One of the most enduring styles in modern American dress is the preppy style. The term preppy derives from the expensive pre-college preparatory or prep schools that upper-middle-class White Anglo-Saxon Protestant children on the United States's East Coast
Over time children from less privileged backgrounds began to emulate the preppy look. Preppy fashions boomed in the 1980s following the publication of Lisa Birnbach's Official Preppy Handbook (1980), which was written to poke fun at the rich lives of privileged East Coast college students but ended up glamorizing the culture. The book included advice on how to live the preppy lifestyle, from notes on etiquette to slang phrases to what kind of pets to buy.
Along with many other 1980s fashion excesses, the preppy trend faded, though many elements of it, such as khaki pants and button-down shirts, have never gone out of style. The preppy look enjoyed a revival of sorts in the 1990s when designers like Ralph Lauren (1939–), Tommy Hilfiger (1951–), Marc Jacobs (1964–), and Luella Bartley began to incorporate aspects of preppy style into their clothes.
Birnbach, Lisa. The Official Preppy Handbook. New York: Workman, 1980.
Schurnberger, Lynn. Let There Be Clothes. New York: Workman, 1991.