As far as click bait goes, the most frequent resurfacing theme of article on my Facebook homepage reads something like ‘What is your uni’s defining look?’ Curiosity gets the better of me (yes, I am a weak sheep that succumbs to click bait) and I invariably scroll through dozens of “defining looks” to find our glorious university, which I always hope will prove itself the shining beacon of style amongst the array of clichés.
I am inevitably disappointed by the stereotype staring back at me, which slouches nonchalantly with a perfectly poised bucket hat, hoops, and Ellesse jumpers. The caricatures also always emit passive aggressive arrogance, as if we spray on attitude each morning like perfume.
These articles emphasise the aesthetic of effortless casual wear that takes hours to style. At this, you can’t help but share a self-conscious giggle with your friends. There is certainly a stylised effortlessness across campus, although little changes from these looks when day turns to night (aside from the added accessory of glitter).
Ok, maybe as a collective we are a slight cliché. After all, finding your friend outside Alan Gilbert in her once distinctive pink puffa jacket seems to have morphed into a hybrid version of ‘Where’s Wally?’, especially considering the puffa is invariably styled with a baggy pair of mum jeans, Adidas or Nike trainers, and some form of colourful hair dye.
This footwear however really is unique to Manchester, for the look can only be achieved from traipsing down the gravel entrance to Antwerp. It provides the perfect muddy sheen to one’s brand new white sport lux trainers. Avoid standing in the smoking area for too long though; too much mud might ruin the balance between worn-in and lost-in-the-crowd-for-three-hours-at-Parklife. Even Vanish can’t help you relocate the Nike tick after that.
Whilst there is certainly a particular style Manchester girls adhere to, it holds far greater variety than the proposed pigeonholed personalities. After all, we wouldn’t spend so many hours in charity shops or the Northern Quarter vintage stores to look just like everybody else.
Manchester presents an endless array of personal style and, most importantly, it is a site for fun fashion. The city and university are spaces in which no one will judge you for what you wear, for it is guaranteed you will never be sporting the most outrageous outfit.
So whilst you finish your three years at Manchester, appreciate the time it gives us all to find our own personal style in an unencumbered environment. After all, Drake’s ‘Gyalchester’ is apparently an ode to the women of Manchester, celebrating our style and attitude in a wholly Mancunian way. Let’s own it.
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