Style Down Under: College Style

There’s something about UGG boots. Who can forget when the Australian brand infiltrated the UK market a few years back, which led to, I’d say, 90% of young teenagers heading out to buy a pair. I was not one of them, but hey ho! As predicted, and like most fashion crazes, everyone found something better; boots that didn’t look like slippers and wouldn’t get ruined if you got caught in the rain. Although, even working at the shoe shop, ‘OFFICE’ a few months ago, I was still completely amazed at the surge in popularity of the classic UGG boot over Christmas. At least three pairs would fly off the shelves within a few minutes.

So coming to Australia, and walking into my beautiful college accommodation, it was nothing if not a shock to see handsome, tall, muscular and very typical Aussie looking students walking around the dining hall with shorts, a rugby top…and a large pair of fluffy UGG boots. Now, I’ve been told that it’s not a joke, and it’s definitely not considered to a be a complete fashion faux pas here, but UGG boots are still extremely popular in this country, with the one fundamental rule that they are to be worn only indoors, and only as slippers. It’s almost refreshing to see the boots worn in the correct way and appropriate place, and yet whilst being here makes me want my own pair to wear as slippers around college, doing that would be considered weird at home – looks like I’m trapped in a vicious UGG circle.

Other then UGG’s though, from what I’ve seen in the past week, college style is brilliant. There are eleven colleges at the University of Melbourne, and students can choose to either live in a college, at the self-catered student village, or off-site in a private apartment. The colleges, which all have different rules and traditions are beautiful (very ‘Oxbridge-esque’), so this is a very new and different experience for me. We even have to wear academic gowns twice a week to a formal dinner, ‘High Table’!

As all meals are very communal, on long Hogwarts type tables, it’s really a people watcher’s dream, and the very first  thing I recognised was the hairstyle. The topknot seems to be the way to go, even helping me to learn names and familiarise myself with faces. I’ve definitely landed in the alternative/hipster/indie/enter-all-other-similar-words college, which once again feels just like being in East London.

Today, just a long walk down the road, or a quick tram ride away, I was taken thrift shopping. It wasn’t your ordinary East London Thrift Shop however, this store was more like a supermarket with everything possible packed in – absolutely ideal when looking for some good finds for the hippie .vs. hipster themed night in the evening. And who would have thought that student discount can also be used in a thrift shop?! Well, it can here, so this definitely explains the unusual patterns and unique style I have seen around college.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to head into the malls and shop only in the Aussie stores, to see how they compare to our great high street stores. Excitingly, I found a poster for the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week at the end of August, so am looking forward to an ‘Emerging Designers Market and Exhibition’ in the city. For the moment, I’m going to continue dressing for the ‘four seasons in one day’ Melbourne weather I was warned about, yes, I am guilty of wearing a thick coat, scarf and general Winter clothes with my sunglasses on and umbrella in hand, and prepare for what looks to be a very messy and crazy ‘Diss-O-Week’ at College.

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