1980s Prep

A subculture which stemmed from the North east American pre-prepatory colleges.  These colleges were attended by upper class americans and people who followed were of white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant with a New England family connection.

WWD on Upcoming Preppy Book 2011

The ‘Prep’ style was originally based upon Ivy League universities and introduced after the 1st World War by a group of priveleged young men who focused on leisure time and athlectic influences [Upcoming Preppy Book 2011].

Being Riach and Dull 2010

Prep status was determined by the school attended, physical appearance and material possessions.


  • Single or double breasted blazers in navy wool with gold initalled buttons.
  • Boat shoes
  • Argyle sweaters
  • Chinos
  • Oxford buttoned down shirts
  • Rugby shirts

Argyle sweater, E.Himel

Polo with over-shoulder sweater, 2011

Brands associated with the preppy look were Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers.

Boat shoes

Rugby shirt

The rugby shirt was a staple piece in the preppy look as it was simple.comfortable and colourful and easy for students to wear. A rugby could display a schools colours at the same time as remaining elegant.

Pretty in Pink, 1986

The Breakfast Club, 1985

The films were identified as the ‘ Brat Pack’ culture and based on american high schools and the distinctive social groups who could not get along with each other due to their differences.

True Prep, K, Staskiewicz 2010

The subculture is still apparent today yet it is not only associated with upper class northeastern americans. The ‘trend’ is seen all over the world with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister leading the way. Books are available on how to do the ‘Prep’ look!

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