Is it just me or does every dude and his brother turn into a walking Ralph Lauren ad as soon as summer hits? Schlubs who spend all winter in pajama pants and sweatshirts suddenly start looking halfway decent (sharp, even) in nautical shirts and tailored shorts.
I get the appeal of the whole prepster thing. Evoking country club golf outings and long weekends in the Hamptons, the look is practically synonymous with East Coast leisure. It’s also fairly easy to pull off since preppy outfits consist mainly of basics.
That said, I can’t be the only one who thinks the look is getting kind of old. Campus is beginning to feel a little like a Dawson’s Creek casting call. I’ve seen enough salmon-colored shorts and boat shoes for a lifetime. I was tempted to dismiss the preppy craze altogether until I ran into this Fashionisto.
This guy rocks a nautical look that’s just as simple and elegant as the classic version, but he gives it an interesting twist by putting together unexpected pieces. If you want to stand out at your next Sagaponack soiree (or you know, just at some neighborhood potluck) but are not quite ready to retire your Topsiders, this dude’s got your answer.
Button-downs are a staple in the prepster world, but what makes this guy’s original is his choice of fabric. A denim shirt doesn’t take itself too seriously and gives this look a laid-back feel. Opt for a long sleeve one like this Fashionisto does, or try one with short sleeves to stay cool. Try getting a little funky with it; this tie-dye number from ASOS will make you look like a hippie-Wasp hybrid and this faux-gas station uniform shirt by Franklin & Marshall is sure to foster uber-profound poolside discussion about the social construction of class. Okay, maybe not that last part, but it will definitely be a conversation-starter.
Pair your jean shirt with bottoms in a vibrant red (for the love of God, not salmon, I beg of you.) 7 For All Mankind makes spiffy pants like this Fashionisto’s, but I’m also feeling these schoolboy-style cropped trousers by Carven. If you want to show a little leg, check out these cherry-colored shorts by J.Crew.
This Fashionisto finishes his look off with tan boat shoes, a preppy boy staple. If you want to spice things up a little, try this woven version or this tri-colored pair, both by Sperry Top-Sider. I don’t blame you if you simply can’t bring yourself to slip into another pair of boat shoes. Go for a nautical classic that’s less expected and undervalued: the velcro sandal. Old-school Tevas will be refreshing in a sea of Sperries, and Opening Ceremony makes a streamlined version of the outdoorsy footwear staple.
This guy proves that you don’t need to ditch the preppy trend entirely to show off your personal style. Next time you find yourself dressing like a long-lost Kennedy, remember to make the look your own.
Hint: Believe it or not, nautical jewelry can sometimes be badass. This anchor necklace by David Yurman reminds me of Captain Hook and this maritime rope bracelet will make you look like a veteran seafarer.