Paloma Shemirani

Ah yes, Week 5 has rolled around and it’s time to take a long, hard look at yourself and your clothes ahead of your visits to Sidgwick site in these treacherous midterm times. In general, this academic year has had the least restrictions since the pandemic started, so the possibilities to showcase your new and improved fashion are endless. Looking for a refresh now that you’ve scoped out the Cambridge scene? Perhaps you’re a fresher wanting to dress more mature now that you’re free from those new city nerves. Or, maybe you’re reminiscing on your year abroad and want to bring some culture to the lecture halls (guilty). You might have just promised yourself that this year, you won’t simply live in your Iets Frans joggers. Whatever the motive, the excitement around showing your personal growth through clothes is not uncommon. This column, Paloma’s Picks, is here to help you navigate through your wardrobe re-vamp. I’ll be wading through current trends, and feeding back my take on them, discussing what my fashion favourites are for this season. Doing the work so you don’t have to, I’ll keep you looking effortlessly in style all the way through Week 5 (and beyond)…

“The operative words for this season are sustainability and recycling”

Ironically, for many students, this season is much less a question of ‘out with the old and in with the new’. With rising prices and the environmental crisis, the operative words for this season are sustainability and recycling. Many people I asked were keen to create a wardrobe comprised mainly of just a few basic items in block colours that could be styled in several different ways. For example, a plain white tank top can be dressed down as pyjamas; paired with low-waisted boyfriend jeans for a casual look, or even dressed up under a tied, open white linen shirt with a black leather skirt and red accessories. Think versatility. Owning four pairs of flares with loud, repetitive patterns are great statement pieces, but how often are you really going to wear them? This simple change to your wardrobe is, of course, useful for those with termly licences who don’t want a big university wardrobe to cart back and forth every holiday but still want to follow all the current trends. Minimalism is back in, with the Prada white vest appearing back on the catwalks. Whatever the reason for the change, you can rest assured that it’s going to be a fashionable one.

Minimalism is back in

Wanting to be more sustainable, but aren’t so keen on keeping things simple? Have no fear: the Cambridge second-hand scene is here. Everyone agreed in the responses I received that second-hand items are less expensive for much better quality. In these shops, you are guaranteed to find one-of-a-kind items that will instantly make you stand out from the sea of low-waisted cargo pants and tank tops from Urban. On that note, if you are someone who is hoping to express your individuality more this season, but still loves the Y2K influence, a good start would be to focus more on combining those elements. For example, low-rise bottoms can be paired with original items found in Kilo sales or charity shops. Just like the return to basics, close attention to mixing and matching is the key to successfully constructing a new you.


Mountain View

Meet the Newnham students who make and mend their own clothes

I for one can say that my current wardrobe has undoubtedly been influenced by nostalgia for previous fashion eras. Having sold most of my winter wardrobe ahead of my time in sunny Portugal last year, I found that the colder months have arrived and all I have are mid-length, strappy dresses from ZARA and crippling regret. Thankfully, the 90s are still a major source of inspiration for current labels. So, it’s time to layer t-shirts beneath these dresses, tie a jumper around my waist, and throw on some high-top converse shoes to channel my inner Monica. No problems, only solutions guys. So if, like me, you find yourself pining for your hot and sunny year abroad, there is still hope for you yet.

Remember: if you are reinventing yourself this time of year, then approach your old wardrobe with fresh eyes and reinvent that too. Fashion doesn’t need to come at a price, so think about your finances and your environment before you buy!