To Lighten the Mood: What Clothing/Accessory Brands are Popular at Your Prep School?

My son has been homeschooled up until now so we haven’t had to worry about clothing brands. He lives in graphic tees/shirts and shorts/jeans, typically from Target/Old Navy/Ross/Burlington. Not because we couldn’t afford better but why bother for a kid who doesn’t care & hangs out with other kids who similarly don’t care.

I attended public school myself but in an affluent town that presumably has similar demographics to the typical BS. There was a lot of bullying of kids who didn’t wear the “right” clothes. My folks could’ve afforded to buy me a better wardrobe but thought it was a superficial concern so they didn’t. I don’t want my son to have to worry about what his classmates think of his clothes, so I am planning on upgrading his wardrobe. Not designer stuff but we can definitely afford brands like Vineyard Vines, 7 for All Mankind, Diesel, Abercrombie & Fitch, etc. I just have no clue what’s considered fashionable with teens these days.

So what’s popular at your school?

At my school, you don’t see a lot of clothing “shaming”, but there are definitely some prep school trends that seem to never die out. During the Fall/Spring Vineyard Vines is pretty popular, salmon colored shorts, shep shirts, khakis, etc. those are pretty standard among guys at my school. In the winter the Canada Geese flock per se, and the designer coats come out. A lot of people at my school have a Canada Goose, including myself, and they are definitely worth it if you can afford one because they are ver warm. The Canada Goose per capita varies by school, but at Exeter there are quite a few people who wear them. With that said, I have never seen someone be bullied because of their clothing, and people are pretty lax. No matter how much money your family has, if you can get away with it we have all worn sweats on a Wednesday half day at least once :slight_smile:

This may be very school specific. Like your kid, my kid is not interested in fashion and cares comfort. He discovered Vineyard Vines a couple of years ago, and shockingly said he had a preference for their clothes because he said they were softer and more comfortable than other brands, so he has several of their pants, shorts, and shirts, all bought on clearance, and they seem to wear well.

Otherwise, he is not interested in brands and wears whatever is comfortable and has never expressed any preference for brands of clothes. This has not changed since he started BS. From what I’ve seen, there is a wide variety of fashion and clothing brands.

Lots of kids wear school apparel as well. Some might be team specific and others might be just regular school apparel, but expect your kid to buy at least a few school-specific items during the first year. They might be jackets, sweatshirts/hoodies, T-shirts, sweatpants, etc.


I kind of have the opposite problem… I come from a well-off family, and my mother has always bought me generally designer clothing, even when I was a young kid. I’m not particularly interested in the clothes for the brand, in fact I have a very different taste from my mother and I pick out non-designer stuff that she judges me for but I like them anyway (Or sometimes, I just pick out whatever looks good and it just happens to be designer brand. I personally hate clothes with the brand name written all over it. For me, it just looks… cringe). But I still have some good, actually pretty clothes left from designer brands (Gucci primarily, but things like Chanel too) even though I don’t buy from there as much anymore. For some reason, in my current school environment, kids don’t bully you for what you wear but they will comment on it and shoot looks if it says ‘Gucci’ or something on it, which makes me very uncomfortable and self-conscious (Which is very weird bc I already go to a BS where everyone is pretty wealthy. I mean EVERYONE. I’m talking most moms wearing Hermes and Chanel and most dads driving BMW). I know this is a very obnoxious and privileged problem to have, but I just personally find this stuff really embarrassing and annoying and feel like I can’t wear anything that says the brand name in any spot. Is this also the climate at American high schools like Exeter and Choate?

Also, I’m not even talking about clothes that have obnoxious brand logos all over them like the infamous louis vuitton bags or something like that. As mentioned, I actually dislike those kinds of things. However, I do own some items of clothing from the past that has “Gucci” written on the front, or just jeans from there with its logo stamped very tiny at the back label, but I’ve been surprised at these kids’ observations before (My friend actually did the “Ooooooh Gucci” thing when she saw the back label of my jeans).

A lot of it will depend on the dress code of the school. DS goes to a school with formal dress. DS couldn’t care less about fashion, but the trend seems to be, if it fits, buy it. Kids come in all different sizes, so finding blazers, etc can get tough and people aren’t too picky if it fits dress code.

DS was still in kid sizes when he started school so had limited choices.

Totally depends on the school. East Coast v West Coast, too. No need for Canada Goose in California! Gender also matters. My son lives in graphic tees and jeans. And school garb.

Most likely he’ll be at either Webb or (if he gets in off the WL) Thacher. So no need for heavy-duty winter clothes.

I’ve actually found in general that the West Coast tends to be worse for conspicuous consumption than New England. Definitely more people wearing designer labels and driving flashy cars.

You need to tell us the school because it varies greatly.

At my kids I’d say nike and champion because they all, boys and girls, dress like they are headed to or just came from practice 90% of the time. There are certainly kids who can afford a great deal more but it is not wealth on display at all.

For girls I’d say it’s still brandy Melville and lulus.

I have one child at BS on the West Coast and one on the East Coast - brand name clothes and accessories seem to be a much bigger deal on the East Coast. Or maybe I should say really expensive brand names. In California it may be Patagonia where on the East Coast it would be Canada Goose.

I have sincerely no clue! Other than skirting the dress code AS CLOSELY as possible, there really isn’t any shaming… might be advisable to get something distinctive, though, as it’ll be easily identifiable in case it gets lost or something like that. (I also only really care about my own style and how it makes ME look, so uuuhm…) I suppose you might want to get school gear, though, as I can’t remember a class day without someone wearing some kind of school gear or varsity jacket or the like… and you do get shamed at E/a for wearing blue… but special case, perhaps?

I thought Webb has a uniform?

I am so not attuned to girl clothes, and my son is not into clothes at all. So I am the wrong person to spot how expensive clothes are that the kids are wearing. Fwiw, when I have been on campus no one stood out as wearing higher end clothes than the rest. My guess Thacher is the same.

The only thing I noticed was that some kids looked really sharp for the Winter Formal.

Maybe schools that have more stringent dress codes might have more opportunity to wear nicer clothes overall - which would lead to more variation in expense of the clothes? If everyone is wearing t-shirts, it is hard to wear an expensive outfit.

This is not universal - totally depends on which east coast school. They are not all the same and many (most?) are not high fashion/expensive fashion centers. Generally the kids at all the schools I see (and I see a lot because of games) are wearing hoodies not CG.

Patagonia counts as expensive.

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Just to shift us back to reality for a moment:

For those students on FA reading this thread and needing warm clothes for winter, many schools do offer a stipend for outwear.


Yes, Webb has a uniform but he’ll need shoes/other accessories and casual wear for when he’s not in uniform.

Wasn’t trying to make anyone on a tight budget feel bad- we’ve been there in the past.

Just as an FYI Nordstrom has a great sale going on with 25% off almost everything. Patagonia, Ugg, Vans, even Canada Goose (which I cannot post without stating I have a moral objection to the company). Definitely worth checking out for those of us with kids who need a new cold weather wardrobe.

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We’ve been ordered to shelter in place through at least April 7th. No shopping trips any time soon.

Stay safe everyone!

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This, at our school I call the dress code “rolled out of bed”. Athletic wear rules the day, sweatpants and hoodies in winter, lax/bball shorts and t-shirt in warmer weather. Girls can be slightly dressier but that just means leggings as pants with cutoff tops (which are technically against otherwise non-existent dress code alas…) or maybe ripped jeans de jour, or nicer shorts in fall/spring. But more often or not, girls also wear sweatpants, theirs are typically some variety of the school store version, while boys wear random grey ones.
And Canada Goose is not that common at all, boys would not be caught dead in it as it seems to be badge of honor to wear nothing more than a hoodie even in the middle of winter. Some girls do wear CG, but far from majority, Patagonia, North Face and other random brands are also around. As for shoes, white sneakers rule, for both boys and girls. Well the original color is white, anyway.

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I go to Taft and for girls it’s literally frills everywhere. It’s always frilly skirts, dresses, rompers, and shirts and it actually really surprised me when I saw it because I’ve never seen a style like it. It’s mostly Princess Polly, Brandy Melville, and LoveShackFancy type clothing. For athletics, if there are no practice jerseys, its always lululemon. Guys wear a lot of Vineyard Vines polo shirts. We have Patagonias with our logo on it, so there’s also a lot of those.

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You forgot to mention Roberta Roller Rabbit?