Few style icons are as enduring as Princess Diana, whose off-duty fashion was all about elegant preppiness.

It’s the perfect look for a spring refresh – which is probably why Diana pops up on so many mood boards during this time of year – when we start digging out our shirts and letterman jackets to get in on the varsity trend.

Preppy trends have been around for a while – traditionally, they’re seen as quite elitist, as many of the trends originated in exclusive schools and colleges in America. However, varsity fashion has had a 2022 update – it’s now much more inclusive, proving it’s for all body types, gender identities and races.

Whether you’ve already got preppy pieces in your closet and want to know how to wear them, or are looking to invest in the classics – these are the best ways to get the sporty, varsity look this season…

Letterman jackets

Fashion forward A$AP Rocky recently wore a varsity jacket to an event (Alamy/PA)

The pinnacle of preppiness, a varsity jacket is a classic addition to any wardrobe. It’s the perfect weight for spring, ready to be slung on when warm days turn into cooler nights.

Once the hallmark of American youth, letterman jackets now have a more widespread appeal. They’re best worn to top off a full preppy outfit of fashion classics – light-washed jeans with a shirt tucked in, and comfortable trainers or brogues. Our advice is to size up in whatever jacket you buy, to really give off a relaxed vibe.

Like many aspects of the preppy look, varsity jackets are unisex and can be worn by anyone. Recently A$AP Rocky attended a Fenty Beauty event wearing a purple Louis Vuitton letterman jacket and distressed jeans.

Sporty jumpers

Princess Diana on her way back from the gym in 1997 (Tony Harris/PA)
Princess Diana on her way back from the gym in 1997 (Tony Harris/PA)

Princess Diana’s gym looks have become the stuff of fashion legend, with her bike shorts and oversized jumpers constantly copied.

Slogans and logos are key to nailing preppy jumpers – anything with a vaguely collegiate air (regardless of whether you actually went to Harvard or not). Take a leaf out of Diana’s book and pair with miniature bike shorts, long socks and trainers, or dress up with straight-cut jeans and a crisp shirt peeping out from underneath.

Natty knitwear

Grandpa fashion is having a moment, bringing with it a new obsession with knitted vests. The louder and ‘uglier’ the patterns on these, the better – it all adds to the fun of it.

Wear with a plain shirt or polo neck underneath, to really let your statement vest shine.

Statement collars

Collars are a big part of the preppy trend, but they definitely don’t have to be stuffy. Instead, you can get the collared look with rainbow colours – think pale pinks or lavenders – or combine with another big varsity trend: knitwear.

Collared styles are incredibly versatile – they can be dressed up or down, and either be hidden underneath jumpers with just the collar on show, or worn as the main event.

Pleated skirts

Gear up for Wimbledon with Instagram’s warm weather obsession: pleated tennis skirts. These are best worn in whites and neutral tones, and don’t worry – they’re not just for the tennis court.

Kicky pleated miniskirts bring a bit of luxe athleisure to any outfit. Pair with a shirt or knitted jumper tucked in, and the obligatory long white socks to top off the look.

The runways have proved ultra miniskirts are well and truly back – while you don’t have to wear a dangerously short hemline if you don’t want to, tennis-inspired skirts are a great way to get in on the trend.