How to get the Love Child look

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 37 Comments

I feel like I’m cheating on Nina Proudman a little but I’ve fallen hard for Channel 9’s Love Child.

Love Child is an Australian drama set in the 1960s. It centres around a girls’ home in Kings Cross. A place where young unwed mothers were sent by their parents to have their baby in secret, so they could then supposedly return home to their “normal” life and make like the previous nine months didn’t happen.

The babies? They were adopted out to new families.

I want to acknowledge that a lot of Australian women and their families are still affected by the draconian laws and societal expectations of that time.

After posting on my Facebook page last week, it broke my heart that even in the small SY community, so many were hurt in such a way.

To them I say sorry.

As a young journalist I remember interviewing birth mothers and adopted now-adults when the Queensland laws finally changed in the early ’90s, allowing those involved in the adoption process to make contact. So much unnecessary sadness.

For me, Love Child does an admirable job in bringing this period to light – the music, the fashion, the magnitude of current events at the time and the revolution of change starting to filter through – but I understand that for many the underlying themes would be too difficult to watch.

This post is not in any way meant to trivialise the feelings of anyone affected by these God-awful practices.

Instead it’s about my soft-spot for the style of ’60s and ’70s, being a child of the era and all that. And how a superb Australian cast (I got the chance to see Jessica Marais act on stage last weekend in Cosi – I love how she’s evolved since Packed to the Rafters) brings new life to that style.

The shift dresses, long boots, big hair and smokey eyes just scream glamour to me. And each of those style element can still have a place in a 2014 wardrobe.

Here’s how.

The Joan look

Get the Love Child look:  Joan Millar (Jessica Marais) #lovechild

1. Ping Pong dress $149 @ Birdsnest | 2. Ladakh coat $79.95 (on sale) @ Birdsnest | 3. Tony Bianco boots $349.95 @ The Iconic | 4. Trenery bag $349

Joan is just off the plane from London and has brought with her a London mod sense of style. Get the essence of this style with a longer dress by all means but keep it to just at the top of the knee if teaming with knee-high boots.

Oh, and I’ve dropped the turtle neckline too. No need for those on anybody except The Wiggles.

The Shirley look

Get the Love Child look: Shirley Ryan (Ella Scott Lynch) #lovechild

1. Veronika Maine dress $239 | 2. Top Shop coat $165 (approx) @ Topshop online | 3. Windsor Smith pumps $59.98 (on sale) @ Style Tread | 4. Mimco earrings $99.95

Shirley is older than the other girls and her style still has a strong 1950s influence, with cinched waists (even though she’s pregnant) and closed-toe pumps for shoes.

Here hair and makeup have moved with the times – the wide fringe and strong-winged liner on the eyes – very much reminiscent of the times.

Shirley brings a brassy, sassiness in her style to the group and I love that reflected in the clothes she wears.

The Patricia look

Get the Love Child look: Patricia Saunders (Harriet Dyer) #lovechild

1. Sportsgirl sweater $59.95 | 2. Rasaleela skirt $69.95 @ Birdsnest | 3. Lovisa earrings $7.99 | 4. Lovisa necklace $39.99

Patricia’s style is young and preppy, reflecting her upper class Melbourne background. There’s a hint of mod but it’s a restrained version.

The pleated skirt pictured may not be a style that’s around so much today but Google skater skirt if you please and see how big this similar style is right now.

I’ve not yet seen Harriet without a headband – definitely part of her signature look but also a nod to their popularity at the time.

So tell me … do you watch Love Child? Love the fashions featured? Which character’s style can you most relate to?

  • Haven’t seen the show, but my goodness I’m loving Joan’s look. That coat! Those boots! Maybe there’s a bit of Mod in Sonia after all…?

  • Samantha Keogh

    Yes, sadly I don’t think I can watch the show as too close to home. I was a ‘love child’ given up for adoption back in the 60s. A few years after I was born my birth mother met and married a lovely man and they had a beautiful daughter. Sadly her husband died in a helicopter accident when their little girl was just 9 months old. So she ended up being a ‘single mother’ after all, but this time it was ‘socially acceptable’. She went on to be a successful woman (studying to Masters level) and raise a lovely girl who is spookily like me in too many ways! Sadly I never met my birth mother as she died in a cycling accident training for a Special K triathlon. (Coincidentally I swim, bike, run as a hobbie!) THankfully I have developed and maintained a lovely albeit long distance relationship with my sister. When I finally got my birth certificate it said ‘Father Unknown’ and sadly it remains that way today. I was adopted and raised my a lovely couple but my mother did remark on occasion that 60s weren’t so swinging for everyone! Fun fashion but not always fun times.

    • Oh Samantha, I’m so honoured that you shared your story. I’m glad that you’ve had a relationship with your sister but the missing pieces of the puzzle are just heart breaking. xx

  • Jen ( SE Qld)

    I too am a huge fan of Love Child, love seeing “Rhonda” in a different role and Jess Marais as well looking stunning.

    Like Lisa, my darling mum was pregnant with me, when her and my dad married, but in 1964, and she told me stories of how the Sisters in the hospital still wanted her to put me up for adoption as mum and dad were so young, which she didn’t do obviously, and she went on to spend the rest of her life happily married to my dad until her passing mid last year..I was a fortunate one I believe as I have a friend the same age who was adopted and she has never been able to locate her birth mum sadly..

    I love Shirley’s style the most I think, thanks Nikki.

    • Oh Jen, imagine as a young mum having the sisters suggest adoption. You are fortunate and I feel for your friend x

  • bountifully

    I’m falling hard for that Trenery bag….Cute outfits x

    • bountifully

      just checked it out, so so tempted…

      • bountifully

        done and dusted…its on its way x

        • It looks like a good size for work! Trenery is opening at Chermside next week. At. Last.

          • bountifully

            mmm, I’m thinking tax deductible!

  • Chilipadi1

    Thank you for showing the fashion from the show. As an adoptee, I haven’t gone out of my way to watch the show as I find it a bit confronting. I adore my adopted parents and I hope that my biological parents went through the whole process as best as could be expected. I have no doubt that my biological mother was a fashionista and, as she was 30 when she had me, I am guessing she might be a bit like the Shirley character. I always have had a liking for leopard print!

    • Oh thanks for sharing your story. It would be difficult to watch. Glad you have your biological mum pegged as a fashionista!

  • Karen L

    I love the show too, I was shocked to find out how these girls were treated, my heart goes out to those affected. Joan’s style is my favourite closely followed by Shirley, I really like that blue coat! xx

  • Petra

    Haven’t watched the show but it sounds interesting. I love the fashions of the 60’s tho’ – lots of colour blocking and interesting patterns. I love what you’ve done with the clothes above – you’re very good at finding and matching them to the actor’s.

    • I get determined on the interwebs Petra … not sure my special skill of shopping will win me acclaim but it’s fun!

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I love Love child I am a child of this era too and my mother was pregnant when they got married ,they got married in the May of 1963 and I was born in the November so this show really resonants with me that could have been my mother if things were different .I really like Jessica Marais in this show and I love her style as Joan and I love her flicky big hair!
    My husband detests the show though I don’t not know why,great post Nikki ,Australian TV is getting so much better.

    • Oh Lisa, it could have been so different for you. Thank goodness your parents’ parents allowed them to marry. Jessica’s hair is all kinds of fabulous. No styling irons in the ’60s though … she’d have to be “setting” that each night in rollers before going to bed!

      • Lisa Mckenzie

        Yes it could have been Nikki I was lucky that my parents married and have been happily married for 50years and re the rollers I remember my Nana doing that!

  • Marina

    I was put in a Home in Qld and forced to relinquish my newborn baby son without even seeing him. Thank you Nikki for showing some empathy. The fashions are very good but the dress length on Vivienne is far too short. We didn’t have minis or boots until the mid 70s. We wore our dresses just above the knee. Many of our mums can only watch Love Child a bit at a time if at all because we retraumatise, but I notice they have a Lifeline ph number at the end

    • Oh Marina, I have tears in my eyes. I do. I think the Lifeline ph number should be at the beginning too. Re the dress length I agree, Viv is from the country. Sydney would have been ahead of QLD and so would have had those dress lengths but can’t imagine Tamworth would have been leading the style pack! In QLD, the ’60s style and shorter lengths came a bit later and continued on until the mid ’70s!

  • I haven’t watched Love Child but I do love the look of Joan’s style. That coat is just divine!

    • Joan has a fabulous style on the show, in no small part to her London influence!

  • Love this Nikki! I am loving the show too but confounded by the fact that this all happened in Australia’s very recent history. Shocking. Of the three styles featured, I love the colour of Harriet but really love the glamour of Shirley. I am also finding that very handsome doctor slightly distracting. x

    • It’s crazy that this was just over 40 years ago. I think it’s good that a younger generation is possibly watching and realising how far we’ve come since that time. As for the doctor … mmmm

  • Melissa

    I too admit that I’ve strayed from Nina & Co to Joan and her new besties. Is it wrong to like both Joan & Shirley’s styles??

    • Nina’s taking too long to come back Melissa! Happy with this fix before she does! And no, not wrong to love both styles!!

  • Dizzy

    I was watching the show last night and was thinking how do I get this look? This morning – voila, your here is your story. Love Joan’s look. Thanks Nikki

  • Angela

    Society has come a long way since those days, but fashions haven’t evolved as much. I love Joan’s style too. My 14 year old daughters wardrobe resembles Harrietts style, incl the daisy chain hairpiece .

  • VickiShoppeGirlsBlog

    Oh so have I. I love Joan’s style the best. Adding a feature on her style on my blog tomorrow. Great minds think alike.

    • Great minds Vicki!

      • Amy Vaninetti

        Hi Nicki will you be doing regular blogs on the love child fashions?