By Lissy Graham
You aren’t born with great style. It’s something you have to practice and for me, my style has evolved through my teens, twenties, thirties and now, forties – and like a good red, I think it’s getting easier to get better with age. It’s not about the clothes you buy, the size you wear or even the place you live; great style is a form of confidence and you too can learn it.
Growing up I drew my inspiration from my family, fashion magazines and Audrey Hepburn. My mum worked for Myer in fashion and my auntie was a buyer for Selfridges overseas so I was surrounded by fashionable women. That, coupled with ballet, meant a decade surrounded by tulle and beautiful costuming, and my love of corsets and big skirts is still a strong element in my wardrobe.
Fast forward to my early twenties and I found myself newly married with a baby and little disposable income, but still a thirst for fashion. It was also the time of Carrie Bradshaw and the style bible we all know as Sex and The City. So with a head full of outfits I was destined to create, I found my self at opshops and vintage stores across Perth and set myself up an eBay account. I really believe this was the birthplace of my Instagram (@lissygraham_), and many of those secondhand finds are still in my wardrobe today.
As they say, your twenties are for experimenting. There is no rush to define your personal style. You are in the box seat to being a twenty-something today with the likes of Hailey Beiber, Winnie Harlow and Emily Ratajowski, so you don’t need to look far to find an Instagram babe that suits your style. My one tip would be less is more when it comes to flashing skin; sexy is a hint that the best is yet to come.
In terms of where to shop, I recommend Concept M in Cottesloe, Perlu Leederville, Harry & Gretel in Doubleview and Aje. If you love online shopping on a budget, you can’t beat Depop, Glassons and Cotton On. Remember, your twenties is the time to have fun and experiment, so get your girls together and hit the opshop trail!
By the age of 30, I was the mother of three and living in sunny Singapore – the mecca of shopping and branded goods. Singapore has it all, from Bershka and Topshop to Chanel, Hermes and Valentino across the tiny island. You name it, they have it. In fact, my first Singapore purchase was a Burberry black rock studded leather shoulder tote. I just had to have it until it nearly caused a dislocated shoulder because it weighed the equivalent of a small child! It would be Singapore that would teach me about rethinking impulse buys but most excitingly, pushing the boundaries, dressing up and ignoring all the rules of what a thirty-something should wear. Suddenly, I was lunching in Dolce & Gabbana and meeting Paul for drinks in Saint Laurent.
Your style is still evolving. It may be quirky and fun on a Monday and more paired back and sophisticated come Friday. It is also the age of motherhood, marriage and careers with which brings mortgages, two cars and expenses you didn’t know existed in your twenties. In a heartbeat ‘I’ becomes ‘we’.
Look to the women around you whose style you love. Is it a celebrity, someone you follow on Instagram or just a cool mum at the daily school pick-up? The word comfort is big in your thirties. It’s hard to do drop off in a stiletto boot and leather pants (yes, I have been spotted in both and yes, in the drive-through).
I love Scanlan & Theodore, Elle Boutique, Sana, Manning Cartell and Adam Heath. These stores are my go-tos for quality investment pieces that I know I’ll wear 1, 5 or 10 years from now. I mix and match the higher-end pieces with items from High Street, Zara, Mango, The Iconic and Topshop.
Here are the top five staple pieces to purchase in your thirties:
- Leather pants in black, tan or white
- A blazer you can suit up in or throw over your shoulders
- A plain white oversized shirt (you will find yourself living in it!)
- Black pumps that are pure matte, suede or patent (buy the best you can afford)
- High waisted ankle length jeans (with just a slight stretch, so they keep their shape wear after wear)
Turning 40 is really the new 30! Women in their forties are so celebrated now. Being consistently represented on magazine covers and beauty campaigns, they are setting the bar for their younger sisters. Last year, I was surprised to find the biggest group of women that followed me on Instagram were in the 24 to 39 age group and I feel that is something truly special as fashion is ageless. For me, I love that I inspire these women to embrace aging and be somewhat excited by what lies ahead.
My forties have been really all about a fashion-oriented life; I’m the mother of 3 adults now (with my eldest being 21) so I finally have the time and money to indulge myself a little. Whilst I’m still adventurous with my clothes, I love a bralette and high waisted anything. I’m much more paired back with my hair and makeup, I don’t wear foundation and keep it pretty simple with a bronzed eye at night and a sweep of bronzer during the day. My shopping habits haven’t changed that much from my thirties to forties, as I’ve built a wardrobe I really love and actually wear.
So that’s my fashionable journey so far. I’ve loved sharing my sense of style with Perth and I can’t wait to see what my fifties, sixties and seventies will bring. Just know there will be sequins, high waists and a whole lot of Lissy! xx