By Thomas Cuthbertson
Before making my debut at this most august educational institution, my preconceptions were, I imagine, much the same as those shared by most people. Essentially, they were presumptions marked by the unapologetic tendency towards stereotyping. Peering southwards through the dense mists of heady Gregg’s pasty fumes that give my proud homeland its iridescent lustre, I glimpsed the shimmering spectre of bleached gothic sandstone and neatly tonsured quads against a human backdrop of privilege and intimidatingly good posture. In my mental wanderings I witnessed the huddled members of Oxford University, a rich sartorial array of colours, textures and inscrutable tailoring. I saw droves of well-spoken students clad in newly waxed Barbour jackets, chunky cords and musty tweeds. I saw the perennial posh-boy pairing of dress shoes and frayed jeans with crisp rugby shirt as optional upgrade. I saw colours and hues of trouser I had never imagined, rogue shades that are simply too strident, too challenging, too confrontational to be muzzled and contained within the pigmentary limits of the Pantone palette. Such preconceptions – some would conceivably call them prejudices (class chip on my shoulder? Moi?) – lay heavy on my mind as I descended from the glorious North by the good grace of the ever-accommodating Megabus plc. I do not think that it would be unfair to suggest that, since arriving in Oxford, a large number of my sartorial (cough) prejudices have been at least partially confirmed (or indeed wholly confirmed if your site of research happens to be the King’s Arms). Immediately prior to coming to Oxford, whilst I was still wondering whether my vintage Newcastle United shirt was an acceptable ‘subfusc’ component (it has a collar…), I decided in a characteristic act of antisocial behaviour that the best way for me to make new friends here would be to pre-emptively alienate everybody in the city. So was born my short-lived blog ‘The Yahtorialist,’ a faithful parody of Scott Schuman’s procrastination staple, documenting Oxford’s contribution to the sartorial avant-garde. Irreverent piss-takes aside, I sincerely think my (now happily defunct) efforts do highlight a legitimate opportunity. Whilst New York, Paris and Milan are eternalised by thesartorialist.com or jakandjil.com, the closest we get is lookatmyfuckingredtrousers. All jokes aside, I do think that there is a space for an Oxford ‘streetstyle’ blog (quadstyle?) to document the sheer sartorial bafflement this city induces on a daily basis. Or are the aforementioned pasty fumes clouding my vision from afar?