To nail preppy dressing, there’s a few rules you need to know
WORDS BY REBECCA RHYS-EVANS
What do Blair Waldorf, Bunny MacDougal and Vivian Kensington all have in common? Sure, they’re on-screen villains but the real thread of connection - they know yuppie styling. Dressing preppy is actually more simple than it looks. For starters you’ll need an Ivy League sweatshirt, pearl earrings (extra points if it’s inherited) and an abundance of cashmere cardigans. At first glance, the bottom line appears to be simply dress ‘rich’, but in recent years this has evolved beyond ironically taking up golf and donning your dad’s country club jumper. Thanks to the likes of Creative Director Alessandro Michele at Gucci, cult British label Shrimps, Rowen Rose and Rodarte, oversized frothy collars, pink wool dresses and extreme shoulder pads are back and are even bigger than when Alexis Carrington invented them – and I love it.
For me, the most brilliant thing about yuppie style is it's timeless aesthetic. Cast your mind to those iconic films that showcase the American elite – the 1920s classic The Great Gatsby, the waspy 1970s New Yorker’s in Annie Hall and Love Story, and don’t get me started on Reese Witherspoon’s 80s preppy perfection in American Psycho. Decades may come and go – but it’s clear yuppie styling is here to stay.
In the UK, we have our own yuppie tribe, enter the Sloane Ranger. Blossoming in the Diana years, ‘Sloanes’, a sort of pre-millennium Made in Chelsea clan, were the archetype of the British upper class, the darlings of Sloane Square society, and the absolute bread and butter of Tatler magazine. Personally, I’m not too keen on their Dubarry boots, Barbour coats and those questionable tweed flat caps, but the high waisted jeans worn with billowing white shirts? Knit argyle vests? Oh, go on then.
Call me basic, but like Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner and many, many girls on Instagram, I believe the ultimate WFH fit is the now highly recycled Princess Di oversized sweater and cycling shorts ensemble. If I’m to style it up for the office (I call it office-appropriate athleisure), I’ll add a Celine blazer and my Wimbledon cap – if you ever wondered what the long lost love child of Kendall Roy and Lady Spencer looked like, this is it.
Another look I can’t seem to shake is Natalia Dyer and Charlie Heaton in Thom Browne. There’s no stranger thing than a person in shorts out of season, but much to the amusement of my colleagues, I’m always there on the frosty days in March and October with my legs out, donning sport socks and a blazer, much like a public school boy on the first day of term.
So whilst I may not tend to hang around Sloane Square, and don’t have an Ivy League degree, I do have a first class education in the fashion that goes with it. You could say I’m partial to a penny loafer and pussy bow ensemble. Because if Harry Styles can do it, why can’t I?
GIVE US OUR DAILY PLAID
It’s a problem as old as the internet that sometimes things look better online than they do IRL (like that date you went on last week). With cashmere, there’s no such problem. George Keburia’s crop polo jumpers are everything a modern prep like me needs. It has all the components of old-style knitwear (gold hardware, great quality) but is fitted, cropped, and sexy. Their perfect plainness lets Keburia’s check skirt speak for itself, and the patterned socks, which I can’t live without, are totally something a middle class mum would describe as ‘such fun’.
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Only the true über chic amongst us can pull off a headscarf. Where the Queen and Jackie Onassis have no issue, I always end up looking more like Bridget Jones. Realistically, I’m simply not elegant enough to pull off an Hermès scarf, especially one wrapped around my head. Which is exactly why I love Ienki Ienki’s padded hoods – they’re just a little bit cooler, despite being technically much, much warmer. With mine comes a green finger and an alter ego – wearing it I can prune roses, I can pot bulbs, or at least I can pose for ‘candid’ photos. But please note: secateurs not included.
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FOR THE LADIES' LUNCHEON
If a bottomless brunch doesn’t count as a Ladies’ Luncheon, then I can’t say I’ve ever done one. But if I did, Rowen Rose is exactly what I’d wear. Rose’s dedication to the classic 80s silhouette with big shoulders and cinched waists makes me feel as curvaceous as Jessica Rabbit. It gets extra bonus points for its double-breasted buttons and enlarged lapels, the ideal partner for those glasses of Prosecco with your sorority sisters. And if you weren’t part of Alpha, Delta - you get the gist - don’t worry, it’s also great for winter weddings, evenings at the theatre and Christmas parties.
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THE DETAILS: One for the eco warrior, Abysse’s whole collection is made sustainably from 100% ECONYL, a fabric created from ocean and landfill waste. The Misty and Maya top and bottoms have micro coverage and gathered details in a beautiful sage colour. If you want to really channel your inner hippie, wear with The Series crochet top, tie dye shorts and boom! You’re pretty much packed for Burning Man.
WEAR TO: California WEAR WITH:
ABYSSE Maya Econyl Bikini Top
ABYSSE Misty Econyl Bikini Bottoms
THE SERIES Vintage Handstitched Crochet Granny Top
DADYBONES The Groover Sunglasses
VENESSA ARIZAGA Beach Bracelet
SPIRITUAL GANGSTER Tie Dye Biker Shorts
THE DETAILS: Proving pink doesn’t always have to epitomise ‘girly’, La Reveche’s black two piece has a classic cut which contrasts its romantic ruffle edging. A touch of femininity, a tad Hawaiian tropical garland, this ensemble demonstrates that pink can be both sophisticated and pretty and not always hyper feminine.
WEAR TO: Dubrovnik WEAR WITH:
LA REVECHE Jamila Ruffle Bikini
MIGUELINA Franca Striped Playsuit
POPPY LISSIMAN Katsu Sunglasses
AGENT NATEUR Uni(Sex) No.5 Natural Deodorant
FLORENCIA TELLADO Holiday Sun Hat
GOLA Bullet Liberty Floral Trainers
THE DETAILS: Bennifer is back together, Juicy Couture has made a return… Is it 2021 or 2001? If you want to take the Y2K trend to the beach, nothing can do it better than this logo Juicy Couture bikini. The black low-rise triangle style (a firm favourite in the noughties) has adjustable straps for flexible styling and sizing. It’s laid back, cool and best accessorised with bold neon hues and tie dye prints.