I am such a sucker for branded stuff. At 13 I was enamoured with Emily the Strange (my Whimsical Emo stage), at 19 I couldn’t get enough of Marc by Marc Jacobs (mouse shoes, ’nuff said). At 23, it’s still MBMJ (hey, who can go past the cheery colour palette and winsome typeface?) but I’m also counting my pennies for Oxford clothing and tchotchkes.
Since I got my Magdalen hoody and rowing jacket, I been craving more merch. I’m like the Very Hungry Caterpillar* of pretentious varsity clothing; except rather than eating cakes, pupating and blossoming into a beautiful butterfly, I’m just going to become an impoverished but well-swaddled human.
Here are my picks from the Uni shop:
Such an insouciant day-tripping bag. I’d stuff it with beach towel and trashy mags for a Brighton trip, cardi and guidebook for a castle jaunt, or use it for sports gear. As per the specifications, you could also carry exactly 11L of milk, juice or liquid of choice.
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.
When I ordered my L.L. Bean boots, I was slightly miffed at the “…fries with that?” checkout suggestion of a pair of men’s boots. ‘I don’t need a man!’ I thought (cue PCD power ballad), ‘and if I did have one, I probably wouldn’t want him wearing the same shoes as me.’
When I excitedly opened my Bean parcel this week, I couldn’t help but feel that they’d taken their anti-single stance a bit too far. What did I find, nestled like tumbled leather bunnies amidst the tissue paper? Not my highly-anticipated snow-mucking booties, but a pair of men’s penny loafers.
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.
Hands down, glasses are the ultimate accessory. Not only do they make you look about 10 IQ points smarter (and in my case, avoid the awful squinty panic of spotting a friend 20m down the road, doing the smiley ‘Omg, hey!’ and then realising you’re going in to hug a complete stranger who freaks out and beats you with their knapsack…) but they create an aura of mystery. I think this is probably because frames these days are so heavy that they obscure most of your face. Sort of the hipster equivalent of the netted hat veil.
A few months ago I decided that new glasses were my ticket to cultivating a bookish air and avoiding the need for mascara (or eyebrow-shaping, depending on where the rims sat). Target: BIG frames.
I went in to a bunch of stores but ultimately ended up ordering my men’s Tom Fords online because the salespeople I encountered kept trying to steer me towards ladies specs.
A typical exchange: