The Preppiest Brands of All Time

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is currently the second-wealthiest man in the world (after Jeff Bezos), but that doesn't mean he hasn't always been well off. The designer got his start working for a relatively successful company in the aeronautical industry, Yves St. Laurent, eventually leaving to establish his own design firm with Bob Dylan and Anne Klein. His eponymous brand still bears his distinctive style now recognized worldwide, one that blends preppy styles with American sportswear.

Ralph Lauren's polos have become iconic among preppy style enthusiasts everywhere because of their clean lines and timeless nature. With a pastel color palette reminiscent of pina colada drinks at Tiki Oasis restaurants and a logo that could be misconstrued as a hipster take on an old-school theme song from The Monkees made famous by Davy Jones, these trends are sure to stick around for years to come.

Vineyard Vines

This preppy brand is the pinnacle of comfort, relaxation, and social acceptability. It's all about the Vineyard Vines. The logo is a pink whale, which makes sense if you think about it... a whale swimming through vines? Yes, that totally makes sense. The Vineyard Vines clothing line also features other marine animals as symbols: pelicans and dolphins are both represented. That kind of theme consistency doesn't just happen by accident!

The company was founded in 1998 by brothers Shep and Ian Murray. They named their company after the town where they previously lived in Connecticut—a town called Martha’s Vineyard. Those kinds of details can tell you a lot about an organization or individual! For example, if I decided to found my own clothing line called Nincompoop Apparel Inc., you'd be able to make some interesting assumptions about me based on my decision-making process! Of course, it may not always be as easy as that; maybe I actually did live on Martha’s Vineyard at one point in time and really liked how nice everyone was there because they had so much leisure time to mingle while wearing shorts year-round. Regardless of why I chose to name my business that way, it definitely isn't a random decision; there's an underlying message or meaning behind it (otherwise I wouldn't have bothered). Those kinds of origins give brands credibility when they open up shop and begin selling to consumers—and those consumers will likely keep returning for more products from that same brand in the future (if you're reading this article right now, you might even be one of them!).

More information on the history of this brand can also be found at their website here: http://vineyardvines.com/about/

Lacoste

The most iconic of all prep brands, Lacoste was founded in 1933 by Frenchman René Lacoste. He was a champion golfer who popularized the short-sleeved polo shirt, and he would later go on to become the first president of the International Golf Federation. (He's also the namesake of an awestruck crocodile that appears on its logo.)

It wasn't until 1974 that Lacoste would partner with American tennis player Stan Smith to release his first tennis sneaker, which became wildly popular among the sport's pros and their fans. Its fame spread from there, and it remains one of Lacoste's bestsellers today.

Along with its preppy lifestyle apparel, including those iconic polo shirts that have been worn by everyone from JFK to Barack Obama over the years, Lacoste sells fragrances for both men and women, as well as leather goods like travel bags and shoes.

Brooks Brothers

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to take a walk through the halls of Top Gun, then Brooks Brothers is for you. The preppy brand has been making suits since 1818, and they're especially popular with those who made their name in government service (take my husband, please!). However, they're also known for their dress shirts—a favorite of everyone's favorite superspy: James Bond. You may have heard it said that "life is a carnival" and that we should all "come out swingin'," but I think these shirts say otherwise about life. To hear more about this timeless brand, check out the video below!

Tommy Hilfiger

While college students may not be known for their classic American style, the yellow-and-red logo of a man in a polo shirt with his collar popped suggests otherwise. Tommy Hilfiger is an American brand that often uses red and blue in its logos and clothing. The brand's clothing is often described as classic American style. Hilfiger is also a popular brand among college students, since it's affordable yet still chic and attractive to young adults.

"'I like how preppy my friends dressed,' says Caitlin Cowell, class of 2015 and former sorority member at UC Berkeley. 'The way they dressed was so cute.'" While the average student may not have the budget to buy Tommy Hilfiger items, there are plenty of similar pieces out there for less than $20. "It’s nice that I can get clothes from Forever 21 with more expensive designer brands," Cauwell says, who admits she shops at Forever 21 almost every week while prioritizing her textbooks over shopping by category or spending too much money on a particular item

These brands exemplify preppy style.

The common preppy stereotype is a blonde-haired, tan-skinned WASP with a boatload of money and a yacht to match. While these brands do represent the stereotypical preppy lifestyle, it's important to remember that preppiness has been adapted into several subcultures and niche markets throughout history. To avoid looking outdated, follow these tips when selecting your favorite preppy brands:

Step outside the box: Just because you wear the right clothes doesn't mean you have access to all of the right brands. If your style seems "bland" or "conservative," fear not—these traits actually reflect one of our core values: not being too flashy or obnoxiously loud. A brand like Supreme can be great, but if you're starting from scratch, try looking at what other companies they sell as well—you might find some good new additions to your wardrobe without having to resort to their typical T-shirts and jeans!

Go for quality over quantity: We embrace quality in nearly every aspect of our lives—don't waste time with low-quality clothing that won't last long, or looks cheap for those around you. Make wise investments in the clothing pieces that will be seen most often!

Be inspired by cool iconoclasts: The upper crust may not seem like an ideal role model for today's youth—however, many famous figures started out as rich kids who rebelled against their upbringing and crafted their own style as they entered adulthood (rebellion is in this season). As explained in our previous article on trends to steal from old photos , these icons were ahead of their time by embracing color and prints before anyone else did. Look back through history (and don't forget about the present), and find how those who've gone before us have worn their preppiness!
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