How to style the ‘60s trend, inspired by TV series Palm Royale

The mood is mid-century chic

Palm Royale TV series Apple TV+
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Vacuous though it may sound, I am more inclined to watch – and enjoy – a TV series if the fashion’s good. The latest show to pique my sartorial interest is Palm Royale, which premiered on Apple TV+ this week. It’s a veritable ‘60s style fest, which feels especially relevant given what we’ve seen on the Spring/Summer ‘24 runways – but more on that later.

Based on the book Mr. & Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel, Palm Royale tells the story of the ambitious Maxine Simmons (played by Kristen Wiig), trying to reach the upper echelons of South Floridian high society in 1969, complete with a wardrobe of ‘60s shift dresses, diaphanous kaftans and flashy florals in a vivid, pastel palette. It’s all very Slim Aarons – and you’ll be unsurprised to hear that the photographer’s work heavily inspired the styling of the show.

Palm Royale

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

It was costume designer Alix Friedberg who had the (dream) job of outfitting each character. Kristen Wiig’s Maxine starts the show in candy-hued mini dresses, with matching shoes and bags and an abundance of bows, swapping these for airy kaftans as she ascends the social hierarchy.

Meanwhile, Alison Janney’s Evelyn is dressed in jewel-hued, bell-sleeved gowns, most of which are custom-made but influenced by Pucci, Saint Laurent and Christian Dior, and accessorised with big hats and even bigger sunglasses. As well as commissioning bespoke designs, Friedberg pulled vintage finds from the likes of Courrèges, Chanel and Givenchy.

Palm Royale

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

As compelling a rhinestone-laden cocktail dress and matching elbow-length gloves may be on-screen, it’s probably not the best outfit to wear to that wedding you’ve been invited to this summer. Use the high-octane styling as mere inspiration, and let me invite you to look at the Spring/Summer ‘24 runways for more wearable ways to interpret the trend.

First, let’s discuss the mini dress. It’s everywhere this season – in black, babydoll form at Chanel and as a white satin shift at Versace. It’s short – micro-mini in some cases – but don’t let that put you off. A pair of semi-sheer tights temper thigh-grazing lengths, or do like they did at Gucci and layer a pinafore dress (in this case, in crystal-embellished, pea-green satin) atop blue jeans. It’s a wholly modern way of wearing the ‘60s staple. If you go bare-legged, a pair of Mary Jane or ballet flats keeps things from feeling too trussed-up.

A pastel tweed suit is an excellent idea – see Chanel and Versace – but if a full look feels intimidating, break up the pieces; style a boxy jacket with wide-leg jeans or a mini skirt with a fine-knit cardigan in black or grey. See too MSGM’s punked-up ‘tweed’ dress with exaggerated fuzz and matching earrings – not one for the wallflowers amongst us, but a good example of a contemporary take on an old-school fabric.

If you hadn’t already guessed, matchy-matchy is trending. Tory Burch styled Jackie O-worthy wool and satin coats with matching dresses, but these pieces work equally well with T-shirts and jeans. If you are ready to embrace head-to-toe (or at least neck-to-thigh) coordination, consider Emilia Wickstead’s wonderfully retro, lemon-yellow tunic and shorts, or a floral blouse-and-shorts set from Zimmermann, a brand that, incidentally, features in Palm Royale.

Want to embrace ‘60s styling in subtler ways? A printed silk shirt (seen at Versace and on Palm Royale’s Robert, played by Ricky Martin) looks effortless teamed with a simple white tank and linen trousers, while a pair of oversized glasses or structured, top-handle bag lend a vintage sensibility to otherwise pared-back looks. For more ideas, scroll to see our ‘60s-inspired edit.

Our Palm Royale-inspired picks: