Dress Like Your Subject

Is there more to dressing like your subject than Englings in vintage jumpers? SOPHIA VAHDATI investigates.

BNOC burqa empire chic fashion geek chic Lawyers medics new museum site nun's habit pinapple ravey lauren raving it up at Fez every night of the week scrubs Sidgwick Sophia Vahdati subjects swag tuna melt with extra cheese

They’re everywhere.

You cannot escape them.

Oozing confidence, majesty and self-assurance.

Whether you’re munching on a panino in the Arc Café or walking down King’s Parade, it’s guaranteed that, like rats on the London Underground, they’re never far away.  You can descend into the dustiest, most clandestine corners of the UL trying to flee them and suddenly you’ll hear the clip-clop of their retro lace-up creepers creeping around the corner.

Our most stylish student EVAR

Our most stylish student EVAR

I’m talking about student style, and, more specifically, about students with style. We students are infamous for trying to express how ‘kooky’ or ‘open-minded’ we are through our dress (non)sense. The balance, though, is often hard to perfect.  There’s a fine line between hipster and homeless, and some of us simply do not have the time/aesthetic intuition to keep up with look of the season, be it Sidgwick Subversive or New Museum Classic.

A homeless hipster in the flesh

A homeless hipster in the flesh

So what’s the answer to those of us who have neither the time to find a vintage-retro-eco-friendly charity shop nor the finances to back a BNOC blazer? It’s simple. If you can’t maintain an interest in both fashion and your degree then make like a harvester and combine them! No, I’m not suggesting you change your course to fashion, I’m suggesting that you change your fashion to suit your course…

DISCLAIMER: If you are easily offended or averse to gross generalisations and subject discrimination then it would be best for you to stop reading *here*

Congratulations. If you’re still reading then you’re clearly a liberal lass or lad, open to degree-based derision and all the misconstrued prejudices which come with studying your subject. Read on to discover how you can take your academic passion from the scholastic to the sartorial.

Obvious Subject Dressing

Identify key stereotypical things about your subjects and express them through clothing. I’m talking medics in scrubs and lawyers in judge wigs (which, incidentally, are a life saver when the dry shampoo runs out). If this presents too much difficulty, order a customised t-shirt with a subject specific joke on it. Here’s a selection of gems I’ve kindly dug up for you all:

Fashion is fleeting, but geek chic is forever - Coco Chanel

“Fashion is fleeting, but geek chic is forever” – Coco Chanel

The greater part of valor is the dressing - Shakespeare on fashion

“The greater part of valor is the dressing” – Shakespeare on fashion

Versace Collection s/s2013

Versace Collection s/s 2013

Subtle Subject Dressing

‘Witty and hilarious t-shirt’ trend too kitsch for you? That’s to say that whilst you’re interested in trying the fashion/discipline mix you want to be a bit more ‘aloof’ and ‘reserved’ than the average Cantab.  Try simply peppering your standard attire with little hints and clues.  You study Spanish? Try mini bull earrings or a necklace made of tapas. Geography? Attach a small compass to your belt or hairband. Theology? A nun’s habit would be the obvious choice, as would a burqa, although the latter presents some logistical difficulties when it comes to cycling.

Abstract Subject Dressing

You don’t want to be ‘mainstream’; you’re proud of your subject but prouder still of your individuality. If you don’t give a shit about what other people think and it’s vitally important to you that other people are aware that you think this – dress like your subject, abstractly.  What does your subject feel like? What’s its mood, its personality?  Does it smoke? What’s its favourite animal?  Ponder on these questions and see what you can come up with. Here’s one upon which I pondered earlier:

You don last season’s collection in a classy and authoritative way. Your style is unforgiving; it’s set in stone and won’t change for anyone. Of course you smoke (preferably cigars dipped in whisky) these modern theories of lung cancer don’t impact on your timelessness.

During your dark days you probably wear double denim or sack-cloth tunics. During your golden days you’d describe your look as ‘Empire Chic’. You dress like history: dress to read it, not to make it.