Inside the wardrobe of Melbourne model, Dechen Grenfell



“Your style doesn’t have to be easily defined or digestible, it just has to feel right to you.”

We know personal style is a journey (I’m looking at you, Tumblr years), so we’ve introduced a new series Hey, I Like Your Style!, diving into the fashion psyche of our favourite creatives. We’re talking the good, the bad and the 2007.

While the internet has made our fashion icons feel closer than ever before, even the most effortless of outfits came from a closet with some (well-dressed) skeletons. Clickable product tags, photo archives and lives chronicled in 30-second clips just don’t tell the full story.

For more fashion news, shoots, articles and features, head to our Fashion section.

These are the stories behind the wardrobes, exploring how we develop our own personal style. There’s a brilliance behind the way we choose to express ourselves and at FJ, we know every outfit has a story.

This week, we’re taking a step inside the wardrobe of Melbourne model, Dechen Grenfell. A rising star on the global modelling scene, Dechen’s behind-the-scenes style is a more subdued, sleek variation of the experimental outfits she wears in front of the camera. While her circa 2010 wardrobe would be best described as ‘Disneycore’, Dechen’s contemporary style is a high-low mix of subversive basics and secondhand statement pieces. Take a peek into her style evolution below.

Who are you and what do you like to wear?

My name is Dechen, I’m from Melbourne and I’m a model. I like to wear a lot of muted colours and slouchy clothing, and occasionally just something I find dumb or funny.

What has your style evolution looked like? Do you feel like you’ve gained confidence in the way you dress?

My style evolution started out – as I’m sure many others my age did – heavily influenced by the wild Disney channel styling of the late 2000s and early 2010s. I loved fashion as a kid, and nothing was more appealing to me than neons, sequins, excessive layering and knee-high converse. When I entered my teens, my style became a lot more pared back, and I kind of lost the confidence I had to wear whatever I wanted to.

Growing up has meant relearning to enjoy fashion the way I did as a kid, prioritising something that feels good rather than looks good. I think having that mentality helps with gaining confidence in your personal style – it’s not that serious, and it’s okay if it’s fugly.

Personal style is a journey. Have you ever felt like you needed to fit into a particular fashion box?

Definitely, especially now with the internet. It feels like we’re constantly exposed to a huge amount of different styles and subgenres in fashion. It’s great to have so many sources of inspiration and culture, but I think it’s important not to feel like you have to subscribe to a specific style. Instead, [you should] just like what you like. Your style doesn’t have to be easily defined or digestible, it just has to feel right to you.

Take us back to those awkward teenage years. Do you have any fashion regrets?

There was a stage in primary school where I wore a fedora almost every day (I blame the success of that Jason Derulo album). Definitely wasn’t regret though – I felt so swag at the time and that’s really all that matters.

What are the most expensive and least expensive items in your wardrobe?

Honestly, I don’t spend much on clothes – almost everything I buy is secondhand. But my love for Eytys shoes is my downfall, and the newest addition to my growing collection is probably the most expensive I’ve bought [yet]. The cheapest would probably be a $2 thrifted beanie, or any hand-me-downs from loved ones.

What is the most meaningful fashion piece you own?

I have so many pieces that hold really special memories. To name a few: a few gifted jewellery pieces, my boyfriend’s shirts, a shearling vest from Tibet, vintage store finds from New York, anything I’ve stolen off my mum… sometimes it ‘ll just be something I bought or wore on a day I felt really happy, and it instantly becomes really special to me.

What’s in your cart at the moment?

An assortment of questionable Depop finds, and a pair of cargos on Ssense that I will never justify buying.

What fashion piece are you saving for right now?

Nothing in particular, but coming into spring I think it’s time I invest in a new pair of sunglasses. I’m long overdue for some new basics too, which I always think are worth a bit of a splurge if they’re high-quality pieces and will last you forever.

What are the wardrobe items you wear on repeat?

Black trousers and black boots – I love how they look with pretty much everything. They always save me when I have hard-to-style pieces. I wear my rings almost every day, too!

Who are your favourite local designers?

There are so many incredibly gifted local designers, but a few of my favourites would include Cameron Studio, Strateas Carlucci, Aaizel, Emily Watson… the list could go on.

See more of Dechen’s killer looks here.

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