PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 August, 2008, 12:00am

While it seems at least one designer every season is inspired by the 1960s, the decade itself is so chock-full of inspiration the well never seems to run dry. This season, tie-dye materials have been revived in modern silhouettes and colour palettes so you don't look too retro.

The important thing to remember with tie-dye is that simple colours work best. You don't want to go for anything that looks psychedelic. Keep in mind that tie-dye tops, tees and dresses are your best bet, but stay away from tie-dyed bottoms. That look wasn't fashionable (or flattering) back then, and it still isn't.

The best pieces are made from cotton, silk or gauze. Blouson tops look great haphazardly tucked into denim cut-offs or paired with skinny jeans. Gauze pieces are great for the beach and relaxing on the weekend.

If you find tie-dye is a little too trippy for you, go for variations such as dip-dyed or thermogenic pieces like Debbie's (below, check out www.americanapparel.net for a selection) that change colour according to your body heat. Remember those hyper colour tees from the 80s? Well, they're back. I like how Debbie has contrasted the 'print' of the tee with a pair of printed shorts but made sure the colours match. This keeps the look quirky yet easy to wear.

For dip-dyed pieces, check out Isabel Marant (Shop B, 58 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2808 4698), which has long T-shirt dresses in shades of khaki, navy and brown. Just down the street, try Japanese label Beams Boy (50 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2890 9177) for super soft gauze numbers you can layer over jeans or leggings.

Worn with a pair of flat sandals, tie-dyed dresses look great in summer (check out Myla, below right, in her maxi tie-dye dress), but if you pick a piece dyed in darker colours, you can easily wear it with tights and boots when cooler weather arrives.

If you just want a subtle touch of tie-dye, check out another Japanese label called As Know as de Base (51 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2890 9636), where they stock layered dresses where only the bottom layer that peeks out is tie-dyed.