It’s no secret that my style is classic. I love the preppy look – New England and Southern prep. My style is very much a mix of the two and I’m totally okay with that. Think Lilly Pulitzer, J.Crew, Kate Spade, Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren, Longchamp, Jack Rogers, Sperry, Northface…you get the picture. Wearing the brands I love has the potential to be costly, but over the years (especially my years in retail) I’ve learned some tricks that make it easy to get that bright, classic, preppy look.
I think the number one piece of advice I can give anyone looking to curate a classic and preppy wardrobe is to skip the trends and invest in the classics. It might seem daunting to drop $300 on a nice wool coat, but I promise you the investment is worth spending $300 on one timeless piece versus 15 trendy outfits that you will wear for one season. Case in point: I have four pairs of Ann Taylor black skinny pants that I bought for probably about $100 each. I’ve had them for about 8 years. They literally do not go out of style. So my point: don’t be afraid to spend a little for quality.
I also understand that the preppy brands have the potential to cost an arm and a leg, so I’m teaming up with my friend Katie from Sunshine Style to share some ideas that help you get that preppy, classic look on a budget. I’m breaking my ideas down into tricks I use when shopping and examples of wardrobe pieces you shouldn’t hesitate to invest in.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Shop the Sales
Honestly, this is how I purchase ALL of my Lilly Pulitzer and J.Crew items. Lilly Pulitzer only has two sales a year and everything except new arrivals are usually 40-65% off. I budget about $150 each sale and I can usually find three outfits for that amount during these mega sales. It’s the best way to shop LP. And to be honest, I think I’ve only bought two or three pieces at full price!
Buy in the Off Season or End of Season
The best time to buy a winter coat? At the end of winter and beginning of spring. Retailers are trying to make room for their spring and summer collections beginning in February, so winter outwear usually gets marked down to up to 70% off! The same goes for swimwear. Sometimes swimwear goes on major sale at the end of summer and beginning of fall. It might seem foolish buying pieces as the season is winding down, but you’ll save more money by planning ahead and shopping these sales.
Shop the Outlet Stores
I’ve purchased some of my favorite J.Crew and Kate Spade pieces from the outlet stores! J.Crew Factory is actually my go-to for 75% of my shopping purchases. Everything is always timeless and classic and the prices are much more affordable than J.Crew. And another little trick I’ve learned – sometimes Amazon, eBay, and Poshmark carry older items from brands like Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines, Jack Rogers, etc. If you are looking for an item from a few seasons ago, sometimes these sites will have those items at a fraction of the price.
WARDROBE STAPLES FOR FALL/WINTER
The following pieces are staples in my wardrobe and I’ve learned over the years not to skimp on these. I always invest in these pieces because I will wear them season after season and year after year.
Skinny black pants: My go-to places are Ann Taylor and J.Crew.
Wool Coat: J.Crew and J.Crew Factory are my favorite places to shop quality wool coats.
Winter boots: Hunter Boots, L.L. Bean, and Sperry have the best boots. You’ll pay over $100, but they will last you for years. I’ve heard of some people owning their L.L. Bean Duck Boots for 10 years!
White button up: Ralph Lauren, J.Crew, and J.Crew Factory have the best white button ups.
Holiday Dress: J.Crew, Banana Republic, and Lilly Pulitzer are my go-to’s for holiday dresses. The most important features to look for when buying a holiday dress is fit and style. You want the style to timeless and the fit to be perfect (think Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy).
Booties: Nordstrom and J.Crew have the best (and most comfortable) suede booties.
Fleece Pullover: Vineyard Vines, Lands End, and Columbia have the best options for cozy pullovers. (I’ll be honest though, I’m very passionate about supporting local so my pullover is from Erie and Anchor!)
Cashmere Sweater: J.Crew and J.Crew Factory have the best and most classic cashmere sweaters. Opt for colors in navy, camel, or blush pink (but also don’t be afraid to add a little color to your wardrobe).
Hopefully this post gave you some ideas and some inspiration for how to get that timeless, preppy look on a budget! And if you need more ideas, head over to Katie’s blog to read her suggestions.