Preppy is a lifestyle, it’s not just about wearing khakis and a polo shirt. It’s combinations of the town you live in, the schools you attend, the sports you participate in, where you vacation, philanthropy, and more. Some towns are distinctly preppy, and Princeton makes the cut, but how preppy is it? A couple of quick ways to measure a town on the prep scale is take note of the sports played by both youths and adults, and looking at the clothing shops in town.
Princeton has a plethora of preppy sports to choose from. It has the nearby equestrian center Hunter Farms, which teaches English riding and hosts show jumping; the Carnegie Lake Rowing Association teaches adults how to row, while close by the Mercer Junior Rowing Club coaches high schoolers to compete in regattas; there are a couple of youth water polo and swim programs in town, as well as tennis and squash courts; there are travel lacrosse and soccer teams; there are a couple of places to learn fencing; local schools have field hockey teams, and there’s elegant country club TPC Jasna Polana, which has a PGA acclaimed golf course. The only sport really lacking in town is rugby.
Preppy clothing and accessories are influenced by classic styles, vacation choices, and activities like skiing, sailing, and the sports listed above. Let’s take a look at where you can get preppy gear in town.
- J. McLaughlin – They sell embroidered clothing and Nantucket reds, so this is the REAL deal!
- Landau (Princeton Exclusive) – A great source of Donegal tweeds, Loden coats, lambswool tartan scarves, and other fine woolens.
- Luxaby Baby & Child (Princeton Exclusive) – They provide classic clothing for babies, boys and girls.
- Nick Hilton (Princeton Exclusive) – This shop turns a half a block of Witherspoon Street into Savile Row for the gents with custom-made suits, pants, jackets, and shirts. They also sell classic ready-to-wear for men and women.
- Palm Place (Lilly Pulitzer) – THE source for resort wear. Jacqueline Kennedy was Lilly’s first customer. Need I say more? The Lilly Pulitzer brand has made pink and green their signature color combination, which has become symbolic of preppy females.
- Ralph Lauren – Some old school preppies don’t agree with this choice since he’s a Brooks Brothers spin-off. Most accept this designer since he maintains the classic look and makes it easily accessible. Like Nick Hilton, they offer custom clothing for men.
- Talbots and Talbots Petite – Previously known for its classic styles, but unfortunately they’re transforming to a more modern look.
- J. Crew – Another transitioning store, because the classics are fading. Not to be confused with J. Press, an ultra preppy institution.
- Banana Republic – Honorable mention ONLY because they’re featuring “Mad Men” inspired traditional clothing.
- Hulit Shoes (Princeton Exclusive) – Pick up your Topsiders here.
- Ricchard’s (Princeton Exclusive) – Men can get Alden loafers and Allen Edmond wing tips at this shoe store.
- Hamilton Jewelers – Where else in town can you get your Mikimoto pearls and Cartier tank watch?
Some Princetoneons have had their sunrooms decorated in a nautical theme, have English hunt scenes hanging on walls in their study, and have L.L. Bean tote bags hanging in their mud rooms to reflect their lifestyle. There are many gala benefits held in Princeton to raise money for worthy causes, plus there are seven private schools in town, five bordering Princeton, and two prep schools in neighboring towns that residents send their kids to as a choice despite the award-winning public schools. This combined with the sports and clothing alone should give the town a great ranking. Then there is Princeton University kicking it up even more notches. So, how preppy is Princeton? Please weigh in with your thoughts below.