Australian Fashion Spotlight: A Guide to Down Under Style
Australia has long been known for its laid back lifestyle and beachside setting. With images of blue skies and clear water being conjured up at the very name of the country. So, it would be safe to say that we have a wardrobe to match. With strappy sandals and light coloured linen covering the backs of the sunburnt nation. This may be true for those lucky enough to live in our warmer states, but for many of us, we spend more time in coats than caftans. Here we break down what exactly is Australian style? And, how can you emulate it?
Melbourne is arguably known as Australia’s fashion capital, with the state firmly projecting the message that Australian fashion is more than just thongs and sarongs. Its reputation as the moodiest state fashion-wise is reinforced by the almost patriotic love for all shades of black. However, this doesn’t mean that they are allergic to colour by any means. The state is known to explore with style; Melbourne fashion week is filled with loud patterns, and bold hues all brought together inside an exaggerated silhouette. They tend to be far less trend-driven with more attention focused on finding your own personal style and experimenting with it. Within each little pocket, you will find fashion plays out as a reflection of the culture and lifestyle within. The suburbs north of the Yarra are known for their grungier vibe and strong op-shopping culture whilst bayside residents make way for a more relaxed and sporty aesthetic.
Australian fashion house Dion Lee is wildly popular in the Melbourne fashion scene due to its edgy yet functional designs, whilst smaller Melbourne born brands like Bye Bambi already have a cult following thanks to their ability to play with proportions whilst also showcasing colour in a way that feels avant-garde yet also wearable, the perfect combination for the quintessential Melbournian.
Whilst Melbourne is defined by its more grungy and experimental style, Sydney fits into the role of its more sophisticated sister. The state is known for its refined and chic aesthetic, with polished and tailored clothing ruling the fashion scene. Whilst Melbourne street style plays around with texture and colour, Sydney’s feels more like fashion week every day with the locals exuding low-key glamour. The trends that dominate the streets are far more tonal and subdued. Patterns are less likely to be garish and eclectic and more likely to be traditional and understated, like tweed or a check print. A Sydneysider is defined by their ability to look timeless in any situation.
Sydney’s classic fashion sense is likely influenced by the fact that so many of our major fashion houses are based there. Iconic Australian label Viktoria & Woods reflects the quintessential style of the state with quality lightweight fabrics in fresh neutral hues. A Sydney resident needs to be able to go from desk to dinner and still look polished and appropriate. It heavily juxtaposes Melbourne’s mood and plays the part of the put together big sister to the more edgy younger sibling.
If you’re looking for the relaxed and unpretentious style that Australia is so known for, then Queensland style will be a favourite. The waterside state is known for its eternal sunshine and magnificent beaches, so naturally, it has a wardrobe to match. Here, dressing for the weather is essential, there is very little need for layers or thicker fabrics. Instead, swap your leather for linen and remember to keep a hat on you. Rather than relying on eye-catching ensembles, the true way to let your style shine through in the warmer weather is via beautiful colours and eye-catching silhouettes as well as knowing the importance of accessorising correctly.
Resort and swimwear brands like Matteau and Mister Zimi create breathtaking designs in a variety of shades ranging from classic neutral hues to bright, striking shades, meaning you don’t need to be lost in layers to exude a chic style, that is suitable for the hot and humid temperatures. In Queensland, flowy, low maintenance dressing is the aim of the game, with open-toed shoes and dainty jewellery being a mainstay, this is not the place for fussy fabric, instead, you can mix function and fashion by utilising a good pair of sunglasses and simple stones in unique jewellery to dress up your daytime basics. Alternatively, to take your cosy caftan from day to night, swap your sandals for a strappy pair of heels and you’ll be ready for a night out. The low maintenance style is a direct reflection of the slow and relaxed lifestyle that Queenslanders boast. At the end of the day, if you remember your SPF 50+ you’ll be sure to fit right in.
Australian style is one that is broad and varied in nature, within each state you will find unique aesthetics, trends, and micro trends that dominate each respective community. Across the board, we boast a natural ease to the way we approach our dressing. Whether it’s low maintenance easy beach style like those subsiding in Queensland or grunge experimentalism like Melbournians, there seems to be a sense of comfort in the way we style ourselves. All eyes are on Australia to see what we wear next.