80s Party Costume Ideas: Preppy

To capture the essence of the classic 80s preppy look, we highly recommend The Official Preppy Handbook – it is funny and scarily dead on in its descriptions of this cultural sub-set.

Charlotte York dressed 80s preppy for Sex in the City

Photo Credit: www.elle.com

For this 80s party costume, you can mix and match lots of different pieces – whatever you have on hand or can borrow. So many of the preppy-style clothes have come back (or never went out of style) and are readily available in the stores.  This idea can easily be turned into a couple’s costume by having your date go preppy as well. Here are some ideas:
  • Lacoste polo or Polo polo in a bright color, preferably pink or green, with the collar up
  • Khaki knee-length skirt or plaid wrap skirt
  • Khaki pants
  • Grosgrain belt
  • Sweater tied around shoulders


  • Tretorn tennis shoes or penny loafers
  • Understated hair and makeup
  • Add-a-bead necklace
  • Anything Lilly
  • Headband
  • Bermuda Bag

Pretty in Pink offers some good examples of the high school preppy look in the “richies.” Not that you need any excuse to re-watch that fabulous movie, but if you did, there it is. It is research. Like Totally 80s has this question: how do you really spell “preppie,” or it is “preppy?” Photo at Right: Charlotte York (Kristen Davis) in her preppy clothes during a Sex & the City 80s flashback. Note her sweater tied around the shoulders, ankle socks with the pink puff ball on the back (to say nothing of how sweet her pink Tretorns are!), and the Bermuda bag. Here are some vintage pics of authentic 80s preppy to inspire you.

 Preppy 80s Couple in from of VW Bug Early 80s Preppy Look 80s Preppy with turtleneck, oxford shirt combo and a bermuda bag

Author: Pia Sooney

Just a little obsessed with all things 80s, Pia still has her Swatch, her cassette tape collection, and her Converse Chucks. When not making friendship pins or listening to Depeche Mode, she runs a web design business.

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