fashion

'All I wear is slow fashion boho dresses. Here are 5 of my favourite Australian brands.'

I spent a huge chunk of my life feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. 

In fact, there was a three-year period between 2003 and 2006 where I spent the majority of my time hitching up my jeans, so I didn't accidentally expose my butt crack to everyone in the immediate vicinity. (Honestly, no one ever talks about the mental load of low-rise jeans) 

This was a time before online shopping, when skinny, low-rise stretchy jeans were the epitome of style and I just wanted to wear what everyone else was wearing. 

Butt crack exposure crimes be damned. 

For years, I tried to fit into the fashion trends. Fashion wasn't something I enjoyed, it was something that reminded me that I had a lot of work to do to be like "everyone else". 

I never felt like my outside matched who I was in the inside. I was someone with a big personality, who lived by her own rules, had a lot of fun and loved beautiful things. 

But on the outside, I just looked... awkward. Unsure. Uncomfortable.

Then a few years ago, I finally stumbled onto my personal style. I found floaty dresses and boots and statement earrings, and I finally started to look like... me.

My outside finally matched my inside.  

Around this time three things happened: 

1. I started to feel more confident in who I was as a person and my body; 

2. I finally had an income that meant I could invest in quality pieces; and 

3. I was sick of wearing clothes I hated and that inevitably ended up in landfill. 

Once I settled into my new personal style, I decided I never wanted to go back to a life of fast fashion, impractical trends. 

So I started to buy the majority of my wardrobe from Australian-owned, sustainable, mostly inclusive brands. 

This is still a work in progress, but my wardrobe is now full of beautiful, well-made clothes, that will stand the test of time, as trends come and go. 

And I'm pretty damn chuffed about that. 

So, here are my favourite Australian brands for slow fashion, floaty bohemian dresses: 

Mahli The Label 

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Every piece I have bought from Mahli the Label has been beautifully made and, more importantly, they've made me feel bloody good about myself. 

The brand specialises in floaty bohemian dresses, loungewear and accessories in dreamy, unique prints. 

My favourite piece so far is the Into the Sun Gown and I'm currently eyeing off the To The Stars Boho Gown

All of Mahli's clothes are handmade in Bali by small family run manufacturers. The label either makes clothes to order or in a limited quantity, so they never have warehouses full of excess stock. 

All of their garments are hand-dyed with non-toxic dyes and manually printed. And they don't use any plastic in their packaging. 

Mahli the Label's ranges start at a size 8 and go up to a size 30.

Spell

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Spell really needs no introduction. 

The label, which was founded by sisters Elizabeth and Isabella Abegg in Byron Bay in 2008, now ships around the world and has been worn by the likes of Sienna Miller and Miley Cyrus. 

After being a fan of the label for years, I finally bought my first Spell piece about three years ago. I don't think I've ever worn a garment more. 

It was floaty and cool and fit me in all the right places. Three years later, it's still going strong after many parties and many goes around the washing machine. 

I've since bought many more Spell dresses. I know when I'm buying a dress from Spell that I'm investing in something that I will be wearing for years to come. 

Spell's size range is limited, only going up to a size XXL (16). But as someone who wears a 22, I've mostly found that the XXL fits me perfectly. 

Vagary the Label 

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Vagary the Label is a small, Australian label. Vagary wants to change the way we look at plus size fashion, by creating clothes with all different body shapes in mind rather than trying to fit all these unique shapes into the same straight size designs. 

They put out collections about twice a year that sell out within about 10 minutes. Seriously, I set my alarm and race to buy the pieces I've been eyeing off. 

All of their pieces are sustainably sourced and ethically made in Indonesia, by a family run manufacturer who specialises in bohemian styles.

Their range starts at a size 14 and goes to a size 26. 

Ada & Lou 

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Ada & Lou is the brainchild of bloggers Fat Slim Mum and Rebel Without A Pause.

They founded the label because as plus size women themselves; they wanted to wake each morning, get dressed with ease and excitement, and feel beautiful all day long.

Sounds great, right? 

They put out several collections a year, with limited qualities, always with beautiful cuts and fun, bohemian patterns. 

Bohemian Traders

Bohemian Traders knows how to do a bloody good floaty dress. 

Some of my favourite dresses over the past few years have come from Bohemian Traders. 

They make dresses that are very easy to chuck on in the morning, and either dress up or down, depending on what you've got on that day. 

Their size range starts at a 6 and goes up to 22. 

Keryn Donnelly is Mamamia's Pop Culture Editor. For more of her TV, film and book recommendations and to see photos of her dog, follow her on Instagram and TikTok. 

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