The Great Stash Debate

TOMMY SHANE and SEBASTIAN SALEK talk stash - hot or not?

You can’t walk ten metres in Cambridge without coming across someone wearing something university-branded, but do they make you cool? Or a CamTool? Tommy Shane, fashion editor, and Sebastian Salek, opinion editor, discuss.


TOMMY SHANE argues that we should embrace stash as part of Cantab culture.

Cambridge apparel can evoke warm glows of admiration, stings of pride, and rabidly licentious sexual advances – and it is for all of these reasons that it’s fun to show off the fact that we go to Cambridge. But while this may form our guilty pleasure, there is a more serious point to it, too. Wearing the Cambridge logo marks us as part of a community – one that has shared a unique and privileged experience.

At the boat race, for example, all the college scarves and crew jumpers that filled the riversides weren’t the stuff of pompous elitism (contrary to what Trenton Oldfield might have you believe). It was a demonstration of support for our university rivalry – a rivalry that, unlike many Russell Group-polytechnic rivalries, has nothing to do with elitism and snobbery. It was a chance to show support and pride in our alma mater, just as almost every other student in the country does with their university.

However, what it also shows is that there is a time and a place. As fashion guru and all-round role model Ron Burgundy once counseled us, tasteful discretion is the name of the game. In keeping with this philosophy, it is possible to wear the Cambridge badge without rubbing others’ noses in it.

Wearing things like college ties or small-logo sweatshirts is a deft way avoiding projecting an awful impression of yourself, and it also shows you aint no pretender tourist. That means no bright pink hoodies with Cambridge written all over it in bold, WordArt fonts.

Granted, even just wearing some very discreet cufflinks can make you look like a pompous twat, but ultimately you’re either a twat or you’re not, and that’s going to be decided by how you act, not what you wear. If someone is going to make an irrevocable judgement about you because you’re wearing stash from your uni, then they can fuck off.

Be subtle. Be graceful. But don’t be embarrassed of being a Cantabrigian.


SEBASTIAN SALEK argues that stash makes you look like a dick.

During a lapse of confidence over impending Tripos results the other day, a friend of mine reminded me that it wouldn’t be long before we go home for the summer and cement ourselves once again within the top percentile for intelligence in our respective towns.

The thing to remember is that studying at Oxbridge – and therefore carrying with you the reputation of being a bit of a smartypants – requires a certain amount of humbleness.

Whether you intend it or not, to a lot of people, waltzing around your hometown with ‘Cambridge University’ emblazoned on your chest like some sort of crap superhero is only going to make you look like a bit of a show-off. You can’t really expect the general public to understand stash culture unless you live in Oxford, in which case you and your CURUFC hoodie are just asking for trouble…

On the other hand, be too specific with the wording on your garment of choice and no one will have the foggiest what you’re wearing and why. Whilst ordering stash for the Clare Ents committee, we realised that, outside of Cambridge, those two words mean absolutely nothing and probably look a bit ridiculous. This is beautifully illustrated by the sheer number of emails I used to receive addressed ‘Dear Ms Ents’.

Having said this, the curious concoction of modesty and embarrassment – the one that leads us to claim that we’re studying sociology at Newcastle in any conversation taking place outside a two-mile radius of Great St Mary’s – has to stop somewhere.

I tend to wear my college scarf at home because, minus the discreet crest that is usually tactfully covered by some sort of jacket, there’s nothing else to suggest that I’m the sort of person that the Daily Mail brand as a privileged posho who will one day reign supreme over everyone.

However, anything bolder than this really should just stay within the bubble. You don’t wear your gown at the dinner table at home and you wouldn’t go to your granddad’s eightieth in a drinking society tie, so put that rowing blazer into your trunk and leave stash to those who feel they have something to prove.

  • My two cents

    Decent stash for proper clubs/societies is fine. A 'Selwyn College Natural Sciences Society' hoodie (which I genuinely saw once) is not.

    • Selwyn Linguist

      I wear mine with pride.

  • nodders

    I was cycling in town, protected from the elements by my trusted college splash-top. With "ORIEL" emblazoned across the back.
    Someone in a car, stopped, honked and shouted "You are in the wrong town".

  • A Personal Favourite

    …is CURUFC stash on the varsity ski trip – you can’t be that good or you’d be at Twickenham

  • nodders

    I was cycling in town, protected from the elements by my trusted college splash-top. With "ORIEL" emblazoned across the back.

  • Juan Sheet

    I don't think it's a deliberate thing, like. If you're running late for lectures, it's an easy thing to just whack on a hoodie and jeans.

  • Matt Wyman

    I'm too cool for Stash.

  • Da Troof

    No-one wears 'Cambridge University' hoodies except tourists….

    • Not Troof

      also people embarrassed by their shit colleges

  • tumbleweed

    wheeee tab in the hols

  • Posh

    "You don’t wear your gown at the dinner table at home"


  • Shirley…

    it's humility rather than humbleness?

    • Mr Synonym

      Either is fine

    • No,

      it isn't. Both are equivalent and valid.

  • 0.02p

    "but ultimately you’re either a twat or you’re not, and that’s going to be decided by how you act, not what you wear"

    Surely choosing to wear something is also an act? To present yourself that allows people to formulate favorable first impressions about you is highly important. People may not make irrevocable judgements about you from wearing clothing that screams "pomp" or "tramp", but breaking past first impressions might become that little bit more difficult.

    Though I must say, stash hoodies are quite comfy.

    • Crocs


    • pedantic double

      0.02p is two hundredths of a penny.

      stash hoodies are no comfier than other hoodies.

      I didn't read the rest of your comment.

  • Actually…

    … I have gone to my grandfather's party wearing my Cambridge Union tie.

  • A personal favourite

    …is CURUFC stash on Varsity ski trip

  • TPJ

    but if i can't wear stash, who'll know im in the u21s??

    • but…

      I thought you were too busy training to have time to worry about stash.

  • ikinci el e?ya

    How is man to say, it feels that reflects the personality of people wear dress

  • Sammy Browne

    I fucking love stash

  • Old School Tab

    What happened to the legendary Tab "Stash is gash" comment piece from a while back?

    I thought that settled the argument once and for all.

    • Droggles

      It was O.K.

      I loved it.

  • Democracy In action

    "Nice to have official stash in freshers week in general"

    "Probably won’t wear them past Freshers week"

    • Organ Donor

      My favourite thing about that is actually the failure to understand the difference between opt in and opt out.

  • Unimpressed

    "Cambridge apparel can evoke warm glows of admiration, stings of pride, and rabidly licentious sexual advances"

    If you live in Tonbridge Wells, maybe. If you're from a less affluent area of the country where fellow Oxbridge students are few and far between, such apparel simply marks you out as a 'Cambridge wanker'.

  • not a toff

    To be honest, I do not feel so insecure as to need to prove to everyone that I go to the best university in the world. Stash is always hideously expensive, and I have better ways to spend my (limited) money.

  • hmm

    it should be pointed out that tommy shane is generally terrible at arguing a point:

  • uni sports

    require you to buy stash, it's not an option so why not get the use out of it at the gym or whatever?
    to be honest though mixing stash with casual clothes is a terrible look and you should be shot for wearing it no matter where it's from

  • Hmmm


    When you receive emails addressing you as "Ms Ents", the "Ents" part is not the first part I would wonder/worry about if I were you…

    • Clare

      is clearly a girls name

  • HWright

    so… anyone fancy telling me what stash actually is?

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