A reader sent me this photo of himself wearing raspberry linen trousers with a white dinner jacket and Belgian Shoes, which reminds me of years ago when the guys I knew dressed like that. It's classic prep, an eastern thing that was diluted somewhere before it got to California via every chain clothing store.
The foundation of preppy dressing was originally an "I don't need to dress for success" style that generally related to preppy sports: casual wear for golf, polo, tennis, rugby, riding and sailing. There were no suits at the country club (the next step upwards in formality was the dinner jacket) and going to work after graduation usually required a completely different wardrobe. I envied the guys that went into publishing and could wear tweed to the office.
The classic prep undergraduate look was a pink, peach or yellow oxford cloth buttondown shirt worn over a polo shirt in a different, preferably clashing, pastel, a vibrant madras jacket (or a loud tweed plaid), Weejuns and khaki trousers. No socks.
The clothes that once signaled WASP membership are costume now. But raspberry linen trousers worn with a white dinner jacket somehow transcends Ralph Lauren.