Whether you have a wardrobe full of potential or you’re beginning from nothing, don’t give up on creating your dream outfits. Your style is your own, but you can’t build the outfits you desire without the right items in your closet. With that in mind, filling your wardrobe can be a costly undertaking. Explore how to create a classic preppy look on a budget and develop the most amazing outfits without breaking the bank.

What Is a Preppy Look?

Whether you’ve been dressing this way for a while or you have no idea where to start, you should know that preppy doesn’t mean complicated. In fact, dressing preppy requires simple garments with minimal pizazz. However, it’s also a very classy look that’s neat and clean. Think of preppy as being somewhere in between business casual and regular casual.

Create a Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is the easiest way to begin building your style, no matter what it looks like. If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘capsule wardrobe,’ it refers to a collection of clothing containing interchangeable garments that can create multiple different outfits. To do so, you should have a collection of similar colored items that complement each other.

You need a mixture of several different garment types and the ability to mix and match them freely without growing bored with your look. The beauty of a capsule wardrobe is that you can always add to it, and when you achieve the perfect one, you’ll have no problems building original outfits that look and feel fresh and new.


Choosing the right tops is one of the most essential aspects of creating your capsule wardrobe. You can’t go wrong with neutral colors and patterns, so consider filling your closet with various interchangeable styles and colors. Here’s a small list of excellent options to consider:

  • White long-sleeved button-up
  • White, black, and gray scoop neck tees
  • Tank tops of various colors
  • Vertical-striped baby doll top
  • Solid-colored ruffle sleeve top


Because most bottoms are naturally versatile, you won’t need to have as many options to complete your wardrobe. However, you should stock up on the styles you wear frequently. For instance, someone with an office job might have more dress slacks, but someone with a casual job might have more jeans and linen options. No matter what your daily routine looks like, you’ll benefit from having these in your closet:

  • White jeans
  • Dark wash jeans with no holes
  • Distressed, faded jeans
  • Beige linen pants
  • Black and gray dress slacks
  • Black leggings


Jackets can make or break an outfit; therefore, you must make them count! Unfortunately, outerwear can get expensive. However, if you choose versatile options, you won’t have to break the bank on a closet full of jackets. Make sure you have these staples in your rotation:

  • Denim jacket
  • Solid-colored cardigan
  • Beige trench coat
  • White linen jacket


Shoes are an essential part of any outfit, and you’ll benefit from having several options to rotate between. You can get away with having fewer pairs if they’re neutral enough to work with most of your outfits. Although they can get pricey, sometimes it’s better to pay the price than settle for cheap, uncomfortable shoes. Keep these styles in your rotation:

  • Neutral flats
  • Strappy sandals
  • Tan ankle booties
  • White sneakers
  • Chunky heels
  • Casual shoes of your choice


Accessories are your way of accentuating your outfit and adding your personal touch to your look. Although the options are endless, you should determine which types of accessories you enjoy wearing to avoid stocking up on stuff that’ll collect dust. Here are the essentials:

  • Small and large neutral-colored handbags
  • Simple gold and silver jewelry sets
  • Statement necklace
  • Statement earrings
  • Sunglasses
  • Belt for pants
  • Waist belt

Add a Few Investment Pieces

Now that you know what your capsule wardrobe should look like and what it does for you consider adding a few investment pieces to your closet to supplement the basics. You can choose whatever you want, but these are a few of the most common items in which you might want to invest a little more money.


Every woman needs a few dresses in her closet that make her feel fabulous: you never know when you’ll need to attend a wedding, cocktail party, or formal event. With that in mind, consider keeping a little black dress, a classy cocktail dress, and a casual sundress in your closet so you’re always ready for whatever events come your way.


Aside from a few dresses, a blazer is another item every woman should have in her wardrobe. Whether you wear it once a week or once a year, a blazer is a must-have in every wardrobe, especially a preppy one. Investing in a lovely beige or navy-blue blazer is the best way to elevate any outfit or transform it into business attire.

Jumpsuits and Rompers

Even if you’re unsure about boutique rompers and jumpsuits, adding one of each to your clothing collection can help you step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Although you’ll probably only wear a jumpsuit or romper occasionally, they’re an excellent option to shake it up and stray away from the traditional preppy style.

Consider investing in a classy white or black jumpsuit for formal events and a bold-colored romper for semi-formal occasions. You can pair either option with other garments from your capsule wardrobe to create an unbeatable ensemble.

Dress Shoes

Whether you wear business attire daily or a few times a year, having a high-quality pair of flats, loafers, or heels is a must for every woman. Make sure these are comfortable enough to wear for several hours and neutral enough to pair with about any outfit, from business casual to formal.

Keep It Simple

Simplicity is one of the most crucial factors to keep in mind when learning how to create a classic preppy look on a budget. As previously mentioned, the main element of preppy style is neat, clean, and simple garments with minimal flair.

Don’t let your lower budget keep you from building your personal look. You can look chic and classy when you create a capsule wardrobe that features everything you need. Add to your wardrobe little by little to avoid the pain of spending a large lump sum all at once.

How To Create a Classic Preppy Look on a Budget

July 08, 2022 — Monica Spruiell