Subfusc is the name given to the formal dress
worn at Oxford University
. For men
, it consists of a dark suit
, white shirt
, white bow tie
, and black shoes
. For women
, dark trousers
, white blouse
, black shoes, and black neck ribbon
In addition, both sexes are required to wear a black gown as part of the subfusc. For undergraduates, gowns are simple, almost like waistcoats with a long streamer-like piece of material coming from either shoulder. Graduate students, students with scholarships, and students who have earned distinctions, must wear more elaborate gowns. They are longer, and more "flowing".
Another part of subfusc is a mortarboard hat. Strangely, if an undergraduate wears one before graduation, they are liable to be fined by the University! Students are required to carry them instead (they are commonly used as a makeshift pencil case at examinations).
Subfusc is not worn often, but the frequency it is worn can vary from college to college. Some colleges require that the gown be worn when attending all meals, some only at special formal meals. Full subfusc must be worn when sitting all examinations. At examinations it is traditon to also wear a white carnation for one's first exam, a pink carnation for the second, and a red carnation for the third and final exam.