How to get the most out of your gown

A gown is for life, not just matriculation

Cambridge University College cycling Formal gown Hall Lectures money Student town

Cast your minds back to Freshers’ week.

You’re queuing with that girl from your corridor whose name you won’t find out until week 3, ready to splash some student loan dolla on your first official university purchase. And what better way to spend it than on a college gown, a fashion statement so bold Yeezy will probably debut his own line at the next London Fashion week.

That is, until you see the price tag: £36.50. That’s 10.4 bottles of Sainbury’s Own Brand Rosé. Or 36.5 fake moustache sets from Poundland. Or 36.5 hacksaws from Poundland. Poundland has some great deals.

But what choice do you have? Revolt against the system? Come on, even Kings have gowns. You just have to dish out the money that you(r parents) worked hard for and make the most of it. Which is precisely what I’m going to show you how to do.

So here are some more innovative ways to use your gown. Please try this at home.

A duvet

Still waking up in hot sweats after that first supervision? Worry not – rid yourself of your 10.5 tog duvet and say hello to Gown Town. Because that shit allows for some mad airflow. It may require some adjustment to get yourself the perfect sleeve/breeze ratio, but remember that somewhere in the world there are people freezing to death.

There is no better way to rest than with the constant reminder of pretention spread across you

A tablecloth

Nothing punctuates meals alone like a tablecloth the colour of the abyss of loneliness. Not only can you feel extra classy since you aren’t eating off bare plastic, you can guarantee that the blackness of the cloth can hide a multitude of sins.

A basic lesson in nutrition

Sexy roleplay costumes

The blackness of the cloth can hide a multitude of sins.

My favourite night of Fresher’s week

A diary/daily planner

As a busy Cambridge student, it is essential to be on top of your commitments. However, we can’t all be superhuman (although I know it’s easy to forget that when reading articles such as this) and will inevitably end up being late once or twice. A day. The solution is simple – don your gown with the pride of a privilege of your choice and strut right into that lecture hall/supervision/organised intimacy session. No one will question whether it’s already gone 5 past, since they’ll be choking on the stench of your swag.

A Halloween costume

Just not feeling cultural appropriation this year? Then the gown is the costume for you. It is versatile beyond belief – you can begin the evening as Dracula and end as a pained NatSci student (you may need to darken the eyebags a tad for this transition). You’ll be the edgiest person at ArcSoc (a fate previously unreachable if you aren’t 90% charity shop Ralph Lauren).


The Tab haterz can’t get me behind here

A muleta

No, I’m not talking about a gendered mullet. I am, in fact, referring to ‘a stick with a red cloth hanging from it that is used in the final third of a bullfight’. I know what you’re thinking – how on earth am I ever going to find a bull in Cambridge? Well, if you hit up the rugby pitches at the right time you should be able to achieve a pretty similar effect, especially if you wave the gown vigorously enough at the losing team. This is definitely not the reason I have a black eye in the photos accompanying this article. 

A multipurpose door gap filler 

Don’t get me wrong, Cambridge’s ancient architecture is absolutely peng, but sometimes age gets the better of functionality. In my college at least, there is a slight gap between the door and the floor – just wide enough to light my slumber, but not wide enough for any unwarranted guests. The solution to this unacceptable standard of living is simply to bundle the gown across this gap, et voila. Not only does this block out unwanted light, it works wonders in the event of a sudden and fatal gas leak on the other side of the door.

This was definitely staged

Bike brakes

Don’t be stupid, I’m not going to suggest actually attaching the gown to the bike. Just gown up before your cycle and let the aerodynamics do the talking. Extra points if you take out any small children still using stabilisers. They need to learn about the real world.

There you go. We’re both exhausted, but at least we made it. Who’d have thought a lesson in utility could double so well as a lesson in milking a niche subject to it’s very core?