Tuesday, May 24, 2005

College Days - Part 1

This school’s-out look takes its inspiration from preppy active-wear, combining bold block colours and go-faster stripes with funky retro designs.

It’s a vibrant trend that spells vitality and steals the coolest aspects of sports styling – smart cricket-style sweaters teamed with utility drill shorts; polo shirts with slouchy combats; Seventies-style satin blouson jackets or fitted zip-up tracksuit tops worn over team slogan T-shirts; and revival rubber sneakers worn with your favourite worn denims. This is a casual, confident, off-duty look that will send you to the top of your class.

Summer fashion for her
By Hatty Oliver

The foundation of a preppy outfit is a polo shirt, preferably of the candy coloured fitted variety. The label to chose is Lacoste. This brand has been revitalised by Lacroix-trained Christopher Lemaire, and is now sported by droves of American teenagers, as well as hip-hop luminaries such as Kayne West, Andre 3000 and Usher. So popular is the look that whole websites are devoted to the contentious issue of whether or not to "pop your collar" (flip up the collar on your polo shirt). Not content with polo shirt domination, Lacoste have launched a new fragrance, Touch of Pink, for a fresh smell to complete the image.

It's not just college kids who are championing preppy perfection - Marc Jacobs has singlehandedly revived the fortunes of the blazer and now Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Mulberry and Chloe have all followed suit. This season's version is neat, shrunken and colourful with bold stripes or prints. Team the blazer with a fifties circle skirt, cropped trousers or fitted jeans for a sleek sophisticated silhouette. Although the beads and bangles that are everywhere this summer don't work with this look, the season's other favourite accessory - the Alice Band - is perfect.

Don't go mad - there's no need to become a neo-Conservative and start dressing like Desperate Housewife's Bree. Preppy can easily cross over into uptight, so give the look a modern twist. The relaxed Californian look used with such dazzling effect by the cast of the OC is the best to aim for. Never do up your blazer and use quirky accessories such as oversize sun glasses, chunky mules and flowery scarves to keep the look young unless that is you've secretly been yearning to join the women's institute and learn to play bridge.

One of the advantages to adopting a preppy style is that its standard items have a timeless appeal, and while they may be updated they never really change. So the polo shirts, tennis styles, Breton stripes and trench coats you buy this year can become the wardrobe classics you can turn to again and again. Avoiding the more extreme vagaries of fashion and remaining true to an effortless sense of 1950's inspired chic also means that in ten years time when you come to look at photographs of summer 2005 you won't have to cringe and wonder what made you think a kaftan was a good idea.

The Preppy Must Have - Blazers
In the colour of the moment - Blue.

Alexander McQueen and Chloe

Matthew Williamson, Marc Jacobs

Preppy Labels:


Tommy Hilfiger