Since the sixties, Mods have been customizing, altering and adding subtle changes to their clothes in order to set themselves apart from the masses. Sometimes hardly noticeable to the untrained eye, for the die hard Mod, it's all part of a secret code. As the years passed and the Mod waves have come and gone, a certain uniformity has settled in and a recognized style has established itself.
For the dedicated Modernist, off the peg brand names like Ben Sherman, Brutus, Britac, Fred Perry, Baracuta and Brooks Brothers might be acceptable but the custom tailored version will always take precedence.
The suit has long been at the forefront of the customizing and creative efforts but it's not the only piece of clothing that can receive your personalized touch. Shirts are also deserving of such attention to detail. This is what separates the boys from the men, the Faces from the Tickets. I want to make something abundantly clear. I'm not trying to accurately recreate what a Mod would wear in August 1963. I don't pretend to be an historian or a fashion expert. This is my personal vision of the 21st century Mod look. Individual style, this is what it's all about. I've never subscribed to the dictatorial, rigid and competitive nature of certain Mods.
The point I'm trying to make is that it's possible to have a good quality, custom-made shirt for 39$. At that price, why not go for something that will fit you perfectly? Plus, you get to have something unique, distinct, classy and that reflects your personality. I highly recommend you use Prince Henry Tailors for all custom shirts needs.
First and foremost, you need to choose your fabric. The most common is a cotton blend. If you go 100% pure Egyptian cotton for instance, you should expect to pay more. A vast array of patterns are then at your disposal. Plain colors, stripes, checks, madras, small herringbone, gingham checks are all up for grabs. The choice is sometimes overwhelming. For your first experience, simply go for a plain white cotton blend. You never have too much of those.
Next, you have to select how you want the back of your shirt to look. Do you prefer plain, with side pleats or your classic center box pleat? If you’re a Ben Sherman fan, then the center box pleat with loop should suit you well and an obvious choice for any Mod.
Then comes the collar with a vast array of styles to choose from. I'm a long time adept of the button-down collar. It always looks sharp and neat. It has the added advantage that it can be worn casually without a jacket. Some detractors maintain that a button-down shirt should never be worn with a suit and tie. I don't subscribe to that school of thought.
According to Brooks Brothers, to mix jacket, tie and button-down is perfectly acceptable. They touched on the subject on their website. Have a look here. I trust their judgement since they are the ones who popularized that style of collar.
|Types of collars offered by Prince Henry tailors|
The height is your traditional "3 finger" collar. Suedeheads and Skinheads will remember that as the standard for their desired Ben Sherman.
|Vintage collar display seen in the Scwab's store on Beale Street in Memphis|
|Vintage Arrow collar display seen at Bobby From Boston|
I've always liked contrasting collars and cuffs. It screams "chic" and "class". This is what I tried to do with this shirt, using a plain white collar and cuffs with a stripped blue pattern.
A breast pocket is a common feature on any dress shirt but I have decided to drop it off my list. Besides, when was the last time you used that pocket unless your name is Urkel or Poindexter? I have nothing against them. I just don't like it when the fabric pattern isn't perfectly aligned with the shirt. Lately, some brands have been guilty of this. In lieu of the pocket, I had my monogrammed initials stitched in script.
Cuffs are another way to make a statement and you have a wide range of styles to choose from. Most store-bought shirts tend to have a single button barrel cuff. I went with the classic French cuff. It's about time it makes a major comeback. How else would you get to parade those posh antique cufflinks that have been laying dormant in your drawer?
How about this for a different take on the traditional? I asked my tailor to have the button holes cut horizontally instead of vertically. I know that worn with a suit and tie, nobody will notice but that is not the point. I'm sure that if you are reading this post, chances are you will appreciate the effort and creativity.
The stitching around the button holes and the thread used on the buttons is another way to add your unique individual touch . For this shirt, I used a blue thread to contrast with the white fabric but also to match the blue stripes in the pattern and red was used to fasten the buttons. Voila! The picture is complete.
For those of you who can't stand being a walking advertising billboard for a clothing company (Yes, we are talking about that noticeable "laurel" we all know and love) may I suggest having your shirt monogramed instead? Customarily, you can have your initials stitched on your left cuff and/or on the left breast.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. So go on and be bold, be you, be Mod!