What we wear to university can say a lot about us. We all knew this in first year; we decided our outfits well in advance, allowed enough time to shower in the mornings and occasionally even ironed our clothes. I remember rigorously calculating the exact date I should shave which would result in the perfect amount of stubble on my first day. And when that first day came, I strutted into uni wearing my latest Topman purchase, leaving a trail of Lynx Africa behind me. Thank god those days have gone. However, it recently dawned on me that we should perhaps learn something from our naive, fresher selves; we may have upgraded our deodorant since then, but our effort to look presentable for uni has completely vanished. Either every boy at uni has found a girlfriend (or boyfriend) and therefore feels no need to try and impress anyone, or we’ve all just become incredibly lazy. This realisation has encouraged me to reach out to my fellow poorly-dressed students and offer my five pieces of advice:
1) Sportswear is for sport. Why do we feel the uncontrollable need to constantly wear tracksuit bottoms and hoodies? The only time this outfit is acceptable is if you genuinely are about to, or just have, taken part in physical activity (note: fighting for a seat on the Magic Bus does not constitute physical activity).
2) Putting a hat on is not a replacement for washing your hair. Yes, we all love the hipster woollen hat that barely fits our heads, but it is unacceptable to wear one throughout lectures, and especially seminars. A quick morning shower will alleviate the routine embarrassment which follows taking off your hat.
3) Shoes complete an outfit. Now New Balance trainers have teamed up with Jack Wills they will inevitably become uncool. Therefore, every other boy in Manchester will be looking for new footwear. Vans are too common and your gym shoes are not an option (see number 1). How about actual shoes? Not trainers, but real leather shoes. Cow have a fantastic selection of vintage leather brogues and slippers. If that’s not your scene then try suede desert boots. You will instantly look smarter and your feet will most likely stay drier.
4) Wear a watch. Although unlikely to improve your timekeeping, it will apply some sophistication to your outfit. Rotary is a good place to start, although Cassio will suffice if, like me, you’ve already spent your student loan on unnecessary holidays. Avoid a Rolex; you will get mugged.
5) Get a decent uni bag. You may think an ASDA bag-for-life portrays anti-consumerism and a detachment from the material world, but it actually portrays a poor supermarket choice with a touch of homelessness. Most people opt for a reliable rucksack, usually of the Herschel family. They are smart, stylish and practical, without making you look like your dad. If you want to pretend you’re studying Art instead of Engineering, Pop Boutique in the Northern Quarter usually have a fun range of vintage briefcases and satchels.
We are soon to be upstanding, well educated men of Britain. Perhaps it’s time we started to dress like them. I’m not suggesting we copy that one guy who dons a suit for lectures (usually an ill-fitting Matalan special), but perhaps re-adopt our first year efforts. After all, we are at uni to achieve a degree. Let’s start by achieving a decent wardrobe.
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