The Twinset

Jean Simmons in a classic 50s twinset.
While twinsets may conjure up images of thick woolly skirts, elderly teachers and stiff, salon-set hair  - it wasn't always that way. There was a time when the twinset was a wardrobe standard for every woman...young or old.So fixed a fashion item were twinsets in the mid 20th century, one woman  told me that during the early 1960s,  her unimaginative husband gave her a twinset for her birthday for five consecutive years and although they were always high quality - in soft pink mohair or fine Italian wool - she felt that being compelled to wear the recurring gift put her in a serious fashion rut.

Lana Turner in a fancy but dated twinset
The matching cardigan/short sleeved sweater combo first appeared in the 1940s but really gained momentum in the 1950s, when it was worn by young Hollywood luminaries such as Audrey Hepburn, Jean Simmons and Grace Kelly. The classic look was a wool skirt, twinset and pearls.

In the 1960s however, the ubiquitous twinset lost ground to the newly emerging mod fashions. Though still popular and a standard in many wardrobes, it  became more a marker of conservatism than a hot fashion item and tended to be worn by the middle-aged, the  unadventurous and children, who's standard outfit in the 60s was often a bottle green twinset and red tartan skirt.

Once twinsets got old enough to be retro they made a mild comeback, though in some wardrobes, mainly the elderly,  they never disappeared. Love them or hate them, twinsets are a modern classic and funked up with a tight skirt and chunky necklace, they can look as fashion-hot as they did in the 50s.

Chanel style twinset from The Yard. Pattern available from  Amazon