We couldn’t believe our luck when one of the creative ladies behind the eclectic vintage and recycled clothing label, The Gray Girls, agreed to tell us more about her happy life in Sydney!
Tell us about yourself and your family.
Our little family consists of me (Tess), my husband Caleb and our little 17- month old girl, Peaches Wilde. There is no shortage of love, adventure, creativity and chaos in this little abode of ours. We live on the northern beaches, Sydney, in a two-bedroom apartment by the sea. Caleb is a stuntman (yes you heard right) He does crazy tricks for movies and TV shows for a living, whilst I’m a full time mama – designer and somewhere amongst it all I run a vintage label, The Gray Girls, with my sister Sharee. We love to socialise and host dinners (where Caleb cooks and I set the ambience and light candles) We enjoy quieter nights too… at least once a week we play Skip-Bo and enjoy a glass of wine whilst listening to Caleb’s extensively and carefully curated Spotify playlist. We have a passion for people and the friendships we have been blessed with. Creativity is something we try to make a daily habit of whether it be taking a photo, picking an outfit for the day or working on a design project. Creativity spurs creativity…. Our life isn’t perfect but we love what we have been given!
Tell us more about the Gray Girls.
It all started in early 2013 when my sister, Sharee, made the leap from quiet, coastal Mollymook to hustling, bustling Sydney. Jobless and completely broke, forced to raid her own collection of vintage loves and grudgingly sell them via Instagram to pay rent. The clothes sold like hotcakes. As demand for the vintage items grew, what appeared was an opportunity for Sharee to do what she loves – “buy clothes” and “share” her finds with other lovers. A common conversation between us two sisters – Sharee (Fashion designer + stylist) and myself (Graphic designer + Visual communicator) was how the two of us could collaborate our skills and create something beautiful! It appeared the opportunity was calling us – et voila – The Gray Girls was born.
Describe your style.
I tend to find my wardrobe filled with a lot of colour, patterns, denim and a few basics – most of it has been in my wardrobe for years. I keep my clothes for a long time, it seems my clothes were never “on trend” so they really don’t seem to ever go “off trend” – it kinda works for me! It’s funny actually… if I ever buy something brand new I have to style it with something second hand otherwise I just don’t feel like Tess. I can never plan an outfit because I tend to dress according to how Im feeling or vice versa… If I’m feeling a bit dull, I’ll wear heaps of colour to push myself out of the dull mood!
Who is your style icon?
I don’t really have a style icon as such but I feel I am influenced daily by the random things I see, people I meet or patterns I spot. I think I get most inspired by subtle undertones of the 90’s mixed with the 70’s.
What will we see if we open your closet?
Patterns, denim, colour and some sparkles.
What will we NEVER find in your closet?
I think you can probably find almost anything in my wardrobe! It’s an eclectic array of everything – but think it’s safe to say you won’t find fish net stockings.
Always my brown leather clutch and currently these beautiful big brown leather jewel earrings.
Staple wardrobe piece this season?
Dark denim jeans and my leather tassel hand bag (My love calls it the big bag of death – it’s so big that it’s hard to find anything in it)
Favourite online shop?
I wish I could list a beautiful array of online shops but my tactile nature steers me to needing to touch and see things before I buy (my husband loves this about me). I usually shop at opp shops or vintage stores and buy all my basics at the mall when needed (which is rare). I have never been much of a brand junkie unless I’m buying jeans – and if I am I like a good pair of Levis or Cheap Mondays.
What does your beauty routine look like?
Early to bed, early to rise is an important part of my beauty routine. My hair is a crazy lion mane so normally I’ll sleep with my hair in braids to tame it by morning. I use Sukin facial scrub at night and adore the whole ECO tan range and moisturiser for extra glow. I have recently switched to all organic make-up and have fallen in love with Berts Bees natural lipsticks! The cherry colour is bliss and can instantly allow you to look groomed even if you are tired or haven’t had time to put on any other make-up (All the mums hola!). I like to try and keep it simple and low maintenance if I can – but one thing I will definitely spend time and money on grooming is my eyebrows…
I love a good set of eyebrows!
What do you do to relax?
Music, cards and a glass of red wine with my love.
What is the best thing about motherhood?
So many things…. I find it such a privilege to have the opportunity to teach Peaches (our daughter) the things that are important in life and the things we think are of value. I love that we get to set the culture in our homes and choose an environment for their characters to be nurtured, guided and embraced. I love chatting with my husband and putting things in place for Peaches, for example, every night we pray over Peaches before she goes to sleep. I’ve really tried to set an exciting and loving culture in our home in small and simple ways, like when Caleb gets home from work we run to the door excitedly exclaiming “Yay! Daddy’s home” – I think it’s a string of all these little things that make the biggest difference in a child’s life. The fact that we can choose what these things are is the best part of motherhood.
What is the best mothering advice or tip you received?
Get outside… whether it’s your morning walk to get a coffee or a 30min breather in the afternoon – get outside everyday.
Mama Role Model
I have a few women that inspire me as a mother.
Firstly, my own mum – she embraced and cultivated creativity in our home and I’m forever grateful for that. She is patient, kind and has sacrificed a lot for us kids and continues to do so even now that we are grown.
I also have two close friends named Tara and Skie, both are a little bit older and wiser then me and both are similar in their approach to motherhood. They have truly cultivated a culture of love in their homes, making it a place where it is safe to make mistakes and there are clear but loving boundaries so each child feels safe and protected. They too have also created a place where creativity, freedom and love is center. So many other women inspire me too – I was blessed to be put into the world’s best mums group – I’m often inspired by them and have grown to love them all!
What inspires you?
So many things, people and places inspire me. I think creativity and inspiration is much like a rhythm. I think the way you start your day is key to being inspired and staying inspired. For me it starts with a cup of coffee, the ocean, a conversation with God and then diving into what I love! I love being able to design for a living! I’m passionate about it and I find that the more I do it, the more I love it, the more I love it the more inspired I become…. I’m so blessed to be living in Sydney and attending a church that really nurtures creativity. I feel like I have landed inside a creative hub here in Sydney and it’s hard to not be inspired when all your friends are inspirational – I have friends that are writers, film makers, videographers, photographers, furniture makers,stylists and fashion gurus! Such a high calibre of creatives in my circle! I am challenged daily and encouraged by each of them!
Sydney inspires me!