As I sink my teeth deeper and deeper into the world of menswear, I’ve gained an appreciation for letting go of stereotypical style descriptors: hipster, preppy, streetwear, heritage, Americana… Because hardly anyone I know dresses to fit themselves nicely into just one of these categories.
The brilliant thing about the way men dress right now is that those who take the time to look for inspiration or ideas are grabbing them from everywhere. Your style need not be defined by just one thing: you can grab a hipster’s Acne jeans, the prepster’s Ralph Lauren shirt, the Americana-lover’s Filson bag and the streetwear expert’s Supreme hat and roll it all together in one great look.
On that note, let’s circle back to one of my favorite style identifiers: Prep. I am admittedly a huge fan of this look, but only in moderate doses. Head-to-toe Ivy-inspired style is a certain man’s game, but it doesn’t have to be yours. (And in 2013, it probably shouldn’t.)
The modern, well-dressed dude can pick up a preppy element here and there to give his usual look a dash of clean-cut appeal, or a playful nod to the old college days. Wear a shawl collar sweater over your favorite graphic t-shirt. A plaid button down shirt will look great under a crewneck sweatshirt. Skate shoes and chinos? You bet.
The list goes on but the point remains: preppy style doesn’t need to have the dusty, ill-fitting, square stigma it still carries—nor does it have to rule your entire closet once you succumb to that first, glorious cable knit sweater. Or even that belt with critters on it...
Thanks to stand out brands like Gant Rugger, Michael Bastian and even that old standby Brooks Brothers, the fall’s best preppy pieces come with a little edge and a better cut. Above, I’ve rounded up a handful of my favorite “preppy” pieces for the season. Wear them all together or one at a time, old sport.