For any non-Oxonians, ‘sub fusc’ refers to the academic attire students wear for matriculation, exams and graduation. The term ‘sub fusc’, like a lot of things in Oxford derives from Latin, meaning dark in colour, and, also like a lot of things in Oxford, the tradition has been around forever. However, in 2012, gender restrictions were abandoned and the result of the 2015 referendum showed 78% of voters wished to keep the academic dress. So, since sub fusc is here to stay, let’s get it right.

The good news: 50% of the sub fusc (gown and mortarboard/soft cap) is predetermined - i.e. you have no choice but to buy it from a supplier in Oxford.

The better news: the rest (blouse/shirt, skirt/trousers, shoes) is your choice. Admittedly there isn’t much room for creativity, but you can definitely tailor it to your own taste to feel like yourself in clothing which isn’t at all normal.

While sub fusc seems like something that exists only in the Oxford snow-globe, this year the trend has been ubiquitous on the high street. In light of this, I have chosen a few blouse and bow combinations for those of you who are interesting in combining the sensible with a current trend.

By Holly Beddingfield


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