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Female Mod Style – via Uppers

The Three Basics to Female Mod Style

Of course it is impossible to paraphrase mod style into three distinct rules, these rules are merely the basics, the foundation in which to begin…

It is almost impossible to write a comprehensive article on the subject without debate, mods defend their fashion and style ferociously often arguing amongst themselves as to whether one article of clothing or another is mod or not. As with anything the style is individual, there is no strict formula. Despite all of the different interpretations however it is not difficult to spot a mod; you definitely know one when you see one.

In the 1960’s when the subculture began in London, things were a bit more black and white especially for the girls, flipping through old photographs or books such as the Mods book it is plain to see that the female mod had an androgynous look to her, usually short cropped or bobbed hair, minimal makeup, simple almost frumpy clothing, back then their goal was to emulate the boys.

Now more than thirty years later things are quite different, women no longer find it appealing to look like their male counterparts, rather they usually find a particular style of the sixties that they prefer and build on that, they develop their own style, their own interpretations of what is mod. There are some aspects of it that change as frequently as the weather but the underlying basics stay the same. Nowadays there is a looser interpretation of the mod look.

Of course, none of this should be new to anyone who is well acquainted with the mod scene. But just in case you are not, or you want to hear the opinion and taste of someone who has been involved for a long time then read on; I am not about to sit here and preach as to what is or isn’t mod as far as clothing is concerned, but for now I will go over three important yet often unspoken basic rules:

The sharpest mods are the ones who have a cool calm about them, a certain poise. When I was first getting involved in the scene there was a female mod who was, in my opinion, the picture of style and confidence; she had the look just right, she knew she looked the best and she didn’t have to prove it to anyone. She wasn’t conceited, simply self assured.
This confidence, perhaps quiet arrogance comes from experience, from doing your research yet forming your own opinions and style. It is undefined yet ever present. There is no need to explain yourself or defend your look.

Have you ever seen someone at a club or show perhaps who just didn’t get it right? Usually those who are new to the mod scene fall victim to this. The clothing is worn wrong or perhaps they mixed fashions from different parts of the decade. I was sitting at the bar at Mod Nite at Kate O’ Brian’s having a coke and whiskey with my best friend Blake when a girl walked in wearing a lovely cocktail dress dating from approximately 1964, the problem was that she didn’t bother finding shoes that at least appeared to be from the period. She wore a pair of stacked chunk heels with a rounded toe. Sounds rather petty, but it defied the entire point and marred the whole look. The same goes for those who don’t bother to tailor their clothes, they wear skirts or dresses that are too tight or hang too loose. Again, why bother then?

This is quite possibly the most important of the three rules. Quality is definitely key. It is better to spend a large sum of money on one dress or suit that is in good condition and looks good on you than to spend the same amount on an entire truckload of clothing that has small holes, stains that wont come out, torn lining, or generally so far gone that its beyond repair.
This may sound obvious, but quite often you see someone who has the hem of her skirt or dress hanging down or doesn’t seem to notice that stain in the armpit. It is getting more and more difficult finding good quality mod clothing now, smaller boutiques are your best bet however be prepared to pay for it. Another option is to find yourself a good tailor and have clothes made, that way you are certain to have top of the line quality and there isn’t a danger of walking into a club and seeing three other girls with a similar outfit. Tailoring is of course very expensive but becoming more and more of a necessity.

Generally mods are a mysterious group, they stand out of a crowd in a positive way, no other subculture pays such scrupulous attention to authenticity and detail. It takes experience and time to get the look just right, and to build a proper wardrobe. Of course it is impossible to paraphrase mod style into three distinct rules, these rules are merely the basics, the foundation in which to begin. The key is to find your own style while being aware of these basics and remembering the philosophy of the subculture. Look your best, ride the best bike, and conduct yourself with the utmost poise and class.

© Victoria Bowen 1997 – 2011
[Published 2 February 1997]