How To: Preppy on a Budget

fake it til you

Forever 21 blue chambray shirt / Forever 21 flared skirt / Forever 21 pointy shoes / Love 21 necklace / Forever 21 hat / Forever 21 headband / 21 MENS Flamingo Print Shorts / 21 MENS Sailboat Print Shorts / 21 MENS Classic Fit Shirt / 21 MENS F9975 Aviator Sunglasses / 21 MENS Twill Cotton Chinos / 21 MENS Classic Boat Shoes / Fresh Heathered Blazer / Easy Chino Shorts / Two-Tone Straw Fedora / Plaid Bow Tie / Metal Bow Ballet Flats

Look, I get it. You're stuck in suburbia where everyone is wearing the same "Obey" shirts, galaxy leggings, and sassy crop tops. And it takes everything in you to not gag as you walk by some of your classmates. You're not alone! The only refuge you can take is via the internet where you can sigh at the perfect lives of prepsters across the country. One day, that will be you!

But why can't that day come sooner? Sure, you're in no position to fill your wardrobe with Vineyard Vines, Lacoste, and KJP, but your friendly neighborhood Forever 21 can fulfill the that dream for right now. All you need is patience to sift through the unwanted and a spectacular sense of willpower.

There's no reason why teens today shouldn't get to express themselves through fashion. One should never be afraid of wearing their favorite shirt because of what other people think. Chances are, those haters don't know the slightest thing about individuality. Don't give up and don't conform. We see you, baby preps, and we commend you!


I've got one word for ya: bows!

Bows, bows, bows.

They're verifiably the best thing to happen to the masses since the internet. Nothing says preppy like them (except maybe boats, but that's for later). Caution: bows must be used wisely. Too many and you may end up looking like a gift. That's the beauty, however, you don't need to cover your body in them for bows to take their effect. It's instant girly and instant you!

This isn't to say that bows are the only way for a girl to look preppy. There's also the iconic pearls. For some reason, (actually, I think we can thank generations of first ladies) pearls have give off the insatiable idea of class and sophistication. Preppy girls can use this to their advantage. They aren't just for special occasions, however. You can wear them whenever to add an extra something. 

Lastly, but oh-so-certainly not least for the girls is florals. We can thank the late great Lily Pulitzer for this one. Florals have always been a symbol for femininity, but Lily's fabrics take this to a new, fantastical level with prints for the gods. They allow for so much freedom within this style. No two preps are exactly alike. 


Boats! Boats! Boats!*

Boats and preppy males go hand in hand. The best part is that you don't have to go boating every weekend to look like you do. Boat shoes are a great start. Step two is a casual straw hat and dark aviators because the sun beating down on you on the boat last weekend was killer. The printed shorts (blue boats on white and pink flamingos on navy) are akin to the ladies' affinity for floral print. 

Compared to the other teen guys of today, preppy guys are constantly overdressed. This statement arises from the blazers and chinos we attribute to preps, but on some level it's still slightly casual. Thanks to the perpetual usage of boat shoes and loafers (not pictured), these young men slightly dress down their blazers and bow ties. 

Speaking of which, bow ties are another touch of bows, this time on boys. Another similarity is that printed bow ties (even printed Lily bow ties) can be found on the necks of straight, preppy men everywhere. Screw conforming gender roles, am I right? 

What have we learned?

Ladies, a little bow goes a long way. Prints are your new BFF. Always classy. 

Gentlemen, boats are everything. Dressy is the new casual. Your fashion, your way. 

Style is the easiest way to show the world who you are. Don't shy away from the loafers, ladies. And guys, wear a striped bow tie, if you want! Let your clothes speak for you and leave everyone else speechless. 

In honor of the Kentucky Derby and thanks to Forever 21's expansive collection, that was how to be preppy on a budget. 

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