When you work in a non-corporate industry, the question of what to wear to work is not a simple one. Last month Art Director Matilda Kahl famously wrote about wearing the same thing to work every day for three years, as a way of minimising her early-morning decision making.
But what about the rest of us who don’t opt for the same black pants and white top each day? We chat to Tess Guinery, graphic designer and one half of vintage label, The Gray Girls, about how she puts together her work outfits (while looking after her busy 16-month old, Peaches Wilde).
Broadsheet: How do you go about choosing what to wear to work?
Tess Guinery: Outfits are where my creativity starts. My studio is at home, so I could really be in my trackies all day, but I find that what I wear determines my productivity in a funny way.
Most of my wardrobe is quite colourful – I find it actually helps me get out of a bad mood if I’m in one.
BS: What do your mornings look like?
TG: Peaches gets up at 7am, so we’ll get our clothes on and head out to get coffee!
My favourite places are Cruise Espresso in Freshwater, or closer to home, Dee Why Beach. I’ll usually be in my gym clothes for the first part of the day, until 10.30am, then I come home, shower, and pick something to wear. Then she goes to sleep and I start work.
BS: Let’s talk about your clothes – are there items you find yourself returning to?
TG: Hats are a big thing for me. And patterns, I love patterns. I love a mash of colour. Everything from my wardrobe is probably from an op shop or bought in LA.
BS: I guess that’s one of the perks of running your own vintage label?
TG: Yes! My sister and I run The Gray Girls, it started as a fun hobby and we found people responding to what we were putting online. Now we source everything from vintage stores and warehouses in LA.
BS: Do you hit the op shops in Sydney?
TG: I do bits and pieces here, I’m from a small country town called Mollymook and you could fill a bag for five dollars in those op shops. We were brought up on op-shopping, so we never thought much about it. I found some incredible things – I once found a beautiful Oroton bag for three dollars. I love the hunt!
BS: Has your style changed since having Peaches?
TG: I’ve definitely been dressing more for comfort and convenience. I noticed more so when she was first born, I think it takes about a year after having a baby to kind of find your flow. Peaches is one now, and has lots of personality. You kind of forget about yourself for a year. I went very basic, and with no colour when she was first born and it actually messed with my mood a bit. I didn’t feel like me.
BS: Your home studio is lovely. Where is your furniture from?
TG: My husband, Caleb, works as a stuntman for film and TV, but he also works as a cabinet maker. When we first moved to Sydney he was working as an apprentice and I’d sketched my desk saying, “When you get really good, can you make this?” And I came home from work two months later and it was set up – he’d made it without me knowing. The rest of our furniture is from Mr&Mrs White.