Mod fashion started in the 60s. A small group of young men and a few girls started to look to French and Italian cool, combined with American Ivy League style to create a uniquely British youth fashion. These early Modernists listened to Modern Jazz, rejecting the prevailing fashion for 'Trad' jazz, as typified by Aker Bilk. They also liked American Negro Blues music. The fashion caught on and the Modernists became the Mods.
Since then Mod has played a part in British fashion. Several revivals have kept the look in the public eye. The first of which started in the late 70s following hard on the heals of Punk. Bands such as The Jam provided the music and 60s Carnaby Street provided the fashion inspiration.
Mod returned in the 90s and has been with us ever since.
Mod fashion brands
Brands which played a part in the early days of Mod fashion are still going strong. Many original Mod style garments can still be bought. There is also a constantly changing fashion scene building on the original look of the Mods, Skinheads and Punks.
Ben Sherman supplied shirts to John Stephen's famous store in Carnaby Street and launched his own store 'Millions of Shirts' in Brighton. The Ben Sherman button down, a British version of the classic Ivy League shirt, became the staple of the Mod movement in the sixties and the 1979 Mod revival. Ben Sherman shirts were also an essential part in the Skinhead movement which followed Mod in the late 60s.
The Fred Perry shirt was the original tennis shirt that the Mods adopted in the 60s. It was smart and looked good under a suit, as well as with a pair of Levis. Fred Perry shirts were designed for sportswear, but also kept you cool on the dance floor.
The original Harrington jacket was made by British firm, Baracuta, and is still available today. The Harrington is a short jacket, finishing at the waist. The Harrington was named after Rodney Harrington, a character in the popular US soap, Peyton Place. All things American were considered cool by the Mods of the 60s. Steve McQueen also added to the kudos of the Harrington when he appeared on the cover of Life Magazine in 1963 wearing one. British Mods took to wearing the Harrington from the mid sixties, as it offered a more casual look than the tailored Mod suit.
Read more: Baracuta G9 Harrington
Footwear was just as important to Mod fashion in the sixties as any other detail of fashion. Mods in the sixties wore Chelsea boots, Cuban heel boots, chisel toes (Winklepickers with the point squared off), Wing Tips (or brogues) or loafers. Denson was a favourite brand selling fashion shoes for men in the 60s.
For more informal wear, running shoes were popular with jeans and there was a fashion for bowling shoes.
Clarks Desert boots were available all over the country and their simple modern style appealed to the Mods of the sixties.
Clarks Desert Boots
The simple modern style of Clarks Desert Boots appealed to the Mods in the sixties. The Desert Boot became an essential part of the Mod wardrobe. It could be worn casually with Levis or with a suit.
Read more: Clarks Desert Boots
The Bass Weejun was the original Ivy League loafer. G H Bass developed it from a Norwegian design in the 30s. In 50s America Ivy League style was synonymous with cool. When the Ivy Shop opened in London in the mid 60s, it became a hit with British Mods as well. Read more Bass Weejun.
More on fashion:
Your comments on Mod fashion
"mod so cool. we are the mods" adex turner
"its classic , its cool and its me"steve turner
"Im only 16 and have become mad about the mods because of Quadrophenia." nick smith
"I am a mod aged 14 and have been since I was 12. I don't know how I became a mod as my dad is a greaser." James Gladdish
" I'm a mod, my dad was a mod, my grandad was a mod and i thought i'd carry it on also i LOVE quadrophenia and have seen it live, We Are The Mods" Sam B
WE ARE THE MODS!!!" Darryl W 04/05/2010
They were the days and they were the fashion
I am so glad that i was part of it." charlotte 06/07/2010
X" Sam I 16/07/2010
This is a nice bit of information, but i do need to correct the part where it says about ben sherman due to ben sherman being a major part of a skinheads wardrobe and not a mods. this is as the mods prefferd mod fitting (slim fit) american imported shirts for a decent ivy league look and alot of mods wouldnt wear heavyly produced shirts at the time they liked to all be different from eachother to try and set a new trend. ( this mainly applies for the origional 60's mods). although in the mod revivals due to alot of mods turning into skin heads the revived mods then fasioned the ben sherman shirts into their wardrobe what give the ben sherman its mod name.
for any young mod or any mod for that matter i would recomend a book called - the Soul stylists
six decades of modernism-from mods to casuals
its a good read on how the mods started and how fashions evolved from music and our black counterparts aswell as the americans and shows how people made the move from mods to skinheads to casuals
ohh and i love hearing that im not the only young mod out there- lets start a revival!!!!
WE ARE THE MODS!!!" Max hill 05/01/2011
I was/am working class. Was never rich, worked hard and long hours for my dough. I made the best of a bad situation having to live on my own. The only time I got to be with me mates and have fun was late evenings (after work) and weekends. Yes we took pills, we had to, we had to stay awake all weekend from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. That was 'our' time, nobody told us what to do on the weekends. We had worked hard all week, our money was ours, we spent it the way we wanted to. Bear in mind I lived in a bed sitter, had to buy my own grub, do my own washing, cooking, cleaning. So, yes the weekends were for pure fun. But, oh Monday mornings were painful. Going back to work on a 'comedown'. Feeling like crashed out man. But it was all worth it !!!" Johny-B-Mod 15/01/2011
NicktheFace" NicktheFace 27/05/2011
As Nick points out, it is really tough to be a "face" without having like minded people around. These days you can get that meaning, there are plenty of mods out there but they're a little more physically isolated... but you do well to keep the spirit alive! You have to keep believing.
Tom Wolfe (1968) captures the mid day club scene well in 'Noonday underground' an essay in the book 'The Pump House Gang'" Andy 14/07/2011
www.indimenswear.co.uk" Alan 30/10/2011
I have great memories of those years, I still collect loads of Music /records, and I do still go to Northern nighters once in a while. The dress sense is still there, I dont look like a Mod as such these days but its always been an approach hasn't it, just love smart casual full stop...oh and Harringtons...I'll never stop wearing Harringtons..
Malcolm Collins 06/06/2014" Malcolm Collins 10/06/2014
Thank you xx" DotvJames 27/08/2018
Retrowow Established 2002
Vintage, retro & social history