Rachel Tookey: Week 3

This week, RACHEL TOOKEY offers us some of Cambridge’s finest fashion advice (with illustrations).

ArcSoc bright clothes colours column columnist david bowie dick Rachel Tookey red trousers socks Stripey TRENDS Union week 3

In the crowded, but not at all attention seeking environment of Cambridge, fashion is the perfect opportunity for a bit of self-expression to stand out from mob. Indeed, Oscar Wilde once said ‘Who, being loved, is poor?’ That’s an actual quote, but sadly irrelevant to this discussion.

I first got into fashion when I realised my student loan could be spent on internet shopping instead of my college bill. I go clothes shopping whenever I’m stressed. You can tell my anxiety level just by looking at my bank balance. Incidentally, it’s been in its overdraft ever since I got to Cambridge. During the course of writing this opening paragraph, I’ve already ordered shorts and yellow shoes online.

There’s a lot of different styles you can define yourself with in Cambridge. Many of you will have started off by wearing your formal gown to McDonalds. The more adventurous may have even graduated into a Cambridge University hoodie. Once you were done with looking like a twat, you then might have moved on to the quintessential red trousers:


These are some powerful statement trousers. Fez on a Friday night won’t let you in without them. The wearing of these trousers will often signify a desire to someday work for the BBC (either a period drama actor or Newsnight journalist), and enjoyment of Stephen Fry.

They are in fact a leftover from when Cambridge used to have a uniform. All students were required to wear pink trousers, gowns, and loafers with a pair of brightly coloured socks. On graduation, every graduate was finally presented with their very own maroon trousers. In many cases, they became family heirlooms that are still passed down from father to son today. In Oxford, they had to wear blue trousers.

If you’re a red trouser sort-of person, you should of course match them with obscenely bright socks. I personally would never have sex with a person without first seeing their socks. I even make them keep them on because it’s always best to use protection. You can learn a lot about a person from looking at their socks, such as whether he/she wears socks. My grandmother always told me to never trust a man who wears odd socks. Here are some ways you can read someone:

The red trousers and bright socks combination isn’t for everyone though. It never worked for me. I was just not thesp enough to pull off tweed. At the other end of the Cambridge spectrum, you can go for a wardrobe of excessively bright colours to really stand out. Wearing of these colours normally indicates a determination to get noticed as a fun-lovin’, free spirit, Arcsoc person. You will someday go on to write for the Independent or Guardian. Can often be the sign of a BNOC.  Remember if you’re only going out once that day to condense all possible colours into one super bright outfit to compensate:

Note the commitment to brightness

That’s really the only two fashion categories I managed to get photos of. There are some middle class boys who dress street. They will go on to careers in the music industry.

Fashion can give you an insight into the soul. It also gives me a chance to write less and just take pictures. Here are the souls I found on the streets of Cambridge and what their clothes tell us:


Probably likes David Bowie

Actually middle class