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Procession from Brasenose College to the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street led by the Chancellor of Oxford University. Image: Chris Patten

A very brief history of academic dress

With graduation season approaching, academics and students will soon don caps and sweeping gowns. The contrast between the gravity of academic rank and odd costumery can be startling; you respect a Dean but find it hard to reconcile that with – despite its grandiosity – their clownish velvet Tudor bonnet.

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