“The most important thing is that you like the way that you dress”Eden Keily-Thurstain for Varsity

After a year of lockdowns this term will be my first summer in Cambridge and I’m terrified to navigate the world of Cambridge fashion - what does one wear to strut the streets? How do I adapt my wardrobe for the weather?

For a lot of us, the start of university marked the beginning of life without uniform, a change that can be both welcome and nerve-wracking. Having that opportunity for self-expression can be exhilarating — I’m a 3rd year who still gets excited about being allowed to paint my nails and wear dangly earrings! However, all that excitement can quickly wear off when you spend a morning experiencing wardrobe brain-freeze. What will make the best impression? Is this top boring? Will I be too cold if I wear that? Is that too dressy for a lecture? Fortunately, help is at hand: I spoke with Varsity’s very own Fashion Editors, Holly Sewell and Lily Maguire, who both had loads of great advice for dealing with your wardrobe worries. During our interview, we kept coming back to one message, which I’m very keen to stress: dress for yourself, and dress in a way that makes you feel confident, comfortable and happy.

“[Find] one item or silhouette you love that you can wear again and again”Eden Keily-Thurstain for Varsity

I began by asking how they felt about Cambridge fashion before starting here and they both acknowledged that your wardrobe can be a daunting part of the first few months. Lily tackled this by dressing according to her mood; she feels “happy wearing a suit to the library on a Sunday” and recently did the weekly Aldi run in a velvet flared number. Putting effort into her outfits “inspired [her] to get out and about and to feel more a part of Cambridge”. Holly responded that she was more focussed on “bringing [her] own fashion to Cambridge” than bringing Cambridge into her wardrobe; an important reminder that your own opinion is the one which matters most when it comes to your style.

What advice did the fashion editors have for those who struggle to pick an outfit in the morning? Holly suggests finding one item or silhouette you love that you can wear again and again, particularly during a fashion mind-blank, and makes you feel special. For her, that was flares; her go to outfit being flares, a synched blazer and a big collar.

Both of Varsity’s Fashion Editors pointed out that fashion can give us “opportunities to be excited by life again”. Lockdown has left Holly eager to incorporate colour into her wardrobe, with one of her most recent purchases being a pair of apple-green flares, while Lily used lockdown “as an opportunity to amp it up when leaving the house”. Seize those chances to brighten your day with a bit of colour, or a fancy top — “we have to be as proactive about our fashion as we are about seeing people”, Lily observed.

“Dress in a way that makes you feel confident, comfortable and happy”

One of the more complicated aspects of university fashion is packing. I think that this is particularly difficult in Easter Term; how can you know in April what you’re going to be wearing in July? Holly’s wardrobe is more autumn/winter based, so she adapts to the weather by adding and taking away layers. I think that dungarees and pinafores can be particularly useful when packing for unpredictable weather; you can wear them throughout the year by just changing the type of top that you wear underneath. Lily pointed out that one of the negative impacts of TikTok style videos is that we can worry about not having enough different outfits. She encourages you to dress sustainably and to re-wear the clothes that make you smile. Both Fashion Editors were both keen to promote a message of body positivity for this term. Lily reminds you “not to be too confined by what you think other people think you should wear”. Whether or not you feel comfortable wearing summery, skin-baring clothes is completely up to you. Holly suggests culottes, long skirts and flowy dresses as good, covered-up alternatives.


Mountain View

AskVulture: How do I feel better about the way I look?

A walk around the city can provide you with tonnes of wardrobe inspiration. We discussed their opinions on Cambridge street fashion, and they both commented on their admiration of those who aren’t afraid to push boundaries with the way they dress and encourage anyone who wants to to wear make-up, nail varnish and jewellery, as well as clothing in bold colours and styles. Holly says that there is something great about people who take control of the way that others look at them: “who take the idea that some people might think they are weird and turn it into a power”. Take these university years as an opportunity to experiment with your style, or to take your current look even further. The most important thing is that you like the way that you dress and that your outfits give you the confidence you need to make the most of your time here.

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