The incorrect and correct way to wear headphonesIsabel Dempsey

Following a pretty successful Christmas cash haul (thanks grandparents), my younger sister and I set out to decide what we would each splash our annual sum of money on. We only got five seconds into the discussion, however, before my first suggestion was greeted with the judgemental tone and even more judgmentally raised brows of said sister insisting my idea was “embarrassingly basic.” In hindsight, an expected remark from her. What could I be buying that’s so deserving of such condescending cruelty I hear you ask? Nothing more offensive than a pair of headphones.

“People can be spotted with extra headphones wrapped around their neck like some strange sci-fi scarf”

In case you’ve been too absorbed in the mindless beats of your microscopic AirPods to notice, headphones have recently become a bit of a big deal. All starting with the drop of Apple’s sinfully over-priced AirPods Max, people began to don these chunkier devices in place of their (arguably more futuristic) ear-piece equivalents. However, this switch from AirPods to headphones seems to be about much more than practicality. As with everything in fashion, trends come in swings and cycles, coming and going with the ceaseless wash of time.

A year or so ago wired earphones began to creep their way back into the ears of the internet’s favourite it-girls. Suddenly that little string of wire was doing much more than (very practically) keeping its tiny buds conveniently attached to your phone. The cheap whisps of white became a crucial outfit accessory for anyone who wanted to dress like they got their start in life from daddy’s money. Varsity music editor Georgie Atkinson tells me if she is “feeling particularly brave, (or wanting to pay homage to the noughties), [she] will choose a pair of wired headphones; hoping that the tangled cord doesn’t exude chaos but effortless charm.” As people started to realise they were regaining hours back from not having to constantly search for their AirPods, it became clear that this practicality possessed a certain appeal. Cue wireless headphones: where they were once potentially outdated, nerdy and weird, overnight they transformed into something indie, retro and stylish – a key Sidge accessory.

Georgie herself admits that she has now “happily adopted the look of a Cyberman with overhead noise cancelling headphones in order to pursue high quality music blasting into my ears.” And yet, with the growth of this trend it has become clear that these music listening devices are doing much more than allowing indie girls to listen to Mitski in high quality peace. They’ve developed into an outfit essential. Now you can purchase crocheted covers to transform your industrial AirPod Max’s into coquette-core ear muffs, bows and all. People on King’s Parade can be spotted, AirPods already in ear, with extra headphones wrapped effortlessly around their neck like some strange sci-fi scarf. In this day and age it’s the look of the headphones that matters more than their function.

“Don’t let social media convince you to drop your student loan on a trend for the sake of fashion alone”

Now I would like to make it clear for anyone still judging my money-spending choices that I for one did purchase my headphones for the sake of practicality. For as long as I can remember, earphones have not fitted properly in my ears. An embarrassing confession to be making this publicly I know. Those few rare occurrences I would opt to listen to music instead of reading on my gruelling bus journeys to and from school (so not like other girls) I would find myself having to re-press earphones into my ears every five minutes when they would inevitably begin to fall out. Ever since their release I have possessed a deep-rooted fear of AirPods for this reason. I have refused to ever purchase a pair, feeling they would inevitably drop out of my weirdly shaped ears, leaving £100 to potentially literally wash down the drain. Free from this anxiety with my beautiful new headphones, I can finally make the painful trek from Robinson to town without being left alone with the weight of my own thoughts. Now I can drown them out with Lana Del Rey’s A&W instead.


Mountain View

Is it time to ‘put down the stash’ or embrace the ‘Ringo Starr of student fashion’ that is the college puffer?

So no, I didn’t purchase my on-ear headphones just to look cool – though of course there is many a black smudged death-stare headphone selfie sitting on my camera roll wondering if it will ever see the cold harsh light of my Instagram feed. Whatever my sister insists, they were for practicality more than fashion. But I am very much aware that that is not the case for everyone and I will forever be perplexed by people who opt to spend a potential upwards of £100 on headphones to leave them unused dangled on neck (I’m looking at you Jenna Ortega). Don’t let social media convince you to drop your student loan on a trend for the sake of fashion alone. Yeah it’s a plus that I now look cooler than ever before, but I wouldn’t recommend partaking for that reason alone – unless you too want to experience the judgemental wrath of my seventeen-year-old sister.