Leo Kang with permission for Varsity

The most unfashionable Cambridge student arguably has the most sustainable wardrobe: a single sweatshirt or fleece embroidered with some society or even just the word “CAMBRIDGE”, which they wear on repeat paired with the same pair of jeans. In winter, the college puffer is pulled from the bottom of their otherwise empty wardrobe. This outfit has been the object of derision for a long time, strongly associated with the faint smell of BO and highlighters. However, in the interests of sustainability, I think Cambridge-core should be given a chance to shine.

This outfit choice is more representative of Cambridge, I think, than whatever images can be conjured by Pinterest of attractive people in knitwear pored over vintage volumes in old libraries. Declaring that you own one single sweatshirt deprioritises image and prioritises ideas. It offers a simple message to the world: I’m thinking. I’m studying. I’m working hard. As long as this is the image that a wearer wants to give, they are able to keep to the same uniform. This is far cry from the highly unsustainable and constantly changing outfits of those who want to give off the message, I am fashionable.

“They therefore are not subject to the style adjustments that can happen at home compared to university, which I’d argue is probably a very good thing”

The hoodie-wearer is also multi-seasonal, needing the adjustment of only a few layers of stash as the cold comes and goes. Those who fall victim to the college puffer often defend themselves citing its warmth, and they are not wrong. The outer layers of any other outfit can often make or break it. I chronically end up freezing in pub gardens and lecture halls because a coat would have ruined the look. The Cambridge-corer doesn’t have to worry about this. At every layer they are branded with their message. They therefore certainly end up needing fewer options for their layers than I do.

I find my style changing drastically at university compared to home, leading to some unfortunate suitcase-dragging through the station as I bring back and forth eclectic outfits I’m convinced I’ll actually wear this time, quickly followed by the realisation that all that heavy lifting was for nothing. I’ve ended up with two overlapping but nonetheless individual wardrobes, meaning I own far more clothes than I would like to. I also pick up outfit ideas and trends from each place and end up cycling through clothing at twice the pace I would want to. The Cambridge-corer, as anyone who has played “spot the Blues in the British Library″ game will be able to tell you, doesn’t switch out their stash for anything – even their home city. The brag, after all, is the same: I go to Cambridge, don’t you know. I’m studying. I’m working hard. They therefore are not subject to the style adjustments that can happen at home compared to university, which I’d argue is probably a very good thing.


Mountain View

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Ultimately I will not be buying a stash sweatshirt anytime soon. But I do think we should look to unexpected places to learn how to dress a bit more sustainably, and perhaps the Cambridge-corers are a model of green dressing which we should treat with a bit more respect. Sorry – not green. Distinctly, and obviously, Blue.