Meet Our Contributor: Jade Fox

Meet Our Contributor: Jade Fox

Continuing to showcase leading women who have their own unique voice in their respective fields, we're excited to introduce our newest contributor, Jade Fox.

Meet Our Contributor: Jade Fox

Continuing to showcase leading women who have their own unique voice in their respective fields, we're excited to introduce our newest contributor, Jade Fox. Jade is the woman behind Substack newsletter and community Dear Dilate, a regular newsletter and social platform that dives into the intersection between personal style and motherhood.

Read on to hear how Jade started her Substack, why fashion and style is such a sticky topic for new mums, and get her wardrobe essentials list. 

Tell us a bit about yourself! Where did you grow up, what did you study (if anything) and what life experiences — both professional and personal — do you think have made the biggest impact on where you are today?

I grew up and consider myself fortunate to still live on the south coast of Sydney (about an hour from the CBD). I always thought I'd move out of the suburbs, but it is such a beautiful spot to raise kids. I have mostly always worked in the city or the East, and I still dream of a lovely terrace in Paddington one day or perhaps in another life!

I didn't know what I wanted to do when I left school and jumped around until I rediscovered my love of writing and eventually studied journalism. When I look back on my childhood it was filled with books, mainly Roald Dahl and the wacky tales of Paul Jennings. I juggled studying with an internship and working in a bar until 4am three nights a week, which felt hard but normal to me at the same time. That is probably because my parents have always worked and sometimes multiple jobs simultaneously.

They remind my sisters and I of this when we are having a hard time attempting to do it all – my dad reminds me that nothing good comes easy and that he would get home from night shift and be thrown my eldest sister as my mum ran out the door to work. I have a lot of love and respect for my parents and the life they have given us. They worked in jobs not for pleasure but for necessity, which I think has had a lasting influence on me in terms of the importance of a good work ethic and the importance of forging a career you enjoy. I feel I never lost that ambition after becoming a mother and used to wish I did settle into being mum but I have learnt that it is not selfish to have interests and goals separate from family life.

I am a true introvert, possibly due to living in a household full of extroverts! That's why writing has always suited me. I was pretty shy as a child, and if I’m honest, I was still unsure of myself in my 20s, which may have impacted my career trajectory as I was never any good at networking. I have mostly grown out of my shyness now, but often think coming out of my shell was part of the journey for me and has made me a better listener and writer. I remember writing letters to my mother on the most minor things and always keeping a diary (under lock and key, of course) instead of just blurting it out, which did drive her mad. Still, I felt much more comfortable expressing myself on the page, and I see many of my qualities in my son (we are also both Librans… send your condolences to my extroverted, Aries husband!) – Freddie is an observer and takes a while to warm up to a situation just as I did.

Parenting has shaped my work, heightened my creativity, and also been a great confidence booster for me as having a close bond with my son (soon-to-be sons!), building his confidence, and being a positive role model and advocate for him is truly what drives me to speak up, do better, be better and want better for our world.

You yourself have said that you’ve always felt like a writer, even when it wasn’t part of your day job — what made you want to ultimately take the plunge and launch Dear Dilate’s newsletter and content hub?

I think it was inevitable that I started a Substack and write mostly about motherhood, culture, and style – all things I’m living and that interest me. As soon as I fell pregnant, the words just poured out of me.

I have always been creative, and before I had my son, I worked for a branding agency and as a freelance copywriter. I knew I wanted to take 12 months off, and I was lucky enough to be able to afford it financially. COVID hit when I was six months into my maternity leave, and so did the lockdowns. That is when and why I started to interview and share stories with other mothers on Instagram about life in lockdown – as a way to connect while being physically isolated. At the time, my motherhood journey looked nothing like the mothers I was following on IG, as all that was shared was this beautiful, romanticised version of motherhood. 

With the Dear Dilate IG community growing and my ambition still intact, I eventually started a newsletter with longer-form essays and interviews. This felt like a natural progression, a home for all my many complicated thoughts and words on what it means to be a contemporary parent.

Like many others, I felt disconnected from the content out there and fed up with all the advice. I write how I talk. Like I’m sharing with a friend, and though I hold strong personal boundaries (I don’t share everything!), I always try to write with honesty and integrity with a touch of humour (and self-depreciation, ha!) to keep it light – I think that’s why so many others seem to connect. I put all the muddled thoughts into words. It’s quite a cathartic experience for me to remove those thoughts from my mind and send them out into the world, knowing that they just might help one person understand themselves, think differently or know they are not alone.



You’ve built an incredibly dedicated, open, and supportive community in Dear Dilate. What has been the most rewarding part of creating and nurturing this community of existing, expectant, and hopeful mothers?

It is definitely nice to hear that others appreciate my work, my words and extensive meme research! Words have a funny way of finding us when we need them most and I’ve heard this rings true for a lot of my community. But the most rewarding part for me is finding my place and my voice in such the noisy online world of contemporary parenting.

I love being part of this community from which I have learned so much. I didn’t quite fall into my role as mother as naturally as I assumed I would, or what I thought was ‘natural', and told myself my other interests (like fashion) were unimportant but I have realised that I have never been alone in this at all. I have a group chat with over 100 mothers, and we talk daily about fashion mostly with a side of culture, motherhood, and relationships and gain advice when needed. Knowing I am not adding to the noise but enriching another's life is so fulfilling for me.

Dear Dilate has always been a platform that encourages candour and provides an open forum for opinions and first-person perspectives — within the conversation around motherhood and all that goes along with it, is there a particular subject you are especially passionate about shining a light on, or destigmatising?

We have become very good at destigmatising many things which it feels we are now slaves to oversharing our deepest, darkest secrets for the sake of engagement. We can open Instagram or TikTok and be hit in the face with a lot of the harsh realities of modern parenthood, which may be true, at least for that 7 second clip, but they are still not exactly the day-in and day-out reality of family life… I mean, who has time or mental capacity to set up a ring light for a midnight feed? That’s why I like sharing long form essays that are not just hot takes but show a full view of my parenting experience and critical views on what I read and see is trending online.

I aim to remove judgement around parenting decisions, encourage others to think critically, incite confidence and freedom of choice and to ignore the outdated ‘selfless mother’ narrative.

I’m self-aware enough to know that I do not know everything, that’s why I always encourage others to comment and share their perspective. I’m open to having my mind changed. I haven't even scratched the surface being only four years into parenting, so generally I stick to topics I do know or have experienced, I am working through or I’m keen to learn more about.

Things that drive us are linked to how we feel and what makes up our identity. Things like our ambition, creativity, and what we wear have lately led me to explore a lot deeper into the psychology of fashion and how what we wear has a huge impact on our mood. More to the point, I focus on the woman, the mother and all of her beautiful complexities.




In addition to Dear Dilate, what are your favourite sites, accounts, substacks or podcasts you think do a great job of touching on the subject of modern motherhood?

I don’t actually follow a lot of ‘mum’ accounts! I think at the beginning especially with your first pregnancy, you do go down many rabbit holes of information about pregnancy and birth, and it can be both good and bad to have so much information so easily available but any new mothers or mothers-to-be who are reading this, I encourage you to have conversations offline with trusted medical professionals.

Most people I follow in the parenting sphere are less educational but people who happen to be parents (mainly women who happen to be mothers!) and who share insights on parenting that I find fascinating; women like Pandora Sykes who is always very open when talking about motherhood (this podcast episode of How To Fail is great as is this one on The Panic Years), Megan Strachan, founder of Dorsey, for her style and who is always so honest on the realities of running a multimillion-dollar business while trying to be a good mum. Professor Emily Oster, who writes Parent Data is an amazing resource as she debunks a lot of parenting fears around parenting, the Ezra Klein Podcast has some very insightful episodes and long discussions on parenting culture (especially this one and this one), Mad Woman Substack by Amanda Montei who is an incredible American writer who shares very smart essays on feminism and the state of motherhood in the US, NYT Parenting and the odd article in mainstream media (I wish there were more, particularly in Australia!),  Kate Baer’s poetry had such a huge impact on me (as well as the rest of the world!). I think The Memo curates a great selection of products if you want chic and functional, and they have really focused on building community and provide great cheatsheets, and Melanie Dimmitt is doing great work for parents with kids with disabilities.

A good deal of DD’s content is focused on the intersection of motherhood and personal style, and the reciprocal nature of the two — why did you feel it important to provide that resource to your community, and open that forum for discussion?

Becoming a mother is such a monumental shift and quite often we tend to feel a little lost in one way or another. There are so many layers as to what makes us, us and style is one of those layers.

I lost a lot of confidence in myself when I had my son, and even something such as getting dressed, which used to give me so much pleasure, felt overwhelming. A lot of it for me was navigating how to dress my postpartum body, and also in a way that works for my life now – I work from home mostly and I am constantly running around after my son, kicking a soccer ball, playing with monster trucks etc. – it’s a far cry from working in a luxury office where heels and makeup were expected.

What we wear is a part of us, and fashion holds so much power. It can be the mood shift we need after a long night, and an act of care that we do just for ourselves, not our kids. I really tried to ignore that side of me when I was in the trenches of new motherhood, and once I started touching on the link between identity and fashion, I received so many DMs of “me too” that pushed me further to explore the psychology of fashion and the impact it has on our identity and self-confidence.


Jade Fox


You’re expecting your second baby this year (congratulations!) How are you currently approaching getting dressed and keeping your personal style during this time of great transition?

With my first son, I did not consider fashion at all – I simply stretched out my old clothes and wore oversized styles. I didn't feel good, then I had nothing that fitted me postpartum which made me feel even worse!

So with my bump rapidly growing, I’m currently exploring what suits this new body of mine while still staying within the parameters of what I enjoyed wearing before and will enjoy wearing after birth.

I have been wearing mostly what I own but styled in a way to suit my pregnancy body – my white shirts are now open with a tank underneath, high-waisted pants and jeans are on the bench while my elastic waist pants are the main stars, and I have invested in a few pieces in a size up for comfort and grace in my PP period too.

How would you describe your personal style? In general, and at this present moment (if it has changed at all!)

My personal style has always been classic and feminine with the odd playful or vintage accessory thrown in there for some intrigue. I would say I have, so far, stayed true to this though I am leaning out of more oversized styles which I generally love but feel don’t really work for my pregnancy body – I’m short so anything without considered layers or shape, tends to look more Muumuu than Miu Miu if you catch my drift! 

What are 5 wardrobe essentials you couldn’t live without?

  1. A good pair of black trousers
  2. A crisp white shirt
  3. A good pair of jeans
  4. A quality and slightly oversized blazer
  5. A white tee or tank

What’s your process for adding new pieces into your wardrobe? (How often are you doing it? Is there a thought process you follow before investing?)

Perhaps this is showing my age but I do still enjoy the ritual of going shopping in-store. I like to feel the fabric and I pay no attention to sizing so trying it on first really is the best way to shop especially if you are in a transitional phase like pregnancy where you don’t exactly know what size will suit you best!

Though this is not always possible so I generally research, go-off recommendations or stick to brands and online stores I trust. I try not to be reactive to a sale or a trend and only replace what I need or where I see a gap in my own wardrobe. I don’t shop for one occasion but rather I ask myself – can and will I wear this often or if it is a special occasion piece, is this something I want to wear now and will still want to wear in five years time.

Shopping Bag