BDIB: Prep School

The Style

I absolutely love the classic All-American look of menswear-prep. It’s part of the reason why I own too many blazers. I also love menswear trends for women in general – although I am a feminine girl, I wear pants & jeans 9 times out of 10. But one thing I’ve never tried is the mens’ prep-school style, with vest, blazer, and even a handsome tie. Inspired by this outfit post, I think nobody personifies this look better than two great male designers: Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.

And, it goes without saying that this is not just an American look, by far. Prepster style is popular (and may have originated) in Great Britain, as well as other European countries.

The Assignment

Raid your boyfriend/husband/brother’s closet. Find a tie or bow tie (everyone’s gotta have one for this assignment, no exceptions). Pair it with a button-down shirt (or whatever you can find! go creative!) and top it off with a vest, cardigan, or blazer of some sort. There is a lot of room for freedom and creativity here, as always, but one thing I’d really like to see on everyone is a tie or bow tie (you can improvise with a cravat or something) and a vest or blazer. Feel free to skirt it up, or go all out with tailored pants! You name it, it is yours to have fun with. One thing I love is that it can be feminized so very easily: with some stilettos, a few stacking bracelets, dangly earrings, etc. I’m already dreaming up creations in my head!

The Deadline (i.e. when to link up your blog post)

The linkup post will go live at midnight Central time on Friday, May 20th 2011.

The Instructions (For Newbies)

  1. (Required) Place a Bloggers Do It Better button in the sidebar of your blog (not just in the BDIB blog post)
  2. (Required) In your blog post for the assignment, include a link to the Bloggers Do It Better movement, or, even better, to where you linked up your post–which will only be available after the link-up post has been published here, of course!
  3. (Optional) Sign up for email updates/announcements
  4. (Optional) Use the twitter hashtag #BloggersDoItBetter when you tweet about joining, posting, shooting, shopping, or loving BDIB!
  5. (Optional) Recruit one fellow blogger to join this initiative, you’ll be so happy you did, when you can give each other tips & consult one another for styling advice!
  6. (Required) Have FUN! Show ’em how it’s done! Above all, please follow the rules. I do reserve the right to delete submissions that do not follow the basic minimum requirements for participation.

Fine Print (FAQ)

Just some answers to some scattered questions I’ve gotten here and there since I started Bloggers Do It Better. No polyvore sets, any blogger can join but it must be outfit photos of you modeling the trend–if the style is totally and obviously irrelevant (this is a rare entity but it could happen), your submission might have to be removed from the linkup to ensure consistency and quality among the submissions. So stay on topic!

I’m so excited to see what you all come up with! Don’t forget to bring a friend!!

If you’re just dropping by, my regular posting schedule has been thrown for a loop thanks to rigorous 14 hour days on my general surgery rotation. Regular posting to resume by the end of the month, but I will still continue to post whenever I can (and when inspiration strikes me, rather than exhaustion). Love you!

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  • Very excited about this challenge – I love the classic "all-American" look! My husband doesn't have any ties, though, so I will have to get creative! 😉

  • Can't wait to try this – I love the classic "all-American" look! My husband doesn't have any ties, though, so I will have to get creative! 😉

    • I love to see a little creativity- go crazy!

  • i do not know if i can pull off a bow tie or a tie…yikes! this is a hard one for me!!! =)

    • Jennifer, you can pull off anything. I'm not concerned. haha! 😉 xoxo

  • This is the BEST assignment – can't wait to play dress up this weekend!

    Ah what fun!!

    • Thanks Becky I'm glad you think so! 🙂

  • This should be lots of fun! Off to raid the BF's closet for a tie – if he even has one?! Loving this Bloggers Do It Better project, such a great idea!

    xx Kat

  • This will be my first BDIB Challenge I can't wait!

    • I'm so glad to have you, welcome!

  • So excited! I literally just bought an oldschool Izod/Lacoste belt yesterday when I was thrifting– it's red white and blue! Perfect for this challenge!

  • This is going to be my first time joining in and I'm so excited! Though I have a bowtie, I recently moved and don't think it made it here, so I guess I really will have to raid my husbands tie rack.

  • This will be a great way to merge masculine style with feminine touches!

    • You're exactly right — this is the majority of the reason why I'm so looking forward to seeing all of you lovely readers' outfits!

  • This sounds like fun. I'm not sure if I could pull off a tie, but Emma Watson's more casual and feminine look has given me an inspiration!

    • I LOVE Emma Watson's look–I'm tempted to try something very similar!

  • another lovely challenge, can't wait for the submissions! maybe i'll make one too!

    • But of course you will, right Denise?! 🙂

  • Love this! Can't wait to play around with bow ties, ties, vests, and blazerssss

  • Hm, this could be hard. I do know one thing, though; my school uniform is actually going to be useful for once. Should be fun to see how it turns out!

  • This will definitely be a challenge, but I'll give it my best shot!

  • This one's challenging 🙂 BDIB: Prep School #bloggersdoitbetter (via @PrttyShnySprkly)

  • @FashionNextDoor @PrttyShnySprkly “ BDIB: Prep School #bloggersdoitbetter” <—-I have to get in on this one!

  • RT @PrttyShnySprkly: Did you know? There's a new #BloggersDoItBetter assignment out!

  • SO EXCITED! When is will the link be turned off?

    • well really you should post your link on the day of. sometimes i give a little lee-way of about 72 hours but the goal is to give you 24 hours starting at midnight.

  • RT @PrttyShnySprkly: Did you know? There's a new #BloggersDoItBetter assignment out!

  • Oh I'm sort of sad about this challenge… although it does sound challenging and fun. I don't own a single thing that I could wear for this one and have zero dollars to spend on clothes. Maybe I can hit up a Goodwill or something?! If I can find some cheap and fun things for this one I'll give it a shot, but if I don't participate I'll enjoy looking through the link ups!! (:

    • Do you have any male relatives/friends' closets you can raid? I know you must have some! 🙂

    • I feel you Ashley me either. I want to try though. I'm wondering what i can do without looking like a total school girl. I don't have much that manly. or any preppy clothing at all.

  • Hi Kristina,
    Question: I have your Bloggers do it better here:

    Does that work? It has been there for each challenge. Thanks.

    • Hi Shelley – you will need to put it in your sidebar for your submissions to count. Can you do so by the end of the weekend? I'll check back then to make sure it's up there so we can keep your lovely outfits. It's my fault for not making this clearer to you earlier, and I apologize for that. Additionally, if you want a different badge you may select one from the main bloggers do it better post! Thanks!

  • RT @PrttyShnySprkly: Did you know? There's a new #BloggersDoItBetter assignment out!

  • blogged about loving menswear this week: , can you guess new #bloggersdoitbetter assignment? YAY!

  • So exciting and finally a challanging outfit.
    I had thrifted a plaid tie a few months ago for $3.50 and have worn it once.

    I already have two outfit combinations in mind depending on the weather by that date.

    Can't wait.


  • Get ready: #BloggersDoItBetter is going to "Prep School"

  • This one will be a challenge! I have never tried out the 'prep' look, particularly a blazer with a tie, so this shall be interesting.
    I look forward to it!

  • you really got me thinking with this one…In my mind I play dress up since this post went up!
    I have to thank you for the Bloggers Do It Better series…it's such a nice initiative and inspires me to try outfits that I wouldn't normally do!

  • BDIB: Prep School — Pretty Shiny Sparkly™ via @PrttyShnySprkly

  • I'm still waiting to do a challenge. I own no blazers! I wish i did though!

    • can you do it without the blazer? maybe even a vest if you have one?

      • I'm thinking long and hard. I have no idea what i can do. I don't own a blazer of vest.

        • If you don't own one and can't borrow one, just do without. But include a bow or tie! 🙂

      • I'm going to research! I really want to do this challenge! My body type stops me from doing certain things! I think i'll have something though!

  • Wow this one seems so cool! Can't wait to try this one out too!


    Live Life in Style

  • I'm just curious… I know you totally have limited time, but do you go around and visit each post on BDIB?

    I just purchased a great vest for this and already know the skirt I want to wear, but not sure about the tie thing… hmmmm…. 🙂




  • I picked a hard one to start out with 🙂 Like many others, I've a little stumped on the tie/bowtie. I"ll give it my best shot!

  • BDIB: Prep School — Pretty Shiny Sparkly™ via @PrttyShnySprkly

  • Agggh….good one, Kristina! This is definitely a "challenge" for me. But I love it because it pushes the envelope for me and pushes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to try things I would've never tried, otherwise!!! Can't wait to raid the bf's closet and see what I can come up with…my mind is racing….lol! So excited too see everyone's creativity….

  • ooh! i'm going to have to join in on this one! I like!

  • Love the challenge, but sadly have to bow out this week because of a crazy schedule. Can't wait to see all the killer looks everyone creates!!

  • […] in time for my Bloggers Do It Better third challenge, “Prep School” – I made a quick video tutorial on how to tie my favorite tie knot: the Half-Windsor! […]

  • Funny enough, I did a sorta preppy look last weekend. I may just submit that for this week's challenge.

  • What a fabulous choice, Kristina!!! What a challenge this is going to be, something I have not ever tried. I'm very excited. In fact, I just checked out my husband's ties to see which one I'm going to wear!


  • Oh sheesh. I think the only tie I have at my disposal right now is a rainbow bow tie… We'll see if I muster together the courage to style that!

  • I love this… I raid his closet anyway, lol. This will be fun! 🙂

  • I honestly don't know how you run this website and go to med school! I'm so impressed by your multitasking abilities….so, if you need a break, TAKE ONE!

  • if we can't post it until saturday, is that too late? so excited!!

  • So fun!!!!
    I cant wait to give it a go! And I just got a new camera. DOUBLE excitement 🙂

  • I love this look! And I love Emma Watson… I actually taught her back in Oxford years and years ago, but that's another story! I will def. post my boyfriend outfit and link back to you – but then how do you know I've done it? Do i need to email you my pic?

    • A quick look at the process and how it works (the instructions are in this same post) will answer all your questions. Thanks dear!

      • ok dokes got it now… i am a bit technically incapable..hmmm…

  • Kristina, I have had a few question from my fashion buddies that I have invited. When you say Friday midnight–is that Thursday night or Friday night. Sorry, as a menopausal blonde I confuse easily…The Chief Blonde (asking same question on your facebook)

    • Hey Shelley – it will take place at midnight on Friday central time, which means at midnight when thursday rolls over into Friday.

  • This is such a good idea! And I love your blog! I'm proud to be your newest follower! Hope you'll check out my blog and consider following me too 🙂
    xoxo Lauren

  • i just got my tie!! excited to go home and try this BDIB challenge!!

  • HA! <3 done & done … kristina am I able to post it on my blog before the date?

  • I am so excited…this is my first challenge. So glad to be involved! 🙂

  • […] seen here) and brown knee boots for that equestrian flair…I really loved getting lost in this look. Now, would I wear this every day? Heck no. I live in a metropolitan Dirty South city. I’d […]

  • […] week’s Blogger’s Do It Better (BDIB) assignment is the Prep School look. Basically, putting together a man-style outfit, with tie and blazer (the works), with a touch of […]

  • […] Kristina from Pretty, Shiny, Sparkly offered up her “Bloggers Do It Better” challenge with the prep school look. I do admit I was a bit apprehensive about this look since no one in my office wears a tie. Once I […]

  • […] of the Bloggers Do It Better series and a challenging one I must admit. This time the theme was “Prep School” and the tie was a necessary accessory! But that was the least of my worries…Initially the […]

  • […] challenge over at Bloggers Do It Better is American Menswear, and this is my take on […]

  • […] I’ve never actually worn a necktie so I jumped at the chance to do so as part of the latest Bloggers Do It Better challenge from Pretty Shiny Sparkly. We’re focusing on the ‘Prep’ portion of mens […]