Whilst some people view their first few weeks at University as a chance to reinvent themselves (or at least try and come across as slightly cooler than they used to be at school), don’t try and be something you’re not. This goes double for clothes. If you want to invest in a few vintage band tees or some on point Nike Air Max 1’s to help you find your fashion tribe, go ahead. Just don’t rush out and buy a whole new wardrobe for the occasion. Freshers’ Week is about having a whole lot of fun and making friends for life – not worrying about which shoes go with which pair of jeans. That said, there are a few important pieces that you won’t want to forget to pack.
For your first week of organised nightlife fun, you’ll be wearing your College T-shirt. However much you want to show off your cool credentials by rocking your teeny Topshop crop top or your ‘I Went Tubing’ souvenir tank, resist. Often those shirts are part of your ticket into the venue and will get you some much needed drinks deals. So be sure to pack a few simple things to pair with your fresher’s shirt.
Boys, this isn’t an excuse to wear the same pair of jeans seven nights in a row. If you don’t think you’ll be able to get to grips with the washing machine until at least the second term, please invest in multiple pairs of trousers. For an effortless, one-stop shop, get yourself to Gap where they have every cut and colour under the sun, helpfully arranged into easy-to-use categories. If you want to push the fashion boat out, nab some of their colourful khaki’s to add some flair to your outfit.
For the girls, unfortunately this challenge is a bit harder. If you prefer being dressy, bring along some simple skirts or dresses to go underneath your shirt. If you get your hands on a larger sized fresher’s shirt, you can always customise the cut to make it more flattering. Nowhere does the mini-skirt better than Topshop; from bodycon fluro styles to high-waisted flippy numbers, you’ll have plenty of options that can be re-mixed into outfits well beyond freshers week.
For leggings and shorts, nothing beats American Apparel. There’s the classic Disco pant, obviously, but for a cheaper (and I’d argue, more flattering) option, try their huge range of high-waisted leggings on for size. Or you could just wear jeans. Honestly, no-body is going to care.
For your feet, be aware that some clubs have a no-trainers policy. In York, this rule seems to be enforced only for male punters, so however trendy your trainers are, it may be wise to stick to loafers or vans on Sunday nights (Vodka Revs).
Girls can get away with it in my experience; at least, I’ve never been stopped whilst wearing my wedge trainers. These shoes are a must-have if you’re vertically challenged and want to dance hard all-night without getting lost in the crowd. Heels are fine, as long as you can stick with them all night through to the walk home the next day. Instead of stilettos, opt for pairs with platforms, wedges or chunky heels to take some of the pressure off. Or just grab some flats and get your groove on. Asos and New Look can always be relied on for a fantastic range of shoes in every size.
One final word of advice: York can get pretty cold in Winter. You might be fine for the first couple of weeks, but last year it started snowing on Halloween and kept going until March. Avoid hypothermia and be sure to always take a light jacket or hoody which can be easily tied around your bag or waist if you don’t want to fork out for the cloakroom.
In between the nocturnal fun all you’ll want to do probably is laze about and swap your tales of the night before with your newfound friends. Occasionally you might have to venture out to an induction lecture or the Freshers Fair, so make sure your loungewear is half-way decent enough to be seen slouching around campus in. Invest in some new tracksuit bottoms or cosy patterned leggings, and don’t feel you have to shell out for big name brands in order to fit it. Jack Wills is not the university outfitters of choice for 99% of students; whatever their marketing might have you believe. The easiest and by far the comfiest option is to grab yourself a onesie. They’re unisex and are available from almost every high street shop, or you can make a serious commitment to the comfort cause and invest in an original One Piece. Alternatively, grab a Kigu – these hilarious brightly coloured animal suits are equally warm and soft with an added bonus of being an instant conversation starter.
Again, a onesie can come in handy here. You may not plan on doing much sleeping during this early stage of university life, but at some point you’re going to have to sleep. Even if all you like to wear to bed back home is a spritz of your favourite perfume/cologne, be thoughtful of your fellow hall-mates. The fire alarm WILL go off at least once, and the last thing anyone wants to see at 6am is your stained nightie or ripped boxer shorts. If you’re catered, at some point you are going to end up dashing to the breakfast queue in your jammies, so step away from the silky negligee. Find yourself a pair of simple, classy pyjamas. Fat Face (for the boys) and Boden (for the girls) do some great pieces, and the latter can opt for a luxury option with Hush’s classy range of sleepwear.
A dressing gown is always a wise investment, and you’ll be extra grateful when the heating inevitably breaks down as the lakes on campus ice over. You really can’t beat M&S for their range of what are essentially super fluffy portable duvets. Okay, so they’re not the chicest item in anyone’s wardrobe, but they’re an essential piece of your University sartorial survival kit.