A Re-loved Affair … Cara Cavanagh

Written by Cara Cavanagh of très chic, stylist, environmentalist, lawyer & child advocate

It was like the boy meets girl scenario where she can’t stand him at first but later falls madly in love. I seldom remember buying clothes as a child, I don’t know how I wasn’t getting around half dressed back then – it wasn’t until a childhood school friend recently posted photographs of us on camp in grade four that I realised how far back my affair with re-loved really goes…. I was wearing fabulous red shorts with a matching red polka dot high necked ruffle blouse – very rockabilly…I must have been ahead of my time (although when I went through my turban stage in grade 12 everyone thought I was mad – now the likes the fabulous Catherine Baba and other style icons are bringing bringing headwear into the mainstream fashion consciousness).

I do remember in high school, I would periodically be given $100 by my dad and unleashed on a shopping mall. Even back then it didn’t seem to go far and I think it must have been around the mid teens when I discovered this amazing little shop, full of peacock feathers and bells and odds and ends and of course… clothes of all sorts. I did a gap year at a conservative private school in the south of England after finishing school and would often wander down the high street on a Saturday morning and spend hours trawling through thrift shops. The girls in the sixth form thought I was completely mad.

And then came the great temptation, the departure from impoverished, student living on tutoring and lentils to young female lawyer, earning a wage and trying to find her place in the sea of stilettos, pencil skirts & suits. I felt overwhelmed by the volume and choice and soon discovered that the retail scene was simply not for me. When I am hunting for vintage finds, the beauty is in the serendipity, that magic moment when you find something you love that fits or can be easily altered to do so. The heartache of course is in those vintage pieces that have captivated your senses but were made for our petite ancestors with their diminutive waists and pencil thin arms.

There are so many beautiful pieces of fashion, vintage and contemporary, just sitting in our closets, so I have also developed a business bringing re-loved pieces back onto the catwalk of life. My passion is to educate clients how to tap into their own signature style and the role that re-loved pieces can have in a beautifully curated personal wardrobe. Most of us buy so many clothes but never know what to wear. The cost of this on our finances, self-esteem and the environment is high! So it’s my mission to transform wardrobes everywhere into svelte collections of très chic bliss. I am super excited about a series of styling workshops I am currently working on, due to launch in September. These will be fun and informative evenings where women can come and enjoy each other’s company, be treated like queens and learn the secrets to looking fabulous everyday – come and join us!

 About the author: Cara Cavanagh is a stylist, environmentalist, lawyer & child advocate. Together with a small team she co-founded Samuel’s House in North East Thailand in 2006 which now provides a loving, family home to twelve (previously orphaned) children. This year as part of her ongoing commitment to community development in the region, she funded the launch of a micro-credit project to finance two women in a small business co-operative. Her affair with re-loved fashion and advocacy work led to the establishment of her own styling service. To find out more about updating your wardrobe, contact Cara via boutiquetreschic@gmail.com, visit her at Cultiver or on facebook.You can follow Cara’s personal fashion files where she posts photographs of everyday outfits for style inspiration at Miss Très Chic. They can also be found on pinterest.  

Cara enjoys a beautiful, relaxed lifestyle in the historic town of Ipswich. She loves riding her vintage bicycle, cafe with friends, gardening, visiting vintage haunts, travelling, hiking with friends in the glorious Scenic Rim and blogging about the pleasures of a simple, yet tasteful life.

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