This Australia Day, like many before it, saw a large proportion of Australians dressed in Aussie flags, brandished in temporary green and gold tattoos, and flaunting novelty barbecue aprons. However, this shouldn’t detract from the very real fact that Australia has a thriving, unique and iconic fashion industry, which we all benefit from year round.
Having been living out of the country for six months now, there are certain Australian products I miss a great deal more than Tim Tams or Twisties; fashion feeds me far more than iconic national snacks ever could. So as our national holiday has come and gone, I’m taking the chance to celebrate all that is fun and fabulous in Australian fashion, including the good, the bad and the Ugg-ly.
Let me see that thong: As a nation, it’s impossible to deny that thongs fall into the wardrobe staple category. In fact most people probably own a casual and a ‘good’ pair, for those more formal occasions where average thongs make you feel just a tad under-dressed. Thongs are undeniably one of the most fun things to shop for; they don’t require stuffy, unflattering change-rooms, they’re inexpensive and Australian surf brands like Rip Curl and Billabong continue to produce creative, fun designs, that can’t help but get you excited for summer.
The good, the bad and the Ugg-ly: Our winter version of the thong has to be Ugg boots, which are a bit of a dividing topic; you either love them or hate them. To their credit they’ve taken a simple concept, built a brand, gone global and are now a lot more fashion forward with all kinds of variations on the original Ugg as well as leather boots and accessories. In the UK, they’re all the rage – and twice the price – so they must be doing something right.
Bathing beauties: Admittedly, not always the most fun item to shop for but it’s impossible to deny that we do bathers very well in this country. There really is something for everyone and an increasing variety of flattering options for every shape and size, if you’re willing to try what’s on the market. Every Australian supermodel has her name on a bikini line these days, from Jennifer Hawkins to Megan Gale, and iconic surf-brands like Rip Curl, Billabong and Roxy continue to create really fashion-forward bikinis, as do the once-generic Speedo brand. For mens swimwear I’m crazy about Aussie Bum (the catalogue models may have something to do with this… ladies do yourselves a favour and go to the online shop immediately). Aussie Bum make uber-cool speedos, trunks and shorts for boys, that encapsulate both our national beachy, surfy style and our not-so-secret obsession with ogling at men in speedos – just count how many times Tony Abbott and Ted Baillieu have been plastered across the front page of a newspaper coming out of the surf.
Sassy denim: Local label Sass and Bide is one of Australia’s biggest fashion success stories, coveted in Australia and recognized all over the world. Their jeans are iconic, and rightly so; they’re fabulous fits, have a wide range of styles, just the right amount of stretch and are effortlessly cool while still being very high glamour; definitely worth investing in a pair or two.
Down under: Who doesn’t get excited by Bonds underwear? The gorgeous models, the fun, sexy commercials, not to mention inventive, playful designs combined with comfort. It’s the essence of Australia all wrapped up into a cute boycut brief. Bonds trunks for men are super sexy and masculine while the womenswear range is ultra modern while still maintaining a great girl-next-door quality.
Surf’s up: A worship of surf brands is practically a rite of passage in every Australian teenager’s life; the trucker caps, the back-packs, anything with a wave pattern on it, will forever hold an appeal for young Aussies. Not to detract from this, but Aussie surf brands have really evolved since the years of a young Julian McMahon swanning round Summer Bay in Rip Curl tank tops. Cool tees, chunky winter knits, chic watches and accessories, and fun summer dresses aplenty; for trendy seasonal wardrobe pieces it’s always worth checking the surf shops before blowing your budget at the designer stores.