Newsletters

Get Shop Around delivered to your inbox every Tuesday Morning.

Shop Around on Twitter
Your Cheat Sheet to Preppy Style
Let two of the most preptastic bloggers we know lead the way to yacht-club fabulousness. By Sarah Zlotnick
Comments () | Published February 24, 2012

All photographs by Katie Warren.

When it comes to fashion, Washington has a serious case of split personality disorder. From the flannel-wearing hipsters in Columbia Heights to the slick suits on K Street, each neighborhood has its own look. And where would we be if we didn’t mention the pastel-wearing prepsters of Georgetown? With this style, there’s a fine line between fabulous and costumey—and no one walks it as impeccably as law students/platonic lifemates Lauren Wynns and Van Bloys, the duo behind the fashion and lifestyle blog Necessary & Proper. Read on for their ace tips for mastering the aesthetic without looking like a popped-collar tool.

Top five wardrobe essentials:

For women: colored pants (denim or tailored silk), trench coat, a silk blouse (bonus points for one with an unusual neckline or pattern), an equestrian-inspired blazer, and a colorful shift dress.

For men: A navy blazer, Cordovan lace-ups, gray flannel trousers, an oxford shirt, and a cashmere V-neck sweater.

Accessories no prepster should be without:

Women: large sunglasses, a piece of family jewelry, and a dog (any kind of retriever or hunting dog will do).

Men: A sterling silver monogrammed belt buckle, a good pair of polarized sunglasses, and a fabulous watch.

Three pairs of shoes every prepster should own:

Men: Tod’s driving moccasins, L.L. Bean Bean boots, and Cordovan tassel loafers.

Women: A nude pump or wedge, smoking slippers, and riding boots.

Style rules you should never break:

No socks with loafers.

Wear color. Everyone looks better with at least a little splash.

Style rules you should definitely break:

Minimalism. Have some fun—layer shirts, sweaters, jackets, and jewelry. You can keep a classic vibe going without going totally bare bones.

Nobody needs to look like they’re living in a J.Crew catalog all the time. Shake it up! Dress down!

Outfits that will never go out of style:

For women: A shift dress, pumps, and a cardigan; a bikini, an oxford, a straw hat, and thong flip-flops; and white jeans and vibrant tunics.

For men: Oxford shirts and cashmere cable knits; navy suits and repp ties; and Vilebrequin swim trunks and colorful Lacoste polos.

How to translate preppy style to the workplace:

The key is to not go overboard. Don’t wear a patterned sock with tassel loafers, suspenders, a bow tie, horn-rimmed glasses, and a pocket square. You’re not an extra on Gossip Girl. Pick one or two fun accessories and stick to that.

Skills every prepster should master:

Social grace. Write thank-you notes, buy hostess gifts, be cordial to everyone, and stay classy in the presence of those who are not. Bad manners and cattiness are so unbecoming.

Tying a bow tie. It’s like riding a bicycle. You’d never imagine how many men came into Ralph Lauren [Van used to work at the Georgetown store] on the night of a big event in a tux with an untied bow tie and asked a salesperson to tie it for them.

Grooming products to pick up:

For men: unscented Dove soap, Marvis toothpaste, and Kiehl’s Silk Groom.

For women: An Aveda paddle brush, Fresh brown sugar scrub, and L’Oréal Voluminous mascara.

Monograms—do or don’t?

Do.

Lilly Pulitzer—do or don’t?

Do. Balance it with non-Lilly accessories.

Popped collars—do or don’t?

Depends. This really got overplayed a few years ago. It’s practical if you’re playing tennis or out on the boat—nobody likes a sunburned neck. But if you’re just doing it for show, it can look a little contrived.

Blogs to read:

Put This On, the Trad, the Love List, An Affordable Wardrobe, Off the Cuff DC, and Pretty Polished [a shopping blog Lauren runs with a friend].

Up-and-coming prepster brands you should be wearing:

Kiel James Patrick—whimsical, handmade accessories out of Rhode Island.

Sasha Lickle Designs—Floridian-style jewelry inspired by sea life and the beach.

Pierrepont Hicks
—An American brand with beautiful ties and bow ties.

Smathers & Branson—A Bethesda-based needlepoint belt company. You can even get a “life belt” custom made to match your personal interests.

Hugh and Crye—This Georgetown-based shirtmaker has slim cuts and great patterns. And we love our native DC designers!

The best hangouts in DC:

The bar at the Cosmos Club in Dupont. The building itself is incomparably beautiful. It has a very clubby, old-Washington feel. I love how you have to write up the tab yourself with a golf pencil.

Jetties, the sandwich shop in Foxhall. The sandwiches are the best in the city. I love the fresh carved turkey with either cranberry sauce or avocado spread and whole-grain mustard.

Other Georgetown/Glover Park favorites: Surfside and Town Hall.

The best vacation spots:

Palm Beach, Florida. It’s a winter spot that draws plenty of preppy East Coasters. It’s truly a paradise—beautiful weather, pristine beaches, palm trees. Everyone wears pastels 100 percent of the time.

Northern Michigan: The opposite of Palm Beach—everyone looks casual and laid-back. Think bathing suits, oversize polos, worn-in beach bags, colorful towels, and Patagonias.

Categories:

Fashion People
Subscribe to Washingtonian

Discuss this story

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. The Washingtonian reserves the right to remove or edit content once posted.
  • Rose

    LOVE this article. lol@ the pocket situation.

  • TR

    What idiot edited the photos such to have the "man's" pocket on the right side?

  • Yorkie

    I love this duo and love love love the article. Thank you.

  • kn23

    Where can I buy the pink/green/white striped dress?? love it.

  • lonly99andy


    Fashion trend diversity is countless and varies according to seasons..Since change in fashion is inevitable..Online shopping is best option for time&money saving. Choose authentic stores to buy branded beauty products.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Posted at 10:28 AM/ET, 02/24/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs