Washington’s Style Closet
Megan Washington clearly remembers the first outfit she wore on stage. “It was a Flea costume (the insect, not the drummer from the Chili Peppers) that my mother made out of a black leotard, black stockings stuffed with newspaper and a black beanie.” She was just 6 years old.
Eleven years later, Washington discovered her love for making music. She studied composition at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, before relocating to Melbourne. It was here she began to define her sound, a lulling mix of indie, folk and country. Washington’s self-released debut EP “Clementine” won hearts on Triple J’s Unearthed promotion and a spot on last year’s Big Day Out bill. Her second EP, “How To Tame Lions,” and recently released full-length feature album, I Believe You, Liar, have helped cement her reputation as a musician and performer.
Her personal style came much earlier -- a childhood watching old MGM musicals. Today, Washington’s tour suitcase is packed full of emerging labels, tattered cardies and practical flats. Her style draws on influences as diverse as Audrey Hepburn, Anna Karina, Chloe Sevigny and Winona Ryder in Reality Bites.
“Lately, I’ve had Noella Thomson making stage outfits for me, which is really amazing. She's exceptionally talented,” says Washington. “For the 'How To Tame Lions' tour, she made me a black jumpsuit with a multi-coloured feather collar. I’ve also been wearing lots of prom dresses from UltraSuite, which are really durable and colourful.”
Who are your favourite designers to wear on stage?
All through our tour with Sia, I wore a black Tina Kalivas dress that I originally bought for the Arias, but didn't get to wear. So I wore it on that tour instead and basically ruined it with sweating and not taking care of it properly.
Do you dress differently in your down time?
Definitely. My friend Patrick calls me “the cat lady” because all I basically wear at home is tights and enormous jumpers from Vinnies. I have to get dressed up so often that when I don't need to, I usually wear the most comfortable and comforting thing, regardless of how ridiculous and weird it looks.
Which pieces of clothing can't you live without?
I have this big knitted jumper cardigan, which is basically a giant circle with sleeves, so you can use the cowl neck as a huge hood. Whenever I get on a plane, I just pull the hood over my head -- like a blanket over a canary's cage -- and go to sleep. It can be a blanket, a jumper, a cardigan, a pillow -- we even stuff it in the kick drum when it's too resonant. I have one in black and one in grey, and they’re falling to pieces now because I’ve lived in them for about two years of touring.
Which fashionable item can totally change your mood?
My Doc Martens, or really any flat boot. When I wear Docs, I feel very strong and balanced and capable.
So you’re a flats-only kind of lady?
I mostly wear flats, but that's more a question of necessity than style. I spend a lot of time lugging my 30-kilo keyboard in and out of cabs, planes and cars, so obviously heels aren't very practical. I have some great pairs of heels, but they haven't had much time out of my bedroom lately.
Any new clothing trends you just can't get into?
Open-toed boots. I just don't understand it.
Do you prefer dresses or separates?
Dresses, I suppose. I like the simplicity and versatility of them.
What will you wear when the weather turns warm?
Sunscreen! I have the exact complexion of a jellyfish, or a raw prawn, so sunscreen is an absolute necessity for me in summer.
Washington’s first album, I Believe You, Liar, is available now. Check www.washingtonmusic.com.au for tour dates and more.