My friend Odette Williams — the Australian-born, Brooklyn-based author of Simple Cake and Simple Pasta and drinks party fame — always laughs while she talks, which is the most endearing quality. And she brings that same laid-back style to cooking, entertaining, and getting dressed. “Thank you for thinking of this shabby Aussie,” she joked, when I asked if we could photograph her. Here are five looks Odette wears on repeat…
“I got this vintage jacket during university, and it’s still going! This jacket reminds me of my nan, who loved fashion. She wore lipstick and perfume until the very end, and she hosted with a sense of easy glamour, like bubbly Champs and a caftan. In Australia, you can’t take yourself too seriously, it’s too f-ing hot. I always have a few camisoles, too; you can wear them with a pair of jeans or underneath a sweater with it poking through.”
“Through work, I’ve amassed a big cookbook collection. My true north is Nigel Slater’s Real Food. It was the first cookbook I bought myself when I got a paycheck out of college. The type of food he made felt like a real permission slip to become the kind of cook I wanted to be. He has basic chapters like potato, chicken, chocolate; and he makes delicious homey recipes. The photography still holds up, which is unusual because cookbooks can date quickly — he did very tight close-ups of the ingredients and captured that yumminess. And I love his voice — he was the first cookbook writer where I felt like, oh, he’s my friend, I know him.”
“During the summer, I live in a swimsuit and secondhand men’s tailored shirt from eBay or Etsy. They’re long enough that they’re almost a shirt dress, so you can be cooking and hanging out. Otherwise, I’m in some kind of caftan. When I die, just bury me with one of the caftans that I lived in on the beach for six years in a row.”
“After I finish each cookbook, I give myself a gift. The latest was this gold bracelet, which I wear every day. I got it at Layla in Brooklyn. My mom wore bracelets, and I remember her occasionally getting a new job or something and buying herself a treat.”
“This spring, I went on a trip with my friend Amy, and I packed so poorly. I didn’t have anything to wear to dinner, so she let me borrow a black dress, and I wore it every night. I was like, this dress is so amazing. Since it’s linen, you can wear it day or night; you feel comfortable and put together, but not overdressed. The dress is from H&M for $35 — tell everyone reading this article to get on it!”
“I always love the ’80s movies with Meryl Streep when she’s in a trench coat in New York. It’s magic what a trench can do for an outfit — you can pull one over sweats and suddenly you’re chic. I saw this one in the window of Rag & Bone, and I waited and waited and it finally went on sale. A big coat can drown you out, but this one is more fitted and tailored. I guarantee, I’ll have it my whole life and pass it down to my daughter.”
“For easy hosting, my main thing is: choose just a couple dishes that can be done ahead of time, and, on the night of the party, if everything’s not done, but people are arriving soon, STOP. Pour yourself a glass, go take a shower or brush your teeth or put on some lippy — whatever you can do to give yourself a beat. Because that other stuff will get done, and that beat reminds you, Oh, yeah. This is what we’re all here for.”
Thank you so much, Odette!
(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)
Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission or have a sponsored relationship with the brand, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.