Prep style has gone through many changes over the past 60 years but has never gone completely out of fashion. The signature American style has remained a staple in most men's wardrobes. And across America, the preppy look is still popular as 2015 brings a dose of freshness to prep. There are some differences depending on geography, but no matter where you live in America, the preppy look mixes up classic style with comfort and a contemporary feel in 2015.

Preppy History

Contemporary preppy clothing, like button-up and collared shirts, harkens back to the 1920s when upper-class kids attended preparatory schools in advance of attending Ivy League schools. The clothing that those kids wore evolved into the style that we now call “preppy.” The fashion hung on through the decades. In the 1950s, the preppy look was very conservative. Through the 1960s, the look became classic but was geared more for an older generation. The 1980s brought the prep look to Wall Street and the wealthy country club and boarding school culture. 

Today, the preppy look consists of conservative pieces with creative twists that keep the style contemporary.

2015 Preppy Trends

The preppy style is more accessible today than when it represented wealth in the 1980s. Popular among collegiate, the updated preppy look consists of classic standards with interesting additions. Color blocked belts, comfortable shoes, and cool accessories have updated the previously formal style. This year, elements of the style appear throughout men’s fashion magazine, GQ’s 2015 Spring Trend Report, and even the UK edition is focused on prep-wear, recommending socks with penny loafers and rolled up pant legs.

From Preppy Social to Athletic Casual Wear, the preppy style has evolved. Preppy Social combines a clean yet comfortable look. Classic colors, brand names, and chinos define the fashion. Athletic Casual Wear combines t-shirts with blazers, well-cut khakis, and Bermuda shorts, and solid or patterned button down polo shirts. The shoes are comfortable; top-siders, boat shoes, flip flops, and canvas sneakers mix up otherwise conservative pieces of the wardrobe.

East Coast Prep

The east coast preppy style remains closer to the classic preppy look of the 20th century. Blazers, rugby tops, bow ties, and chino pants and shorts comprise the style. The east coast look has been updated by adding a disheveled look, athletic inspirations, and bold pops of color. The addition of monograms also freshens up certain pieces.

West Coast Prep

The west coast preppy style adds hints of surfer fashion and tends to lean more to a celebrity feel. The west coast combines the eastern preppy look with California cool. Think of classic pieces in the colors of beach sunsets; sea-foam greens, light blues, and pinks prevail in west coast prep. Surf shorts and t-shirts are added into the mix, and checks, plaids, and stripes adorn many of the polo shirts. 

Midwest Prep

Midwest prep remains conservative and classic. Crew neck sweaters, striped rugby tees, oxfords, and polo shirts endure as the standard. For 2015, pastels and bolder colors offer a modern vibe, and many outfits are accessorized with leather belts and bow ties.

Southern Prep

In the south, the contemporary preppy style is mostly reserved for college kids. Southern guys have a standard "uniform" of khaki shorts, long sleeve button downs, and leather belts. Accessories, such as flip flops, boat shoes, visors, and baseball caps are often added to make the look more casual.

Prep style is timeless. It has lasted through the years, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Turn the fashion up a notch this season by adding unexpected colors and patterns to the basics. Accessorize with casual shoes and caps. This year’s prep is all about casual comfort with a creative vibe.

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