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Preppy Look

The zenith of Preppy might be thought to be the early 60s when Preppy icon JFK was in the White House. Kennedy was a Catholic Democrat, of course, rather than a WASP Republican, but he did look great on a yacht.


Ronald Reagan‘s election in 1980 ushered in a new age of American conservatism, and the “Preppy” collegiate look popular with high school and college students fitted right in with it.

Preppy staged a comeback with tasselled loafers pressed to the pedals of Porsche convertibles without a hint of shame, or irony.

Sales of Brooks Brothers, LL Bean and Ralph Lauren’s Polo clothes were up, thanks partially to the publication of Lisa Birnbach’s The Official Preppy Handbook (pictured at right).

Though the book was intended as satire, it was taken at face value by most of its teenage readers – who wore boat shoes (for reasons other than boating), turned-up chinos, colourful polo shirts, signet rings and V-neck sweaters – who regarded it as a fashion bible.