Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

And Then There’s Mod

Sort of. This was the Mod Revival of the 80’s.

You see, I wasn’t always the buttoned down, jazz and classical music loving man that I am today. Somewhere, I think I’ve mentioned before, there is a photo of me with spikey hair, an earring and ripped t-shirt eating a Dan Fogleberg tape that my roommate wouldn’t stop playing. I am an 80’s kid all grown up. Instead of punk I should have been dressing more like those fellows above. I was listening to the music and I was certainly a clothes horse. (Despite my brief flirtations with other modes, I did travel to college with a suit, a blazer, flannels and a dinner jacket.)

What’s the point of all this rot, you may ask?

I’ve frequently mentioned that picking a look from a decade can give you a good start at developing your own style. And if you’re flirting with the narrower and trimmer sleek looks popular today, take it from the ones who lived the life: the Modernists, or “Mods” for short. They took that name because they favoured the modern jazz over the New Orleans sound.

Watchwords for the mod style are sleek, tailored, trim, well-groomed and polished.


“College-boy smooth crop hair with burned-in parting, neat white Italian rounded-collar shirt, short Roman jacket very tailored (two little vents, three buttons), no-turn-up narrow trousers with 17-inch bottoms absolute maximum, pointed=toe shoes and a white mac lying folded by his side.”
(The description of Dean Swift from “Absolute Beginners” by Colin MacInnes which is significantly better than the very stylized movie.)

Where the English Mods favoured the Italian cut, the French minets (“trendies” loses a lot in the translation, no?) adapted the English style with longer jackets, nipped waists, narrow shoulders and high armholes. Shoes had to be English.

Nino Ferrer and Jacques Dutronc model the style in suits probably made by Establissments Renoma

But both minet and Mod relied, initially, on the Ivy League look for direction. What is now known as Trad.

Which brings us full circle.

The Elegantologist, ca. 1984 in his father’s 1960’s charcoal grey 3/2 sack suit, skinny collar shirt and tie. The shoes, I can reasonably assume, were Brooks Brothers cordovan penny loafers.)

10 thoughts on “And Then There’s Mod

  1. I thought the same thing about Darin, or singing at a wedding. Do you remember the event?

    Nice photo of you. You look like you could be a ham! 😉

  2. Yes, Gentlemen, that is a mic in my hand. I had two incarnations. One a classic crooner and the other a new wave kid. That photo was taken at a school event. The song was “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” or “The Duke of Earl.” I was “lead face” in both; which should tell you a bit about my singing ability.

    SuburbanPrincess, very, very, cool. Does she have photos?

  3. I still have this thing for the Style Council. Weller has been so over looked by this country but he still has the style and a beautiful wife. His style convinced me to go with hacking pockets on a MTM DB suit. It’s my Jam suit.

  4. Jacques Dutronc had a big hit in the sixties called :”les playboys”

    he sang : “Il y a les playboys de profession
    Habillés par Cardin et chaussés par Carvil”

    That means in english :

    “There is professionnal playboys
    dressed by cardin, with shoes from Carvil (well known shoes maker in france)….

  5. I live in Menton on the italian border, infortunely its raining while I ‘m wraiting these few words……

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