To quote this very own blog’s dear Mr. Gee, “students are often seen as a scruffy bunch”.
If you think about it, we students have no bosses to impress, very little money to spend on nice clothing, very little time to think about the way we dress (in between studying, procrastinating, drinking, eating crisps and drinking) and little inclination to dress in anything that isn’t edgy or anti-establishment
But is that really the case?
How I see itWhilst the scruffy student is a commonly held stereotype, I’d like to believe it’s misguided. I love, live and breath fine tailoring, spend every ounce of disposable income I can muster on expensive suiting and corresponding shoes and I obsess about dressing well.
Furthermore, I am pleased to report that although I am (as you might expect) in a minority, I am by no means on my own. At Oxford at least, there is a healthy proportion of students (both male and female) who relish the prospect of presenting a fashionable, sharply tailored appearance.
My own blog has a large proportion of its following rooted in the local student community, and I am constantly offering advice and tips to fashionable chaps about town, who’d like their none-too extensive student budget’s to stretch that extra mile.
The Student’s view
Many students (myself included) find that actually, making our budgets work for us, and enjoying the prospect of savvy shopping and bargain hunting, makes student fashion all the more rewarding.
Vintage boutiques, charity shops and eBay are always a good prospect, even if there’s even a degree of friendly competition involved in snapping up certain coveted bargains. For example, a good friend of mine managed to snaffle up an immaculate Lock & Co top hat for a trifling thirty pounds last month, and I wouldn’t talk to her for days afterwards.
Such a purchase may sound irrelevant, but actually even at universities, there are plenty of opportunities to dress formally; various formal dinners, drinks receptions, different social events, balls and careers networking events all provide an opportunity to dress up. The number of immaculate dinner suits, velvet smoking jackets and tartan trews that are experimented with time and again at these events is always a welcome prospect.
I actually attended a student-run and staffed fashion show last week, which focused heavily on formal wear. It was developed in conjunction with the university’s well-attended fashion society and termly fashion circular, so it’s clearly something we students are interested in.
We’re not scruffyIt seems then, that many of us do indeed take pride in our appearance, and not just with a view to make ourselves appear as ‘hipster’ as possible.
It is true however, that student-smart, can also be smart clothing of a very specific variety. At Oxford, coloured chinos prevail, the slimmer and gaudier the better. Closely following those, are very, very loud tweed jackets, we’re talking 22oz contrasting herringbone’s and bright window-pane checks.
Just last week I saw a pair of very dapper chaps in well-fitted tweed blazers with nice modern proportions, college ties and a pair of lime green and hot pink chinos a piece, wandering down the high street. It was a magnificent spectacle, but not necessarily one which you’d accept as the norm anywhere else but Oxford, home of the eccentric as it is.
A final word
Such eccentricities all too often define student fashion in my experience, and as anyone with an interest in clothes knows, experimentation is the only way to discover what works and what doesn’t, and I think its fair to say that no one could accuse students of not experimenting.