Heidi Atkins for Varsity

From tote bags to “power dressing”, Michaelmas 2023 has been a term for fashion. To conclude this scarf-rich season, your Vulture Editor Alice and your Fashion Editor Ruby are here to pull together the bits of this fashion season they’ve loved (and loathed).

Michaelmas fashion philosophy

Ruby: “Comfy is cosy and cosy is cute”

Alice: “Vinted is the answer”

Three essentials for the term

Ruby: I’m a strong believer in wearing skirts at any opportunity in any season, and cycling down the hill at –2 degrees will not defeat me. My first essential is therefore obviously thermal tights (and occasionally, secret leggings). I pair them with my next essential, Doc Martens, which are the only shoes I own which never let the rain in. There’s something about stomping around in huge boots which makes the dark days feel a little bit cheerier. Or at the very least, let you jump in the puddles on the way to Sidge (it’s the little things). Finally, I’m loving my various turtlenecks. I only discovered last year the true potential of the turtleneck – did you know that you don’t have to look like Dwayne Johnson (unless you want to)? I have various fun-coloured tops which I keep in circulation on chilly days.

“If there’s an excuse to get a floor-length dress out, I’m going to take it”

Alice: This is an easy one for me. Michaelmas calls for three essentials: oversized knit, denim mini skirts, and fluffy socks. I’ve been building up my collections of all three and then simply switching them out each day for endless cute outfit combinations.

Default outfit for the season?

Ruby: I spent the summer in sweeping long skirts and little tops, and have been working out since how to get that fairy-who-just-dropped-onto-earth look with seven layers on. I’ve settled on a sort of you-wouldn’t-be-surprised-if-I-was-actually-a-witch ambience, which is surprisingly easy to put together. Starting with thermal tights and a turtleneck to keep me warm (my aforementioned essentials), I pick out one of my many, many long swishy skirts (this is the point when I grab a hairband that I keep around my wrist to tie up said skirt when I’m cycling – functional and fashionable). I have a similarly ridiculous array of woolly jumpers so grab one which doesn’t clash too much and finish off the look with earmuffs, a big scarf, and gloves. I take a coat only if I absolutely have to, but if I do, it’s a trench. I always try to wear shoes that aren’t my same Docs every day but it never works. On they go, and on I go for my day.

Alice: Unlike Ruby’s classic swishy skirt and tiny top combo, I’m a proud defender of the little bottoms big top set up. Michaelmas calls for as many new mini skirts as possible (were talking denim, corduroy, knit, whatever your heart desires), paired with huge roll-neck knit jumpers and chunky boots. Throw a crazy oversized leather jacket on top - with thanks to Mill Road charity shops - and you’ve got yourself the perfect Michaelmas fit.

Favourite Michaelmas accessory

Ruby Cline with permission for Varsity

Ruby: I have always been and will always be a scarf girl. They’re just too practical to leave unappreciated. I won’t say anymore here about my scarf love, though – check out my article on it.

“There’s something about stomping around in huge boots which makes the dark days feel a little bit cheerier”

Alice: In spite of its supreme impracticality, my accessory of choice for the season is Uniqlo’s crossbody bag. It’s the ultimate Mary Poppins bag; we’re talking lip gloss, glasses case, half bent book I should be reading for my diss, embarrassingly clunky Cambridge lanyard, and four kitkats. What it won’t stretch to is anything mildly more practical, like my laptop, per say, but sometimes looking cute has to trump learning, and also being able to carry your food shop home from Mainsbury’s. You win some, you lose some.

The uniqlo bag will always leave you carrying the rest of your belongings in your arms, but will guarantee a good fitIsabel Dempsey for Varsity

Event you’re most excited to dress up for


Mountain View

CUCFS takes to the runway for another year

Ruby: Halloween is my favourite holiday. My house went as US Presidents and First Ladies which was a fantastic excuse to accrue a skirt suit. As winter draws closer I’m getting super excited for a chance to put a fancy dress on – Cambridge has built into me a love for black tie – so I’ve been looking forward to Law Ball for a while. I found a stunning brown fairytale-esque dress in a charity shop over the summer for it.

Alice: Here at Caius, we take our formals pretty seriously. We’ce got a reputation for having them every night - not that we get all that dressy every time. When we do get dressy, though, we get dressy. We’re talking waking up early to get our work done, so we can devote a good few hours to getting ready. If there’s an excuse to get a floor-length dress out, I’m going to take it, which is why Caius’ Superhall (the fanciest termly formal we have!) is the event I’m most excited to dress up for this term.