Follow this top style advice from Sydney fashion designers on how to style up our cold-weather wardrobe.
Bri Cheeseman and Andrew Prince began selling printed T-shirts at Sydney’s indie markets five years ago. Since then, they’ve created eight seasonal collections for their fashion line, Secret Squirrel, and have become a cult hit in the fashion press. Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Russh, Madison and London style-blog AllThingsGood.com have all featured them.
“It was something we started with the aim of having a little stall at the markets just for the enjoyment of it. We never actually set out to have a fashion label with stockists,” says Cheeseman.
This winter, Secret Squirrel’s line of sequin tops, dark flirty dresses and slouchy trousers have hit stores. The cold-weather collection is called The White Album, inspired by the Beatles’ long-player. “We were influenced by the mishmash of styles of music on the album and the fashion of the ’60s.”
We asked Cheeseman for advice on how to style up our cold-weather wardrobe.
What can you do to add spark to your look in the middle of winter?
“Shop for cardigans, accessories or unique pieces you can mix into your wardrobe to spice it up without spending a lot of cash. I love vintage shopping for this because you can buy things that are fun to mix into your wardrobe when it’s feeling a bit lacklustre without having to make the financial commitment to buying a brand-new outfit or designer piece.”
What accessories can you wear to make winter less drab?
“I’m a big fan of scarves. An interesting scarf can turn a simple jeans-jumper-jacket outfit into something special. I’ve also been wearing hand-knitted fingerless mittens under my jumpers, which adds a cute splash of colour at the end of your sleeves and keeps your hands warm.”
What are you excited about wearing?
“Fake-fur coats! The shabbier-looking, the better. I like pairing them with skinny jeans and our Helter Skelter sequin top for a toned-down, glamorous look you can wear during the day or at night. I’m in love with clogs and have been wearing a black pair everywhere I go. They are perfect for someone who can’t walk in high heels!”
Is winter a good time to reassess your look?
“There’s nothing more satisfying than spending an afternoon sorting through your wardrobe to lose pieces you don’t wear. It makes you feel so organised and makes room for new purchases.”
What’s the best way to keep warm and still look on trend?
“Invest in a good set of thermals -- top and bottoms! Sounds practical and boring, I know, but that way it doesn’t matter that what you’re wearing suits the cold -- you’ll be warm.”
What’s next for Secret Squirrel?
“Our summer range, in stores late August, is called Deep Blue Sea -- the title of a Grizzly Bear song that was on high rotation throughout the design process. It’s all about the changeable mood of the ocean. There are subtle naval and military themes which work in contrast with the more girly vibe we’ve got going on as well.”
Bri Cheeseman’s 5 Cold-weather Pick-me-ups
1. Winter drink: Sweet, milky tea
2. Winter accessory: Anything hand-knitted, army jackets, clogs
3. Winter fashion icon: “It” girls and rock chicks from the ’60s (Anita Pallenberg, Bianca Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Jane Birkin). Gorgeous!
4. Winter escape: Bundanoon, in the Southern Highlands
5. Winter thing to do: Sit and gaze into an open fire
By Felicity Loughrey for The Style Glossy.
Felicity Loughrey is the managing editor of The Style Glossy Australia. She writes for Vogue Australia, Vogue Living and GQ.