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Student overalls: 10 essential rules

(Article:) Nelli Lapintie
(Photos:) Nella Keski-Oja Translation: Ree Melanen
  • Students celebrating First of May 2017 in their overalls.

Overalls are an essential part of the Finnish student culture, but how to wear them?

The etiquette varies between towns, universities and subject associations. Many rules have become more lax than they used to be. Nevertheless, a first year student, or fresher (fuksi), must be mindful of the core principles of their new uniform.

Here are the essentials, compiled in one handy list!

  1. A fresher must earn their overalls. They may do this at the overall initiation or by completing some other task as dictated by their subject association, like by completing their fresher's pass. (Well, overalls can usually be bought without taking part in these rituals.)
  2. You may not borrow your friend's overalls or give your own to others. Used overalls may not be sold.
  3. You may exchange a piece of your overall's leg with your significant other. You might want to wait for things to get more serious before doing this if you want to spare your legs. In the event of a breakup you may ask for the piece back, but few do.
  4. Double majors and major switchers may combine bits of their overalls. Industrious students might split both overalls in half and sew them back together.
  5. Overall patches are to be sewn on, not glued or affixed some other way. Though this is more a matter of taste than a hard rule.

    The cleaning of the statue of Lilja and placing a student cap on her head are First of May traditions in Turku.

  6.  Never cover up the large logo on the back. Sleeves must be wrapped around the waist in a way that leaves the logo visible.
  7. Party patches must be from parties you have attended. This rule is divisive.
  8. You may collect memorabilia other than patches. For instance, strings of beads from Nightclub Marilyn are a popular overall decoration in Turku.
  9. If you need to wash your overalls, you must be wearing them for the wash. Taking a dip in Aurajoki used to be the standard washing method, but nowadays a normal shower will do. However, washing should be avoided.
  10. When you are wearing overalls you represent your university, subject association and students in general. You must act accordingly, i.e. try not to cause offence.

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