Cozy marries chic: a field guide to prep

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No fashion clique combines impeccably-styled sophistication with all things cozy like preppy does. Which, hello, makes it the ideal style to try in a fresh and freezing New Year.

Think Clueless, Emma Watson, Gossip Girl, and whichever other preppy queen captures your inspiration. Dig out your cable knits, visit a yacht (lol, no) and open your notebook: class is now in session.

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Well Plaid

Plaid is the essential preppy print. It speaks of strolls under massive trees, roaring fires in huge stone fireplaces, and dusty libraries filled with super old leather-bound books no one has read for 100 years. To get the preppy version of plaid, rather than the lumberjack version (no shade to lumberjacks, but maybe another time), keep it tailored but low-key.

Check out:

Down To It Oversized Plaid Shirt

It’s plaid (check) (no, not check, plaid). It’s a shirt, so you have that dressed-up-at-all-times vibe, but it’s a relaxed fit and soft, so you also have the coziness. For full preppy points, layer it under a cable knit sweater, with black leggings and brown leather-look boots.

Down To It Oversized Plaid Shirt

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Sweater it out

Sweaters are the ultimate cozy clothing option (well, OK, besides pyjamas) which makes them a crucial element in your preppy wardrobe. They can be there to show off a statement skirt (more on that later) or as a main event in their own right.

Check out:

PAXTON Play It Cool Mock Neck Sweater

This soft and simple sweater ties everything together, with long sleeves, a mock neck, and a slim fit that makes it easy to layer without drawing attention from the rest of your outfit. Style with a mini skirt (we’re getting to them, promise) or these houndstooth pants to let it work its magic to the max.

PAXTON Play It Cool Mock Neck Sweater

Tomorrow Turtleneck Sweatshirt

If preppy could do a sweatshirt draft, turtlenecks would be the first pick, the star player, the QB. End of sports metaphor. Turtlenecks have every square inch of you wrapped up like your dream duvet, and that extra fussy neck is style drama straight from the runway. This one is super soft, with a relaxed fit and a large collar, and it can stand on its own as your look-at-me piece, or complement a print or pattern to perfection.

Tomorrow Turtleneck Sweater

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All-in-wonder

Layering is key in a preppy look, because it suggests an abundant closet somewhere in a mansion. Plus, as our responsible adults like to remind us, the best way to stay warm (and thus cozy) is to add layers (thanks, Mom!) If you have no time for that, take a shortcut in these all-in-one pieces.

Check out:

Francesca 2-in-1 Sweater Dress

This is almost a 3-in-1, since it’s a shirt under a sweater that can also be a dress. The classic collar says, ‘I appreciate the power of fine tailoring,’ while the loose-fitted, super soft sweatshirt says, ‘But I secretly love my loungewear too.’

Francesca 2-in-1 Sweater Dress

School’s Out Shirt

The Fashion School way to wear plaid, this is your simple white shirt prepped up with an attached crop top in a rich plaid print, with a tie around the waist to take it to the edgy end. Well plaid indeed.

School’s Out Shirt

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Mini potential

Preppy doesn’t mean prudish. Mini skirts a) are another opportunity to work in some classic detail, like a print and b) balance out all those layers with a sleeker silhouette.

Check out:

Casual Encounters Mini Skirt

The simple plaid on this skirt is old school but the cut is so current. This mini skirt can play it chic with a black-and-white palette, as our fabulous model demonstrates, or really show off deeper colors, especially greens, reds and rich yellows.

Casual Encounters Mini Skirt

Clue Me In Houndstooth Mini Skirt

If you’ve overplayed plaid, take a hit of houndstooth. This skirt takes the Hamptons-esque fanciness of this posh pattern, and mixes with an elegant sixties vibe, featuring a high waist, a short cut, and a metallic zipper all the way down the front. There’s also a slim-cut tailored pant in the same print, if you’re more of a pants person.

Clue Me In Houndstooth Mini Skirt

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Accessorize all

The tiny touches to take your prep attempts from ‘you tried’ to ‘you scored!’ Or, if you’re not ready for the full plunge into prep, introduce these fancy details to your current closet.

Check out:

True Love Beret

The poshest hat you can find (aside from a tiara, but those are way harder to style). This beanie has a hidden band to fit it just right, made of wool with a little tab at the top. You’ll be randomly dropping French words into everyday chats before you can say café au lait, s’il vous plait.

True Love Beret

Good Etiquette Faux Leather Mini Purse

Far too polite to draw attention from the outfit you spent so long putting together, but also smart in its own right, this little purse comes with a detachable and adjustable faux leather strap so you can transform it from clutch to shoulder bag.

Good Etiquette Faux Leather Mini Purse

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Boot camp

The only reason not to hibernate all winter, aside from needing to, like, pay rent, and also sweaters. Preppy boots are deceptively simple, designed as the supporting act, not the main event, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t also be exceptionally well executed.

Check out:

All Good Things Quilted Boots

Normally reserved for jackets, a quilted texture is very preppy, because all that extra stitching looks fussy and expen$ive, and also like the quilt or comforter you’re thinking about snuggling up in. These particular boots take the look off to the left with some punk-inspired buckles and zips, so you get an edge mixed in with all that cozy.

 

All Good Things Quilted Boots

Don’t Test Me Knee High Boots

Equestrian-style is a subset within preppy fashion, but you don’t need a horse to ride this trend. These boots are smart faux leather, with straps and detailing around the vamps imitating riding boots, but don’t be getting them dirty in muddy stables, they’re strictly for the streets.

Don’t Test Me Knee High Boots

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Coat-ture

You can’t be truly cozy without a coat to wrap in (thanks again, Mom) so find one that complements your classy outfit, instead of hiding it.

Check out:

Broken Clocks Houndstooth Trench Coat

Why yes, that is a coat in all-over houndstooth, and boy is it just jolly good. It’s long to keep out those winter winds, with a smart notched lapel, two handy pockets, and embroidery on the collar and chest to take it up to new heights of fancy. If you invest in one piece of preppy, this coat could be the one.

Broken Clocks Houndstooth Trench Coat

 

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