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Preppy is everywhere this summer, in bursts of color

Grosgrain belts at Ralph Lauren are big —  literally — this summer. This extra-wide D-ring style is $95 at Ralphlauren.com.
Grosgrain belts at Ralph Lauren are big — literally — this summer. This extra-wide D-ring style is $95 at Ralphlauren.com.

If there were an official fashion style of Central Kentucky, it would be preppy — classic pieces including chino pants and polo tops with a dose of equestrian style: say, a saddle-leather handbag or stirrup-accented jewelry.

This year, preppy is in the national spotlight, with styles for men and women. Gone are the pastel argyles of the '80s and baggy pants of the '90s. Preppy staples have been tweaked for summer 2012: Polo shirts have been cropped and fitted, and chinos have gone skinny in eye-popping hues.

Leading the preppy trend is the American design house of Ralph Lauren, which is outfitting the U.S. athletes for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Closing-ceremony uniforms include crisp cuffed, pleated trousers and knee-length white skirts. Other Olympic uniforms include mesh polos and cotton zip jackets with red, white and blue details.

For its women's Big Pony collection, Ralph Lauren has supersized the classic grosgrain ribbon belt in vibrant neon stripes. Pieces from the collections are available at Ralphlauren.com.

This season's chinos are anything but boring. These classic preppy pieces come shrunken and cropped, in a kaleidoscope of colors for women and men. Silhouettes for men include narrow, tapered fits like the slim chinos from the Stockholm, Sweden-based Cheap Monday label, available in bright blue, yellow and orange.

To pair with this new generation of preppy clothing, look for classic accessories with a twist. Cross-body bags from Michael Kors include the Berkley design, with snakeskin embossed leather and chunky link-chain accents, $168 at Michaelkors.com in early May.

And Sperry, makers of that preppy standard, the Top- Sider boat shoe, has seen a style makeover during the past few years. Its collection for women includes the Milly platform pump, with a 4-inch espadrille heel and the label's trademark leather-lace accents, $225 at Sperrytopsider.com.

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