Finding your style and then cultivating your closet to match your style can get expensive. Although the preppy style is known for being pricey, the actuality of it all is that every style is going to be expensive. Let's look at Urban Outfitters and Free People, those aren't cheap stores. There is a way to avoid spending a lot of money on your closet though, and that's distinguishing what you can save on what you should splurge on. My philosophy is if you should purchase "the basics" at a cheaper price but still good quality than you should and splurge on items that are true to a brand: a Lilly Pulitzer shift, a Vineyard Vines Shep Shirt, and Palm Beach Sandals or Jack Rogers are all great things to save up for and spend a larger amount of money on. Trust me, I have done this so many times and if I can't find what I'm looking for at Old Navy, I'll head to my favorite thrift and second hand stores around the Richmond area. I love a good consignment store because you can sometimes find classic Lilly and old J.Crew chinos for 75% off of the original price.
When it comes to saving money on the preppy style I would suggest finding the basic items for a cheaper price. Places like Old Navy, Target, and J.Crew Factory are all great places to start. I throw J.Crew Factory in the mix because they often have 40% off sales which bring the prices of the clothes into the $18-$35 range. You can find Chino shorts there for $17 sometimes which is a steal. Button ups and cute boatneck tees are also something you can find at Old Navy. I use my button ups mainly underneath sweaters so you don't need for them to be too pricey either.
Target has great flats for your wardrobe as well. They have the classic ballet flat in great colors like pink, red, cognac, and navy but they also have the trendy lace up flat that was popular this past fall. Yes, Target shoes take a little while to break in but once you do, they'll be comfortable and a go-to in your closet! For fun blouses I would suggest going to websites like RomWe, Asos, BooHoo, and SheInside. You can find blouses for an inexpensive price whereas J.Crew blouses are well over $100. For other fun and unique items Forever21 and H&M can sometimes be goldmines; you just have to be checking those sites often.
As much as anyone tries, nobody can outdo or recreate the classic Lilly Pulitzer shift dress -- there's simply no way. It's well worth saving the money to purchase your own Lilly shift instead purchasing any of the knock offs. I love the classic look of a Kate Spade watch as well. I take good care of my Kate Spade Metro watch because I know it's expensive so it deserves that kind of care. Daniel Wellington also makes great watches and you can use my code "LUCY15" for 15% off a DW watch. Like Lilly Pulitzer, nobody can outdo the look of the Vineyard Vines Shep Shirt. Simply Southern tries to make their own rendition of the iconic Shep but the classic is always best so I would save on an Old Navy button up and spend the money you saved to splurge on the VV Shep. If you are in the market for a monogrammed necklace, this is another item I would recommend spending a little more money on. The less expensive ones will lose their gold color with wear, and they'll do it pretty quickly. Also the chains are cheaper which make them prone to breaking more. I love my Sparkle & Whim monogram necklace!