My only daughter is almost 16. I am completely and utterly biased but she is completely and utterly beautiful.
Inside and out. Most of the time
The other day she asked me what I thought her fashion style was. She said she didn’t think she had one.
I agreed. I said she had not one, but two style personalities – feminine and athletic. And that sometimes those two styles got mixed up in the one outfit – a pair of Vans with some floral denim shorts. And sometimes they’re quite obviously separate.
And that’s ok.
A personal style grows and evolves as you do. Geez, mine is still evolving. And I can confidently say I had no style at 15. None.
Now, I’ve got more confidence. I love shaking it up a bit, trying on things I normally wouldn’t try – even if it’s to re-affirm that I’m right, a vintage-style waisted cotton frock DOES NOTHING FOR ME. NOTHING.
Anyhoo, the subject of personal style came about after we had spent two hours together having a mother and daughter fashion fix “playing” at Sunshine Coast-based boutique and design studio, Miss Manfield.
We were there after I had the pleasure of meeting designer Natashya Manfield a couple of weeks ago at the Queensland launch of Project Runway. Natashya is one of the contestants in this year’s series, which screens tonight on Arena (8.30pm AEDT, 7.30pm in Queensland).
I loved that Natashya, who, with her mum Kim, run two boutiques (they’ve got one for the guys as well, Mr Manfield) and that she brings a good dose of commercial reality (“It’s not fashion unless you can sell it.”) to the design process.
She has to. Her boutiques depend on it. Miss Manfield stocks Nataysha’s own label, Miss Manfield, as well as a mix of Australian and international designers that complement the label. And it’s all online too. You know how much that pleases me.
It’s a taste thing. It’s a lifestyle thing. Everything here can be dressed up or dressed down. We really focus on how to style items so that you can wear it out at night or during the day. It’s all about fabrics, colours and textures … the way things feel when they’re on. Good lengths and modest cuts. Easy clothing. Not things that feel tight, fussy and clingy.
Back to our visit … there are very few fashion retail outlets that both my daughter and I can flick through the racks and find something that appeals to each of us.
But this is the aim at Miss Manfield and that’s just what happened.
This belt was sold separately to the dress but available in store for $30 – one accessory like this can make all the difference. For Alex’s shoes, these cute nude ballets bought online at The Iconic created an outfit that she’d easily wear to the movies with her girlfriends. An outfit that fits her feminine style personality.
On my feet (yes, here are my wonky toes again – short of re-construction surgery, they’re always going to look like that way … in Queensland in the ’70s footwear was optional. So yes, I didn’t even wear shoes to school, allowing my toes to spread eagle with a mind of their own) are these new and super comfortable Urge sandals from Glue Store ($89.99).
I love how I can wear flats with this dress but dress it up a notch with a statement necklace (a birthday gift from a girlfriend) and a lightweight jacket (this one is one I bought from Witchery two years ago), if need be. Which of course there was absolutely no need yesterday in Queensland when I wore this outfit to a friend’s twins’ baptism lunch.
This dress is a perfect example of how prints are your fashion friend. I love this tribal navy and cream print for its looks but also for its lumps and bumps camouflage ability. There are even pockets on the hips and they don’t make a difference with this dress. Winning.
If I wanted to dress this look up, I’d add wedges or strappy heels and maybe a cropped jacket in a pop colour. Too easy.
I love that this dress is still cute but not overly short (yes, I’m her mother!), yet you could not call it a boring dress.
My daughter could toughen up the pink with a black belt and platform shoes if she was going out to dinner. Or keep it quirky by leaving the belt off and teaming it with the coral coloured Vans I bought her in the US and sleeveless denim jacket for a ride on her bike for hot chocolate with her girlfriend.
It’s not really her style (because workwear is not something she has to yet worry about) but I can see this being worn with kitten heels in a fuchsia pink and a cropped blazer or belted cardi for a fun office look.
Do you – or did - go shopping with your mum? Is this a help or a hindrance? Which stores do you find common ground in?
Fashionista Friday: If you live on the Sunshine Coast and would like to check out Miss Manfield in a parade over lunch and a glass of bubbles, book now for this event on Friday, October 26. Phone or call into the boutique to buy tickets $55 per person.
Disclosure: My daughter and I were gifted these dresses for editorial consideration in accordance with my disclosure policy. I was also gifted the Urge sandals.