What to wear: May Dip

The bracing North Sea awaits… it may look idyllic now but wait until you’re in it. Photo: Anna McAlpine.
The bracing North Sea awaits… it may look idyllic now but wait until you’re in it. Photo: Anna McAlpine.
The bracing North Sea awaits… it may look idyllic now but wait until you’re in it. Photo: Anna McAlpine.

As we near the year’s end, the infamous May Dip offers a chance for reflection – specifically, upon one’s sins. Whether condemned to failure by stepping on the PH, or sharing more than a few drinks with an academic relative, or simply fastening your academic gown wrongly as a naïve fresher, May Dip is time to shake off the devil and cleanse all your wicked sins.

One of the troubles with May Dip (aside from the thought of entering the North Sea at 5 am) is deciding what to wear. The Dip traditionally starts the night before – pre-drinks, bars, parties and then the Dip. Not only is planning required to survive the night, but an outfit that’s going to keep up with the ever changing schedule is necessary too.

With careful planning, this challenge can be averted. First, begin with choosing layers wisely. Especially for those who live far from town, stylish pieces that can suit travelling from the Vic to the beach and back home again are crucial. Second-year student Lori Anderson faced this dilemma through choosing a poolside holiday dress over a bikini and flats, which she described as “dressy enough for a night out, but super comfy and easy to transfer into beachwear.”  For the sea component of May Dip, Lori explained that she “just wore a t-shirt over a bikini.”

Jenny McKnight, a fourth-year, echoed Lori’s emphasis on the importance of layering, explaining that it was key to her May Dip survival. Jenny also advises opting for “a good beer jacket for running into the sea.”

Even though layering before and after is important, the ultimate sartorial decision of May Dip is whether or not to wear a swimsuit. For the courageous (read: absolutely insane) students set on going naked, the pier is one’s best accessory. Since those who opt for nudity are clearly not faint of heart, why do things by halves? Dare to be extravagant – whether it’s a crazy pier jump, or accessorising with jewels and nothing else. After all, being unique at such a historic event will ensure a legendary reputation.

For those less comfortable with such a public display of oneself, be sure to dig out the swimwear for May. According to third-year Rebecca Kerr, wearing non-swimwear for the Dip is a regrettable decision, finding that the “walk home in them [non-swim clothes] was torturous.”

When choosing swimwear, bright colours and patterns are the most appropriate style-wise, given the energetic nature of the event. For students that lack a tan, be sure to sport regal colours such as burgundy and emerald, which create a complimentary contrast to pale skin.

Having spoken to many third and fourth years on the matter, there is one common word shared by all, and that is ‘FUN’. The tradition itself will be guaranteed fun; so when May Dip arrives this year, don’t be afraid have fun with clothing (or lack thereof) too.


  1. a) Any old swimwear – you’re running into the North Sea at dawn, not doing a modelling shoot.
    b) Nothing.



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