Take a peek inside Lisa Birnbach’s 1980 cult-hit paperback, The Official Preppy Handbook, and you’ll notice that not much has changed in terms of preppy dressing over the past three decades. Haberdashery-inspired essentials, such as the oxford shirt, the mesh polo dress, the cartridge bag and the riding boot, all form the foundation of the preppy girl’s wardrobe, then and now. But time has been kind. Whereas yesteryear’s preppy often lost herself in a tangle of drab, bulky layers, today women have the benefit of body-conscious silhouettes and bright, beautiful colors. Skip the triple-layered polos, and streamline your look by wearing a slim-cut button-down shirt, a curve-hugging cargo pant and a thin cashmere cardigan draped nonchalantly over your shoulders. A Blue Label herringbone jacket in any color rounds out the look, and a high-heel brogue nods to menswear design and feminine glamour at the same time. It’s a balance they don’t teach in prep school yet one every preppy girl should master.
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