Mods: A Menswear Revolution

During the 1960s, acts like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who ruled the airwaves: Sean Connery burst onto the scene as cinema’s coolest secret agent, whilst Michael Caine lit up the silver screen as an assortment of cheeky Cockney geezers in his filmic exploits: On the road, the bulky, fin-accented American gas-guzzlers which influenced automotive design everywhere would soon be regarded as vulgar relics of the past: understated, slick designs such as The Mini and Jaguar E-Type would be the order of the day, which would later go on to influence the clean lines of many future classics.

This phenomenon from our not-too-distant past was referred to by some as ‘The British Invasion’: it was a time when UK culture would feature prominently across the globe and reach unheard-of heights of popularity;

The Miniskirt would emerge as possibly the definitive British contribution to ladies fashion: but there was no shortage of innovation when it came to menswear: let’s take a look at one of the most iconic movements of the day which helped to shape menswear forever…

Mods – a new wave

Mods were part of a subculture who embraced modernism, eschewing the stuffy fashions of old to carve a new niche for themselves which would leave a lasting legacy for years to come;

Mods were no longer interested in listening to sickeningly sweet pop songs about teddy bears and lollypops: instead, they embraced dangerous, rebellious or alternative music which was all about ‘sticking it to the man’; From edgy Beat-rock to Jazz, R&B to Ska, this was an eclectic mix which carried through into the fashion sense of the mods;

Mod fashion was a blend of slick Italian tailoring, French-cinema inspired hairstyles and a combination of British motifs which, when combined, would be a far cry from what the previous youth generation would deem: ‘out of sight’;

A typical male mod would often be seen wearing slim-fitting, elegant Italian suits, neat button-down collar shirts and skinny ties complimented by a pair of chic Chelsea Boots, Winkle-pickers or Desert Boots; The RAF roundel symbol and Union Flag would end up featuring on lapel badges, cufflinks and the cashmere jumpers sometimes worn under their slick exterior during colder months; this penchant for expensive, sharp dressing influenced the mods’ preferred mode of transportation: the scooter;

Unlike motorcycles, the Vespa scooters of the day were relatively clean modes of transport, with all of the greasy chains, cables and engine parts being encased within a protective cowling; this made these two-wheeled wonders a great choice which would help to maintain the appearance of the immaculate trousers worn by trend-setting young mods; unfortunately, British weather meant that Parkas were a necessity when out and about on a rainy day.

Ultimately, Mod fashion would prove to be a timeless style, thanks in part to its understated elegance.

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Leslie Blight is a fashion writer who covers everything from funny t shirts to chic handbags.

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