After getting all righteous about swaps last week, I think it’s time for me to step back and have a bit more of a moan. I’ll cut to the chase: straight men of Cambridge, you are terribly dressed. Well, most of you are, at least.
From the red-trousered privilege of John’s, to the badly cut jeans that most mathmos’ mothers probably bought for them, you’re awful. And not just one kind of awful – so, so many different kinds of awful. The worst thing is that I don’t even consider myself particularly well-dressed or fashionable, but even I can’t deal with how sobering the male dress sense here is.
Let’s start with Awful Type Number 1. These are the guys whose lecture-wear consists of brogues, chinos and blazers, but if they’re being really casual they might stretch to a jumper and shirt. I suppose that they’re objectively well-dressed in a ‘preparing for a career in commercial law’ kind of way, but frankly, when I’m slumped in trackies and a hoody on a Monday morning, trying not to throw up over my lecture notes, the last thing I want to see is your tailored figure primly typing. You know who you are. Stop. Now.
The next specimens are equally disagreeable. They’re usually identifiable by the aforementioned red trousers, a signet ring, a Harrington jacket and the second home they tote around (metaphorically). I’m not sure if they’re too rich to care about dressing in a remotely interesting way, or if their clothes are somehow too expensive for us plebs to understand. Either way, you all look the same and there’s lots of you. Just go to Durham or something.
These fellas segue nicely into my next target. This institution sits smugly on Sidney Street, judging all who fail to conform to its dull style and popping out endless identikit upper-middle-class clones. Of course, it’s Jack Wills. You’d think that any shop with the word ‘fabulously…’ in its tagline would appeal to gay men, but in this and only this respect Jack Wills is surprising. Its clothing range is just about the most predictable thing ever, everything is plain and, for the most part, blue. So. Much. Blue.
Men of Cambridge, I implore you to step outside of your comfort zone and wear something, anything, a bit different.
Now, time for some caveats. You’re not all that bad, and yes, some gay men dress badly too. But it must be said that you’ll find far more head-turning outfits at Oh!Rama and Dive than at Dangerspoons or Sunday Life. It must also be said that the hordes of pretentious ‘indie’ guys decked out in charity shop wear at unis like Bristol fill me with an equal dread.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that Cambridge is boring enough without you all dressing in a similarly mundane manner. I find it weird to have been labeled the ‘edgy’ one in Freshers’ Week for wearing a single vintage shirt. Maybe I’m just really up myself because I live in London and have a compulsive need to look down on everyone and everything. Maybe I’m just a bitchy gay man. Probably I’m both. But please, next time you open your wardrobe, look past that same old shirt and wear something interesting for once.
Ethan Axelrod (GR. Columnist)