What you know and understand about style is often in-built from an early age—maybe not intentionally, and maybe not completely, but there's no doubt you're influenced by those around you. Often, that person is your mum.
Ava Matthews, Brand Manager at Mecca Brands, is the daughter of Nicole Bonython-Hines—one of Australia's most well-respected fashion editors. If anyone is well-equipped to pass on style advice, it's Bonython-Hines. The stylist's work has appeared in the pages of Vogue Australia, Elle Australia, and Sunday Style (among many others). She's worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Rose Byrne, and Nicole Richie—safe to say, she knows her stuff.
To celebrate Mother's Day, we asked Matthews to reveal the best lessons her mum has taught her about style. Keep scrolling to read what you can learn from one of Australia's best stylists.
In Ava's own words...
My mother has taught me many things about style, many of which I haven’t listened to (sorry mum). It’s not that I don’t trust her, it’s just that I’m stubborn and we are almost polar opposites in terms of our aesthetic. She refers to me the Vegas version of her—she favours more streamlined, classic, almost androgynous pieces, often paired with a trainer, while I’m only ever in dresses (often leopard print) and heels (often embellished). I also don’t actually own a pair of pants. I’m probably somewhat of a style letdown for her…! However, she has always encouraged me to dress how I feel most comfortable, but as soon as a hemline gets too short, she will definitely intervene. A longer skirt/dress is always more flattering, according to Mum.
Here are the style tips she’s passed on to me over the years.
Mum has always encouraged me to wear prints—the smaller the better—as they have almost a “magic-eye” effect, and can camouflaging potential ‘problem’ areas. (Tip, they can also disguise a coffee/lunch/snack spill, but that’s my tip, not mum— she is always immaculate and I am a grub).
Something mum has always said to me, is that I should never sit or stand under down-lighting, as it creates the illusion of shadows on the face and is not flattering on any body. Not so much style advice, but life advice.
She will ALMOST always tell me to remove half of my makeup—hard for me as I work for a beauty company and am a total beauty junkie. And she is fanatical about sunscreen application—I wear Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SuperScreen SPF 50+ ($40) daily as a result of her hounding as a teen, it’s definitely made a positive impact on my skin.
Finally, don’t get stuck in the black trap. I went through a phase of wearing black all the time in my mid 20’s and mum would push me to wear colours—blues, reds, pink… I basically wear every shade now (except white, because I spill things on myself constantly, see above).