Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mods, parkas and pins (Part 2)

In the April 5th post, I revealed the pin that has a premiere spot on my parka. We all have a favorite pin that we will never part with. Today, we're going to have a look at the different types of pins the contemporary Mod will display proudly on his suit lapel. It's a whimsical glance at the various categories of pins, the button conscious Mod wears. So here is my top ten categories of the little round fashion accessory that has graced parkas the world over.

1) The vintage pin

This type is more of a fifties thing than anything to do with the original Mod movement of the sixties. Members of scooter clubs would wear them on their riding jackets. They usually represent your scooter model, your preferred brand of oil or gasoline or a tire maker's logo. They were often given away as a promotional item. Made of tin or plastic, they have a long needle in the back.

Those are getting harder to find and are quickly becoming collector's items. I like to wear mine on a classy suit lapel during a night out on the town. I don't recommend wearing them at a concert or on a rally. They are fragile and are easy to lose.

2) The typical 80s ska pin

Usually depicting Walt Jabsco or the Beat Girl, they can be seen striking a pose, dancing or playing a musical instrument. A distinguishing feature is that it has a small safety pin in the back. It screams Mod revival! Personally, I think there are too big for a suit lapel. I opt for my parka or the collar of my Harrington jacket.

3) The Mod target pin

It might be an obvious choice but you can't argue with the classics. It will look as good on a jean jacket as on a tonic suit. Wear it with pride and show your allegiance to your tribe.

 4) The enamel pin

This is the 21st century version of the traditional button pin. Very chic and easy to find, it's the perfect way to make a subtle fashion statement. There are a wide variety of choices. Chances are you can find your exact scooter model, in your color!

5) The military medal

Picture a young Pete Townshend wearing a white jacket or shirt full of patches. This is probably the closest to what the original Mods wore in the sixties.

6) The musical group button

This is a way to share your musical taste with the world. It's a trend that is also very popular with punks. Every Mod musical genre is up for grabs: soul, ska, rocksteady, jazz, garage, brit pop.

Aside from the Mod target, the iconic northern soul black fist rising has to be the most recognizable Mod image to grace parkas over the years. If you don't have one, grab your coat and go find yourself one right now!

7) The flag pin

Show off you national pride with a flag pin. The Union Jack is of course, by far, the most widespread pin. It is now elevated to the pop art icon status. You will find tons of different depictions and artistic versions of the British flag. Let's not forget the St George's Cross. It's also very present. Another popular choice is the Italian flag. Very closely associated with the Vespa and the Lambretta scooter, the Italian colors are often seen. And for all you ska fans out there, lets give an honorable mention to the Jamaican colors.

8) The football club pin

More prevalent amongst the Casuals and the Skinheads, it's hard to ignore the fact that some people are fanatical about their teams. Keep in mind that it might look cool on a bomber jacket or a Harrington but it should stay off, in my humble opinion, a sharkskin suit.

9) The cult classic movie pin

Quadrophenia has to be at the top of the list. The film is why a lot of us got bit by the Mod bug. Jimmy on his scooter is one the most popular pins around. Clockwork Orange, Blow-Up, Roman Holiday have found their way on a parka or two. My personal favorites are The Saint stick figure and the James Bond 007 logo. There is something about Mods and spies that just seem to fit.

10) The fashion brand pin

This is the type of button I don't really quite understand but have been guilty of wearing once in a while. This is the pin that advertises the brand of clothes you like to wear. The most common are: Fred Perry, Ben Sherman, Lonsdale and Dr. Martens. Why would you want to announce to the world you like a brand instead of just wearing it? It's the same as putting a pin that says Parka Power on your parka.

One pin that I could include in this category is "the" Mod fashion icon, Twiggy. Her face has become synonymous with Mod fashion. You will also find pins with a variety of different pin-ups posing on Vespas and Lambrettas.

So here you have it folks, hundreds of pins to choose from. Stick with what you like and don't go overboard. I saw a guy recently at a ska show that had about 10 pins on each lapel of his suit. He just looked silly and didn't have any sense of style. Choose one or two and mix it up every time you go out. Do it with class!

Do you a have a sentimental favorite? I want to know. Tell me about it...


  1. Très intéressant billet, j'aime bien la présentation sous forme de liste! J'ai encore mes pins des Sex Pistols, Ramones et The Smiths quelque part... Pas très Mod, mais bon, moi mon passé est punk-alternatif! ;)

  2. I always thought you were a rebel! ;p

    Merci pour le compliment!

  3. Ahhhh! Les badges! J'ai toujours une adoration pour ces petites choses! J'adore un bon paquet sur mon parka, quelques-uns sur mon jacket de jeans, un ou deux sur mon Harrington et un veston, un sur une chemise...c'est ma dose! Le Target, Motown, Mondrian, des bands, 60s surtout: Action, Creation, Who, Yardbirds d'autres plus garage Standells...C'est la base! Après je choisie selon les soirées, les concerts, la vie: stooges ( pas très Mod, mais ceci est une longue histoire!)Stereolab, Kerouac...
    Pas de pins de scooter, j'ai jamais eu les moyens de m'en acheter un, de scooter , donc...

  4. keren-keren pin dan brossnya...

  5. I've alwayse loved buttons. The first one I bought 24 years ago (Polish punk group logo)and I still collect them... shame on me, old geezer. My newest button is RAF roundel and Trojan helmet with lettering "Hard And Smart". I like it :)

  6. proudly wear a small rangers pin on my parka!