Thelma Plum, singer/songwriter
mummy [Leiszel] taught me everything I know about fashion. I love slow fashion, vintage and recycled clothing. She taught me that from a young age. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up and we used to go to surgery stores regularly. I remember being eight years old and embarrassed to buy anything second hand. I love shopping at OP stores now and when I’m on tour I make an effort to shop there. Mom always told me to wear clothes that made me feel comfortable and good about myself. She always tells me to ask where your clothes are from; She is very ethical with her purchases. I still have many of her 90’s dresses and I make a special effort to wear my maternal great-grandmother’s clothes on stage as well. Mum taught me fast fashion wasn’t worth it.
Kirstie Clements, ex Fashion Editor and author of Why did I buy this?
mummy [Gloria] taught me the importance of grooming – always having a good haircut and colour, nails and makeup. She was very glamorous and threw a lot of pool parties in the 70’s. Desperate to get her hair done (and heated rollers!), she had a beautician come in who used Lancome products from Paris, which at the time seemed very wasteful [Sutherland] County. She taught me skin care and was absolutely militant about sunscreen. Fun and stylish, she also loved loungewear for the home. She wore a flared leopard print quilted jumpsuit which she wore with high heeled mules. It was very Peggy Lee and camp. Not a snob, she insisted on having nice feet and regular pedicures. She loved shoes and handbags and lipstick and it’s an appreciation for things that are beautiful and not necessarily expensive that I take from her. She didn’t follow any labels, there was nothing “fashionista” about her, and if there was only one thing she could afford, she would make sure to wear it and enjoy it. She would admire all the things I had access to Fashion but she’d be just as happy with a $50 pair of shoes.
Collette Dinnigan, fashion designer
My mom Sheila always told me not to wear black in the summer. She was a creative person who hand dyed tie dyes in the 70’s and loved color. She wore capri pants, a striped t-shirt and was always quite elegant with heels or espadrilles – which I like to do myself. She also loved kaftans. She would never be seen outside the house in workout clothes. She bought me a sewing machine for my 13th birthday and told me that fashion is always about finding the right proportions; she never followed patterns and could look at fabrics and knew what to do – i learned that from her too. She died when I was 24, but she saw my first store and loved it. I was all about bodices and underwear as outerwear – nowhere near how she would dress, but she always encouraged me to be creative. I have a new collection next year Collette by Collette Dinnigan which is very much inspired by my mother, because I also design my own textiles and fabrics. With the embroidery, cotton and prints, it has a slight ethical appeal. Mom also taught me the importance of quality and craftsmanship.
Collette Dinnigan Home Candles now available from Myer
Nakkiah Lui, Australian playwright
My mother Jennifer Beale is one of the most stylish women I know. She taught me to invest in pieces that last and to keep it simple. I’ve learned to appreciate classics like high-quality jeans or a white button-up blouse – but also enjoy styling them. She’s traversed a disco and hippie stage and passed down some quality clothing items to me and my sister, including some crocheted suede dresses. She says it’s important to invest in fashion and always look for iconic pieces when shopping. I was at Bloomingdales with her the other day and saw a fitted bodycon dress – not usually my style – but when I tried it on she said, “Yes, I’ll buy it for you.” She’s always encouraging and I’m grateful for that.
Maria Thattil, Miss Universe Australia 2020
My mother [Nicky] taught me the importance of confidence and dress to stay true to yourself. When I was little she put my outfit on the bed before I went to an event and styled it with accessories, frilly socks and shoes. Now, before I go out, I always hang everything with shoes on a rack and enjoy looking at it. Mom always emphasized the importance of dressing in a way that respects you. That means different things to different people, but whether you want to show a little more skin or be humble, respect your body by doing what you’re most comfortable with. She also told me that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. I was so confident as a kid when Mom encouraged that, but as an adult I embrace it.
Make the most of your health, relationships, fitness and nutrition with our Live Well newsletter. Receive it in your inbox every Monday.