#30Wears with Gemma Cairney

Photo credit: Babe Studio

Broadcaster and author Gemma Cairney shares her love of fashion and gives us a peek inside her wardrobe every day for a week.

Hello reader,

I’ve enjoyed documenting my garms for a week as I LOVE clothes. It’s just true, clothes make me squeal, a form of fun and expression and there are so many good ones out there! Having said that, aged 33 (very nearly 34) and in 2019 having sometimes an overwhelming amount of worry for the fact that the environment of our beautiful planet is simply not in the greatest shape, I seek positive change and and am always on a discovery of how I can create change in my personal life, even if it’s small. 

I’m admittedly no angel… as I said, I ADORE clothes (I may even like them as much one suspects Elton John loved sunglasses once). I have lots of clothes and have tried over the years to consider what that means. It’s part of the public side of my job as a broadcaster to think about what image I’m projecting and that has opened up the door to seeking new designers, fantastical creatives who make what I call the type of garments dreams are made of. Clothes really say something: how we wear them, where we wear them, who we see in them, their functionality and my most favourite thing about them of all…. HOW FUN THEY ARE. My good friend Dawn ‘O Porter has a similar love of them and she sums it up perfectly with an often used phrase and the name of her podcast ‘Just Bloody Wear It!’ 

I do keep my clothes though and wear things time and time again (beyond #30wears) – I love lending them out to mates and every few years I’ll do a major clear out where a percentage of the profits will go to charity. Anyone been along to the madness that is Rumble In The Jumble? We (me and a crew of determined women) did seven years of jumble sale-ing for Oxfam.

Here’s a week in my wardrobe:


I live by the sea and to swim in the over 80-year-old tidal pool is my solace, my joy, my love. Here I am having worn a wetsuit on the advice of an amazing local Shiatsu therapist I see. She was like, “please wear a wetsuit at this time of year, please…” As over the three years I’ve lived in Margate, I’d got to a point this winter where I haven’t been feeling the need, and been going in my swimsuit! This is a Speedo suit and it makes me feel like a seal. I have swim shoes on too.


I’m rocking my favourite scarf again, this time wrapped on my head! I love a head scarf, it somehow makes me feel connected and sturdy!?


I’m learning to drive at the moment, which I’m finding EXHAUSTING and a tad boring if I’m honest. But I’m determined to crack it. I love the idea of driving for picnics in the summer – there’s lots of beautiful countryside to be explored in the surrounding areas where I live and I want the independence to explore it without relying on public transport or the very kind and patient friends I have. So anyway… I continue to learn…. Here I’m wearing one of my weekday-uniforms.  Living by the coast  means you have to dress for it. Thick socks – TICK. Old battered Nike Air Max’s – TICK, an all-in-one (that I inherited on a shoot) – TICK, puffa coat (that secretly makes me laugh, because it makes me feel like a snowman) – TICK.


Last winter, I brought out a beret collaboration with my friend and fashion designer – Mary Benson. It was quite the journey working on the collaboration as we decided to up-scale a limited number vintage berets and give 5% of the proceeds to Young Minds charity. Each beret has one of four statements emblazoned across it. Either ‘I BELIEVE IN MAGIC’, ‘LOVER NOT A HATER’, ‘EVERYTHING IS GONNA BE BETTER THAN OK’ or ‘YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL’: all statements I believe to be quite important to explore and if anything I hope make people smile on can what sometimes can be bleak streets. Whether it’s the weather or whatever, a positive statement across one’s forehead seems like a fun thing to put out there. Here I am in a red one – another snap taken by the HUJI app on my phone.  I was in Hastings on in Kent DJing at a night showcasing new and emerging young local musicians. My friend was there –  she runs a photo-booth called the Hip Hop Booth, it’s filled with props and bling to play with,  hence the gigantic knuckle-duster made from sparkles and the dollar symbol.


I went to the Costa book awards and got to borrow a dress I’ve seen many times and ogled and fantasised about online. It’s by a genie-like designer called Kitty Joseph – she makes the types of clothes that I love the most of all. They are pieces of art in my opinion. This rainbow dress was a TOTAL DREAM to wear. I’m so lucky I got to borrow it.


I love the HUJI app to take pics on – it kind of takes pictures as though they’re taken on a disposable camera in the 90s.  I LOVED disposable cameras back then and still do.  I like how there’s a certain softness to the idea of capturing a memory on picture for the sake of the way photos were invented for – documenting a pocket in time – rather than the more addictive ‘snap, snapping’ in HD that we can on our phones so easily – it makes us pick out our flaws in quite an unhealthy and sometimes obsessive way. Anyway, this was taken on HUJI app by one of my best friend’s dad. I ran away to the countryside for the weekend where this particular bezza’s parents live and we went for a walk. We were giggling at the particular posing for this shot, as it kinda makes me look like I’m in a hurricane, but I’m not – I was just jumping! Behind me are lots of lovely apple trees, that should be full of apples later in the year. Yum! Also, my favourite song is called Apple Tree, by Erykah Badu.

I’m wearing some Hunter wellies as borrowed from my bezza’s mum, a cagoule (also borrowed), and a boiler suit (which I adore as it has lots of pockets and is very practical to wear). It’s from one of my favourite local shops called Werkhaus, which specialise in trans-seasonal utilitarian womenswear. I’ve got one of my* berets on (more on that in the pic below) and the scarf is from another friend who recently visited Ethiopia and brought this back for me. I love this scarf and have received so many compliments on it. Ethiopia is an incredible country with a fascinating history, I’ve been lucky enough to visit and having this scarf to remind of how amazing it is feels very special.


This is my fairly recently purchased pink leopard catsuit that I bought at a special sample sale of cocktails and laughter in a cosy underground tiki-style burlesque bar in North London.  The sale was put on by the designer herself – Alice Edgeley – who is based in Melbourne these days, where she has a shop I would so LOVE to one day visit.  She was on a visit to London and invited some of her clients to try on her amazing clothes. It was hard to choose what to invest in, as I love her designs, but this catsuit screams ‘party time’ so much it had to be the one!  This pic was taken at my local club night, down in Margate on the South East Coast where I live. My club night is called Gem’s Jams and it’s basically a big ole excuse to book some of my favourite DJs and get the community together for a boogie. We have flyers intricately designed and this time, myself and the designer decided to go for a leopard print theme… Hence the dress code: Glad rags & leopard print swag. The shoes are Terry De Havilland originals – he’s my favourite shoe designer and a treasured friend of mine. I feel like owning his shoes is like having mini statues.