Not Preppy + How to Make Any Store Work for Your Personal Style

preppy style

People ask me all the time what my own personal style is and I usually have to sit and think of an answer.

It pretty much always falls under the categories of classic + vintage + minimalist with a twist. But what I can immediately say is I’M NOT PREPPY!

But (yes, another but), my shopping philosophy is that no store, brand or aesthetic is 100% off limits because even a preppy staple (or grunge, or floral, etc.) can be tweaked to fit your own personal style aesthetic.

pearl necklace
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Case in point - this pearl necklace. I found it at a thrift store for a styled shoot I did a few years ago and loved the big, chunky, oversized nature of the necklace. If I were preppy, I could totally style this necklace in one long loop or with a button down, stripes, or gingham. But that’s not me. I usually always wear it doubled up and with other elements that are decidedly NOT girly such as this simple blue muscle tank. I added a few other elements here to complete the look (jacket and fun circle skirt since the outfit was also doing double duty for the J. Crew promo photos AND a sponsored IG post), but I felt very much me (albeit a bit dressed up) and not a bit of prep.

Here are a few of my tips to make an outfit your own:

  1. Consider a signature - whatever your style aesthetic is, consider incorporating that into all of your outfits. I’m fairly casual, so I usually have one casual piece (such as a white t-shirt) that I will dress up (with a jacket) or down (with flat shoes) depending on what I am doing on a given day.
  2. Go for basic - not basic in *that* way, but chances are if you stick with a piece that is in a solid or neutral color, you can find something from anywhere that matches your personal style.
  3. Accessories are your new best friend - take two girls. Put them both in black tops. Give one girl a monogramed bag and a pearl necklace. Give the other one a leather cross body and silver metallic choker. You get the idea? Accessories can completely change your look and can turn any piece into something that is totally you.

All photos by Kaytee Lauren.