A Very Oxford Week

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PCBC Pimm’s Party (photo: Fashion Biscuits)

First week of Trinity term kicked off with the Pembroke College Boat Club Pimm’s Party, which fulfilled all of my ‘preppy University experience’ wishes. Back in my undergrad days at Sydney Uni, I used to wear this cute knock-off Ralph Lauren blazer around campus, which was pretentious enough to land me in the banner photo of the university website, but also meant that I fielded incredulous, “Why are you wearing your school blazer?” inquiries at least twice a day. But at Pembroke, the students donned their boat blazers and cuffed chinos with gay abandon. Of the pictures below, 1 is from the event, and 2 are Ralph Lauren ads. Can you guess which is which?

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Jack Wills

When I first visited the UK 3 years ago I stumbled upon this cute little shop called Jack Wills. Tweed blazers, cosy knits, a logo of a pheasant with a top hat and a walking stick (which is even classier than Mr. Peanut and his monocle)…their tagline was spot on; it was ‘Fabulously British’! Over the next week I kept happening upon this Jack Wills, and soon realised that it was not some wee 7th generation-run boutique, but a transnational megabrand. With no products actually made in Britain.

When I mentioned it to my friend Tori who studied in Scotland, her face scrunched up like I’d just offered her a blueberry (her avowed enemy. Not even blueberry muffins pass her muster). Apparently she and her friends would never actually shop there – it’s basically the British Abercrombie & Fitch (they even have ‘Seasonnaires’ which are their version of the infamous A&F model). But, said Tori, “I kind of get how you would like it”. This wasn’t meant as an insult; Tori knows that I’m a sucker for branded stuff – with every teen birthday present she enabled my Emily the Strange and Paul Frank addictions. She also knows how enamoured I am of cute things (if it’s pink, patterned, emblazoned with critters or redolent of Sloane life, I’m sold). Jack Wills totally fits my bill – it has the British prep feel without the moss/dung-heavy colour palette of Barbour, the youthful whimsy of Anthropologie (seriously, mittens and snoods with names like Austwick and Wilbur? Adorbs), and is mid-range price-wise.

Here are my picks of their current collection:

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The Bleakley dress £89.50

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Introducing a new segment: That Oxford Moment

Living in Oxford puts me in a constant state of amusement and bemusement. My face spends much of the day screwed up in a “What the?!” expression, or a rueful, “Only in Oxford…” So I thought I’d start sharing some of these with you, in quick-and-easy microwaveable bites.

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Boot, rally, repeat

You know what happens a lot in the UK? Rain. Back home, rain is an EVENT. Rainy days are when you sit inside, eating jaffles and squabbling over who gets to be the racecar in Monopoly. Here, rain is a way of life and people just…get on with it.

The first wet day here I squelched about in my little Nike Frees, until I lost all feeling in my toes and began to stress about trench foot. And so to the task of boot shopping.

I pretty quickly nixed Hunters. I know they’re like a British Institution or something but I can’t get over the fact that they’re just plastic and essentially 1 gene sequence away from being Crocs.

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I totally look the part

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Today was my official course welcome (and more importantly, photo day!) so I wanted to look the part. Unfortunately my 23kg luggage limit from Australia hadn’t allowed me to bring more than the bare essentials so much as I wanted to don a silk tie and aquamarine dressing gown (which Legally Blonde tells us is the uniform of a serious law student) I had to slapdashedly put together an ensemble with my few non-jersey/trackie-dack items.

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This is the face of someone who knows they look like a cater-waiter and isn’t pleased about having that memorialised in the Profile Book.

On the upside, while others struggled to get their hands on a drink at the Reception after, the kitchen staff inundated me with trays of wine and crudités!