Which University Style Tribe Are You?
The Debrief: At uni? Can you recognise your style in one of the below?
Illustrations by Jacky Sheridan
Entering the world of work after graduation, we return to a world of uniform after being allowed to run riot. Bleached buzz cuts are immediately uncool when you’re attempting the Deloitte grad scheme and even if you’re going into media/fashion, hotpants and netted shirts won’t be admired as avant garde.
But anything goes at university. It is that one window to truly experiment with fashion. A three year holiday from the real world, a student loan to burn and a fair bit of spare time to trawl through charity shops and reinvent yourself… every Monday if you so choose.
Hold up, guys – students are an untapped source for up to date fashion advice we might be all missing! There are thousands of experimental young adults out there hitting and missing all over their cobbled towns. And we can learn from them.
We asked some lovely students to give us the 411 on what the skinny is. The what’s hot and what’s not at their particular UK universities. Thanks guyyzz.
Spoiler alert: Recurring theme: Kylie Minogue, teenage era.
Further Note: I wore a a body-duvet-puffer-jacket which made me look like Kenny from South Park, but female blonde and drunk for ALL THREE YEARS of my university career. I am as confused as you at how fashionable all of these students are… but hats off to them.
‘Most Exeter students come directly from elite boarding schools and have serious dollar to spend. There are basically two looks here. The first is the ‘I AM A SPORTS PERSON’ look: always rocking leggings, the latest Nike’s and the team jumper. Girls wear a high pony with some sort of a parka coat. The other look is the preppy ‘I HAVE GONE TO PRIVATE/PUBLIC SCHOOL’, where any item of clothing from Jack Wills/Ralph Lauren is acceptable and tweed is a staple. The idea is that you either look like you’re going on a Sunday shoot or are applying to the pony club.’
‘Ravensbourne is full of fashion students who tend to opt for dark colours/monochrome. Typically, girls will go for the androgynous, masculine style with massive clumpy shoes and statement socks. Male and females across the board wear sportswear for comfort, but always with a twist. See crop top.’
‘At Bristol, Nike’s are essential: it’s a constant battle between Air Force 1s or Air Max. Jewellery must have a nod to one’s gap year. These types of jackets with a South American/homeless person vibe are quite common. To finish an outfit, you need one item that could verge on normal/slightly more presentable, like this relatively grown up grey jumper. Students source loads of clothes from a FB page called Wavey Garms or Wavy Kicks. Choker necklaces, crochet bralets, pinafore dresses and mini skirts are on trend. Oh, and bucket hats, septum rings and minuscule crop tops.’
‘Leeds is a buzzing city with fashionable students who keep up to date with the London style. As ’90s trends has come back in, many of us have jumped on that wagon. Here, I’m wearing a crop top, dad’s shirt, scrunchie, shorts (that I would wear with colourful tights if it wasn’t laundry day!) and heavy boots. My older sister says it’s like being at a Saved By The Bell themed party whenever she visits me.’
‘Bath is pretty small. Everyone is used to seeing each other all the time and so fashion tends to be laid back and simple. Obviously, you get the preppy sporty types with the uniform scrunchy for girls, but most people tend to kick back in skinnies, flats and slouchy plain jumpers.’
‘Oxford ladies can be seen stumbling along the cobbles (in their always practical flats… loafers are a uni-wide fave) blinking as their eyes adjust to the sunlight after days living in the Rad Cam. As the work/life balance is tipped a bit more work side compared to other unis, we tend to live in ‘study comfort chic’. Roll-necks have been an Oxford uniform since they were invented, but now we wear them with mum jeans, so we at least echo the ’90s throwback trend of the outside world.’
‘Rule one: If you don’t own an oversized massive scarf that is almost as big as your body in York, you might as well go back to where you came from. Denim shorts over tights are popular as are ripped knee jeans/leggings, gingham shirts with band T-shirts underneath. Oh, and obviously fake fur, bobbly coats – which are massive and make a lot of the girls look like blueberries/blackberries or raspberries on sticks. They’ll carry little vintage leather bags across them and I don’t know how they fit the strap on. We have the Jack Wills/Abercrombie trackiebum set too but they don't mix with the blueberry crew, for the most part. As a uni we're a pretty relaxed/giv-a-shit? kind of bunch.’
‘A large percentage of students here read marine biology or something about oceans or boats. This maritime passion/obsession creeps quite obviously into the uni “look”. Stripy long-sleeved T-shirts/cardigans, denim cut-off shorts and beaten-up Converse (in blue... just like the sea, of course) comprise outfits that are suitable for the library, but also suitable for hopping on the deck of a boat or walking in the sand talking about the lifespan of a dolphin before breaking into a rendition of I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside. Boys basically dress somewhere on a scale between Cowes week barman and the Ancient Mariner... keep an eye out and once you’ll notice this you’ll realise a) just how true it is; and b) just how peculiar it is.’
‘The St Andrews’
I would say St Andrews students, for the most part, dress pretty smartly. The Fashion Show which must have acted like a wife-choosing version of a sushi conveyor belt for Wills is the highlight of the year. This definitely ups the game for everyone through the rest of the year, fashion-wise. There is a nod to the Scots with tartan materials pepper the campus. Knee-high boots – a cross between a German military boot and a hooker’s stiletto are a must-have. Match this with either a fur-trimmed coat or a blanket scarf and black leather-ish leggings and you’ve got a hole in one (little golf gag there).
‘I’d say as a uni, we’re pretty generic. We’ve got the ripped jeans, we’ve got the highly architectural sunglasses, the maxi-skirts, the leather jackets, the denim invasion, the ridiculously bright coloured retro jackets, hair defying hairstyles, fur trimmed hooded coats and bobble hats… but, basically, let’s face it. we all want to be rower and get naked.'
Unless you're a northerner born and bred, you'll struggle to go out in a minidress in the harsh midwinter, so most people turn to Velvet Elvis for that essential vintage denim jacket. Fortunately they have an espresso bar upstairs if you need a caffeine boost after all the 90's time travelling.
The cobbled streets and hills of Durham don't lend themselves well to heels either (again, unless you're a local and up to the challenge) so naturally white converse abound. Any alternative flat shoe will earn you points for creativity.
Plus, as with most sporting universities, stash is impossible to avoid during the day. There are strong rumours of people joining Lacrosse in Freshers week purely for the stash.
Three words: big, baggy, vintage. Oversized short sleeved shirts aka Leo DiCaprio in R+J/The Beach are worn over skinny jeans, rolled up white socks and Nike Air Max and of course the signature Girls Haart beanie - often the first thing to lose on a night out. Bucket caps are equally popular, easily acquired from the Northern Quarter.
An entirely different breed of student and style is to be found within the sweaty walls of Tiger Tiger, where rugby boys run riot in matching outfits of blue shirts, rugby ties, chinos and brown shoes.
Keeping up with the forward fashion at Goldsmiths is a full time job. The fact it is a creative university is pretty reflective in the fashion choices of it's students. You can spot then knocking around grimy pubs of South East London by their avante garde colourful/bleached hairstyles and multi piercings. There is a tendency towards uniquely tailored black outfits with heavy boots aswell as the classic London look of oversized grandad knitted jumper with leggings and flat caps.
Makeup choice lies between bold statement and clean angel skin au-natural hidden behind translucent yellow tinged sunnies.
90's fashion is considered "mainstream" rather than "cool"
'The LAMDA (London Academy of Dramatic Art)'
I would say Drama School is slightly different fashion wise to other tertiary ed places. The days are so full, sometimes up to 12 hours long, with all sorts of different movement lessons involved, so a standard black outfit (leggings/jogging bottoms/baggy t-shirts) is the uniform, with a practice skirt and modern/tap shoes always in your locker along with the Complete Works of Shakespeare.
Going out together at the weekend is a different story and always a huge mixed bag as everyone comes from completely eclectic walks of life but are all equally confident. You'll find every stereotypical style under the sun however "theatre fabulous" creeps in across the board where students imitate the older actors in the profession. A leather jacket is a MUST for the boys with an appropriate 'theatre scarf.' A fur coat a MUST for the girls; bright lipsticks, leopard prints, flicky eyeliner from the 50's and big hair. Lots of tightly fitted wear, like crop tops and leggings show off the hard work from doing 100 situps a day, completed to the soundtrack of Waterfalls by TLC.
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Illustrations by Jacky Sheridan
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