Typically, this word has become a derogatory name for a guy or a girl who takes pride in the way they approach, and appear, in life. Common misconceptions about "preps" are that we are a bunch of cocky, New England elitist types who have more money than God, himself, and an inherent desire to flaunt it in the form of clothing, cars, housing, education and social standing.
First off: You don't have to be from the north to be a prep. Let me make this very clear. What prep initially implies is that you went to preparatory school, hence the word "prep" (I'll discuss later how it's a cultural identity). There are plenty of good southern preparatory schools, which include Woodberry Forest, Virginia Episcopal School...you get the idea. There are good preparatory schools in every corner of this country, but it's the New England boarding schools that have assisted in establishing this stereotyped location.
Let's get on with true prep culture:
A prep's wardrobe consists of some expensive clothing, but they've had it for the better part of a decade--excluding the two Vineyard Vines polos they got for their birthday and the 50% off sale at Brooks Brothers--indicating the true preppy trait of valuing "classic" over "trendy". We don't buy into the Lacoste trend of now, but we will gladly wear "handed down from dad" Lacoste polo shirt when it still maintained an association with Izod, which was well before it became the token icon of a sold out, soulless and materialistic world.
And as far as the true prep's garage is concerned, you're more likely to find a boxy Volvo station wagon or sedan (ski rack clutching to the roof for dear life) than you are the Ferrari or Hummer that everybody seems to associate with a prep. You find cars like those in the garages of those obnoxious yuppies who liken themselves to human beings because of the sole reason that they have a body with blood (no matter how drug-laced) flowing through it.
Another typical misconception about preps is that we live in gigantic mansions on the 8th fairway of some country club to prove a point. Hell no. People who buy a big house with the sole intention of demonstrating that they have a lot of money are NOT preps. They are assholes or yuppies. The only time a prep will ever move into a big house (and even then, it will never be one that is likened to a McMansion)is if A) they have a large family or B) it was passed down for generations (refer to the "classic" versus "trendy" juxtaposition, because trust me, it applies right here). When it comes to housing, for a true prep, less is definitely more. A true prep will rent a studio apartment somewhere on the Upper East Side in lieu of purchasing a behemoth piece of archtectural vomit on the links, even though both probably wind up costing the same.
This brings me to education. Preps spend money on an education for the sole reason of having the proper tools to become successfully established with relative ease upon graduation. It's not for bragging rights, because anybody who brags about going to Harvard because it's "Haaaarvard" and not "the groundwork for their future success" usually winds up the victim of some form of brutal sodomy. A prep's tendency with regard to education is to go to a top College or University (generally on the east coast, but there's always Stanford and UCLA should a prep choose to make a respectable deviation from the norm). Private institutions frequented by preps include, but are certainly not limited to: Middlebury, Bowdoin, Duke, Tufts, Davidson, Lehigh, LaFayette, Colby, Bates, and every single Ivy League institution ever established. If for high school, a prep found Choate, Kent or Andover to be too small, they might choose to attend any of the following public universities: UVA, UNC, Michigan, UCLA, etc.
Finally, to put an end to an abhorrent misconception that everybody seems to maintain: NO, true preps do not buy their social status. Maybe we'll hang out at a ritzy bar if a friend is getting married, but normally, we avoid those scenes until we're at least 45 years old and drink scotch. The young people who frequent those places are just plain trying too hard. A true prep knows where to find a classy joint that won't break the bank or the heart. An amazing night on the town for a prep consists of dinner at J.G. Melon (11$) followed by an evening of wasting away on well-bourbon at T.J.'s (25$), which is an incredibly fun and inexpensive joint, considering it's in Manhattan. If that were my night, which it has been before, I would have just spent less in six hours than the pretentious bastard across the street did in the thirty seconds that it took him to order the Escargot.
A true prep is a classy individual. We know where to go, who to know and we seriously believe in class, and the true ones of us refuse to buy into pop culture. We do the right things, whether it's holding the door for a lady, mixing our Gin and Tonic with the right proportions, or double-spacing after every period when we write our essays. Truly, "prep" is not a trend, it is a classic way of life.
Brian: That upstart young man with O'Melveny and Myers attended Andover and went on to earn dual Bachelor's Degrees from Middlebury College and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Exemplary of a truly classy individual.
John: Ah yes, a true prep.
Brian: And look at that, he just gave his jacket to that incredibly tall, gorgeous blonde woman. Why can't my daughter find someone like that?
Noun (Prep): Comes from identifiying one who goes to a prepratory or "prep" school (typically on the East Coast), or a school with the intent of preparing its students for college (often Ivy League).
Has come to be an label for those who conform to typical teenage behavior, in areas like clothing, school behavior, and sports participation, because preps usually are more ambitious and/or image-conscious than others.
Popular belief is that preps hate nerds/goths/punks/etc, however, generally, preps pay little attention to other "types," and those who hate preps with the most passion are those who were once preps and have recently gone away from their previous behavior, and often people who are posers intent on protecting their alternative-ness.
Prep has become to be nearly synonymous with conformist, to the point where most preps have been in denial of their typecast, and it is seen as an insult in the eyes of many.
Preppy is the adjective form, Preppily is the adverb.
The prep dreamed of going to a school that wasn't too far from where her quarterback boyfriend got a scholarship.
Bob wouldn't talk to Annie; He thought her interest in MTV and popular culture made her too preppy.
Tiffany started dressing very preppily over the summer, shedding her all-black dress code for the latest styles.
A common misconception is that a prep is someone who shops at American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister and pariticpates in school sports and activites. A prep is actually one who attends a prepatory school, usually on the east coast, comes from an old rich family and dresses in labels like Ralph Lauren and Lacoste. A prep wears sweater vests, plays tennis, is a country club member and is destined for a top Ivy League school.
Person 1: Did you see that preppy girl?
Person 2: Yeah. I'll bet she's really rich.
The most importent part of the definition of a "prep" is where they go to school. "Preps" go to College Prepetory schools; hence the word "prep." These schools are always private, and often (but not always) boarding schools. The best sports teams are generally lacrosse and field hockey, but everyone has alot of school spirit. Therefore, people who do not go to Prep schools, but dress in the stereotypical clothing of preps (Polos, kakais, loafers, etc.) are not preps, but rather they are "preppy." Essentially these people want to seem like they have ties to old money, or are rich, or are blue bloods, etc, etc.more...
Now the real preps are generally smart, privilaged, and (very often) white. Their parents are usually doctors, lawyers, or buisnessmen, and all went to college. All preps will go to college, often Ivy Legue schools, or small liberal arts colleges in New England (Middlebury, Trinity, Colby, Etc.), though some will go to the elite west coast schools. Preps will generally fill their college resumes with multiple AP classes and will have SAT tutors or courses to assue their entry into these small, elite, and expensive private colleges.
In the end, these real "preps" are the new aristocracy of the United States. They live their lives sheltered from the hardships that the average citizen must deal with, going on about their way in refined luxury. Their lives are set up before they are born, most will go on to similarly professional, affluent, and prestigious career...
(1) A real prep is a person, male or female who is normally a White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant, or WASP. Preps can be any religion, however. A prep is rich because of old money inherited and passed down to other generations. Preps live in Colonial style houses in New England. Preps shop at places like IZOD, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Orvis, Lily Pulitzer and other boutiques. Preppy people wear pastels, polo shirts, khakis, sweaters, sun dresses, birkenstocks, TEVAs, Docksiders, belts and ribbons. Materials of choice are wool, cotton, corduroy, silk and occasionally denim.Preps play tennis, golf, squash, raquet ball and field hockey. You will see a prep driving a stereotypical car like a BMW, a flashy Mercedes, a classy Jaguar, a boxy Volvo or any convertible (Volkswagen Beetle convertible) or SUV (Isuzu Trooper). A true prep is not spoiled and gets all good things in moderation. Preps belong to country clubs (inland) or yacht clubs for those lucky enough to live on the coast or near a large body of water. Preps go to Beer Blasts and can be stuffy. Contrary to popular beliefs, true preps do not make fun of punks, goths or any other group. Preps are not brought up mean, and do not have time to make fun of people.more...
(2)A person, male or female, who shops at AE, Aeropostale, A&F and other "preppy stores." Acts ditzy to get friends or seem easy. Plays soccer or lacrosse, normally. They have some money. These fake pr...
ditz, bitch, slut, concieded, self-centerred, world revolves around them. generally posers go to lots of parties wear such expensive clothes as Hollister, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, Express, Armani Exchange, and shop at Victorias Secret for bras that they dont even need because they are fucking size 'A.' Also spend way too much on makeup like Bobbi Brown when they can look just as skanky with Mabelline
Blondie> OMG Lindsdey can you like believe Heidi slept with him he is so five minutes ago
Lindsey> oh I know and she totally wrinkeled her new AE pants
Blondie> ugh I know do i look fat in these?
Derived from prepatory - a completely different meaning to the word prep meaning home work in countries such as the UK - A prep has now become an extremely infamous label, many "preps" seem to be oblivious to that fact, but the term is still used, usually in spite of other people in forms of jealousy or hatred. Supposedly the definition of a prep is being complete hoebag with no sense of individuality whatsoever who is "out to get everybody".
Is usually completely self centered and is extremely conceited. Creates problems for other "clicks" "types" "groups" etc... by being completely slutty bitchy up themselves etc... etc...
Can be recognized by stupidity, illiteration, use of crappy language, using words such as "like" and "oh my god" and "totally" 10-40 times in one sentence, obsession to apply lip gloss 456 times in the span of 5 minutes, amount of money held in ONE purse, expensive and "preppy" clothes such as Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Hollister, Armani Exchange