Unboxing the Trend That Simply Won't Die: Here's the 2021 Way to Wear It

As part of a school uniform, I grew up wearing preppy clothes and have to admit that I always wanted to rebel against them a bit. The polo shirts felt too monotonous and the khaki pants didn’t fit into my idea of fashion at the time. The skirts seemed too long and I always thought they could use a handy tailor.

With all of that in mind, I tried to say goodbye to preppy fashion after I left high school but realized it’s very much ingrained in my style DNA somewhere. Crisp, oversize button-down shirts, second-skin knitted polo tops, and relaxed khaki trousers are some of my core wardrobe staples to this day, but now that I have a little more control about the fit and the styling, they feel a bit more me.

I think my proclivity for a modern take on preppy fashion is what makes me excited to see the trend make a major statement on the S/S 22 runways. This time around, though, designers were embracing the rule-breakers who would dare to break the mold and wear their skirts shorter than dress code standard—and I’m very here for it. Ahead, see how the preppy fashion trend is being reimagined for spring 2022 and how fashion insiders are wearing it now.

On the Spring/Summer 2022 Runway

No doubt it, there's a major preppy rebrand happening that we've dubbed "academic underachievers" and "twisted academia." Cable sweaters without pants, skirts slashed to mini-micro lengths, gothic twists on a school uniform—they're all here.

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Courtesy of Lacoste

Lacoste is making a case for the collegiate sweater to make a comeback—with or without pants.

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Courtesy of Botter

New proportions make a rugby top feel instantly cool. Go for a loose-fitting version as spotted on the Botter runway. Bonus points for snapping up this cropped style.

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Courtesy of Miu Miu

Perhaps no show made more of a statement than Miu Miu, whose take on preppy fashion included barely there skirts and sweaters.

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Courtesy of Raf Simons

Raf Simons gave preppy fashion an edgy twist with oversize button-downs, bicep bracelets, and gothic-inspired beauty looks.

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Courtesy of Y/Project

Ribbed socks and heels are about to be everywhere—mark my words.

On the Fashion Set

Fashion people have been hot on the preppy trend for some time now. Last year, tennis skirts and sweater vests became key buys, but it turns out it doesn't stop there. The trend is only kicking up, so get ready to see even more cool ways of styling it.

If you own a polo top, you'll want to style it under a matching pantsuit like this. I especially love the nod to '70s fashion with the choice of a velvet set and tinted aviators.

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@deborabrosa

A fresh way to wear those oversize button-downs you collected over the summer.

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@lefevrediary

Need another way to style a sweater-vest? Here you go.

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