Pimp My Fresher

Cambridge’s Gok Wan IZI GOODER pimps her un-stylish fresher.

Cambridge University clothes fashion guernsey pimp my fresher Topman

So I have a NatSci fresher friend named ‘Tom’. As well as possessing winning charm and powerful intellect, Tom is also annoyingly good looking. He has the American war hero look down to a T. Women double take as he strolls serenely past. He surrounds himself with the perfect amount of mystery so that he has become almost legendary in Pembroke. One fourth-year is rumoured to have camped out in her college-brother’s bedroom opposite Tom’s for four days just to get a chance to talk to my evasive friend.

Nevertheless, last week Tom approached me seeking advice on landing ladies from a female perspective. I was shocked. Surely this surly Adonis rakes in the fit freshers, I thought to myself.

Then I took a closer look at him. Below the tanned face and razor-blade cheekbones he wore a murky green gap hoodie that screamed ‘snot’ rather than ‘sex’. His baggy jeans made him look short and scruffy. His shoes are boyish and do not suit his rugged looks.


I proffer his dress sense as a reason for this lull in love. Rather than being offended by this he agreed whole heartedly. Growing up on the island of Guernsey, he told me, the nearest shop is an hours ferry ride away on Jersey. So, I suggested a shopping trip and, to my great surprise, he consented.

So that afternoon when we probably should have been in the library thinking about important things like epistemology and Deuteronomy, Tom and I set off into Cambridge on our makeover mission.

First stop: Lui’s Barbershop. I realise I know nothing about boys hair. I assumed it stayed short of its own accord. At this point I leave him in the hands of the very capable barber. As the the most popular student hairdresser they know their stuff and Tom transforms from Rupert the bear to Aston from JLS. I drew the line at the skull our enthusiastic hairdresser was about to shave into the back of his head.

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Onto Topman in the Grand Arcade. There are more women in here than men and I join in the frenzy of mothers, girlfriends, sisters etc. madly pulling jumpers, jeans and jackets off racks. I like a man in a chain. Tom’s not so sure but humours me.


Wisely he draws the line at flat caps. I am far too overexcited at the prospect of Tom as gangster – DJ Tomcat. He picks out a Christmas jumper and the image quickly fades.


From here we hit JD sports. We agree on very nice pair of Adidas trainers.


Primark at the Grafton Centre is our next stop. Tom has heard of Primark. Granted the quality is sub-standard and the manufacturing is dubious but it is bloody cheap. We bagged a pair of jeans, a jumper, a tshirt and a hat for under a tenner.


On our way home we walk past what I reckon must be the only vintage shop in Cambridge – ‘Jemporium vintage’. It is a tardis-like Aladin’s cave of funky smelling treasures. We spend too in here and I start to get delirious again, dressing Tom like the American GI I know he is inside.


I get too excited about cravats, braces and waistcoats. In the end the patient Tom puts his foot down and we head back to Pembroke loaded with bags. I decide it’s much more fun shopping for other people than yourself. Especially when you have absolutely no idea what you are doing.