1980s fashion

Four UCLA students model the latest in college "preppy" fashion in this 1980 photo.

George Rose/Getty Images

While some kids were playing video games and others were rocking out to Poison, preppies were busy buying chinos, talking about sailboat races and checking on their stock portfolios. The tongue-in-cheek "Official Preppy Handbook," written by Ivy Leaguers in 1980, popularized the style that originated among wealthy New Englanders. Soon, young people all over the country were trying to look like the benefactors of "old money" even if they'd never even heard of a trust fund.

Preppy clothing included layered twin polos, Nantucket red canvas pants, deck shoes, ribbon belts and sweaters loosely tied about the neck -- all made by companies like Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, L.L. Bean and Brooks Brothers. Lifestyle was an important aspect of the preppy fad as well, so participation in sports like tennis and sailing had to at least be implied. While the preppy style hasn't always enjoyed the same level of popularity it experienced in the 1980s, we have it to thank for making polo shirts and khaki pants a part of the national wardrobe.