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Read Between the Lines - Library Fashion
|Fashion||Wed, 09 May 2012||Tweet|
by Charles Jaco
St Andrews University Library, often the focus of class grumbles and comparisons to Soviet era government buildings, but rarely the focus of our sartorial world up here in the bubble. But look a little closer, beyond the irritating security gates, beyond 1413 and you’ll discover a diverse, unique and even thriving sense of style amongst the students slaving away in this drab house of learning. Of course, this being St Andrews you could even go as far to say that the library is our fashion meeting point on campus, where the guys go to peacock in their polo shirts and for the girls to showcase those stilettos.
With our reputation up here in East Fife as having on average about 5 fashion shows a year, surely this would make our library one of the most fashionable spots in the UK? I took it on myself to find out, after procrastinating to the max and sleuthing through the shelves, the following is my sartorial discovery.
In my quest for style, I’ll begin with the ground floor. Now everyone knows this is not the “real” library. The ground floor with its comfortable layout, extensive procrastination facilities and sofa layout for skyping (anyone else wondered why people skype here?) make it a sort of halfway ground between hardcore academia and posing with a tall latte and a MacBook Pro, as you silently chuckle to yourself at #whatshouldwecallmewhen. Indeed, you can go hard, you can go home, or you can chill on the ground floor. The fashion sense reflects this attitude with more focus upon style than academic substance. Here the latest styles dominate, as on my journey to the short loan section I’m hit with knits, florals and even animal print.
The perfect get up for this floor? Ladies try this floral dress from ASOS, teamed up with light brown leather accessories for an appropriately relaxed yet stylish look.
Gents, go bold on this floor and be seen with this vintage tiger print tee from upcoming streetwear brand XCVB. A unique print which keeps it casual with a summery twist.
We’re moving on up to the first floor, but unfortunately the fashion stakes are declining. As we ascend the wide, ugly staircase, essay anxiety increases as does a sense of desperation resulting in an altogether less put together look for this floor. In this land where Hollister and Abercrombie sweatpants dominate, along with flip flops and UGG Boots, one thing is clear. These avid readers are dressed for comfort not for style. Saying that there are a few souls here to whom appearance is still paramount, as St Andrews omnipresent preppy style is seen in many examples between the nooks and crannies of this 70s styled floor. If you too want to represent the preppy team up on the first floor then guys go for this classic from River Island. Wear it with the coloured chinos of your choice and some boat shoes for a look that screams summer.
Girls, stand out in this permanent classic from Ralph Lauren, for a cute preppy look from Ralph Lauren. This classic will never go out of style and will keep you warm during those unbearable revision sessions.
The third floor of the library, and the fashion stakes are practically non-existant. In this land of cotton, velour and generic varsity clothing, there is very little to praise or focus on. What’s more with the exam season looming, this can only get worse. But part of me want to say why fight the urge to be a slob, it’s comfortable, warm and up here who’s really going to see you? Apart from postgrads, lost freshers and nosey stand journalists. Embrace comfort and forget style in these far boundaries of academia and loose yourself in work. My pick for this floor are in no way dominated by style, rather a quest for ultimate comfort with clothes that could possibly double as sleepwear during those 2AM study sessions.
If you’re going to go varsity, at least represent. I’ve lost count of the amount of Franklin and Marshall wear I’ve seen. Show some academic pride in your slobbish state and check out the new 600 shop on Market Street.
Alternatively go all out and don a onesie, once refined to the cast of TOWIE, this phenomenon has taken the student fashion scene by storm. For stylish onesies, check out this offering from OnePiece, admittedly it’s better suited to the slopes and Apres Ski but when you’re up here slaving away in those last few hours before exams start, who’s really going to care?
Photo © Asos; frecklebugvintage; XCVB