Found yourself in a fashion rut at school? Nervous about getting to uni and not having the faintest idea of what to expect in terms of fashion? Don’t worry. You’re in the right place. There is often this huge expectation to reinvent yourself as soon as you wave goodbye to mum and dad. But that can be quite daunting, especially companied with not knowing what’s out there. However, in this wonderful short guide, we’ll do the hard work for you and tell you which wonderful cliques you can expect to spot on those long walks to lectures.
P.S. This article is based on common stereotypes and looks, and if you don’t resonate with a particular style, you can totally rock your own! That’s the beauty of university: you’re encouraged to embrace your individuality.
The Gym Bunny/Lad
For this bunny’s look, it’s often a combination of a large puffa coat, oversized water bottle, eye-wateringly expensive branded leggings and some cute layering of vest tops and a strappy sports bra. Think walking Gym Shark advert. These girls will absolutely make your head spin just thinking about how much they must work out, but in reality, we all know it’s purely because those leggings are even more comfortable than pyjamas. It’s a smart move. For the lads, we have the baggy branded shorts, the vest top that is maybe two sizes too small just to show off those guns, Airpods, a baseball cap and a non-nerdy rucksack slung effortlessly over the shoulder. When you see this look, this guy most likely does mean business and is probably very dedicated to the #gains.
The Rah is a highly exclusive, unique vibe, which can be split into two categories. The first is the overt Rah, which screams ‘I went to private school and I’d like you to know this’. You can spot an overt Rah by clearly displayed brand names such as Jack Wills, Canada Goose and Tommy Hilfiger. Think Made in Chelsea vibes. The second is the covert Rah which screams ‘I’m edgy and cool like you, but I’m sitting on a very large trust fund’; this is the more common Rah on campus these days. Female covert Rahs can often be found sporting figure-hugging flares, vintage Elysse/Reebok/Champion sweatshirts, chunky (real) gold hoops, cat-eye sunglasses, Nike Air Force 1s and some kind of edgy jacket, most likely from Depop. Male covert Rahs love a Ralphie sweatshirt/quarter-zip, baggy tracksuit pants, pool sliders with socks, a distressed-look rucksack (with a £1000 Macbook inside). Both love a huge North Face puffa. Bonus points for rocking a signet ring.
The Indie Chick/Chap
This style almost has no iconic features because it’s all about looking different to everyone else. However, some common features include t-shirts from a band you’ve never heard of, Doc Martens, mom jeans, anything tie-dyed, vintage ski jackets, beanies, tote bags, round sunglasses, those adorable Fjällräven Kånken backpacks and scratchy jumpers from a charity shop. Probably has a record player and LED strips above their bed.
You can hardly miss a group of Medics™. This is probably because you’re instantly blinded by their gleaming lanyards and luminescent red chinos. Medics™ like to look prestigious, so for guys to get the look, all you’ll need is a pair of chinos, a shirt from somewhere like Crew or Gant, some brown leather/suede Chelsea boots, a matching leather satchel and some funky socks to seem like you’re actually a pretty laid back guy and not always Mr Medicine. Female medics are big fans of long cardigans, sleek buns, checked hybrid leggings/trousers, basically anything from Zara Workwear, black leather loafers, trench coats and cable knits.
Unlike the Medic™, this person has a hard enough time finding a clean pair of socks, let alone coordinating a whole outfit. Uni has clearly taken its toll on this poor soul, and fashion is the last priority when heading to the library at 7 am. Some looks they have been sighted in include stained tracksuit bottoms, fluffy socks stuffed into undone Converse, faded hoodies with the hood up (to hide the unwashed hair), a scruffy parka coat, Ugg slippers and a worryingly large Thermos flask of black coffee. Try not to make eye contact with these people: they’re aware they look dead inside but let them get on with it.
The Uni King/Queen
One word comes into mind here… STASH. This person will have the full get-up, whether it be a sports kit, their SU Officer uniform or all their society’s merchandise. Whatever it is that they are into, they want you to know about it. We’re talking windproof jackets, sports bottles, hoodies, rucksacks, boxers, tampons. They will flex anything with their hobby or interest on. We are pretty convinced that these people even sleep in their stash, but that’s their business…
The International Icon
These students are just immaculate, and I will forever be in awe of the effort they put into their appearance before a 9 am. The Louis Vuitton backpacks, the Gucci loafers, the Burberry trench coats, the makeup (from brands that you can’t get from Boots’ reduced section), the Prada bucket hats and designer stationery. These are the students that you ask for Chapstick, and they hand you a fresh Dior Addict Lip Balm. Their style is just incredible, and the respect for their dedication to fashion is immense.
Most likely studies a STEM subject and is really good at it. They know they have come to uni to study and get a good degree. They haven’t taken much interest in fashion trends, as they probably trusted their mum to dress them for 18 years. The Geek sports a Superdry zip up, plain or sometimes band tees, baggy high-waisted jeans with a belt (before this was taken over by the hipsters), New Balance trainers with the laces done up in a perfect bow and a jam-packed rucksack that actually sits where it’s supposed to on the back. These guys are prepared with heavy-duty fashion and mean business.
The Gap Yah/Year Abroad Daaaaarling
Depending on the person, you will either smell their OTT French perfume, expensive cigarettes, or intoxicating Thai incense from a mile away before you even see them. “Oh, you didn’t know? I lived abroad for a year!” is what you’ll be greeted with when you do, just to warn you. This person will adorn themselves with treasures from their travels just to distract themselves from the crippling realisation that they are back in their dreary uni city and not in Bar-th-elona anymore. You can expect harem pants with elephants on, berets, aeroplane tattoos, a stack of beaded bracelets, fake glasses without lenses, handmade accessories, neck chains, Birkenstocks (even in the middle of December), anklets, nose piercings and man buns. Someone just take them back already.
So, those are some of the key ‘lewks’ on campuses across the U.K. Now, all that remains is the question: which one is for you?