Feeling summer preppy

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I was thoroughly obsessed with The Official Preppy Handbook when it was published in 1980, and employed it as a full-on sartorial and lifestyle guidebook, even though in retrospect, it’s  abundantly clear that the book was intended as satire. Did anyone else all but memorize layouts like this one?

Preppy style had a huge impact on me then, and even now—especially now, maybe—I find myself returning to the classic items I read about all those years ago. This is particularly true in the summer months, when I endeavor to keep things as simple as possible when getting dressed. Some of the following items are pretty straightforward, and others are slightly tweaked, like this collarless popover—a stylish take on the standard white button-down.

Likewise, the oversized proportions of this striped tee appeal. As does the fact that it is red, white, and blue—to my mind, one of the great color combinations.

My hands-down all-time favorite chino is the Nili Lotan East Hampton pant, and while it comes in more versatile hues like black and khaki, I pretty much love the idea of a big bold yellow. Here’s a cheaper and also quite cute option (alas, not in yellow).

I’m also thinking of giving these wide leg chinos from Everlane a shot: a few of you have raved about them, and they remind me of these (much) pricier Caron Callahan pants.

This Lacoste polo dress has a very easy, wearable A-line shape.

I’d pair this very well-priced T-shirt dress with an armload of Maasai bracelets.

I’m liking the idea of a seersucker shirt, which would have the crispness of a jacket, minus the weight (meanwhile, here’s a pretty good blazer, if that’s more your speed).

These sneakers are by a brand called Bata Heritage that was founded over 100 years ago in the Czech Republic. They’re like Converse, but better, because they’re not all branded.

I very much like the way the webbed black shoulder strap modernizes this spiff straw bag from Clare V.

This classic canvas tote from Kule is made rather exciting with the addition of a a super-cool Bowie-esque lightning bolt.

This braided leather belt makes me think of French fashion editors like Emmanuelle Alt, who often wears one, and who in her own button-down-and-jeans way seems influenced by preppy style too.

Cheap(ish) and chic of the week

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The woman who I enlisted to help me purge my extra room a few months back made me promise not to buy any more shoes, so I am reluctantly passing on these clog sandals from Madewell, which are dead ringers for this much pricier No. 6 pair. I have a feeling they’re going to sell out fast—Madewell’s clog-ish items usually do—so if you’re at all interested, do not delay.

I do love a cute floral top

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My rule for florals is the same as the one I abide by for leopard prints and most all other patterns too: keep the silhouette simple and straightforward, like on this pretty adorable top from Sezane.

The touch of black lace at the collar gives this top a little edge.

I love bright red and yellow together—such a cheery ketchup-and-mustard mix.

I’d throw this tank on under a blazer, throw on some jeans, and call it good.

A sweet Liberty of London print on a popover with the just-right amount of ruffle.

The smocked waist here makes for a flattering shape.

The print on his asymmetrical top has a painterly, one-of-a-kind quality.

This is a good choice for those who usually think florals are too girly, because it’s so sophisticated and graphic.

I just love the green here, and the sexily slouchy neckline.

 

The barely-there grey print on this Rebecca Taylor blouse is perfect for those who like florals but aren’t so cool with wearing colors.

This is just a really interesting print—I especially dig the color combination.

I’m very tempted by this happy red cotton button-down, which reminds me of prints you find in Provence on bags and tablecloths and such.

The sheer sleeves here are a chic little touch.

The pleating on this Vince button-down is nicely unexpected.

A nicely priced twist-front top with the eensiest of floral prints.

 

I’d layer this sheer blouse with a black silk cami.

And this Xirena top skews just the right amount of Hippie Girl.

I think this top is the perfect combination of graceful and versatile.

A black and white floral is a good candidate for print-mixing.

And finally: the drawstring waist here keeps things neat.

 

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About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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