Examples of prep
Examples of prep
Where does prep come from?
Beginning in the 18th century, the children of America’s elite were traditionally sent away to high-priced preparatory academies, which served as feeder schools to institutions like Harvard and Yale. However, due to a push starting in the 1960s for all students to have access to education outside of the typical public school, these elite preparatory schools began admitting people from a more diverse socio-economic background.
So, while preps no longer only refers to people who attended one of these elite schools, it does refer to individuals who identify with the culture that was born from the preparatory school tradition because the term prep and preppy is shortened from preparatory school, which prepares students for higher education.
One of the biggest qualities of preppy culture is the fashion, which has been characterized as a hybrid of casual and formal attire. Usually marked by clothing from stores that work hard to empty out your bank account such as J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, and Vineyard Vines. Think pastel-colored khaki shorts, a tucked-in, pink, pop-collared polo shirt, and loafers.
Given that preppy subculture came from a place where money wasn’t an issue, many stereotypically preppy activities require a considerable amount of money too: horseback riding, rowing, and, of course, sailing.
While preppy culture remains a subculture in American society, it has frequently surfaced in the mainstream. For example, numerous US presidents attended preparatory schools, including Massachusetts native John F. Kennedy, who was a graduate of Connecticut’s Choate Rosemary Hall.
Preppy characters are also found in popular movies and TV shows, including Mad Men’s Pete Campbell and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Carleton Banks. Perhaps, most notably, however, was the hit series Gossip Girl, which centered around the lives of a group of elite New York City prep school attendees, and whose 2007 premiere brought in millions of viewers.
An, while prep and preppy usually describe whiteness and entitlement, in the 2010s many prominent black celebrities, such as basketball’s LeBron James and hip-hop’s Kanye West, popularized a style often described as preppy, sporting classic sunglasses and sweaters.