Bubble breakers: Suzanna Johnston

Suzanna Johnston. Image: Katharine Gemmell
Suzanna Johnston. Image: Katharine Gemmell
Suzanna Johnston. Image: Katharine Gemmell

The Saint has once again taken to exploring the nooks and crannies of our wonderful bubble, searching for the infamous Bubble Breakers. These fashion savvy folk look outside the confines of our small town, which enables them to sport a quirky and creative look, one that is a million miles away from the stereotyped uniform that many of our lovely students can’t get enough of.

This month, The Saint is featuring first year Art History and Philosophy student, Suzanna Johnston. Hailing from our country’s capital, Suzanna’s style is the epitome of the eclectic and metropolitan city life.  She’s often spotted wearing chic ensembles that give a nod to times gone by.  We interviewed Suzanna to find out how she tackles the hard question of ‘what to wear?’ at St Andrews’ many social events, which St Andrews stores she swears by and how she’ll be transitioning her style from winter to spring.

The Saint: How would you best describe your personal style?

Suzanna Johnston: It can vary day to day depending on what I feel like and what music/art/films are influencing me at the moment. It’s probably this odd dorky amalgamation of a preppy school girl in blouses, satchels and scrunchies; an Amy Winehouse tribute in gold hoops and winged liner; and a grungy Olsen twin.

TS: Who or what has influenced your style throughout your years?

SJ: [Laughs] It’s confession time, well when I was 13 or 14 the other kids were working their Jack Wills and Uggs and due to my undying love for Audrey Hepburn I was drifting around in vintage floral dresses, with pearls and bows in my hair. These days I literally drool over anything worn by The Olsens, Alexa Chung, Kate Moss and Holly Golightly. Oh, oh! And Mick Jagger, Annie Hall, Brigitte Bardot, Pete Docherty and Patti Smith are also so badass.

TS: What items are you most looking forward to cracking out now that we’re finally transitioning in to spring?

SJ: I wear my baggy, high-waisted Levi denim shorts to death so I’m counting down the days to when I can wear them without getting blizzard stricken legs. Re-watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s recently has really got me hankering after a kimono – a statement one to whap on with charcoal jeans or shorts would be ideal. My go-to spring outfit is clashing a really delicate print dress or skirt with a baggy, heavy, navy knit jumper, tights, and battered heeled Chelsea boots. I tend to incorporate the season’s trends into my own style in subtle ways; the whole underwear as outerwear vibe can be brought in by pairing a really elegant vintage silk cami with chunkier knitwear.

TS: What’s your favourite place to shops in St Andrews? And favourite place to shop at home?

SJ: I’m guessing Rocca doesn’t count? [Laughs] Well the upside of the lack of St Andrews retail opportunities means the SAAS (student loan) doesn’t completely get destroyed, but there are always ASOS packages piling up for me in my halls reception. You can find some odd gems in the charity and vintage shops like chocolate fur coats, The Edinburgh Woollen Mill do mean big jumpers and Bonkers actually do the natchest mugs.

TS: Do you have a wardrobe staple that can be worn with every outfit, whatever the occasion?

SJ: Gold hooped earrings. Every time. Mix up the sizes/styles for each occasion and you’re sorted. Bish bash bosh. Oh and my scrunchie addiction seriously needs to be curbed.

TS: What’s your opinion on St Andrews ‘uniform of style’? Would you ever be caught in a Hunter/Barbour/Ray Ban ensemble?

SJ: I’m not gonna lie [Laughs], I’ve owned the St Andrews triple threat at one point or another, but it’s 100% about time and place. If it’s sunny enough to be breaking out the Ray Bans, then Hunters and a Barbour are a logical no-go for sure. Nowadays I’ve traded the Ray Bans for these vintage round John Lennon numbers, but I pull on the Hunters if I’m at the stables or going on a cheeky welly walk to Balgove, with the famed fedora to even it out. But the Hunters/Barbour/Ray Bans combo as acceptable everyday attire? Nah, get it together St A’s!

TS: A St Andrews life is a busy one, how would you tackle going from casual to glam if you only had a spare five minutes?

SJ: Well luckily in St A’s the dress code from day to night is very similar, so when you’ve only got five minutes to get ready – i.e every night of my life – I whap on a plum/raspberry lipstick, switch up the gold hoops, and I’ll bring out the Urban Decay Naked Palette and amp up the winged eyeliner.

TS: What’s your dream fashion piece that you wish you could own?

SJ: [Laughs] Well let’s just say we’ll make this a formal shout out to any German post-grads who have a spare thousand or so going, I would be majorly appreciative of any Balmain or Balenciaga. That stuff is art.

TS: Are there any pieces you own that have particular sentimental value and if so, then what?

SJ: All my vintage pieces that I’ve got from travelling in Paris or Italy have all got stories and memories that are special to me. I also have this short, 40s, floral Topshop a-line dress that I got six years ago but still wear ALL of the time. I’ve gotten very attached [Laughs]. Oh and I’ve majorly adopted some masculine items into my wardrobe which I have a special soft spot for, for obvious reasons: Papa J’s baggy camel coat and my boyfriend’s flannel shirts.



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