The Trend Report: #NewPrep
The Trend Report: #NewPrep

The Trend Report: #NewPrep

It's officially ‘back to school’ season – which might explain why #NewPrep is everywhere right now. From the origins of the trend through to this season’s must-have pieces, this is what you need to know to nail the look.
By Sapna Rao


Millennials would probably credit Blair Waldorf and the girls of Constance Billard or perhaps Poppy Moore from Wild Child for sparking interest in the preppy trend all those years ago. But really, its origins can be traced much further back into the 20th century, when an explosion of leisure activities among the upper class spawned an array of new fashions, including polo shirts, rugby jumpers and deck shoes. This filtered into American collegiate dressing in the 80s and 90s, with varsity styles and letterman jackets entered the mix. Now, #NewPrep has taken the trend mainstream, with a number of high-fashion brands putting their own spin on this perennial look.


While preppy dressing is associated with brands like Ralph Lauren, J Crew and Tommy Hilfiger, #NewPrep is more closely tied to high fashion brands like Miu Miu, Prada and Celine. First coined in 2020, it reflects the designers’ decisions to incorporate more street and grunge influences into the look – as well as the broader shift towards early-2000s and Y2K fashion – to come up with viral pieces like Miu Miu’s pleated miniskirt. The good news is it hasn’t taken the high street long to follow suit, with a raft of cool, affordable pieces out there to help you get the look.



The #NewPrep trend has a sportier, more undone feel, with Gen Z blending the prim and proper styles made popular by shows like Gossip Girl with a street-style edge – something made clear in the 2021 reboot. If you ask us, it’s the result of a post-pandemic reliance on casual, athletic attire and Gen Z’s penchant for expressing individuality within larger trends that’s made #NewPrep so relevant for now.


Replicating the #NewPrep look is all about nailing down some key heroes: good shirting, miniskirts, cable knits, sweater vests and varsity jackets, while leather loafers, headbands and frilly socks will complete the look. Just don’t be afraid to add a bit of edge to bring it up to date: think grunge-y oversized cuts, asymmetric necklines and raw hems.

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