Is Prep Dead, or Are We Just Sick of Its Price Tag?

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Gap closed 175 stores, J. Crew laid off 175 staff members and lines like C. Wonder, Kate Spade Saturday and Piperlime just folded altogether. Is prep dead? Is it time to send the polka-dot sundresses and pastel polos packing?

The downsizing – or complete shuttering – of brands credited with perfecting the chino, straightening the sailor stripe, and pushing prep-centric designs, may actually have more to do with price points than aesthetic style.

For example, while preppy got-tos Gap and Banana Republic report slumping sales, Old Navy has performed as well as both brands put together. And that's most likely a reflection of how much today's consumers are willing to pay for their fashion-forward wardrobe, according to Business Insider.

Shockingly, the generation curating aspirational Pinterest boards, double tapping designer duds on Instagram and devouring glossy fashion editorials are still saying Wal-Mart is their No. 1.
Attractive young woman shopping at the mall
Turns out, millennials' on-point taste-making doesn't exactly translate to an on-point bank account. But that doesn't mean J. Crew or Gap are dried up just yet!

Figuring out how to do stylish staples well could be these brands' saving grace. Though dropping big bucks on the reg isn't a reality for many 20-something shoppers, splurging on a quality piece that will last for years isn't off the table.
j. crew flat
The Cece flat, a cult favorite among J. Crew customers, is an example of that. Though its $125 price tag is steeper than the under-$20 Wal-Mart version, people happily snapped up multiple sets before the Cece's quality and fit suddenly declined.

Prep's not dead, as long as its often-upscale price tag descends the "aspirational lifestyle" stair back to reality, stat!


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