Last week, my friend and I were talking about how difficult it is to shop these days. Exclusive brands are unaffordable and high street brands simply cannot deliver the quality to make us feel that we are getting value for our money. We don’t shop as much now and, if we do, we shop for the essential looks of the season.

So what are the essential looks for spring and summer 2015? There is no doubt that the 70s look is back but don’t think you can pull your flare pants and your platforms from a vintage shop. There are a lot of key 70s fashion elements on this summer’s runway which have been reinvented.

High-rise denim: Denim is still dominant on the street-style front but it is not flared. In fact, quite the opposite – high-rise jeans are now stovepipe tight and cropped right above the ankle to highlight the new heights of the season – the platforms.

Touch-the-sky platforms: The shoes of the 70s now err on the hefty side – the chunkier the better and wrapped in floral or vintage pattern fabrics.

Gladiator heels: If you have vertigo problems like me, go for the Gladiator sandals. We saw glimpses of the ankle version last summer but they have grown up to the knees this summer with chunky heels, a great complement for miniature dresses.

Tablecloth tops: These were extremely popular in the 80s, and we called it preppy in those days – check patterns are now oversize which, supposedly, puts a fresh spin on the feminine pattern.

Eye candy: Contrary to the neutral tops, your fresh face should have an intense wash of colourful eye shadows a la Chanel’s spring models.

Big drop: The oversize bling-bling necklace has been the rage for the last two seasons and now attention has moved from necks to ears. Invest in some big drop earrings in crystal glow mesh or in rhinestones to add an instant bohemian luxe to any outfit this spring.

Short notice: Cropped jackets are key transitional pieces for this coming season and work wonders with high-rise cropped pants and A-line skirts. This season’s abbreviated jackets are to be worn over light tops that cover the gap between the hip bone and the ribs.

Snake bite: look for python or snake print on jackets and boots, a key spring look that gives rocker bite.

Everyday suede: The leather of choice in the sun-kissed 70s is also the leather of the moment. My personal choice will be the Chole Crossbody bag with small handle and metal medallions for decoration – modern vintage.

Top it off: Invest in a wide brimmed hat, either el Gaucho style or the original floppy version – this you can pull from your vintage finds.

Christina Yu is the creative director and founder of Ipa-Nima, an award-winning accessories brand. Email your questions to or visit