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After 30 years, preppy style is back

Whether headed to Wall Street or Wainscott, Joseph

Whether headed to Wall Street or Wainscott, Joseph Abboud has the young dudes taken care of with pieces like this classic gray herringbone jacket, $148, cotton plaid dress shirt, $45, and black wool dress pants, $65; at Bloomingdale’s stores and Credit: Handout

No, you haven't time-warped back to 1980. Though you may think so in a few weeks when kids (from nursery school on up to college) head back to school dressed like those days when "the preppy look" was all the rage.

Granted, it's not as if navy blazers or argyle ever really went away. But this fall the look seems reinvigorated by new lines (Brooks Brothers' Fleece, now for girls as well as boys), and old standbys (Ralph Lauren, vineyard vines).

The neo-preppy look is "less stuffy, more active," says Fleece designer Nikki Kule. Her boys' blazers are less boxy, the pants with lower waistbands, so they don't look like grandpa's trousers. And for girls?

"They'd never made girls' clothing-ever," says Kule, still amazed. She stuck to basics- oxford stripe shirting, tartan plaids-and used BB's traditional gold buttons on dresses, shirts, even leggings. "Classic," she says, "but not girly-girly."

Today, Ralph Lauren launches "The RL Gang," an interactive storybook-childrenswear catalog narrated by Grammy winner (and dad) Harry Connick Jr. Found on, the book lets parents buy characters' preppy outfits with a quick click. Fifteen percent of proceeds the first month benefit Ellis Marsalis' music education charity in New Orleans.


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