Style Wars: Bristol Vs The World

The Tab asks study abroad students how Bristol fashion compares to the rest of the world


We all complain about Bristol’s student fashion.  Some of us bemoan the sudden influx of disco pants in the ASS, others refuse to approach anyone wearing a ‘Leavers ‘09’ hoodie, whilst nearly everyone wishes people would stop trying so hard. 

But have we got it better than we thought in the international fashion stakes?  Elvira Hoby explains to The Tab what it’s like to be a Bristol girl in the middle of the Indian Ocean, whilst born-and-bred Canadian describes her first impressions of UoB fashion.

A Bristol Girl Goes to La Réunion

The fashion on Réunion island takes me back to around the late 90s/early 2000s: a blend of Euro trash, badly influenced by a few modern trends and the warm climate (think slashed leggings and crop tops).

Not to say all of it is awful – some girls around university wore pretty outfits, kind of like an all-American girl who thinks “that dress is super cute and it would go so well with those hot kitten heels”.

Feeling the heat? Wear a bandage dress!

Feeling the heat? Wear a bandage dress!

But even though they have all the chic fashion magazines France can offer, it’s clear that they are completely uninformed by current fashion trends…or even general good style.

As for the guys, they work the sportswear look to the max. They especially love wearing baseball hats not completely on their head – just resting on top of it (to make them look taller maybe?) and every single guy has a little fake designer man bag.

Socks and sandals: not just a Western problem!

Socks and sandals: not just a Western problem!

This may seem unnecessarily scathing but it’s just such a shame they’ve taken on the worst of past European trends.  The beautiful traditional African dress a few people still sport looks much hotter and climate-appropriate.

Traditional African dress: complete with bra straps

Traditional African dress: complete with bra straps

A Canadian Girl Comes to Bristol

In a round of Bristol fashion vs Vancouver fashion, Bristol wins hands down.

I can’t speak for the rest of Canada, but Vancouver is known in the country for having terrible fashion, and was even ranked third on a list of Worst Dressed Cities in the World.

Perhaps it has something to do with our penchant for Lululemon yoga pants or the city’s continuous rain which forces us into rainboots (wellies) and waterproof Gortex jackets. On the West Coast the style is casual and staying dry is more important than looking good.

Yoga pants: Vancouver's downfall? Photo: Ctv.ca

Yoga pants: Vancouver’s downfall?
Photo: Ctv.ca

In Bristol everyone seems to put effort into how they dress, from going to uni or work to going to dinner and clubs. People don’t wear pyjamas to class and formal dances were actually formal. In Bristol, girls are put-together and guys wear clothes which actually fit.

Meg embraces formal dress at Goldney ball

Meg embraces formal dress at Goldney ball

This style has rubbed off on me – having returned to Vancouver, I feel over-dressed every time I leave the house. So while I love Vancouver dearly, in terms of fashion, Bristol is the undisputed winner.