Ladies at Lunch: Fashion Favourites and Faux Pas
Whether you’re a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl or feel more at home in a power suit and stilettos, fashion is a form of expression that portrays your personality in more ways than you might think. This month we ask the lunching ladies to describe their own personal style and what has influenced their sense of fashion over the years.
Every decade brings with it a new era of fashion. From the bell-bottomed flares and platforms of the ‘70s to the iconic ‘80s, when leg-warmers, acid wash jeans, lycra and neon were the order of the day – and who could forget the beginning of the grunge look in the ‘90s that saw us rocking baggy MC Hammer-style pants, crop tops and Doc Martens!
While current fashion trends may not be quite as groundbreaking as these bygone eras, what goes around comes around and we are increasingly seeing fashion flashbacks from these momentous years in fashion. High-waisted jeans, flared sleeves, ripped jeans and corduroy mini skirts now form part of my 14-year-old daughter’s wardrobe – shock horror that her mother wore the same thing more than 20 years ago!
So being the fashion issue, it seemed only natural to ask the lunching ladies about what fashion means to them, who inspires them, how they describe their own personal style and their favourite era in fashion. Joining me for a delicious lunch at the vibrant Cantina de Mad Mex at the Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore was Cheryl Giles, owner of Grill’d Maroochydore with husband David; Katherine Allan, operations manager at Henzells Caloundra; Richelle Reeves, owner of Suncity Travel Caloundra; photographer Tanya Chesterton Smith, and Kara de Schot, general manager at Profile.
profile: How would you describe your own style?
cheryl: A good friend told me just last week that I was classic with a modern twist, so I’m going to go with that! I have never really known how to dress for my body shape but three years ago I went shopping with a stylist in Brisbane for a new winter wardrobe and it was the best $3000 I have spent in my life. She pulled out all of these stylish boots, fitted pants, simple silk tops, elegant jewellery and dressed me, and I thought I looked amazing. I know I can do it, so now I try and go for simple styles, avoid patterns and stick to the things I know I look good in.
katherine: I don’t actually think I have a personal style, because I came to Australia from Ireland when I was 22 so I was used to always being covered up. I am never happier than when I’m in my Doc Martens, jeans and a t-shirt.
We have a corporate uniform at Henzells, which is great. I would struggle if I had to come up with something different to wear every day. I recently performed in a big concert at QPAC and I had to wear a big ball gown, which was right out of my comfort zone.
richelle: I’m very much about comfort as well. My favourite item is definitely jeans. One of my girlfriends was in my wardrobe the other day and counted 35 pairs of jeans! I adore shopping but I often buy the same thing. I also love dressing up – and wearing gorgeous dresses. I really love fashion but I often think it’s not for me. High fashion can be a bit too hard.
tanya: I never wear corporate-style clothes because of my job. Being a photographer, you have to be able to move around. I guess my style is a bit boho. People send me pics and say this is a Tanya dress, so I must have certain style without knowing. I love light, flowy dresses worn with a denim jacket in winter. I also love jeans and a white shirt with a bit of lace. I have recently discovered online shopping and I love it.
katherine: All the girls at our office shop online – at least one parcel is dropped off per day at the office for someone.
kara: My parents were farmers and wore overalls most of the time, so style was not even on the radar growing up. Since moving into the GM role at Profile and having more face-to-face contact with people, I do tend to put more effort into how I look. I work with very stylish ladies so I pick up lots of tips from them.
profile: What is your favourite era of fashion?
cheryl: Probably the ‘80s because that is when I was a teenager, so it was fun even though it was dreadful fashion – we wore rara skirts, big wide belts, hair bands with bows and big dangly earrings, batwing jumpers and neon, jelly shoes and jelly bags to match.
katherine: Yep, loved the 80s. I grew up with a strict dad and I wasn’t allowed long hair and nails. But when I was able to sneak out of the house, I had the bright blue eye shadow on and my red patent shoes with a big red bow on the side. If I go to an ‘80s party I dress up as a punk every time. Any tune from the ‘80s, I will know it.
richelle: I love going back to the classic 1920s or 1930s, when clothes were beautifully tailored and women looked so elegant and feminine. They dressed for their figures and it was good to show off your curves.
tanya: I love the ‘70s. I remember what my mum used to wear. I really loved how the ladies used to dress in the ‘50s too when they wore a hat and gloves. It was so feminine.
kara: I was a bit young to appreciate ‘80s fashion but I really like the fashion now. It combines many bygone eras and you can be a bit crazy and no one bats an eyelid.
profile: What was your biggest fashion blunder?
kara: I have an incredible amount of hair and I have only learnt in the last five years that I need to keep it long and I now have it chemically straightened. When I was little my parents cut it above my shoulder and it literally sat like a triangle. I remember telling my friends about the hair and they didn’t believe me until I showed them pictures.
tanya: Probably high-waisted jeans. I see people in them these days and I think they look so bad. Once you have done them and then they come back, it’s worse. Your bum looks so much bigger in them!
richelle: We went through this phase of wearing MC Hammer pants with halter tops and Doc Marten boots – it was awful! It was mid ‘90s.
katherine: I went through a phase when I first came to Australia when I wore my shirts tied up at the front. I look back now and think I really had no clue. My hair is like Kara’s too, so I never wear it out. It’s always up.
cheryl: For me it was the colour beige. In my early 20s I had this phase where I wore everything in beige or cream. After I met my husband and we had been dating for a while, I remember him saying, beige again! When I look back at photos I can see what he meant.
profile: Who is your style icon?
cheryl: I have two. The Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Kate. She is so classic and she looks stunning but wears modest clothes. The other is Victoria Beckham. I love the way she has evolved in the last few years.
katherine: Grace Kelly and Jackie Onassis.
richelle: Blake Lively – she dresses simply and beautifully. I also really like Kate Hudson.
kara: Kate Winslet. I like a bit more of a modest look. I much prefer a beautiful outfit than too much skin.
CANTINA de MAD MEX
Being a big fan of Mexican cuisine, I am surprised I was yet to dine at a Mad Mex eatery until recently sampling the popular chain’s newest addition Cantina de Mad Mex at the Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore. I had walked past the vibrant eatery several times on my way to the movies and was drawn by the bright decor, colourful furniture and South American soundtrack, so I was delighted to finally try their delicious menu (and a cheeky cocktail of course) during my lunchtime visit with the ladies.
Owner Tyrone welcomed us with the drinks menu offering a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. I couldn’t resist the classic mojito (for research purposes, of course!), with freshly muddled limes and mint with Havana club 3yr anejo – devine. The Mexican non-alcoholic sodas were a popular choice among the ladies and included delicious flavours such as mandarin, grapefruit, guava, mango and watermelon.
We kicked things off with some warm, hand-cut traditional corn tortilla chips served with salsa and freshly-made guacamole, which were delicious and a great precursor for what was to come. Next, we enjoyed some jalapeno rellenos (poppers) – three jalapeno chillies filled with cream cheese and fried to a crunchy golden perfection; empanadas, traditional South American crisp flaky pastries with your choice of salsa; and papas criollas (my favourite) fried baby potatoes, served with roasted tomato salsa and sour cream. Yum!
Just when we thought we couldn’t fit another thing in, Tyrone presented us with a selection of mouth-watering main dishes including quesadilla – toasted tortilla filled with a special cheese blend, onion and capsicum and your choice of filling (ours was chicken), with salsa and sour cream on the side; as well as the grande melt from the burrito range – a delicious classic burrito toasted with your favourite fillings, salsa and fajita mix; and of course we had to try some of their famous nachos smothered in melted nacho cheese and sour cream, stacked with delicious toppings. Each dish was packed with flavour and I would highly recommend ordering a few dishes to share (as we did) to sample the array of dishes on the menu. With tacos and nachos being the number one requested dish in our house, I know where we will be going for our next family dinner!
Shop 181-182, Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore
Phone: 5479 0520