FOBs (Part I) – Fashion

So today I begin the first official post of the blog, and the first post will be into the prominent group of international students referred to as “FOBs”. I’m sure most people know what this means, but if for whatever reason you aren’t familiar with the term, a quick Google or Urban Dictionary search should get you well acquainted with the meaning.

The University of Melbourne (UoM) is quite well known for its large contingent of international students. I’d estimate without the help of any official statistics that the overall cohort in my course (Bachelor of Commerce) was anywhere from 40-55% FOBs. This also varies with each major, with Accounting, Finance, Actuarial Studies and Economics taking the crown for having the highest FOB ratios. Marketing and Management, which everyone considers a joke, has a much lower FOB ratio. So, if you want people to talk to, then subjects which fall under these majors would be the prime choice.

Most of the FOBs at UoM, are from Asia, with the main countries being China, Singapore and Malaysia. I guess proximity with Australia has a bit to do with that. I wouldn’t imagine many Europeans travelling all the way to Australia to study when there’s a myriad of tertiary choices throughout Europe.

In my FOB series of posts I’ll cover a number of sub-topics. The first one is Fashion.

FOBs come in all different shapes and sizes, and also differing levels of fashion awareness. Here are a few sub-categories for the different levels of fashion awareness. This list doesn’t just apply to FOBs, I guess a fair amount of local students could fall under these categories too, but I’ll get to that in future posts.

Dressed to impress
A fair amount of FOB girls, seem to dress quite well, some wearing dresses you would expect to see in nightclubs to classes. Often, this is accompanied with make-up overkill, neat hair, and zero preparation for class, which clearly reflects what the majority of their time is spent on.

These girls are often the club rats hitting up Asian night at every prominent nightclub around the inner-city with their fellow FOBs and are somewhat social.. Only in their mother tongue of course!

Fake Louis Vuitton bags are also huge within this crowd, considering most of the FOBs are from China, I’d expect a large proportion of these bags are fakes, but it’s all about appearances right?

I have a friend that falls under this category, she’s Asian but not FOB. Anyway, she lives on-campus and admits that she spends a solid one hour daily getting dressed for university. Whenever I don’t make a comment on her clothes/hair/nails/shoes she’ll bring it up with an open question like..
“What do you think of my hair?”
If a dull response is given, get ready for hell.

If it isn’t already obvious, most of the girls in this category just crave attention. I guess, in my opinion this group is alright, I mean at least they make an effort to look nice, even though most FOB girls aren’t exactly model material in the first place.

For the FOB guys in this category, they will often wear decent collared shirts, sometimes with casual ties and dark slim jeans or other fashionable pants. In winter, expect a coat, sweater or jacket over the top. Some wear will wear dress shoes too, which I think is a bit of an overkill when you’ll probably be walking around a lot between classes, but most will just wear Chucks or other more comfortable alternatives. Recently, I saw a FOB with khaki’s, boat shoes and a cardigan, first thing that popped into my mind was how “White” that FOB had dressed, but yes, there are some FOBs that will try imitating non-FOB fashion, maybe to stand out and confuse you?

The prominent brands in this category of dressers are things like Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, FCUK, Tommy Hilfiger and so on. Many will often wear clothing that openly shows off the brand logo, because appearances are everything.

Mid-tier dressers
These FOBs don’t put as much time or effort into dressing up as the aforementioned sub-category. There’s a strong emergence of American brands like A&F and Hollister amongst the mid-tier dressers.

A lot of them will wear rugby tops or hoodies with jeans. Hair may be a bit messier and generally clothes won’t be as well fitted. Common clothing choices within the mid-tier dressers will be almost the same for both males and females. A lot of FOBs fall within this category.

There are also hipster’s which fall within mid-tier and edge towards the dressed to impress crowd. Generally speaking, the hipster look for FOBs will contain the Hipster glasses, skinny black jeans, and maybe a checked shirt.

Scrub dressers.
These are the worst. Basically, they wear trackies and fleecies with runners. The FOBs that fall within this category are often too nerdy to have fashion sense or social skills and are also overly dedicated to their studies, which is cool, right?

Many of them will wear no brand clothes, or sports brands like Adidas, Nike, Puma and so on. There are also a lot of fake designer brands on their clothes with terrible fonts making the level of authenticity very obvious.

Basically, if you’re a dweeb-FOB then you will more than likely fall within this category. Also, many students doing Engineering or Science seem to dress this way.

For females, wearing leggings by themselves is such a trashy look, definitely a scrub look.

My advice, dress in whatever you’re comfortable in, but avoid dressing like a tramp regardless of comfort.

Of course, this post was a generalisation, so let’s not get all worked up over it, but most people that attend UoM will undoubtedly be able to relate to what I’ve written here.

Next Post: Fob Hangout Areas!

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20 thoughts on “FOBs (Part I) – Fashion

  1. Steph says:

    Hi there. I stumbled across your blog while browsing through the melbuni memes on Facebook. Before I jump into anything, I want to apologize in advance for the following comments (which you may/may not find offensive) that I am going to make on what you’ve written about ‘FOBs’.

    I’ve been living in Melbourne for the past 4 years and am currently a student in UoM. It is entirely true that UoM is swarmed with international students, probably (only) because of its high world ranking. However, it seems to me that you are being somewhat prejudicial against international students (perhaps due to the fact that you did a Commerce degree and didn’t like the fact that you were surrounded by ‘FOBs’) First, I think the term ‘FOB’ is a bit derogatory. I am Asian and seeing as I haven’t been living in Melbourne all my life, my white friends do refer to me as a FOB at times but only as a joke. Call me defensive but I think categorizing overseas students explicitly as FOBs is politically inappropriate. Second, you seem to put a lot of emphasis on their ‘fake attire’ just because China is, without a doubt, infamous for their imitation products. However, that doesn’t give you any right to simply state that the majority of them carry fake LV bags. I am not from China but I do know that the Chinese students here are loaded and chances are that those LV bags which you claim are fake, are actually not. I do agree with you that some people really overdress for uni and spend way too much time putting on 5 inches of make up everyday. But then again, no harm sacrificing just a few minutes every day if you can make yourself look a little better hey?

    Generalizing fashion in such a way like stating “that FOB is trying to imitate non-FOB fashion” just shows how biased you are towards your own race. Though fashion is greatly affected by one’s culture and whatnot, what we wear is what we find appealing to the eye and symbolizes who we are. To think that you’re categorizing people in such a manner just eradicates the whole concept of fashion being universal.

    I know you’re only making general statements about “FOBs” but that’s just my personal opinion about what you’ve written.

    • Inside UoM says:

      I’m sure you realise that a lot of the stuff I write on here is going to be informal banter which is going to be heavily biased by my own experiences. Just like you expressing your personal opinion in that comment, in my posts, I’m expressing mine.

      A lot of it will be stuff people won’t like to hear, or “socially correct” so to speak.

  2. Matt says:

    Hahaha, I read through this and could not stop counting back to how many times I’ve encountered the things you’ve mentioned in this post!

    Looking forward to the next one mate.

  3. cyphix says:


    I could almost say the same coming from Monash Uni. Except the fashion sense was more of the latter categories.

  4. BCom Student says:

    I don’t mind the generalisations/stereotypes, but I agree with Steph that using the term FOBs is poor taste

  5. Ethan says:

    This sort of casual racism is precisely the type that begets lifelong prejudices.

    I’ll be the first person in any group to appreciate jokes that follow stereotypes – I make a few of them myself. But these are said to close friends, and in understanding of a lack of offensive intent.

    Your posts positively drip with contempt for these ‘FOBs’ – and you openly state that this is your personal opinion. Stereotypes should be comedic tools, NOT opinions, personal or otherwise.

    So you can see IPs, good for you. So can others. And I’d like to quote a little piece of legislation for you:

    Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 – SECT 7

    Racial vilification unlawful

    7. Racial vilification unlawful

    (1) A person must not, on the ground of the race of another person or class of
    persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for,
    or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that other person or class of persons.

    (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), conduct-

    (a) may be constituted by a single occasion or by a number of occasions
    over a period of time; and

    (b) may occur in or outside Victoria.

    Note Engage in conduct includes use of the internet or e-mail to publish or
    transmit statements or other material.

    I concede it would be hard to stretch this into unlawful vilification. But I have to admit it is very tempting.

    Do the right thing, and apologise or remove the posts. This sort of behaviour is not what this country stands for.

    • The Ponderer says:

      What does the word “bogan” mean to you? Or “curry”?

      If you automatically just thought of an Indian person for the latter instead of food, then really, don’t you think you’re being a bit judgemental?

      I have FOB friends. I call them FOBs. I called them FOBs before I was their friend. I’ve asked, they were never offended. They’re pretty secure in their FOBness. So your “opinion” is that it’s offensive. My “opinion” is that it isn’t to most. So why is it that your statement is allegedly “right” and must be adhered to?

      It always amuses me that it’s those with some intellectual promise (or some hint of Asperger’s syndrome) that seem to take comedy a bit too literally. Being a man/woman/Wookiee/whatever you are of obvious intellectual pomp (hereto inferred from your ability to copy and paste text), I am sure that you’ve understood the role of subtext in society. If the post talks that they have good fashion sense ( at least some of the time) then could they not progress to become models? Or fashion designers? Is your view of the world so myopic as to be determined by a blog post?!

      Ponder upon that.

      • Brad says:

        I don’t think Ethan said the phrase was necessarily offensive. (He noted offensive intent, not actual intent.)

        He said it was racist.

      • Brad says:

        Excuse my typo – that should read ‘offensive intent, not actual offence.’

    • Brad says:

      Aside from the last sentence (because, first, I’m not sure ‘what’, if anything this country stands for, and second, if it does stand for something I’m not sure it would be counter to this original post) in your comment, I agree with everything you say, Ethan.

      Everybody has the right to hold racist opinions (i.e., thought crimes are not actual crimes). Turning those opinions into blog posts is a step too far, however.

    • YouKnow says:

      Ethan – You are the worst kinfd of completely humorless and pompous arse…without any hope of redemption…

  6. A Har says:

    Are you aware that there are people in this world that have a severe medical condition which causes them to be that way? My mother for instance is one of those people. She is a truck driver that has bad knees and a bad back from driving the truck but you probably do not care about that case either. Oh well I am not one of those people I am 6’4″ 245lbs and I exercise every day.

  7. blablabla says:

    so what do you recommend FOBs to wear then?

  8. Such a well written post.. Thnkx for sharing this post!

  9. says:

    I am lucky that I noticed this blog, just the right information that I was looking for!

  10. Nice work. Keep it flowing… 🙂

  11. Nancy says:

    It is my great hope that you will remove this series of blog posts and refrain from propagating further racist drivel. Furthermore, check your attitude because you come off insecure and bitter in all your entries and I know that’s not your aim. Get some perspective.

    If required, I would be happy to meet in person and chat about why you are so messed up. I am reaching out in all seriousness as I am honestly concerned, and I surmise you would hardly take any comments on this blog seriously. While I anticipate your refusal, my e-mail address is available and open to you.

    Until then, please accept my deepest commiserations because you will no doubt struggle through life without the reality check you sorely require.

  12. bsh says:

    People need to chill the fuck out

  13. a proud "north american" says:

    i lol’d. —–an asian canadian studying at stanford

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