Meet Melbourne-based style commentator and writer Anthea O’Connor — with a CV filled with some of fashion's most exciting roles, it’s no surprise the commentator is an authority when it comes to building a working wardrobe that maximises its potential. That's why we called on Anthea to host a new how to wear video series for Live With Us, launching later this week. Here, the dynamic mother of three shares her thoughts on true style, how to build a chic (yet practical) wardrobe and her favourite new season picks.
What ignited your love of fashion and style?
“I worked as a fashion publicist for many years in Melbourne before moving to London and doing a stint on Fashion Week. To see the catwalk shows on that scale was blockbuster fabulous. Brilliant and intoxicating, I simply loved it. I came home and continued to work in fashion publicity and for Australian Fashion Week. I realised my dream job when I joined Vogue Australia in 2000, it combined my love of writing, fashion and discovering new things. Later, I joined [the television show] The Circle as a fashion presenter and began working with private clients. It highlighted how much I enjoyed working with real women to realise their own sense of style. So my career has kind of done a full circle. I love the frenetic pace of fashion, the unrelenting change and the new. There is always something fresh to see and consider.”
Can you describe your approach to dressing every day?
“Day to day dressing for me is a movable feast, depending on what's on, but it always begins with a pair of pants – boyfriend jeans, skinny jeans, man-style trousers or cigarette leg pants. Then it's usually a crisp cotton or silk shirt and a tailored jacket if I have a meeting, swapped for the anorak I wore on the school run. Some days I love an ankle boot, most days it’s sneakers. My style has evolved from my theory of buying less but buying better. I always advise my clients to buy less but invest in fewer quality key pieces you really love, then wear them regularly. The end result is a tightly edited line up of great pieces that all work together.”
Let’s talk about fashion problem solving – what are your tips for navigating a new season?
“Start at the start. Ask yourself what you need for your lifestyle. Look at your work/weekend/off-duty requirements. Think about what you wear often and what you feel good in. The gaps start to emerge and that is the start of your new season shopping list. Never approach a new season thinking you need to replace all, but rather look for highlight pieces that will add freshness and newness into your line up of existing pieces.”