Freshers: Clothes

Freshers Guide 2012/2013

…adapted from all the Freshers guides before


Before Leaving             Bring/Buy?             Clothes             Settling In


What to wear, from head to toe






Warm Clothes

Formal Wear


Below are some of the clothes that you might need to bring and the average prices in Scotland.

  • T-shirts and Shirts [£10 – £14]
  • Long Sleeve Shirts / Blouse [£15 – £30]
  • Jeans [£20 – £50]
  • Shorts [£15 – £25]
  • Gloves [£5 – £15]

Edinburgh has most of the high-street shops on Princes Street, including Topshop, H&M, Gap, River Island etc. Primark is set to open in December. Urban Outfitters is coming but an opening date hasn’t been set yet. Sales get quite good – One can get a Topshop skirt for £10 or less, and there’s a student discount of 10% in a large number of shops! (Even on discounted items!)

For cheaper clothes there’s the charity shops on Nicolson Street, quite a lot of high-street brands get donated as well, but they come in quite large sizes. If you’re lucky you can get quite good stuff there. Extremely useful for getting fancy-dress costumes on a budget.

For more unique clothes Cockburn (pronounced Co-burn) Street is the way to go! Stuff can get quite pricey though.


Girls: No matter what people tell you, you can wear sleeveless stuff around. Just layer in autumn, and you’ll be glad for them in spring.

Otherwise, a good rule of thumb is “if it can go into the washing machine, bring it”. Be careful with t-shirts with prints, they can usually go into the wash but not the dryer. Lightweight jackets are good for the first 4-6 weeks and last month or so, but aren’t really necessary unless they’re really nice and you feel the need to show them off.

If you’re thinking of clubbing/going out to the pub loads, Edinburgh really is a student city, and there’s no problem going in just something casual. People even wear society tees to club. That being said, there are a lot of people who dress really nicely to go out, so you won’t feel left out if that’s what you’re comfortable with.


In a nutshell: This is uni, no one is going to notice if you only have 2 pairs of jeans. Or one. Some wear the same pair over and over again.

Skirts and heavier shorts can be worn all winter with tights, but lightweight pleated skirts aren’t advisable unless you enjoy constant terror and panic while holding down your skirt as you walk. Coloured jeans are nice, but if you’re a guy everyone will start recognising you by what you wear. Shorts are fine, there are boys who wear berms and slippers in December, possibly because they’re used to the weather, but probably because they woke up late or ran out of clean laundry.


If you live in your Havaianas, bring them. You can wear them around your halls, flat, to do laundry, to visit your neighbours. If you live near a supermarket and are lazy, you will brave the cold to wear slippers. Otherwise, Sept-Oct and Feb-May are sort of warm enough to wear them around, depending on how tolerant you are. They might break though. Havaianas cost £19.99 in Schuh. If you have them in Singapore, or you’re thinking of getting a pair, find a friend from a tertiary institution to get yourself 20% off and buy them from NUM instead.

Waterproof shoes are highly recommended as it rains quite a lot and wet socks are not pleasant. If you wear slippers that solves the problem, though you won’t be able to feel your feet for ages if it’s cold and rainy.

Track shoes/cross trainers/soccer boots are more expensive in Edinburgh.

Prices for leather shoes are comparable, but branded shoes like Doc Martens are much cheaper.

Prices for ladies’ dress shoes are also comparable, though there are limited chances to wear them.

Trekking boots are very useful for trips. Can be rather expensive in Edinburgh so NSmen may want to bring along their Army boots which serves as a good replacement.

Don’t bring heels that hurt – You’ll have to walk in them and if you they hurt you’ll have to walk barefoot. The floor is cold, and there are loads of tiny bits of glass, especially during football/rugby season and Freshers’ Week. Covered toe and peeptoe heels are fine, others don’t make much sense if you’re wearing them with a skirt/dress ‘coz you’ll be cold.


Hats look nice. Some keep your ears warm. It’s cool enough to wear them, but they fly if it’s too windy. Beanies don’t fly, if you like beanies.

Scarves keep your neck warm, but aren’t really necessary if you have hoodies.

Gloves are quite useful, unless you lose them quick and have problems opening your wallet/using your keys while wearing gloves. Sadly the alternative is just hiding your hands in your pockets constantly.

Warm Clothing

We advise buying most of such items in Edinburgh. [£25 – £35 in departmental stores, £16 – £20 in street markets, but quality shows in price]. You get much more variety here which is more suited for the weather and this frees up precious luggage space also.

Get sweaters! Wool jumpers are for cold outdoor use while cotton ones are only good for indoor wearing (unless you layer loads). Shop around for the best buys during the John Little/Robinson sales but Edinburgh offers better variety and sometimes price.

Try to buy a wind-proof and water-proof jacket, as it rains quite often in Edinburgh. Denim is only good in autumn and summer but hardly practical in winter. Get a cheap one in Singapore as you can always get better ones in Edinburgh. Stores like BHS and Marks & Spencer in Edinburgh sell inexpensive and relatively good jackets.

You won’t need thermal undergarments or long johns as it’s not that cold, but they’re handy if you intend to go on a ski trip during winter. Also, ski garments (jackets, gloves, snow glasses) aren’t worth buying for only one ski trip, so you might want to get them second hand or borrow them from seniors instead.

Don’t buy/bring too many super thick coats. Even if it seems weird to be wearing the same jacket all the time, you really don’t need more than one for winter. Loads of people do it – you’re a student after all. Also, storing them over summer/bringing them home is a pain.

Formal Wear

A suit for formal dinners and Ceilidhs (Pronounced Kay-lee; Traditional Scottish dance) will come in handy for gents. A good selection can be found in Edinburgh reasonably priced from £100 – £200. Best deals come during the Summer and Christmas sales. Ladies will require party and evening dresses for the same purposes. Again shopping in Edinburgh is not a problem.

If you are attending a function before the Christmas Sale, e.g. Hwa Chong Nite, you might want to bring a suit or an evening gown over from Singapore.

The likelihood of you attending a formal dinner is actually quite low, and people do wear t-shirts and jeans to ceilidhs. You’ll probably only need formal wear if your course has a ball (usually in Semester 2, probably only Law, Medics, Vets), if your coursemates decide to dress up to go for lectures (probably only Computer Science), or if you’re in some sort of posh society* (e.g. Boat Club). If you don’t have space in your suitcase, don’t bother bringing it.

*of course this will return to bite me in the ass and Singsoc will have a formal dinner next year.


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