My sister and I often muse that we must've been born in the wrong era. We remain fascinated by 60s style and its icons, particularly Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Jane Birkin and Edie Sedgewick. Although I attempt to keep my style varied, I always fall back on certain 60s staples that flatter my shape, such as neat A-Line dresses with exaggerated Peter Pan collars. The looks of Twiggy and Sedgewick particularly appeal to me because they are daring and yet stylishly simple, and can be as colourful or as monochromatic as required. There are some wonderful tutorials online on how to recreate Twiggy's distinctive eye-makeup. My favourite can be found here.
The mod fashions of the 'swinging sixties', as popularized by innovative designers like Mary Quant (1964 champion of the mini-skirt) and self-styled mod bands including The Who and Small Faces, are quintessentially British, but it would be remiss not to recognise the efforts of Warhol's Factory crew, of whom Edie Sedgewick was a member. The 60s hailed an exciting and diverse decade of playful new fashions, notably influenced by a changing social and political climate, with skirts riding higher than ever before and the emergence of hippy chic in lieu of the Vietnam War.
To my delight, 60s trends have been a fixture of the 2013 Spring/Summer catwalk collections of Michael Kors, Moschino, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Jenny Packham and Victoria Beckham. Bold geometric patterns in both daring brights and classic monochrome are here to stay for the summer (and I'm hoping into the autumn too). Here is my brief list of high street and online style picks, my favourite 60s items for spring/summer that work on a streamlined budget.
The Mini-Dress: Asos have a very flattering Petite Exclusive mini-dress for £38, as seen during Milan Fashion Week. The black and white chequerboard design is a nod to Mary Quant's daring 60s collections and was seen on Jane Birkin (in a rather challenging crocheted knit) in Vogue, 1965.
The Shift: Petite Daisy Shift at £39.99 from Miss Selfridge. I'll probably wait for this one to come into the sale, but the A-Line skirt and Peter Pan collar are 60s essentials. I'd wear this dress for an interview (unless you're super tall and it's very short on you), with platforms for a night out, to meet the parents and to see friends for lunch.
The Top: A navy and white Bretton top, as seen on Edie Sedgewick, Andy Warhol's troubled Factory muse. H&M have a wide selection of affordable Bretton basics - choose large, statement stripes to work another hot summer trend.
The Skirt: This is my favourite and most versatile fashion staple from summer to winter and is only £3.99 from H&M. These fabulous little jersey skirts cling in all the right places, come in a range of colours and patterns and most importantly, GO WITH EVERYTHING. Team with a Bretton top and patent flats to get the 60s look.
The Sunglasses: Nasty Gal's black Shine Up Shades by Quay for £26.10 are seriously stylish, with half-hematite rims and a classic round shape as seen on 60s icons from John Lennon to Brigitte Bardot.
The Flats: Office Paintbox T-bar Black Patent Leather shoes for £48 are without a doubt the best purchase I've made in the last six months. With a good quality rubber sole and leather upper, these flats are hard wearing and comfortable. They are both refreshingly demure and can be worn with quirky, patterned socks like Nasty Gal's good enough to eat Ice Cream Ankle Socks for £3.92.
The Earrings: Anything dangly and slightly over the top is very 60s. Edie Sedgewick was known for her earrings, ostentatious enough to look like costume jewellery but somehow working perfectly with her pixie cropped hair. There are plenty of high street choices but I am drawn to the shoulder-brushing Crystal Chandelier earrings, £12.50 from Miss Selfridge.
The Hair Accessory: Fabric bows on hairbands, attached to hair grips or pinned in the centre of a Peter Pan collar are playful and can lend a pop of colour to a monochrome outfit. My sister and I make these ourselves using a simple tutorial from this fabulous blog: www.abeautifulmess.typepad.com
Fantasy item: Moschino's sleeveless organza 'Short Dress' for £1,326. This would be my if-I-was-rich-and-famous choice. Its fantastical price notwithstanding, this dress is deliciously ethereal despite its neat proportions, and the appliqued flowers lend the garment a cute 3D twist.
Follow Harriet Williamson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jazzplayhaus