion, and has seen only minor revisions over the past fifty-odd years since its inception. But, like all looks, it's easy to get carried away by super-trendy brands and fashion pieces, and end up looking 12 years old despite your age approaching 30. There are a few key mistakes to avoid when pursuing this look that can keep you looking dapper, and not like a schoolboy.

1. Avoid Tacky Logos

One of the hottest trends in fashion right now is to blast large-typeface logos across traditional preppy fashion elements. It looks grungy, edgy, and is a huge hit among the teenage crowd that fills shopping enters. But on anyone who isn't 17 years of age or younger, it looks like a desperate attempt to be trendy and comes off as juvenile. For this reason, stick to fashion pieces that eschew giant logos for a simple badge placed on the chest -- such as the Lacoste crocodile. It's timeless, classy, and subtle. Which is exactly how the preppy look should be at all times.

2. Go with Collared Shirts

Nothing says "preppy" like a nice, collared shirt. Some of the best preppy designs today come from companies like Ben Sherman, which offers a number of dapper woven shirts and polos that fit well with the preppy aesthetic. And, of course, you'll avoid the more gaudy elements of teenage brands in the process. Ben Sherman shirts are timeless classics and their patterns can fit just about every taste -- whether you're into gingham, plaid, stripes, or solids. Just make sure you feel and look comfortable in the shirt of your choice, and you'll be a hit with the preppy crowd.

3. Dress for Business

The preppy look isn't all about relaxed classics such as woven button-down shirts and collared polos. Adults who are looking to pull off the preppy look without coming off as schoolboys should look into brands like 3 Wise Men. The company offers business attire that incorporates preppy sensibilities -- button downs with subtle patterns, fashionable hats like fedoras, patterned crew socks, and timeless silk ties. Remember that the preppy look is the mainstay of a certain class of people who historically have made high wages and enjoyed the good life. For that reason, the look translates well to more official attire and can complement a casual wardrobe quite nicely.

The most important thing to keep in mind when pursuing a preppy look is that it must be age appropriate or it ceases to be preppy at all. Instead, it simply becomes fast fashion -- an attempt to look trendy momentarily, rather than look classy in a timeless manner. Steer clear of big logos or flashy graphics and text, and adhere to a rule of solid colours, subtle and simple patterns, and muted, adult hues. This will take the look from schoolboy to grown man with minimal effort.

For all your shopping needs, shop online safely and securely. Most of your favourite Australian and international brands now have online boutiques for you to browse and buy the latest 3 Wise Men, Tarocash and Ben Sherman shirts, trousers and accessories with just a few easy clicks!

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