Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Mod in the Making

I just love sweaters that have buttons on the shoulders. They look even smarter if they have mock turtlenecks. There’s something distinctly Mod about them. They look good worn casually with a nice pair of Sta Press and desert boots or you can go for a more formal attire with freshly pressed Farah trousers and Bass weejuns loafers.

Having a fashion sense didn’t come overnight when I turned 16. At a young age, my mother would bring my sister and I to this children’s clothing boutique where they sold high-end clothes. I’m certain that she spent more on clothes for her children then she ever did on herself. Not many of my friends, in the late 70s, would sport exclusive lines imported from Paris. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was pretty fortunate. All I remember is spending countless hours in changing booths.

Ultimately, this is probably where my love for smart clothes came from and specifically my affection for sweaters with buttons on the shoulders. Well, in this case, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here you have it, a Mod in the making. This class photo was taken in 1979 when I was 8. I think that the fact that I chose this outfit for my yearly class photo, probably with some clever influence from a motherly stylist, says a lot about my burgeoning taste in fashion.

Two years later, in 1982, at the tender age of 10, there I am proudly wearing a similar sweater. My obsession with watches also dates from that year. I remember being pleased that this was the assigned pose because that meant that I was going to show off my watch. I had one of the earliest examples of digital LED technology. It came from Birks, a reputable jeweler here in Montreal and was one of my most valued possessions. A couple years ago, nostalgic for my first watch, I bought a similar vintage Birks model online.

Now, back to the modern world! I’m certainly a man that looks to the past for inspiration but my goal in buying the following articles was not to look like a boy. One of my favorite Mod clothing lines is Madcap England. They don’t have a huge collection, but what they have is worth investigating. Distributed by the online retailer Atom Retro, I can attest to the quality of their knitwear. I only have a minor issue with the Madcap brand. The colors seem to fade after a few washes. If you are looking for a vintage look then this won’t be a problem.

The first one I bought was this blue jumper with the red contrasting buttons and piping around the collar and the cuffs. In my opinion a perfect mix of a contemporary look with a retro touch. Worn with a dark pair of Levis and Clarks desert boots, you are in business.

I usually like to wear this sweater with my Diesel watch that has a red band around the dial or this slick timepiece by Fossil, designed by Philippe Starck.

I really like the next piece. It combines two of my favorite elements: buttons on the shoulder and racing stripes! How can you go wrong with that? With black being the template, it makes the burnt orange, reminiscent of the sixties, pop out. I like to wear this with a pair of black tapered trousers and Chelsea boots. 

As for the watch, I often go for this futuristic looking watch from Tokyoflash or this classic chronograph timepiece from Ben Sherman.

Make sure you have a look at what Atom Retro has to offer but beware, you might end up spending a bit more than you anticipated.


  1. ive just bought the black top. does it shrink much in the first wash? finding it ....fitted

  2. Like every garment, it always shrinks a bit. I always do a cold wash. This one is pretty safe in the drying machine.

  3. Excellent article.

  4. No buttons, only zip. As regards a sweaters, I'm gonna stick to this old punk principle :) However, asymmetric orange on plain black looks quite good...