Fashion Editor Sophie Miller offers this list of fashion essentials to help you navigate the St Andrews fashion scene in style.
As every small community of college-age students is wont to do, it is a known truth of St Andrews that most of us dress more or less alike. While it is true that the fashion scene here is far beyond anything you’d find in silly places like Oxford or Cambridge, we all tend to follow certain trends. We’ve all encountered a man walking down Market Street in loafers, khakis, and a Barbour, his eyes shaded by a pair of Ray Bans, just like we’ve all seen many a St Andrews woman donning shrunken puffy jackets, mom jeans, and chunky “dad sneakers”. And that’s ok! None of these are bad looks (except for the epidemic of male students doing their best impression of homeless people in baggy courduroys and oversized tee-shirts – not cute, gentlemen), and they help us to hone in on which trends we actually like, which we could end up making our signature. The strongest and best sense of style is one that evolves from trying out many different looks, adding our own touches to them until we find a (fire) fit. However, to get you started, it’s good to track the various fashion moments in our little bubble, so here are a few that can be found in nearly every St Andrews student’s wardrobe:
Barbour jackets, Hunter-brand wellies, and Ray Ban sunglasses
Let’s just get the obvious out of the way – the closest thing St Andrews has to a uniform is the waxed Barbour jacket and knee-high Hunter-brand wellies, often topped off with a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses. Male or female, as a member of our community, you’d do well to purchase these items, as you may be met with shock and awe from your classmates at your lack thereof. However, despite their label as “basic”, they can be great building blocks for your uni wardrobe, so don’t shy away from them just because everyone you know (and their mother) owns them as well. Sometimes being basic isn’t all bad (though that’s likely the last time you’ll hear me use that turn of phrase.)
If you’re a member of the overwhelmingly large female contingent of St Andrews students, then you likely own one of these. A going-out essential for the Fife evening weather, they’re the perfect add-on to everything from your heading-to-lecture turtleneck to your ball-ready sequinned cocktail dress. You can see these bobbing up and down the three main drags of our town in a variety of colours, ranging from pale pink to black, from camel to fire-engine red. Usually either shrunken or oversized fit seems a concept anathema to the chic insouciance these jackets provide.
Straight from the Parisian streets to the sidewalks of Scotland! Not really, but these do add a touch of understated French glamour to our never-ending battle against the frigid northern breezes. Mostly (or what I hope is mostly, because these coats really belong in one of two colours) camel or black, a long pea- or trench coat can make even your most unimaginative outfit unbearably stylish. A variety of lengths work for this must-have, from hip-skimming to calf-grazing (avoid going longer lest you look like a villain from the Matrix), and it will fit any mood, from your broody Sunday morning hangover to your breezy Wednesday afternoon burst of confidence, knowing you’ve finished up the last of your work by 12PM.
Stretchy fit-and-flare pants
Seen mostly on the lower halves of our female London transplants, these pants do everything a girl could ask for: lengthen the legs, highlight the assets, and stretch comfortably to fit your worst hangover bloat. Another transitional piece, these should be either solid black or patterned – save the bright colours and jewel tones for your upper body. These can give a fun, 70s-era twist to your everyday look, and can be paired with everything from a teddy jacket to a tube top to give you a moment worthy of the Chelsea art scene.
Canada Goose Parka
Despite the company’s notoriety, the infamous black Canada Goose parka remains a staple of many a St Andrews student’s wardrobe. Ususally worn with leggings and sneakers (and, let’s be honest, AirPods and whatever the latest edition of the MacBook is), these aren’t so much a fashion statement as a totem of the culture of wealth here – or, if you’re feeling generous, the most efficient way to block yourself from the harsh reality of a Fife winter. Black, oversized and fur-trimmed is usually the way to go, but why not be experimental and try an edgy navy blue? When shelling out for one of these, remember that it will do double-duty: it’ll keep you warm while also letting everyone else around you know that you’re willing to spare no expense to look just like them!
Only at this uni would an essential wardrobe list include both “Canada Goose parka” and “cashmere scarf”. *Sigh*. Anyways, these are usually gray (or camel, if you’re feeling adventurous), and they actually make for a pretty good investment – effortlessly chic, warm, and when paired with a large jacket and sunglasses, they provide the perfect disguise when hiding from someone whom you will inevitably bump into (there are only three streets in this town, and somehow you always seem to cross paths with last night’s drunken hookup at the exact wrong moment). Because we live in a perpetual state of 5 – 15 degree weather, these are year-round accessories, so why not drop the required (minimum) 50 quid?
Animal print isn’t necessarily my favourite trend, but it has nonetheless made an undeniable resurgence, and both male and female students have embraced the cheetah moment with open arms. Showing up on everything from fuzzy jackets to loafters (and, inexplicably, men’s formalwear), this print can provide a touch of whimsy to your otherwise-average ensemble. Of course, some of us aren’t as out-there style-wise as others, so for a more understated look, try cheetah on a belt, headband, or in more muted colours on a larger garment.
Oversized denim jacket
Most likely bought second-hand (there are racks upon racks of these to be found at every 601 vintage sale), this may be the most fashion-forward and on-trend look in St Andrews right now. Usually light-wash denim, perhaps with a few embroidered patches, toss this on over a plain tee-shirt for some 90s-LA realness, or pair with a minidress and the aforementioned white sneakers for something a little more “now”. The most important thing about this jacket, however, is the fit: it must be just baggy enough to look adorably-grungy, but not too baggy that it swallows you. Finding the perfect denim jacket can be a long process, but have patience! The final fashion moment is worth it.
So here you are! All of the pieces that I’ve deemed “essential” for your entry to the St Andrews fashion scene. Of course, this list is doubtless not exhaustive, so go ahead and discuss among friends and add your suggestions to the comment section. But remember: these are only the beginning. The most well-dressed people are those who take the trends and put their own spins on them. So, with that, happy trend-tracking!