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Oxford student street style

Leia Liew explores the abundance of style which thrives within the Oxford student community.

Walking around Oxford, on the Tescolator, in the Pret queue, in the Gladstone link, even when on a bike, flashes of fashion catch my eye. Everyone has a different sense of style and knowledge of what works specifically for them. But I love variety – that’s what makes the world so much more interesting. Being an avid “papper”, I decided to put all these photographs of Oxford-esque fashion inspirations onto a grid, @itsoxfstyle, and share it with the world. Apart from being an inspiration to my own fashion sense, I hope that others can see my platform as a spark for their own creativity.

The kind of garments that you don undoubtedly creates an impression about you as a person, including your vibe, and the crowd you find yourself in. Oxford is a university where you will always have at least one mutual friend with someone you walk past on Cornmarket, and so what one wears is almost an identification with a certain group in Oxford. Clothing, on an Oxford student, is integral to crafting an identity. As much as people like to argue that first impressions don’t count, I disagree. A simple compliment on someone’s buffalos can create a friendship, and a question about where someone got their corduroy jacket can initiate an outing to Gloucester Green market. What you wear automatically attracts a particular type of person. 

I like to think that Oxford students (on the whole) have a “cool” fashion vibe, with a curious mix of garbs. With traditional grand buildings and dreamy spires as a backdrop, a bright Berghaus aztec print jacket, for instance, is a sharp, yet memorable contrast to the warm, yellow coloured sandstone surroundings. Beyond the Oxford sports kit, college or rowing stash, matching sweats, oversized hoodies with flared trousers, and the tasteful basics, Oxford students offer a plethora of individualistic outfits that I cannot wait to capture.

What do Oxford students wear? There is of course no distinct answer – what one wears to tutes is significantly different to what one wears to a sesh (or not?). However, I will try and list some refreshing recent trends that struck me. Delicious layering with detailed collars, vintage granddad patterned vests to style out the vagaries of the British weather, oversized rugby stripes with baggy jeans, statement necklaces that accentuate a thoughtfully minimalist outfit. Leather jackets to create a slim silhouette, tweed jackets for a pop of attention, classic corduroys to let the trousers do the talking. Graphic t-shirts with a shimmering long sleeved top hidden underneath, sharp blazers to add an edge with ripped jeans, chunky oversized “ugly” trainers paired with a checked skirt, unbuttoned blouses with long sleeved top and velvety trousers. 

What one wears in Oxford allows you to be a shapeshifter. There is no one word to describe exactly how Oxford students dress because it is just so varied and unpredictable. One word that I would not use to describe Oxford students, however, is sloppy. Whether it be the edgy hoodie or the Keith Haring top or the khaki chinos, there is always a spark of “fashpiration” to glean from any Oxford student strutting down Broad Street.

A friend of mine, Marnie Shutter who is also a great style inspiration, once said to me that clothing was an outlet for your inner creativity if you couldn’t paint or sing or write. Anyone can turn a piece of clothing into a piece of confidence. Oxford students dress to express and embrace. Ruffling through the racks of clothing in Oxford charity shops brings an exhilaration that cannot be replicated anywhere else. They are treasure troves in which you discover gems unique to your personality. Of course, Depop is an absolute gem of an app and Westgate satisfies our infinite needs but finding a piece so unique to you and you only – that’s an unparalleled feeling.

With a new batch of freshers settling into Oxford, however, who knows how the fashion scene in Oxford will develop? One trend I’ve certainly picked up on and cannot ignore is the “Tik Tok” style – perhaps some will take that style and make some twists & turns to create an unforeseen breakthrough in the Oxford fashion scene.

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