The freelance journalist: Mel Campbell

Mel Campbell is a freelance journalist and all kinds of awesome inspiration for women who want to wear more colour at work.

Mel is also the writer of the book, Out of Shape, one that I’m working my way through in time for our panel at this month’s Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

I could keep gushing about how funny, wonderful and intelligent it is but considering she was kind enough to answer a few of my interview questions, I’ll hand the reigns over to the very capable, Ms Campbell!

BusiChic Mel Campbell portrait

The Incredible Mel Campbell sporting her signature “Jaunty Pussy” work attire – read ahead!

Mel Campbell, what are you wearing?
My dress is vintage from Hunter Gatherer, the cardigan from Cocolatte, jacket from 7 Angels, Ambra tights and shoes from Savers. My bag is a fake Marc Jacobs, which my friend gave to me after buying it online in the belief it was real. My brooch is by Erstwilder. My earrings I think were cheapies from Diva or similar.
BusiChic Mel Campbell

Lovely stud heart-shape earrings, just one of the many charming elements that make up Mel Campbell’s workwear.

BusiChic Mel Campbell Brooch

Gorgeous vintage brooch – great to see more people wearing great brooches to work, don’t you think?

BusiChic Mel Campbell Shoes

Sensible but polished-footwear, a necessity for freelance journalists like Mel covering the city and attending all sorts of events. Love these!

Describe your workplace dresscode/ your workwear style?
My style has a name: Jaunty Pussy! I like to wear bright block colours, bold prints and look vaguely retro. But since I work from home I can effectively wear what I like. I can and do wear pyjamas and ugg boots all day, which I jocularly call my “work clothes”.
Your favourite labels for workwear clothing / what pieces are you looking for to add to your work wardrobe next.
I just can’t afford to shop by label and most of them won’t fit me anyway. I shop in op-shops, discount department stores and at cheap Asian import shops. I’m always looking for satin pussy-bow blouses, classic silk scarves and block-coloured knee-length dresses. At the moment I’m in a British Country phase ( so I’m looking for Fair Isle jumpers, man-style brogues and ladylike winter skirts.
What are you looking forward to seeing at MWF?
I’m excited about Laurent Binet – his book HHhH was one of the best I read last year. I’m also keen to hear Marjorie M Liu, who writes X-Men comic books, paranormal romance and urban fantasy.
Best life/career advice you’ve received?
Never tuck your jumper in – my best friend Arlette to me at age 4. She taught me this by laughing at my tucked-in jumper.
Favourite quote?
“Try to think of others’ good luck as an encouragement for yourself.” – Richard Ford
Magazines, sites, blogs that keep you inspired?
I like scrolling through Twitter and Pinterest. I subscribe to an excellent email digest of cool US journalism called NextDraft, and I like Arts and Letters Daily, Brain Pickings, and heaps of literary, film, style and design blogs – including Business Chic of course! // Thanks Mel 😉
Tell us about your book, Out of Shape:
Like Business Chic, my book is about the everyday challenges of wearing clothes. My starting point was: how come it’s so difficult and unpleasant to find clothes that fit properly? Then I set out to discover why. I go behind the scenes at fashion museums, to vintage fairs and op-shops, and into the world of online shopping. I have myself 3D body-scanned and I reflect on my own chequered history with wardrobe malfunctions and change-room humiliations. My book explores the history of mass-manufactured clothing size and the reasons why sizes are different from brand to brand, but I also examine the pop culture that teaches us to judge our own bodies and those of other people. And I’m interested in the feelings and moods clothing can inspire, from the authority you feel when you put on a business suit to the cosiness of casual clothes.
// Mel and I will be speaking on the  Out of Shape panel at this month’s Melbourne Writers’ Festival, moderated by the very excellent Paola di Trocchio. Thank you for the tweets and emails from those of you who have bought tickets, I can’t wait to meet you on August 31!

 Follow Mel Campbell on Twitter: @incrediblemelk

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read about the Out of Shape moderator, Paola di Trocchio.


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  1. LOVE that quote, and love the sound of Mel’s book – will have to keep an eye out for it!

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