Rebecca Keane is the boss lady behind a string of successful Sydney cafes (she opened her first one at 24!) and a new mum to baby Harrison. She’s clever, down-to-earth and gorgeous too, and today she shares some of her favourite brands and how moving from inner-city Sydney to the Central Coast has changed her style.
At the moment the first word that comes to mind is comfort. And efficiency. In the first few months of motherhood I climbed out of bed in a daze and threw on the same thing as the previous day. Sometimes I didn’t get dressed at all. I fell into that glorious trap of wearing workout gear all day long until I saw that YouTube video and felt self-conscious. But it just makes sense with a baby, I swear!
Now I’m getting back into enjoying putting an outfit together and can (almost) fit into my old outfits. I guess I’m a bit of a style conundrum - I’ve never thought about having a set style, but my best friend offered ‘relaxed boho’. She also said I need to stop buying sacks.
I'd love to know who or what your style is influenced by?
I’d say it’s my lifestyle. I’m very much a situation dresser. Although I’m fascinated by fashion and follow a few fashion-y Instagram accounts. And I’ve always loved the artfulness of fashion shoots. I tend to be attracted to the bright colours of Mexico and South Africa or ripped denim and tactile, drapey materials. I’d look ridiculous in most of what I like but perhaps it seeps into my wardrobe somehow.
What are you wearing on high rotation at the moment?
I just bought a denim shirt from Maple and a denim anorak from my favourite shop on the coast, Plain Janes. Double denim. Denim goes with everything and I don’t have to think about it. I also bought a floor-length high-waisted wrap skirt from Auguste that makes me feel like a flamenco dancer. I wear it every time I go out - I hope no one's noticed…
How do you shop for clothes?
It’s limited up here on the coast and I’m not a huge shopper anyway. I often hold onto things for years and only buy a few new staples at the beginning of each season. I’m trying to buy for longevity now, and since I’m short on time I hit up the shops I know will have things I like. My friend and I head to Long Jetty which is dotted with vintage shops and good coffee, or I jump on the Palm Beach ferry to Avalon. Online shopping still makes me panicky.
When we were in high school, you lived pretty close to the heart of the city. Has moving to the coast changed your wardrobe in any way?
Yes definitely. I’ve realised that I’m a bit of a clothes chameleon and I dress depending on where I am and what I’m doing. For instance when I was manning the coffee machine it was double denim and anything vintage; on the road it was my trusty RM Williams, cutoffs and dark coloured t-shirts (everything got covered in red bulldust); and on the coast we live on the beach, which means my Camp Cove swimmers and a sarong most of the time.
The one thing that has stayed the same is my love for secondhand clothes. I love finding something great amongst the racks. I find it very hard to part with loads of cash for something that I can find in a secondhand store or the markets. Most of my beloved pieces have cost me under $15.
Before your baby Harrison was born, you went on a year long road trip with your partner and a pretty great looking Landrover called Big Cherry - what did you pack in the way of clothes?
Packing for this trip was super tricky. Space was an issue, as were bugs and being at the mercy of the weather. We each had two drawers to fill, and of course I wanted to take unnecessary things like dressy dresses IN CASE we went out. I packed for an endless summer, and for the perils of living out of a tent (denim shorts and shirts, one hoodie, hiking gear, sarongs, my RMs and loads of swimmers).
That trip changed the way I think about life and the way we live. I realised that you don’t need much to survive happily and we started to like living with less. Every time we stopped for more than two days, I cleaned out the drawers and gave away anything I wasn’t wearing. I still find it hard to buy an abundance of clothes unless it’s necessary and the clothes are ‘forever’ items. And I still give away anything I haven’t worn in in awhile.
Did your wardrobe change much while you were pregnant?
I was a big pregnant lady. At three months, I looked about six months pregnant. So yes, out went my high-waisted jeans and tight waistbands and in came long, flowy dresses - and bras with no underwire. I gave up on wearing pants about four months in. I think I was in denial about how big my bump was, so donned some heels at my baby shower when I was eight months pregnant. A big mistake. My go-to outfit was a tight fitting skirt, my trusty Birkenstocks and a denim shirt tied up around the bump.
And what about post-pregnancy?
I think because my life has changed so drastically I have no idea how to shop for my style. I was surprised that I can pretty much wear what I always wore - it’s just that getting dressed now is really exciting for me as it means it’s not going to be one of those days spent in pyjamas. Also, I have to think about weird things like ease of breastfeeding, baby spit and manoeuvrability. And nothing handwash-only!
I'm also curious about what you wore while you were setting up and running cafes. I really love cafe style :)
I never really thought about how I dressed. In my first cafe, looking back, I found that I played up to the whole ‘cafe owner’ persona and had a self-imposed uniform. That included headscarves, tartan button-up shirts and denim. We had a vintage apron collection that we wore every day which we matched our outfits to. I’m sad that I had to leave them when I sold!
At The Copper Mill it’s a different vibe. I also learnt to dress for practicality: a headscarf to keep the hair off my face, anything breathable like cotton or bamboo, high-waisted stretchy Neuw jeans (you’re constantly bending over), and my trusty RM Williams for comfort.
What is your approach to hair and make-up?
My hair has always been the bane of my existence. I probably spend more time on it than my outfit choices (my girlfriends will attest to this). As a teenager I worked in a salon for a few years as the ‘shampoo girl’, so maybe this made me extra aware! I happily weaned myself off my GHD and all products during the trip and went au naturel for seven months. Now it’s the mum bun. I’m a big of a fan of the top knot.
I’ve never worn much makeup but I’ve recently gotten into a morning routine of Invisible Zinc, tinted moisturiser with more sunscreen, bronzer as blush and waterproof mascara. A great combo that makes me look like I’ve had loads of sleep.
I'd love to know about accessories too.
I invested in a good Marc Jacobs bag and Stella McCartney sunnies once - on a trip to New York, as you do. But I gave up on handbags that are worn over one shoulder after Harry was born and bought a black leather backpack from Seed Heritage. It’s super comfy AND doubles as a great place to store extra baby socks and Sophie the giraffe. I get loads of comments on it, actually.
One of my favourite parts of any wedding is seeing the bride's dress - have you found yours yet?
I’m the same. Seeing my best friends in their gowns gave me happy goosebumps, but I’m one of those annoying engaged people who hasn’t thought much about a wedding! We always wanted to elope to Mexico, but I think my friends and family would behead me. I looked on Instagram recently (where I do all my window shopping) and found a beautiful off-the-shoulder Boho dress from Daughters Of Simone. I’m slowly coming to terms with setting a date.
I'd love to know what you'd wear on a weekday.
Right now I’m wearing Nudie jeans with black strappy Gorman flats, a Witchery cotton three-quarter stripey knit and craploads of concealer as I’m a little bit jetlagged.
What about a date night?
Date nights are my favourite as I love dressing up for my partner, he always makes a fuss. I start with heels and red lips and go from there. Last week I wore my wrap skirt (of course), a vintage black silk tank and an oversized pale grey blazer - and stayed out past 9pm.
And if you’re going to a wedding?
I get quite stressy when it comes to following a dress code for a wedding. I’m always worried I’ll be the most overdressed/underdressed in the room. But I like to go all out because why not? One of my favourite outfits was a high-waisted navy blue rough silk skirt from Gorman, a striped bustier and red Tory Burch heels.
Finally, what do you wear if you're hanging out with girlfriends on the weekend.
To hang out with girlfriends I go for comfort but we always take it as an excuse to get a little dressed up. I go for jeans and an oversized t-shirt and heels or my favourite Yevu minis that my girlfriend produces in Ghana.