How to Build a Preppy Wardrobe without Spending a Fortune

Thursday, February 15, 2018

When you hear the word "preppy", you typically think of style that is timeless and classic. And yes, preppy style tends to be more expensive. Dresses at J. Crew or Lilly are going to be more expensive than dresses at Forever 21, for instance. To dress preppy, however, you do not necessarily have to break the bank to achieve the preppy look you want!

Shop sales
It may seem that the preppy pieces you love never go on sale but it just takes a bit more effort. J. Crew is pretty good about offering discount codes on their websites (usually during the weekends) and Lilly Pulitzer has their bi-annual After Party Sale, which is the perfect time to pick up some new Lilly on a budget! If you're shopping in-store, be sure to check out the sale rack as I've found some crazy good deals there before!

Use student discounts
If you're in college (or sometimes if you're a high school student, depends on the store!), use your student discount to save more money on your clothes. J. Crew offers a student discount if you present your student ID at checkout but it never hurts to ask if the store offers a student discount!

Utilize basic pieces
Preppy basics are easy to find at a variety of prices, making them easy to incorporate into your budget! One thing I love about the classic look is that it looks pulled together whether you spent $20 or $200 on that particular item so this an area where you can really save! J. Crew Factory, for example, offers the same style chino shorts that J. Crew does in the summer but at a fraction of the cost. Your closet staples also can be worn a variety of different ways so you can create so many different outfits out of just one piece of clothing.

Quality over quantity
When I'm shopping, I like to look for clothing that is going to last and that I can wear for a long time after buying it. I'd rather have one really nice pair of jeans than five pairs of cheaper jeans that aren't exactly what I want. Of course, you can tailor this to your budget. Look for the highest quality your budget allows and don't buy a piece of clothing just to buy it.ii

Add to your closet slowly
The thing about preppy style is that it is timeless, meaning if you purchase a piece now, you'll still be able to wear it years from now. This gives you time to build up your wardrobe as you definitely don't have to rush out to the mall and buy everything brand new!

Think of cost per wear
Preppy clothing does tend to be more expensive but I like to think about it as cost per wear. If I spend $150 at Lilly on a new shift dress and get several years worth of wear out of it, the cost per wear will be lower than a cheaper dress that I wore once before getting rid of it. A higher initial investment in the beginning saves you more money in the long run as you aren't constantly rebuying that piece.

Save up for pieces that you absolutely love
Once you identify a piece that you "must" have, save up for it! I've found that taking more time before making a purchase helps me decide if I really need that piece (thus helping with curbing unnecessary spending). For instance, I saved up for months to buy my Louis Vuitton bag, which I had loved for years before buying it. Since I saved up for so long to buy it and since it's a classic style, I know that I be using it for years to come!

Any additional tips? Let me know in the comments!

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