Oxford Askew

The last month has been one of the best I have ever had. I spent it at Oxford with some of the most amazing people I could ever hope to meet. Oxford is a great place because it was built to celebrate the progress of knowledge. An old school, Oxford’s gothic and classical architecture presents a catalogue of how humans have thought and how that thinking has changed over time. At the center of Oxford is the school’s quadrangle, or “quad.” When you enter, walking through the large pointed arch, turn around, step back and look up. Notice the different columns on each story of the facade. The columns going up progress according to the five classic orders: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite. However the building itself although columned so acknowledging the classical style, is with its pointed arches and other details inescapably gothic. But then again the building material looks and feels classical. My art and architecture teacher at Oxford, John Rolfe, told us that the school’s quad’s architectural language was askew: Although the buildings exhibited the many different aspects one looked for when studying architecture, it itself did not make sense according to any single stylistic practice or rule that usually made up a “good” building.

When I am in England I tend to wear a lot of Ralph Lauren. He, unlike a lot of other designers today, relies heavily on the past and particularly the historical past of English style, for inspiration. Being an American in England it seems only fitting to wear an American’s depiction of Britain’s historical past. Ralph Lauren writes, “Study the classics, Write your own rules.” “Write Your Own Rules” is the slogan for this very blog. I find it the perfect way to not only approach fashion, but as a way to go about life. In fashion there are rules set in place, rules that magazines and our parents dictate. All throughout my time at Oxford I wore my Ralph Lauren sweater upside down. It created a shawl effect. I liked it. People liked it. The convention of the normality doesn’t need to be followed. Like architecture there is a certain language to fashion. It is only a matter of deciphering it and rewriting it yourself.

The outfit I am wearing is not by Ralph Lauren. It is by Rabbit Hole. I met one of the designers, Ben, when I was in Camedon Market. It is actually made right up the stairs from the store (in Britain!). This shirt and pants happen to be men’s. I tried them on and of course fell in love. The pants are camel toned sweater and fastened with a rope tie. The back of the pants sag and the bottoms are best worn when pushed up from the cuff. This is menswear; on me, the sagging quality gives them an edgier rap style. But to me they also conjure up the look of old English riding pants. Wearing them, I play upon the extremes of what Britain was and what it has become: a slightly eccentric place, unafraid to be a bit askew, celebrating the old while boldly embracing the new.


Cecilia Roses

My Look: Rabbit Hole shirt and pants, and Topshop boots


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