Three summers ago, a keen bean and soon-to-be fresher at St Andrews, I was busy scouring the depths of the internet for any kind of indication as to what people would be wearing under those luminous red gowns in the picturesque Scottish seaside town I was to inhabit less than a month later. If you happen to find yourself in that boat now, I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know that, unfortunately, while immensely aesthetic, the red gown will not become a wardrobe staple. Equally, perhaps not quite as unfortunately, the town is not a harbourage of rejected applicants to a grand-scale Kate and Will lookalike contest. With that out of the way, consider this your guide. We are the Concrete Catwalk Committee 2019/20, your sartorial guardian angels (whoosh, here she goes, no stopping my hyperbolic analogies now), and these are our St Andrews style essentials.
Amanda, Fourth Year, Director
Over the years I have perfected my daily unofficial-official-uniform, which consists of jeans, a t-shirt and a sweater. I live for great sweaters. A good sweater is like comfort food, and while the key to a great sweater goes beyond softness, if it feels like you are wearing feathers you’re doing it right. Great sweaters have an iconic moniker and I always look for ones with balloon sleeves, bat sleeves, pompom sleeves, etc. Onwards and downwards, as far as jeans go I identify as a high-waisted-wide-legger – but know all are welcome here. Pack leggings or fleecy tights to wear under them, though, because come October you will be freezing. The best thing to bring is ALL of your accessories. Personally I am an earring person and always ALWAYS travel with all of my earrings because they take up little to no space and make me feel like I’ve got my life together. Final nugget of wisdom is to bring shoes you can walk in for hours and that are waterproof-ish because contending with the cobblestones is an occupational hazard of any St Andrews student. And go for block heels (your ankles will thank you).
Bella, Fourth Year, Director
When packing for St Andrews, good quality basics are essential for me. I will always have a few pairs of leather boots and a couple of chunky jumpers that can easily be thrown on in the morning to complete an outfit. I am also never without a few hair accessories: my pink Ganni scrunchie always keeps my mane back on those bad hair days, and my Topshop headband is the perfect accessory for a dressier event. Most importantly, wherever I go, I will always carry a bottle of my favourite scents. I find that no look is complete without a quick spray of Aesop or, for those more special days, a good spritz of Chanel no.5.
Caitlin, Third Year, Head of Photography
My top five essentials for university include my trusty AllSaints leather jacket which I wear almost every day, my favorite blue jean cut-offs because they are comfortable and go with everything, a little black dress (because of course), my tall brown boots which master the Scottish weather beautifully, and some red lippy. While there are many other things that I lug overseas with me from Colorado (I am a notorious overpacker) these are a few things that I would never leave behind! These things and my camera, of course.
Sara, Fourth Year, Creative Coordinator
When packing for St Andrews I’m big on making sure I have the basics. I’m coming all the way from California and, as a bit of a self-declared book nerd, most of my suitcase usually gets filled up with books that I can’t choose between. Because of that I have to make sure the clothes I do pack are good for everything. My Rothy’s are my new favorite shoes: they’re made out of recycled plastic bottles (!!) and can be put in the washing machine to look as good as new. Their simple color also means they go with everything. I like to pair them with my favorite Levi’s 501s. My dad still has his from his youth and I intend to keep mine in the same way. They’re durable and go with everything! Sweaters are an everyday essential when you’re a perpetually cold Californian abroad. The one pictured here was actually a guy friend’s before he accidentally shrunk it in the wash! The boy cut to it makes it one of my favorites. I like to keep my sweaters really basic colors so that I can mix and match them with jeans, skirts, or over dresses. High quality sweaters that can be worn year after year are the way to go – they’re an investment of sorts! A cute, waterproof purse is also a must for occasions ranging from the library to getting coffee with friends. For balls I usually opt for LBDs since they’re classic, easy, and can always be given a fresh pop with different jewelry, a scarf, or bright heels. Most importantly, bring a coat you love because you will probably be wearing it a lot. Here again I like to keep it basic, just so that it goes with everything. Oh and always carry an umbrella! Seriously, even if it’s sunny, carry an umbrella. You never know.
Sophie, Fourth Year, Creative Coordinator
- In St. Andrews you want to look cute, but it’s also freezing. This black shirt is a nice in-between – it’s got fun details but is also semi-warm.
- I saw this lip balm, Olio E Osso, on Goop’s website and thought it looked so cute. It’s a nice sheer pink and the packaging is like a little deodorant. It’s the kind of lip product that you don’t need a mirror to put on, which is very my vibe.
- I am a sunscreen fanatic, even in Scotland…. UVA rays are like the new gluten (aka Satan). I really like this glossier one because it smells like bananas and isn’t greasy or heavy. It works well under makeup, too!
- Ok, this one everyone knows… but Better Than Sex mascara from Two Faced is simply the best in the world. Try it if you are the one person on earth who hasn’t.
- I just need my contacts to see… always an essential in terms of being able to do anything.
- This summer I rediscovered the quaint charm of reading a physical book for fun. And I am hoping to carry this new hobby into the new school year. Right now I am reading “In Cold Blood” because I was tired of everyone talking about it and having nothing to contribute to that specific conversation.
- I love this Dr. Hashuka Rose Light Day Moisturizer. My skin is super sensitive, so this is a great combination of super hydrating and light. It smells like roses, which is a major plus! Also fun fact: a rat ate my tube before this one!
- I, like everyone else, had a great time dissecting everyone’s outfits at this year’s Met Gala! So I was excited I got to see the exhibit in person. That’s where I got this insane tote bag with a cartoon of Alessandro Michele. In a real sense, I love using a tote bag instead of a backpack and it’s just a cute vibe.
- These earrings are just super sparkly… and I have often said that I was a fish in a past life because I love sparkles so much and they could get me to do anything. These ones I got from a random boutique but they are pretty for the winter.
- This Chantecaille Foundation is amazing! It makes your skin glow – in, like, a Jessica Alba way.
- Fenty “Flyliner” is actually so easy to use and makes doing a cat eye not like the worst time of your life. Thanks RiRi!!
- I am a simple bitch so I love gold puka shells…. it’s fancy and beachy and I love it.
- It’s cool to brush your teeth (for yourself and other people). I like this Marvin’s toothpaste because it’s old-timey looking and different.
- I love these black Carolina Lemkes because they are ridiculous and extra. Worn best at night.
Maja (yours truly), Fourth Year, Head of Bloggers
I can’t contribute any revelatory wardrobe essentials to the must-pack list. The universal St Andrews packing hack has always been, is, and will forever be: layers. The facts are: 1) St Andrews weather is a liiiittle unpredictable pretty much always, 2) so is my body temperature, and while 3) lecture theatres and seminar rooms vary in temperature, 4) the library is always a furnace. I won’t lie, though – it’s taken me a solid three years here to properly figure out the whole dress-like-an-onion thing. I mean, I think I have it figured out. All has yet to be confirmed in the upcoming semester. Anyway, my layering essentials! A white t-shirt (of which I own seven) or a plain tank, usually under some kind of sweater. Cashmere ones are expensive, but warm and relatively thin (ideal for the onion vibe!!!!), plus I just get mine handed down from friends and their dads (see pictured sweater). Sometimes, when I’m feeling *EdGy!!!*, I exchange the sweater for a hoodie. Light jackets are a surprisingly recent revelation in my additive approach to apparelling – a blazer or a denim jacket can be worn on their own, or layered under an oversized coat in the colder months. Sturdy jeans are another go-to for me (I like a low elastane:cotton ratio), just for comfort and practicality. Personally, I don’t tend to layer underneath, but I’ve heard thermal leggings save sensitive legs on dark winter walks to and from the lib. Moving on: pictured are my all-black Doc Martens (recent obsession), which I intend to rotate alongside my various alternative black boots. Make sure yours are comfortable, water-resistant, and BLOCK HEELED because the cobblestones are RELENTLESS. As for accessories, I’m a vocal proponent of winter sunglasses, a known representative of gold statement earrings, and an admirer of the scarf-as-anything-but-a-scarf conclave (accept me pls).
Madeline, Second Year, Head of Events
My essentials vary due to certain aspects of St Andrews life, including the dress-up culture, cold weather, and formal events. My number one essentials are definitely layers that help me stay warm on cold days, but that let me un-layer when I find myself in a room or tutorial much warmer than the chilly outdoors. My essentials for this include: my cocoon coat from All Saints, which is a major closet staple for me, jumpers of all sizes, shapes, and colors, and warm socks. I also religiously wear my bright yellow, oversized raincoat whenever it rains. Formal ball gowns, cocktail dresses, and casual dresses are another staple for me. With the wide variety of events on, I’m in constant need of some type of formal wear. This was not something I was expecting coming to St Andrews. I had packed my prom and homecoming dresses but ultimately bought several more for a wider variety going to different events. I have also found that casual dresses to wear around the university or on nights out have become an essential for me – throwing on a dress in the morning makes me feel put together with minimal effort.
There you have it! A (more-or-less) concise, (somewhat) varied, (gloriously) illustrated what-to-pack guide for St Andrews. Remember to leave room for your underwear among all those sweaters, jeans, and black boots. Oh, and while you’re here, if this post strikes your fancy you should head to our Facebook page and apply to be a part of the team! We’re looking for photographers, bloggers, stylists, graphic designers, as well as people for social media and events, so there’s something for everyone. With that not-so-subtle self-advertising out of the way: happy packing!