80’s & 90’s Prep Trends

making-the-grade-1984When you dress preppy, the same items seem to stay in style with a few minor adjustments here and there, which is why it’s cool to still have items for a long time or to borrow from your parents, grandparent, etc. The 80’s and 90’s were pivotal for preppy style as bright colors and ivy league influence were popularized. Below are preppy trends from the 80’s and 90’s that haven’t necessarily ever gone out of style, but are definitely in an era of revival. The photos on the left are older, and the ones on the right are current. Enjoy!

blazer crestBlazers with crests are so classic that you can own one and wear it forever. It’s definitely a by-product from the popularization of Ivy League style and has shown no signs of fading. I love how both the 90’s model and the current Ralph Lauren model have styled it. Both could fit into either era, it’s that timeless.

popped collar

The polo shirt, especially with a popped collar, is both fun and casual. I-ZOD, now Lacoste, really took over the 80’s, but Ralph Lauren has become synonymous with the style. I have many polos shirts in the back of my closet that I’m trying to wear more often because it’s a step up from just a t-shirt. It looks more polished yet still a great weekend look. Not just for country clubs, wear your polo shirt anywhere and try the popped collar – just avoid layering several polos at once.

flag sweater

The flag sweater is my #1 staple, and if you’ve followed me for any amount of time you know this to be true (I have three RL flag sweaters). This sweater is year round for me because it’s great on summer nights with white jeans, and under coats in the fall/winter. If you ever find a flag sweater, snag it up immediately. It’s an American classic that gets better with age.

fun shirt

The fun shirt is a preppy trend from the 80’s and Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, and especially J Crew have been showing it in full force lately. It’s a great way to shake things up because life is too short to wear boring clothes. The photo on the left isn’t old, it’s just from The Wolf of Wall Street set in the 80’s.


sweater over shoulderSweater over the shoulder is a great way to keep your sweater nearby. While tying it around your waist (very 90’s) has come back in style, I think around the shoulder is a classy way to sport the look with a nod to the past. I do a bit of both because it’s a great way to alter an otherwise plain outfit.

nautical shorts

High-waisted shorts have come back in style, and I love the nautical ones best. 1990’s nautical fashion is one of my favorite clothing eras (mainly because of nostalgia), and I love seeing this style of shorts popping up.

madrasMadras is a pattern that is specifically preppy in nature. I have always been a fan of madras and was happy to see J Crew bring back madras styles this year. I picked up a pair of madras shorts and wear them every chance I get!

What’s your favorite style from above?



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *