A guide to Durham’s essential wardrobe items

The must-have staples of Durham Uni fashion

A person’s clothes can tell you a lot about the person who’s wearing them. With Durham University being a pretty unique one in the UK, its students’ fashion taste is as distinct as the uni’s reputation. Two years ago, The Durham Tab wrote this ode to the Durham stereotype, but what does the pinnacle of Durham fashion look like now?

Let’s start this list with some of the more obvious items that hold permanent places in the DH1:

Quarter Zips:

Quarter zips GALORE. Vintage Ralphies, college stash, plain or patterned, this jumper staple is timeless for the Durham wearer. It strikes the right balance between formal and casual, and is versatile in its wearability. At home, at lectures, at sports matches and even at clubs, this piece can be found worn, slung on the shoulders, or knotted around the chest. I can almost guarantee you that every Durham student will have at least one.


This 70’s silhouette first came to the Durham wardrobe a couple of years ago, and is now here to stay. It is the it on-trend for feminine fashion at Durham. I must admit I bought myself a second hand pair of this Durham staple and the feeling of wearing them for the first time was euphoric- I suddenly realised what I had missed out on. Topshop black cords, leopard or zebra print for Klute or Jimmy’s advised.


One thing Durham is known for is its plethora of small businesses, the most infamous being DeMoo Jeans. The Durham girl graduates behind it have everything you could want in terms of bespoke up-cycled jeans and headbands, and are definitely responsible for circulating that groovy-chic look around DH1.


Durham students take the term “jewellery stacking” to a WHOLE different level. For all, the starting point is the thin little gold chain which is a classified essential (and also really hot?!). From here, lots of girls can be seen with a combination of the following: Vivienne Westwood pendant or choker, a beaded necklace from your gap year in Kenya or South East Asia, more chains of every shape and size, and I predict more pearls thanks to Netflix’s Bridgerton.

Ring stacking is also highly popular, with notable shoutouts going to spoon rings and signet rings.

A vintage Ralphie, stacked necklaces, a North Face puffer, and a quarter zip? That’s what we call Durham fashion.


Extra points if they’re red, you play rugby, and you go to Castle or Hatfield.


Vintage vintage vintage, Depop Depop Depop- and all that jazz.

Depop started as a platform exclusively for posh Londoners to get their oversized sweatshirt fixes, but now there is a change in shift. Inspired by fashion-conscious groups such as Hazaar, people are now really using these second hand sites to help reduce the damage that the fast fashion industry is creating, while still being able to get vintage necessities.

Alternatively, raiding your mother’s/father’s/grandparents’ wardrobes is an old but gold technique.

Air force 1s

On the sneaker front, their popularity in the Durham scene is pretty much self-explanatory. While loafers are still the old season’s preference, most have realised the practicality that AirForce 1s give them in enduring the Durham hills, the cold and Jimmy’s, Klute, Babs, and Players dancefloors. The more battered and worn-out, the better, to avoid the cringe terror that comes with wearing brand new white ones.


We really do love to see it

These are the everyday classics for the country dwellers at Durham. Not only are they perfectly designed to endure and engage with the outdoors, they will NEVER go out of fashion for their use and preppy style. Like the secret Tories, their Barbours will either stay at home or crop up every once and again when their wearers decide to brave judgement, like bracing a cold winter’s day.

College/ DU stash

Flexing the unnecessary for some extra validation (college), but, unarguably, a comfortable fit for late Billy B sessions and general chilling. Socially acceptable only when attending actual sports or a sports social (DU).

School tie for formals

Particularly for the day schoolers who resent the fact that they didn’t go to boarding school, or for the day-boarders who wish they were full-boarders.

Baseball caps from an obscure “banterous” place or memory

To be worn pretty much everywhere and at at any time by the male species.

Black tie

No explanation necessary if you’ll be wanting to attend the top Durham balls.

Puffa jacket

North Face or Ralphie, black or brown, Durham’s favourite jacket is still on the scene for its fashionable functionality against the northern cold. However more recently, it has found itself up against the resurgence of the long coat and vintage fur competitors. Will it survive or will it lose its coat hanger to one of its rivals?