Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mods wear double-breasted suits too!

My closet has a fair amount of suits. Some are of the off-the-peg variety, a few are never before worn examples of the genuine article from the sixties and a handful are custom made to fit my Mod sensibilities. One thing seems to be missing from my wardrobe: the double-breasted suit.

Wilson Pickett
When you think of the Mod style, a double row of buttons on a suit jacket is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, there is no doubt that Mods have been parading in them since the start. So when I learnt that my tailor was making another visit to my city, I had a single purpose in mind, have one done.

I took my inspiration from a few sources. A couple of ideas came from one of the leading Mod clothes makers around, DNA Groove. They have a few stunning jackets for sale that can instantly turn any Mod into an Ace Face. I promise myself that I will make my first purchase from Claudio in the near future.

Modclothin also has a nice option that can make heads turn. I particularly like the pattern used in this fine example.

When confronted with a choice of fabrics for the garment, I went for a light brown, subtle Prince of Wales check with a hint of blue in the pattern. I always believed that the Prince of Whales pattern and the double-breasted jacket were the perfect match. It’s been a while since I’ve owned a Prince of Wales suit. The last one I ordered was from a Merc catalog back in the late eighties.

Aside from the typical features you usually find on a Mod suit like the slanted pockets with flaps, covered buttons, working cuffs and customary ticket pocket, I decided that I would go for a 6 button jacket instead of the 8. The narrow lapels, so often associated with the Mod look, are a bit trickier to achieve in this case. But a sixties inspired look, when compared to the flared look of the seventies, is easily distinguishable. Normally, I would give the jacket a bit more of a slim fit but it would simply not look good on me.

Since Mods are usually all about the details, I direct your attention to the stitching around the buttonholes. I chose a light blue thread, similar to the single strand of blue found in the Prince of Wales check.

I believe that this custom made narrow silk tie and matching pocket square, with its orange and brown tones and sparse paisley pattern, will match the rest of the outfit perfectly.

With a jacket that has such a complex and noticeable pattern, the shirt must be chosen wisely. The obvious choice is the classic white shirt. For the nights when I feel adventurous, I had this shirt made to go with the jacket. The black and brown vertical stripes don’t overpower the checks of the jacket. The orange stitching used for the buttons is meant to accentuate the orange hues seen in the tie.

The trousers have the required tapered leg. A 7-inch opening is what was needed for me to have a comfortable fit. A small notch, sometimes seen on the detail obsessed Modernist’s pants was added to the list of customized features.

The popular frogmouth pocket was an obvious choice for me.

I rarely discuss the accessories I would choose to tie the look together but I think that this time I will dive in and offer a few options. First, with these colors, I don’t think you can go wrong with anything that is gold. A vintage golden tiepin with ivory inlays would be first on my list. Similar cufflinks can add that extra classy touch.

My friends all know that I’m a watch fanatic. For me, it’s THE male accessory. This is why I have a watch for every day of the week (if not the month). In this case, I would opt for my Brooks Brothers gold tone chronograph watch with alligator skin band. 

If you want to carry out the vintage look, how about this 60s Seiko windup watch.

Let’s discuss footwear. I think that a pair of classic tan brogue boots from England’s premiere shoemaker Loake is appropriate.

If you want to go retro, how about a pair of these similar color vintage loafers?

So? After reading this, do you see a double-breasted suit finding its way into your closet?


  1. Ahh... the type of post I enjoy waking up to! Love me some double-breasted action (no pun intended). One of my first was a mid-sixties, aqua jacket with cloth-covered buttons. It's such a great look, overall.

    You did a great job on yours, down to the trouser hem notch! I think a good look for double-breasted jackets is a peaked lapel, as well. I need to find my old one and bust it out soon.

    1. Thanks Carlos! I'm glad you approve. I was expecting you to zone in on the shoes though. ;) But the post is about suits after all...

    2. Great post, as a fan of the double breasted look i read it it with interest.

      I had a bespoke one made for my wedding last year in a lovely silver mohair very similar to the DNA style. I thought the detailing on yours regarding the stitching to match the blue overcheck of the Prince of Wales cloth was an interesting touch.

      Personally would have had the notch on the collar placed higher and the trouser bottom a bit wider, but that's down to the individual. Well done Patrick !!

    3. Thanks for your insight Glen. All valid points.

      But even more important, congratulations to the newlyweds!

  2. Man... we should definitely shop together someday.

  3. thanks for posting.