How to Dress for College: The Preppy Style

Say you want to dress up for class.  However, you don’t want to wear a suit because wearing a suit is “doing too much”.  What’s the best alternative?  Dressing preppy!  The prepster style has been an American collegiate staple since the 1960’s and is a great dressed up look to do!  Here, Raj and I will show you some of the clothes you can wear to be preppy to class.

1.  The Classic Polo Shirt 


Polo shirts have their root in originally being the uniform of polo players.  Nowadays, it’s frequented by buyers of Ralph Lauren, Abercombie & Fitch, and Tommy Hilfinger.  Just like a button up shirt, you can tuck them in and wear them with pants or shorts.  It’s a great alternative to a button up shirt, being more casual than it and way more dressed up than a simple tee shirt.



Polo shirt from Tommy Hilfinger, Grey Pants from Express Men, Sunglasses from Banana Republic

Socks from Charles Tyrwhitt Tassel Loafers from Nordstrom 

2.  The All-American Gingham 


Gingham, like I’ve pointed out before, is a fantastic pattern.  It simply reminds us of those picnic blankets from the 1950’s.  When dressing up in general, it’s not always good to wear a plain shirt.  If you want to add character and to show that you know you’re doing, put on a gingham shirt.  Echoing patterns and colors is the best way to show you have mastery over style and fashion.   Gingham is a great preppy staple that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Also, play around with your tie bars!  They don’t always have to be a simple bar!  Check mine out:  it’s an anchor!  Nothing makes a more subtle statement than a character tie-bar.  The one I’m wearing is an anchor which only adds to the prep of the clothes!



Gingham Shirt from H&M, Khaki jeans from Pacsun,  Collegiate Necktie

Anchor Tie Bar from J. Crew, 3 Patch Pocket Blazer from H&M

Hmm, that blazer looks good…

3. Not Your Dad’s Blue Blazer and Khakis


When people think of a blue blazer and khakis, they think of their dads (or even their grandads).  This look has been popularized by boarding schools and the like and are often associated with looking schlubby and boring.  However, Raj and I have taken this classic American look to the 21st century.  Look at the fit of our khakis and blazers.  They’re slim and mine has no break.   Even take a look at the blazers; they’re not just navy blue anymore .  The blazer on me is a light greenish blue, adding some much needed pop to this old-school outfit.   If you wear them right, the old ways can look fantastic.





Here’s some other protips.  Firstly, on my outfit I’m wearing a chambray shirt and an anchor necktie (anchor means prep, if you haven’t noticed).  Chambray shirts are a new preppy staple that evokes the “workwear” of the old times.  It’s light weight and a great fabric to wear in many colors.

On Raj’s outfit, he’s wearing a pencilstripe blue shirt.  Prep is all about nautical influences, and this shirt isn’t an exception. The thin lines evoke the ocean and is fantastic pattern to add to your shirt collection.

On Ethan:

Cotton Blue Blazer from H&M, Chambray Shirt from J. Crew, Anchor Tie from J.Crew

Khaki pants from PacSun, Tassel Loafers from Aldo Shoes

On Rajesh:

Shirt from H&M, Vintage Blue Blazer, Khakis from J.Crew, Tie from

4.  “Expert-Only” Salmon Pants


I know that we here at Street x Sprezza are all about finding your personal style, but let me emphasize that salmon pants are not for people who are just getting into fashion.  They are bright and take a lot of confidence to pull off. One way is to wear them with the right clothes.  Here you can see in both cases that the pants are the main even of the outfit.  With these pants, you’ll need to ground everything else.

Note:  In the first look, it’s a gingham shirt!  In the last look, you’ll see that blue blazers go with freakin’ everything.



Look One:

Gingham Shirt from Vineyard Vines, Quilted Vest from J.Crew, Salmon Pants from J.Crew

Look two:

Blazer from H&M, Nautical Stripe Sweater from H&M, Oxford Shirt from H&M, Salmon Pants from J.Crew

5.  Tassel Loafers and Boat Shoes 

Going sockless wasn’t started by the Italians, it was started by preps.  From penny loafers, to tassel loafers, to boat shoes, these shoes are an essential item for the prepster’s  closet.  Heck, wear them with socks.  Socks are an important part of the fashion game.




Top:  Boat Shoes from Sperry Top Sider

Middle:  Tassel Loafers from Aldo

Bottom:  Suede Tassel Loafers from Nordstrom 

So hopefully you found some ways to prep your wardrobe when you’re in doubt as to what to wear.  As you can see, neither of us are wearing suits.  By wearing these as seperates or combining them all into one great look, you’ll be able to stand out and be well dressed without suiting up!  Take a chapter out of collegiate America and prep it up!


Ethan W.

Street x Sprezza

Photography by Ethan and Tim 

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