When I was a kid I really loved dressing up, so maybe I’ve loved clothes forever. I used to make outfits for my barbie dolls out of old towels. I always thought I’d get into fashion design when I was older but I never did. I worked in retail for a long time, then after I had my son Toshi I found it really hard to get a job so I worked as a house cleaner. All the families I cleaned house for had a lot of extra stuff. I thought, they need help getting rid of it or selling it or doing something with it. That’s how I started my second hand shop, Use-Ta.
I wear clothes that I like; sometimes they’re fashionable and sometimes they’re not. I’m okay with that! I also probably pick practical clothes, I have to wash and wear them and I don’t have time to mess around. I really like Vale, they do good denim. I love Romance Was Born and Japanese designers like Merci Beaucoup, Tsumori Chisato, brands that are making something a little more interesting. Fit is important, and good quality fabrics. If something’s good quality, it always looks kind of good even if you’ve worn it a billion times.
Everything in my wardrobe is a bit more boring since having kids, it all has to match and go with everything else because I don’t have the headspace to think up good combinations anymore. I’ve ditched a lot of the “cooler” stuff that I’ve had because it doesn’t get worn.
I buy mostly secondhand and that way I can justify it when I buy my favorite things new. I used to love opshopping but I’m finding it a bit too time consuming at the moment. Right now I buy off Facebook groups or friends and consignment stores, that way the hard part is done. I love markets, I’ve found some real treasures at Camberwell Market. I think buying new stuff all the time for the sake of having new things is ridiculous, it’s a never ending cycle if you keep consuming more stuff. My partner and I have expensive tastes in clothes so if we can’t get the things we want new, we’ll buy it secondhand. I think it’s better to buy nice things used than buying average quality new.
When I think about the thing that I want to wear, I think of the thing that I would like to be. It helps me feel confidence. Clothes have an aspirational value; you wear nice clothes because you want to look like you’ve got your shit together. It can go either way, if you wear something you feel happy with, day to day life is easier. If you go out looking like a slob, you kind of know it and feel different. When I think about it, I try and pick things that make me feel good. It’s human nature to judge people on their appearances; I don’t mean being judgmental but I guess working out whether they’re in your tribe or how you’ll approach a person.
My new pixie cut feels so good; I have a little bit of regret but I’m mainly stoked. I just felt like a change and sometimes I feel that if I want to do something, I should just do it 100%. So instead of a bob (which I’ve had a few times) I went all out and chopped it all off. It’s much easier. My clothes were very tomboyish before this and now I have to balance it a bit more which is challenging for me because I like boys clothes. It’s hard to do androgyny without being totally androgynous. It’s an adjustment. I’m experimenting with higher necklines which look nice with short hair and I’ve started thinking about earrings, even though I’ve never been into them. I don’t like to look too pretty and now that I’m older it’s even less of a priority. People treat you differently when you have short hair too, more like a badass bitch.