Preppy style is back…although I would say it has never really gone away. Originating in the US at the start of the 20th century, the founding sisters of preppy style emanated from wealthy colleges where the women wore tweed skirts, Brooks Brothers sweaters and saddle shoes, as sported by the Peanuts character, Lucy.
The founding brothers did not opt for the tweed skirts, but rather a style that was inspired by the sporting activities enjoyed by the British upper-classes and elite north-eastern Americans, such as polo, sailing, rowing, tennis, rugby, golf, etc.
The tweed or varsity jacket, rugby shirts, chinos, button-down shirts, seersucker shorts, brogue shoes, loafers and deck shoes had a field day, along with cable-knit sweater and golfing jumpers.
The fashion became more prominent in the 1950s as the style was adopted by prep schools and students attending Ivy League and other more traditional university institutions, such as a Harvard Princeton, Columbia and Yale.
By this time, women had migrated to tailored skirts, wrap or shift dresses, blouses, the aforementioned sweaters, and selected jewellery pieces, such as a pearl necklace and/or earrings.
This was the uniform of the well-connected and well-heeled who would go on to have high incomes and professional success. As such, clothing manufacturers were keen to meet the demand with LL Bean and Eddie Bauer providing the ideal sport casualwear back in the day and Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, J Crew, Tommy Hilfiger and Gant taking up the mantle in the 1980s.
These brands are still doing good business, hence my uncertainty about the fashion ever really fading away, especially as we now tend to take a few elements of preppy style rather than immersing ourselves in Ivy League fashion from head to toe.
The toe bit is where we can help! Whether you choose to pull on a cable-knit sweater or a tweed jacket, or team a navy polo shirt with light chinos, or choose a bit of old-school colour – lemon, peach, green or pink – for your shirts, jumpers or socks, we have the shoes for you.
You’ve come to right place. We have got British brogues all sewn up. We suggest tan for true country sport style. You cannot go wrong with the Carnaby. For a more chiselled toe, you may like Barker’s Larry brogues or Loake’s Fearnley with a natural sole edge. Perfect for teaming with a tweed blazer.
The deck shoe
Known as the boat shoe over the pond, we have always given these our utmost attention due to our waterside location. We’ve got brown ones, tan ones, navy ones and white ones…all named after Cornish and Devonian seaside locations. Think Padstow, Fowey, Rock and Salcombe. All are perfect for wearing with seersucker shorts!
Again, we have a rich history when it comes to loafers with a full range of suede, leather and, yes, tweed styles…with or without tassels. We have formal and more causal styles too so you can choose a loafer for any occasion. The James loafer is our best-seller while the two-tone walnut and tan suede Consort is a new kid on the block this year. The Frome has also been a welcomed addition that has proven to be extremely popular.
We have loafers for women too with our new suede Charlie style offering navy, aubergine and brown options, plus our leather Sophia and Miranda lines…all just crying out for bare ankles or knee high socks.
Like the manufacturers of preppy-style clothes, we have been making these shoes for decades. We use the best craftsman and the best materials to make quality shoes that are built to last.
Want to add some British preppy style to your footwear collection? You’ve come to the right place