Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Attention to detail, the Mod credo

If there's one Mod tenet I adhere to without fail is to pay attention to the small things. Whenever I meet up with my tailor to have a new suit made, I always have a bunch of new ideas that I want to incorporate in my next design. You should see my tailor's face when I present him with a crazy new idea. It's true that by now, he's starting to expect it.

Of course, I'm always looking to the 50s and 60s for inspiration. I try not to go overboard and look like a Mod caricature or John Lennon on the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It's a real balancing act. It's all about dosing and restraint all the while finding the killer details that will set you apart. It's not an easy task and I don't always get unanimous thumbs up from my entourage. That doesn't stop me from trying. I've come to forge my own personal style and feel comfortable in it. But being comfortable doesn't mean I don't try to challenge myself and seek out new concepts or reinterpret old ones.

For those who don't know me intimately, I need to point out that I don't write these blog posts as a feat of showmanship or to dictate how a Mod “should” look. They are meant to serve as a source of inspiration. Just like I look to the past for insight. If you don't like what you see then by all means do the exact opposite! My purpose is to light the flame and get you passionate about molding your own style. My goal is to get you thinking and to push you to come up with your own vision. That's what Mods do!

I got bored with the black 3-button suit a while back so I've been searching for small details or subtle tweaks to separate myself from the masses. If I'm wearing a black suit (because I still wear them) I better pair it up with a bold shirt or a colourful tie that will pop.

Sometimes, the details in question aren't even noticeable! But because you know they are there, it gives you a little jolt of confidence. Your demeanour changes and a suave attitude washes over you. Is it just me or when I wear a nice, sometimes expensive, pair of underwear, I feel more self-assured? Don't feel the need to answer this one.

Let me illustrate my point with a few examples.

Take this unassuming looking polk-a-dot vintage 60s slim tie for instance. Nothing to write home about really. It's classic and can go well with a myriad of shirt and suit combinations.

What sets it apart from the other ties I have in my closet is this little detail in the back. When I wear this tie, I instantly have hair that starts growing on my chest. I can feel the testosterone flowing through my veins. I unexpectedly want to order a Martini and I'm on the lookout for evil masterminds planning to take over the world.

James Bond's signature in the silk lining

Let's have a look at this conventional Prince of Wales check 3-button jacket. It's safe to say that it falls into the accepted Mod norms and part of many of our wardrobes.

Again, one hidden detail makes it unique and I'm talking about the inner lining. The silk lining of a jacket is often a feature that is dismissed, neglected and overlooked. But for a few of us, it matters. Even if it can be briefly peeked at when taking off your jacket, it's still important.

Back to the new suit I just had made. I didn't choose a bold and flashy fabric but instead opted for a more discrete bluish grey with a subtle check pattern with hints of purple and pink. I was aiming for something classy and timeless with a twist. The gauntlet cuff is certainly not a detail we see every day and it gives the jacket a little edge. I went for the single working cuff button to keep things simple and sleek.

I figured that if it's good enough for James Bond than I can pull it off too.

Roger Moore in The Persuaders. I would take a few inches off those lapels though.
The gold vintage wrap around cufflinks with a purple stone were meticulously selected to match the purple / pink check in the fabric. The same can be said for this custom shirt I had made that has pastel pink and blue stripes. The white contrasting club collar and the light blue 60s slim tie brings the whole look together.

Another interesting detail that is seldom seen on a suit jacket is the hidden buttons. You'll see a placket with hidden buttons on a shirt, but on a jacket, not so much. I went without a breast pocket to give it a clean, slick look that draws the attention to the cuffs.

The trousers have the classic frog mouth pockets with an 7.5 inch hem and a small triangular notch in it. The design of the back pocket is one of the features I am most excited about. The peaked pocket flap with covered button really does it for me. The slightly wider belt loops also breaks the contemporary status quo.

When speaking of small details that make all the difference, socks are at the top of the list. Notice I didn't says "shoes". I don't consider shoes a "small detail". They are a crucial part of your overall look. But socks are too often overlooked. For this suit, a pair of gray and metal blue with a tiny red line was my first choice. A pair of burgundy Bass Weejuns is all that I needed to complete the ensemble.

Last but not least, a few little squirts of a masculine eau de cologne and your ready for a night on the town. In my case, I'll go for the Jaipur Eau de Parfum by French house Boucheron. Take it from me boys, a fragrance that is well chosen for your type of skin is another, sometimes neglected detail, that will get you noticed especially by the ladies. You won't only turn heads but you'll awaken other senses too!

Now time to hit the dance floor. Want to join me?

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