Fashion Abroad: Edinburgh

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Fashion Abroad: Edinburgh

As a current study abroad student in Scotland, I decided to contribute to The WALK community by sharing some insights into fashion outside of the U.S. This is the first of several articles I will be writing about fashion abroad, and how people of other cultures approach dress. For this article, I am focusing on the city where I am based: Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is primarily a university city. Most people you talk to will mention how great the city is for students. I would agree, although I am not entirely sure if it is more because there are students almost everywhere or because there is plenty to see and do for our demographic (bars, pubs, and live music venues included), without it being too hectic of a city.

Because of this, I thought it would be apt to focus on Edinburgh students and campus style, which is easily transferable to students on Penn’s campus. The University of Edinburgh is a diverse place with students from all over the world, but there are several dominating and easily identifiable trends.

Before getting into these, I wanted to get a feel for how Edinburghians (totally guessing there) approach their sense of style. What are these dominating trends rooted in? What motivates these stylish students when getting dressed in the morning?

It is worth to note that Edinburgh (and Scotland, in general) is a very cold city. Even on sunny days, you will need a coat and scarf. “Warmer days” amount to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but if there is a cold wind (which there frequently is) it feels the same as the 30 degree days. Considering this, I expected many students to dress for warmth, but when asked, it appears they dress mainly for style and aesthetic. I interviewed some local students (aka my flatmates) for their opinion. Catch some quotes interspersed below.

Statement Pants

These range from bold print to bold cut. It is not uncommon to see someone wearing crazy-patterned pants, or super wide leg pants. On a night out, almost every girl will be wearing flares.

“On campus, there can be distinct styles depending on where you live. In Pollock Halls [one of the student residences] every girl is wearing cheetah print flares.”

Stylish Outwear

From colorful pea coats, to patterned trench coats, to teddy coats and shearling jackets, people in Edinburgh have really mastered the outerwear game. It only makes sense since it is chilly practically year round.

Sheer Tights

Despite the cold, girls are not afraid to wear sheer tights around here. It is a great look, but not sure if I am willing to sacrifice my leg warmth for it.

“People in Edinburgh definitely go style [over warmth]. There’s really a cultivated look about people, even if that look seems like you didn’t try that hard.”

Dr. Martens

Fun fact: Dr. Martens was founded, and are made, in England. So it only makes sense that everyone wears them here. Really, even the older crowd can be seen in them.

Statement Earrings and Hoops

Hoops are most often seen on a night out, but it is not uncommon to see girls rocking some bold, dangly earrings. The “tortoise shell” hoop is pretty frequently seen, and something that is growing in popularity in the U.S. as well.


Or sneakers as we Americans call them. Regardless of the language difference, the trend is exactly the same. Dad shoes everywhere.

Most of these looks can be recreated by shopping at stores like H&M, Zara, ASOS, Boohoo, Topshop, and Urban Outfitters — not much different from the U.S. But if you enjoy a good hunt (and a much more ethical option) there are tons of secondhand and vintage shops to find something truly beautiful and unique.

Images Courtesy of: Sunbeamsjess, Pinterest, and Museums & Galleries Edinburgh


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