Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Mod suit makes the man

I was listening to DJ Warren Peace on the highly entertaining We Are The Mods radio show discussing fashion with my favorite blogger Carlos Perez from Mod Male. Warren and Carlos made a good point when they agreed that, as Mods, we should set ourselves to a higher standard when it comes to choosing our clothes. I agree.
Being a Mod is not just about throwing on the same old washed up Ben Sherman you have been wearing since high school or buying the generic Merc 3-button suit, five of your mates have. It’s much more than that. Dedication, attention to detail, the endless pursuit of the perfect fit, the relentless search of the item nobody else has and the constant forging and defining of your personal sense of style. THAT is what sets you apart.
I hope that this blog has served this purpose. May it be through inspiration, tips or recommendations, I hope I lived up to that motto. I’m not beyond reproach, far from it. But you can’t fault me for testing the waters and pushing the boundaries. Some critics have said that a Mod from the 60s wouldn’t have worn what I’m wearing. Do I need to remind you that I’m not living in the 60s nor would I care to? My wardrobe is the result of my vision of what a 21st century Mod would wear with my inspiration squarely based on 60s fashion and Mod imagery.
This doesn’t mean I never buy vintage clothes. I do and I choose wisely. The last thing I want to be is an Austin Powers clone. But I would rather have my clothes tailor made. I have written a few posts about custom made shirts and bespoke suits. It’s getting harder to come up with new and different ways to interpret the Mod suit. This time around, I pushed the envelope a bit. My inspiration was less early Mod, Jazz musician on a Blue Note album cover, conservative Ivy League look. Instead I took the late sixties, dandy, Ready Steady Go!, swinging London, John Stephen, Carnaby Street route. Is it an accurate depiction of that era? Probably not. But who cares?
First was the choice of fabric. I picked this less conventional wool and cashmere blue check pattern with accents. Bold enough to be different but subtle enough not to stick out like a sore thumb.

I went with a 3-button short jacket with two 8 1/2 inch side vents.

Instead of the predictable slanted pockets with flaps and matching ticket pocket, I decided to go with the less common patch pocket and buttoned flaps. The point on the flap was another way to kick it up a notch. I went with contrasting burgundy covered buttons with the intention to potentially exchanging them for some vintage dark leather buttons.

The peak lapels are reminiscent of the late 60s, early 70s. More daring then the standard notch lapel, this example, with its oversized arrow points, take a good dose of confidence to pull off or in my case, some blissful naiveté.

The short sleeve permits you to showcase a nice pair of vintage cufflinks. Bored of my usual 5 button cuff, 2 was the magic number this time. I made sure to distance them to give it a unique look. The working cuff has become a standard on my suits and is sign of a higher quality garment when compared to your run-of-the-mill mass produced suits.

The trousers were inspired by a post I did earlier this year entitled When Mod hit the mainstream: The Carnaby Street style. In the post, I uploaded a scan from a 1967 Canadian mail-order catalog. I brought the scan to my tailor and asked him if he could recreate the look. He didn't get it and I took it as a good sign. Here are the highlights.

Front “military” pockets, fastened by 2 buttons each, have taken the place of the classic frogmouth pocket. Like many pants of that style, there are no pockets in the back. I went with wide belt loops that will accommodate a large belt with an oversized belt buckle. 

The pant leg is tapered with a 7” opening.  A small notch with a decorative button was added at the bottom. Worn with a pair of Loake chelsea boots, you can't go wrong.

Again, I believe that it’s the attention to detail that will make all the difference. No matter if this is your style or not,  the point I’ve always tried to make is that it’s possible to have something that reflects your personality without breaking your piggy bank. For this, you need five things: a vision, some imagination, balls, some pocket change and a tailor you trust.
This one was another made-to-measure Prince Henry Tailors creation. Check them out, they might be coming to your city soon.


  1. Loving those trousers.

  2. I'd say you've got all this down pretty well, especially the comments you reiterate here about the need to step away from the more obvious branded goods. As a mere student I struggle to pay for much more than 'cheap copy' brands but I've never really considered buying a merc or Ben Sherman suit - wayy too obvious. And yeah, the trousers are killer! Don't know too much about those lapel notches though!

    1. I totally understand about those lapels. They're on the verge of being outside my confort zone. I really had to push myself. Let's just say that I wouldn't wear that jacket at a wedding.

      I strongly suggest you check out the Prince Henry Tailors link. You can have a bespoke suit made starting at $250. Tell them Patrick from Parka Avenue sent you and you'll have the VIP treatment.

  3. Great bit on We Are The Mods show. I haven't had suits tailored to the next level in many many years, and honestly, the latest show has given me some new hopes on this front. NYC is filled with fabulous places to have suits and shirts, etc. made, but this recommendation about Prince Henry Tailors is what I'm going for.

    I'd like to sketch out some things for you to consider when ordering another suit from them. Great ways to have your buttons attach, etc. You may have seen similar, but regardless, it will be nice to share these ideas with you.

  4. Nice article....I do like a lot of the choices you have made for your suit. Some of them aren't my cup of tea, but that's just personal preference. The split hem is nicely done there, it's a nice touch that I think works really well with checks as well as the stepped hem. Keep up the good work!