Friday, 30 May 2014

Investing In a Wardrobe for University

Moving to University is an exciting time for everyone. Younger siblings get upgraded to the bigger and better bedrooms, your mum is telling anyone who will listen that her precious baby, for whom she is so proud, is venturing into the big wide world, but most of all it is exciting for you.

You are about to enter the big wide world; you will choose what to eat, when to sleep, what to spend you cash on, when to get on with the washing… You are really starting your adult life and there will be no Mum or Dad to remind you to get up and go to a lecture, or to remember toilet paper on the way home or even to bail you out when you need 'just a tenner'.


When your shoes break or your bags splits or you simply need a new winter coat, it will happen when you are most poor – and sometimes, your new independent self is too proud to call and ask to be bailed out so quickly into the year, so you're walking round with one wet foot and three extra jumpers.

That is why it is essential to get your 'university wardrobe' right before you even step foot in your student digs.

For Lectures

Regardless of what you have heard, very few people make a massive effort for a 9am, 11am or even 3pm lecture. Think boyfriend jeans, plain tees and oversized hoodies – tie your hair back or cover it with a hat – no one is awake enough to pay attention to what you're wearing or when you last washed your hair – thankfully.

The girl who comes in having obviously spent three hours prepping and dressing in the morning will stick out like a sore thumb against the mass of tracksuit clad, still sleeping students.

One thing you will need to invest in, is a high quality, durable bag. A £10 handbag from your favourite high street store just won't cut it for carrying multiple laptops, books and notepads for three or more years. Invest in a canvas bag that will last you the three years and years after that, and that will look great too – even with your tracksuit.

For Nights Out

No degree would be complete without its fair share of student nights – and let's be honest it's one of the things you have been looking forward to most.

Dresses are essential – but don't go all out with the best you can buy, most student night's end with sticky jaeger patches, spilt ketchup and occasionally, the odd tumble. Expensive designer dresses are best saved for Proms, awards nights and the parties you attend after you graduate.

For Free Time

You may have planned to spend all your free time at uni with your girls, shopping, going for coffee and eating out. It is important to have a couple of pairs of nice jeans and boots or shoes, as well as some smarter tops and tees for when you do venture out of the student bubble and into the real world (where leaving the house in your PJ's isn't as acceptable).

However, it is more likely you will be bogged down with work that you are behind on (due to the frequent nights out) and will spend a lot of your free time in the library or locked in your room at the computer – and all you need for that is a good, comfy pair of trousers!

For Everyday

If you're living in halls it is very unlikely that you will have your own washing machine – it is more likely you will be sharing four of them with 300+ other students (get ready for setting a 3am alarm to get the washing in an empty machine and a 5am alarm to get it in the dryer – they'll all be full by 6.30am). Sharing machines mean other peoples red socks get lost in the machine and dye your whites, pink. Pockets not being emptied, plus the sheer volume of washing loads, makes for a scratched and possibly damaged drum – try to save your good stuff to be washed at home or in a private laundrette, wash your cheaper stuff in halls but be wary it might come out with a few snags.

For Job Interviews

It can be easy to forget, with all the fun everyone is having, that you're at University to eventually find a job. In some degrees it will be encouraged to get an internship or part time job in a professional position. You will need a suit or smart dress, a nice, smart coat and a pair a black or brown leather or suede shoes – no trainers, jeans or hoodies and definitely no tracksuits.

Invest in a small smart bag that matches the colour of your shoes; use it to take your phone (switched off of course), a small notepad, food, bus tickets/car keys and, of course, a copy of your CV for your potential employers and anything else you need.

Don't Forget

If you're one to dye your hair at home take an outfit for hair dying, if you plan on joining the gym or a sport team take your gym kit. Remember that halls or digs are often cold – especially if you have a private rental and have to pay for your own heating – take as many thick jumpers, dressing gowns and fluffy slippers as possible.

If you're anything like most students you'll be taking the megabus or a cheap train home every few months to see the family – remember to bring clothes that are comfortable to travel in and a bag big enough to get your dirty clothes home and home baked goods back to university.

Robyn Edwards is a recent university grad and currently on various topics for a number of influential publications. You can find Robyn on Facebook and Twitter.