What clothes you’ll need to bring with you to Cambridge

GEORGINA WONG breaks down all the events you can look forward to at Cambridge, and what you will need to wear to them.

clothes to bring fashion Freshers

Listen up, freshers. Now that you’ve made the grade, it’s time to start stressing about what you need to pack for your first year at Cambridge.

Bop costumes

Most colleges host ‘bop’ a couple of times each term. Bop usually has a fancy dress theme and basically functions as a massive college house party with endless booze. Expect sweat, stickiness and the stink of desperation, as many people use this as an opportunity to mate. Bring a few versatile fancy dress items although you probably won’t be informed of the theme until a couple of days in advance. Onesies usually come in useful (if you don’t mind the over heating) or plain t-shirts that can be decorated/embellished etc.


Nailed it.

Black Tie

It’s guaranteed that you’ll attend several black tie events during your time at Cambridge, whether those are sports dinners or society events where students will smarten up just to guzzle champagne and pretend their posh. Girls: this is your chance to wear heels and a fancy dress (either short or long is acceptable) or mix it up with a smart jumpsuit instead. Boys: obviously bring (or hire) black tie but add something unique to your look with a brightly-coloured or patterned neck scarf/bow tie/pocket square.


Formal dinner is one of the best things about Cambridge. Birthdays and any other occasion for revelry will most likely be celebrated at formal. The dress codes can differ between colleges, but you can use the occasion you’re celebrating as an indicator of how ‘formal’ you should dress. Sometimes a casual dress can be acceptable under your gown, but for birthday celebrations people like to dress up a bit more, so bring lots of options.

No, we’re not sure either


You will have to wear a gown during your college’s matriculation service, but at most colleges you will also be required to wear something smart underneath. This usually has the same dress code as that used at formal, but some colleges may ask that you dress exclusively in black and white. Boys may be asked to wear black tie and girls should bring a black dress or a smart white shirt and black skirt just in case.


Don’t get your hopes up about the student nightlife in Cambridge, freshers. Do however, bring lots of casual clothes that you can wear out and simultaneously don’t mind getting drinks spilled on. Clubs here get sweaty (your first experience of Sunday night Life will be testament to this) and the dress code is very casual: you don’t want to be stumbling back to college in a pair of heels.

Just your regular Wednesday night at Cindies

Arcsoc events

If you like having a good time, you will most likely wind up at an Arcsoc event at least once during the year. Whether that happens to be their popular Halloween event at The Union or a different night, (last year’s fancy dress themes included ‘Yves Klein Blue’ and ‘Saturate’) you will need face paint and anything that you can use for general fancy dress.

You’re welcome.