High contact hours v low contact hours: The fashion divide splitting uni campuses

If somebody looks a mess, they’ve probably had lectures all day


Walking around campus you see every type of clothing: hipster, grunge, loungewear, girly and sporty. But the clothes people wear doesn’t just tells you their personality, it also tells you their degree. How? Because the amount of effort you’re putting into your look is directly linked to how busy you are at uni.

The high contact hours look: ‘Converse, Run Me To Class!’


“I would just come in with jeans on and chucking on whatever. I gradually got worse and worse as the year went on, and kept making less effort. It was probably the worst during exams!”- Laura, Geology.

When you’re in lectures for over 20 hours a week, there’s a lot of work to think about. As you rush around campus, you don’t really have time for the clothes you’d normally want to be wearing. Instead, comfort is king and that means leggings, jeans and Converse are essentials. Basically, you want to be wearing anything that will get you through the whole day without making you want to run under a shower or burn your shoes. Steer clear of itchy fabric or sweaty nylon.


Comfort wins once again


Shoes that are built for walking (across campus over and over again)

The low contact hours look: ‘Jacket, Make Me A Friend OK?’


“I guess you could say clothes are always a talking point on my course. You’ll start conversations with people by talking about what they’re wearing” – Keisha, Philosophy.

Keisha’s not wrong: the first time we met we spoke about her baseball t-shirt with a peach on it.

Low contact hour students make more of an effort as they have more time to get ready and need to be individuals in a group of unfamiliar faces. After all, they’re going to spend less time together. As a result, the pressure is intense when it comes to making a good first impression. Unlike with anyone on a high contact hours course, there is little walking together to class or sitting together for lunch. With low contact hours, you can wear as many impractical items of clothing as you like, because you know you can take them off in an hour and go back to your good, old, reliable PJs.


“You see some people going into uni in stilettos – those people definitely aren’t heading to a six hour lab session” – Joe, high contact hour second year.


If you had lectures all day you’d get fed up of pulling your socks up



What about this outfit is supposed to be practical?

Back home and into the pyjamas

So how can you tell the difference?

contrast outfits

High contact hour outfit on the left, low contact hour outfit on the right