Ah, to be eighteen and a frozen fashion victim again
It's very entertaining working at a university campus, especially an arty-farty one that specialises in film, media, journalism and creative writing. These students tend to favour the 'I Am An Individual' approach to dressing which means that they all end up looking the same.
As a profoundly daggy thirty seven year old, I feel like the bloke who said, "I'm not" in Monty Python's Life of Brian. My mid-high waisted trousers and jeans, topped with long line jackets and t-shirts with low heeled boots mean that I stand out like a wrinkle in a magazine ad. That's right, because I'm dressed for comfort and practicality, not hippitudinosity or to attract one of the very few straight guys on campus.
It is sad to see that Ugg boots as outdoor wear are still digging their soft, spongy heels into the shag pile carpet that is student fashion. They look particularly ridiculous paired with microminis, but with the legs of skinny jeans tucked into them they even look more pathetic. Gals on student budgets tend to favour the $19.99 K-Mart ones that have about as much sole and street cred as my nanna's jiffies. Still it's good to see that they value having warm feet - even if the rest of their legs are left to shrivel in the crisp air.
The jeans continue to amaze me, as they pretty much have done so for the past decade. Why any woman would want to spend an entire winter allowing the breezes to freely blow down her arse crack is beyond me, let alone the fear-factor of revealing your map-o-Tassie if you accidentally have to throw your arms up higher than your waist. Paired with these jeans are the too-short tops that rarely venture below the navel. How practical, exposing your kidney area to the elements even if they are buffered by several rolls of stretch-marked, goose-pimpled muffin-top rolls.
These tiny, thin - and usually black and red striped - tops provide the witless wearer with about as much warmth as a wet rice noodle, yet for some reason a jumper or jacket with any hint of practicality in it is completely shunned. Instead the chicky babes artfully drape a very long and thin scarf around their necks which unfortunately reminds me of Spud the scarecrow from the creme de la creme of childrens' shows, Bob the Builder.
The leather and studded hip belts - worn with the buckle on one hip, serving to make them look twice as wide and scraping other innocent students on the legs as they pass by - look doubly stupid when worn with those skinny jeans. I feel like shouting out to them: "Look, they even look crap on Kate Moss - on you they just tell me that you bought a pair of jeans three sizes too small and couldn't pull them up farther than the first dimple on your butt cheek!" I mean jeans pockets are supposed to sit on your arse, not just above your knee for heavens' sake!
Boys don't escape my eye either. Punk has clearly made a comeback (in clothing, if not in music), yet most of these whipper snappers were born ten years after it had burned and died. They probably think The Damned are the stoner greenies who refuse to believe that the Franklin got saved.... A bit of eye liner ala Green Day is appearing too, but not noticeably amongst the hetero contingent.
And what is with those t-shirt (normally worn over the top of longer sleeved t-shirts) with designs reminiscent of bargain-basement Target in the 80s? Pathetic paint splatters, nonsensical words and overall scribble - why not just rub yourself up against a dirty brick wall? It's effective and a lot cheaper.
Perhaps I shoudn't just focus on the young and the clueless. The mature age student is also a very visible breed out here, particularly the women. They too adhere to a tried-and-true uniform that has been the characteristic of the female mature student for decades. Sensible shoes - fair enough, no-one wants to sink permanently into the grass whilst on their way to a lecture; sensible jeans - roomy not groovy; an Oxfam International shirt worn over a polo neck; greying long hair either cut boy-short or worn long iwth tortoiseshell combs; rimless glasses; and long, dangly earrings. More often with a moustache than not and often jingling with brass bangles and copper ringlets.
Very few men are found with this group and, for those that are brave enough to venture into this learned lesbian stronghold, they are the tiny, skinny, silent kind. The vegan sticks of sinew who lean towards the sun to photosynthesise on their way to philosophy tutes, who gently walk around beetles on the footpath and bring their own thermos so as to not pollute the environment with more paper cups.
Bless them all - the place is alive with them and it's a bloody great place to work.