Learn all about how to dress preppy like a J.Crew model with my tips on the blog today, everything from investing in timeless pieces to accessorizing!
J.Crew has that all-American preppy vibe that makes you feel like you should be dining on lobster rolls at a seaside picnic table joint in Connecticut. That effortless J. Crew look is rooted in its’ timeless aesthetic, from the quintessential pencil skirt to a perfectly tailored blazer. Here are my top five tips for nailing down that preppy vibe!
(First, Shop the Look!)
Tip #1 for How to Dress Preppy like a J. Crew Model: Invest in timeless pieces in neutral colors.
J.Crew is all about taking a classic look and adding just the right amount of color and accessory to make it modern. While I would love to peruse the J. Crew catalog each season, call them up and say, “one of everything, please!”, the budget (and the hubs) just doesn’t allow for that. So instead, my tip is to invest in several core pieces in your wardrobe – a classic pencil skirt, a perfectly fitted wool blazer – in neutral colors: black, camel, and navy. These colors can work for literally any season, and the key to transforming them into that quintessential J. Crew look will be accessorizing with fabulous jewelry and pops of color in a bag, a scarf, or a blouse.
Tip #2 for How to Dress Preppy like a J. Crew Model: Get your wardrobe tailored.
Your clothes should fit you perfectly. This doesn’t mean “like a glove”, but your skirt should be the right length for work (about knee length for a pencil skirt, or below the knee to mid-calf length for a midi skirt), that blazer should be fitted and not too snug or loose, and your blouses shouldn’t be so tight that they leave nothing to the imagination. Tailoring adds an extra cost to your wardrobe budget and an extra couple of trips in your errand-running schedule, but it is well-worth that time and money!
Related: A Memorial Day Weekend Outfit
Tip #3 for How to Dress Preppy like a J. Crew Model: Steam, steam, steam!
Okay I know some of you are sitting there saying “But Sarah. You should always steam your clothes.” This is not a universally known fact. Truth time: I went years as a young adult not steaming my clothes. Sure, I would whip out the iron when the rare special occasion came around, but when I received a steamer as a wedding gift several years ago, my life changed. Suddenly, I came to the realization that that wearing a wrinkle-free blouse is perhaps one of the greatest experiences on earth. I feel more confident knowing I don’t have those creases everywhere in my work pants, and I even purchased a handheld travel steamer for emergency situations. Never again do you have to go to that 3pm work meeting with creases in your skirt! I like to steam my outfits for work the night prior and let them hang on a separate hook in the closet, not shoved in with the rest of my clothes. That way they are perfect and pristine for that 6am wakeup!
Tip #4 for How to Dress Preppy like a J. Crew Model: Add inexpensive pops of color and pattern.
My next tip is to pair colorful and patterned accessories and other pieces with your staple wardrobe items. This could be anything from a beautiful floral scarf to wrap around your tote bag handle, to your favorite bright-colored blouse. Here are some other ideas for ways to add pops of color:
- Knit winter scarves or light silk summer scarves, depending on the season,
- A tote bag or messenger bag can provide a nice pop of color,
- Belts can be a beautiful way to add interest, and
- Of course: patterned shoes (like these adorable leopard print ones!) are the perfect way to add a charming detail to your outfit!
Tip #5 for How to Dress Preppy like a J. Crew Model: Accessorize!
If you flip through a J. Crew catalog, you’ll see everything from dainty gold earrings (obsessed!) to large statement necklaces (even more obsessed!), but everything looks balanced with the outfit. I like to stick to this general rule: if there is a piece in your outfit that is bold and bordering on over-the-top prep, I like to go more minimalist with the jewelry. If the outfit pairs lots of neutrals together instead, I like to go a little bolder with the jewelry.
Bonus tip: Always wear a watch! It completes any outfit, I promise!