How lucky I was to grow up with more cousins than I could count on both hands. School holidays were spent with extended family. That’s how I met Shirley. She was my cousins Nanna and to me she was so groovy! Mid 1970’s, colourful fashion and a world full of Shirley!
I loved to go visit Shirley. I have memories of her lazing on the two toned banana lounge in her back yard in Glenroy. She had fabulous glasses, big colourful earrings and a crocket bikini. Yep, she did! In one hand was a glass of cask moselle and the other had a cigarette.
Shirley had no fear when it came to using colour with clothing, accessories or furnishings. She had a personality larger than life and a wardrobe to go with it. I was in awe of her. I’m sure I used to just sit and stare, taking in the colour of the conversation the adults were having and loving how she was so brave to play with colour in her outfits. She stood out. She did not know how to fit in. Shirley knew herself, she knew what she loved and she celebrated fashion in a beautiful and brave way. She had no fear.
She shopped at the House of Merivale in Melbourne. When I was old enough to venture in there myself, I spent many hours just looking, touching, looking again, marvelling at the fabrics and how they put it all together.
Shirley lived a big life. When she passed over to the big rainbow in the sky, my Aunt gave me a little black La Perla bra that belonged to Shirley. It will never fit me. My back is broad. Don’t care. I bloody love it. I loved where it came from. I love that she had a healthy self esteem to purchase the best lingerie money could buy.
Shirley inspired me with her colourful personality, ability to connect with all in her life and her sense of fashion and fun. I wanted her to be my Nanna! If I ever make the grand role of Grand Mother, I’m going to channel Shirley! Bring on the crochet bikini!
Who inspires you for the way they dress? I’d love to know!