Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mod 'Jams?

I've never liked the idea of 'weekend Mods.' You know, those guys who spend Monday through Thursday in t-shirts and shorts, but suit up if there's a weekend event to go to. Sorry, but for me, this thing's a 24-hour type of deal!

But, these last few years, I realized I was being a hypocrite with this thinking. Yes, that's right, I was NOT being a 24-hour type of Mod male. And my wife (then girlfriend) was the one who pointed it out to me! See, I used to get up for work, throw on a nice shirt, maybe a tie, some slim-fitting pants (usually sta-prest), a pair of nice shoes and I was off to work. But as soon as I got home and was ready to relax for the evening, I changed into... *gasp* sweatpants and a sweatshirt! Not only did I used to wear these types of clothes for jogging or working out, but I had a spare pair for going to sleep in. Faux pas! And my wife (then girlfriend) let me know that this just would not do. And how could I criticize the t-shirt and shorts guy when I was catchin' some zzz's in sweatgear?

Well, sweetie that she is, my girlfriend came home one day with a very nice pair of pajamas... night-time clothes I had not worn since I was a kid. And I felt embarrassed for all those nights I jumped in to bed in clothes made for unstylishly working out in. I've been in love with my pajamas ever since... a nice black pair with white pinstripes and a black & grey plaid pair. Now, I'm here to pass on what I've learned and to let you know that just because you're using these clothes to sleep in doesn't mean they can't look good all the same.

First up, check out this beautiful pajama set from Paul Smith, using his signature striping motif:
Pajamas so nice, you'll want to strut out every morning to grab the newspaper and make your neighbors jealous.
These pjs are slim-fitting, with that Paul Smith multi-colored striping, and a fantastic collar with, wait for it, a four-button front for all you four-button-lovin' Mod dudes. Wait, what's that you say? $240 pajamas are a little out of your sleepwear budget? Let's move on then...

...to a more affordable pair of pajamas offered by Macy's:

Macy's pajamas including a matching robe.
Dark navy with white pin dots make this set perfect for mellowing out on the porch, drinking coffee, and doing a morning crossword puzzle. Even has a matching robe for when you want to keep a little warmer. Only problem is that this set is sold piece by piece, so in the end you'll pay over $100. Doh!

I found another nice pair of pajamas at the Nordstrom's site:
Nordstrom pajamas in a wild plaid pattern for when you want to have friends over for a pajama party!
A much fancier pair of pajamas in a plaid-ish pattern and the best part: they're silk! Oh-oh, you know what that means... $200!

Get the drift here? Hard to find a good pair of stylish, affordable pajamas for the Mod male. So, this is the challenge to some of the current Mod clothing designers out there: stop making a new form of parka and start thinking of this missing bit in a stylish Mod male's wardrobe: pajamas!

Lots of great ideas out there, too. Heck, check out these slick ideas from old patterns you can still find online. Great cuts, nice patterns, smooth looks... dig 'em:
A pattern for vintage pajamas on Etsy.
Or how about this look? I'm not much of a robe guy, but there may be others out there who are. Dig the cuts of the collars and the slim fits:
1960s pajamas and robe patterns.
And here's a nice real-life shot to let you know how slick you can be as an acual 24-hour type Mod fella:
From the genibee Flickr set.
There you have it... something to think about. It's easy to get dressed up for clubbing on the weekends. It's easy to toss on some Mod gear when you're spending time with friends. Heck, it's easy to find a nice Mod look for working in an office setting.

And it can be just as easy to nice up your look just in time for bedtime!

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Someone just clued me in to the idea of a pajama suit! Whoa! Someone needs to get on a Mod version of this, STAT!]
For more info on 'suitjamas', click here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sharp Stylings #24: Double-Breasted Quinn

We can learn so much from yesterday’s fashion icons.  And living in a post-Mad Men world means we can even enjoy aspects of current male fashions! Every Friday, I’d like to start your weekend off right with a little style inspiration from either then or now. Hopefully, my fellow Mod enthusiasts will find the whole or some detail of the whole to appreciate and maybe even adopt. 

Duncan Quinn, London designer working out of New York, seriously has some beautiful pieces out right now. Unfortunately, many of them are out of my price range, but I can still glean some ideas from his lookbook. For instance, dig the beauty of this look right here: 

Well-cut, double-breasted suits can't be beat, as evidenced above! Slightly-narrowed, peak lapels (which do look best on DB suits) meet high enough to allow just a bit of tie and shirt to show through. Slanted pockets (including the ol' ticket pocket) only add to sharp, angled look of the whole jacket. And look at how well it hugs the wearer's form! 

The color of the outfit also hits on all the right spots. Dark, midnight blue with a light pink shirt and blue/pink patterned tie. The only thing missing from this ensemble is the guy's pocket square. Me, I'd go for something with a little purple in it to play off the pinks.

Some serious Mod-inspired action going on here and I love it! If you have a nice double-breasted, bust it out it this weekend!

[Weight Progress: X + 2 lb. (A rough couple of weeks.) Running total: + 1 lb]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mod Gone Wrong: Royal Guards Desert Boots

I'm actually starting to like Clarks desert boots now, believe it or not.

See, every time I find myself facing writer's block, Clarks comes through with shoes like these (as seen on His Knibs):
For when traditional brown is just not enough.
Now please don't get me wrong... I've got nothing against brightly-colored dress shoes, obviously. Given the right color combo on an outfit, they can work really great. Personally, red dress shoes might be out of my age range these days, to be quite honest, but if you can make them work, good on you!

Red DESERT boots, however, just look like giant baby booties to me.
"Mod" shoes for babies?
I'm hoping these desert boots only come in kids sizes, because I have a hard time picturing adults in these things.

I don't know, what do you think? Am I wrong here... is the world really ready for 'fashion' desert boots?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sharp Stylings #23 - Jimmy Castor, Johnny Otis, and Etta James

We can learn so much from yesterday’s fashion icons.  And living in a post-Mad Men world means we can even enjoy aspects of current male fashions! Every Friday, I’d like to start your weekend off right with a little style inspiration from either then or now. Hopefully, my fellow Mod enthusiasts will find the whole or some detail of the whole to appreciate and maybe even adopt.

For this post, originall, I only meant to include this photo of Jimmy Castor who passed away earlier this week. I was going to link to an old interview like this and a great write-up on him like this, and then write about how suave he looks in this early photo, what with the white suit, white shoes, and contrasting shirt and pocket-square and all.

Taken from this obituary at Rolling Stone.
But before Friday hit, Johnny Otis passed away. I didn't really feel like writing about style, instead just wanting you to dig along with me on this photo of him and son Shuggie:

Taken from the Soul Bounce site.
But, before I could click on the 'Publish Post' button, I found out that Etta James passed away today. Now, all I want to do is listen to her catalogue and remember all the times my friends and I would marvel at the cover of her Rocks the House LP. There she is, clad in an evening dress but with her fighting arm bandaged up, showing that no matter how well she was dressed, she was still ready to pound on anyone who's wronged her.

A very sad week in music. Go home and put any of of these performers' records or hunt them out on YouTube. You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mod Gone Wrong: My Yearbook's "MODern Misconceptions"

The other day, we were going through all our old photos and I decided to pull out my old high school freshman yearbook from 1988-1989. In that yearbook, I found this article:
Click to Mod-size it.
Oh yes, I remember reading this for the first time back then. By the time I read this, my knowledge of Mod stuff was still in its infancy and susceptible to misinformation. However, I immediately called B.S. on it.

We had just gotten these yearbooks and I was in a friend's room while we were getting ready to visit the senior graduation ceremony that evening. While my friends were listening to a Charlie Sexton cassette tape and going on and on about how cute he was, I was engrossed in this short article and pointing out the errors.

First off, what was up with the dude in ripped jeans and a Cosby Show sweater?? If this was 'mod,' then my classmates walking around in mullets and spiky hair must have been 'punk' by that logic!

I realized what was going on, though, once I read the article itself. It was lumping together all types of 'alternative' (I don't remember using that term back then) cliques. Punks, new-wavers, goths, skaters, etc. were the 'mods' referenced in the article. See, there were NO actual mods at my high school by the time I got there! Not one. Trust me, I was searching them out. The closest I saw was a guy who walked around in a trenchcoat with a Who patch on his arm, but that was it. Even as a 14-year-old, I knew there was more to being a Mod than that. (Sadly, my not-yet-wife went to my same high school when she was a freshman but moved away that same year. Had she remained, she would have been the only Mod there by the time I arrived. And she would have completely ignored me in my Smiths and Cure t-shirts!)

I interrupted my friends' Charlie Sexton gush-a-thon to point out how wrong this article was! "That's not what Mod is!" was all I kept going on about. Here it was, the mis-represented idea of 'Mod' going out to my fellow classmates. The thing is, a year or two earlier, I would have thought the same thing had my dad not set me straight. By the time I was getting into this whole Mod thing, 'mod' to the general public meant anything 'weird' or anti-trendy. Heck, that's what I thought at first, too!

After reading the article, I was even more driven to set the record straight... as I sat in that room, listening to Charlie Sexton, while my friends were styling and hairspraying my hair to look more like Robert Smith's.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday DJ Faves!

So, I was sitting around on the computer right now, waiting for my wife to get ready for the evening, when I read a great post on the Parka Avenue blog's Top 10 Northern Soul and R&B faves. This inspired me to go through some of my own records and lay down my current Top 10 favorite soul/r&b/funky records to DJ. This past Thursday, I DJed for the first time in months, and it got me excited again!

Now, I don't want to make this blog too music oriented as I'd rather concentrate on Mod male style, but heck... I got time to kill. So, here they are, in no particular order, my Top 10 soul/r&b/funky DJ selections (apologies to any friends who may have been to one of my DJ nights and have gotten sick of hearing these!):

1. The Spinners - I'll Always Love You - Motown

2. Willie & The Mighty Magnificents - Funky 8 Corners - All Platinum

3. Major Lance - Follow The Leader - Dakar

4. Vernon Garrett - If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time - Modern

5. Bobby Marchan - Shake Your Tambourine - Cameo

6. Tyrone Davis - Is It Something You Got? - Dakar

7. Georgie Fame - El Bandido - Imperial

8. Eddy Giles - Losin' Boy - Murco

9. Alfreda Brockington - Your Love Has Got Me Chained and Bound - Phil L.A. of Soul

10. Roger Collins - Foxy Girls In Oakland - Galaxy (This record is pretty much mandatory for any Oakland DJ by this point in time... but it's still a local fave. And for good reason!)

There it is! Have a great weekend guys!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sharp Stylings #22: Inspirational City Gents

We can learn so much from yesterday’s fashion icons.  And living in a post-Mad Men world means we can even enjoy aspects of current male fashions! Every Friday, I’d like to start your weekend off right with a little style inspiration from either then or now. Hopefully, my fellow Mod enthusiasts will find the whole or some detail of the whole to appreciate and maybe even adopt.

Listen, I'm at a loss for words with this one. Sometimes, a photo's so slick, there's nothin' more you need to say.
Photo credits: Street Etiquette Inspiration and probably many other sources.
This photo was taken from the excellent Street Etiquette blog, which "approaches personal style from an urban perspective." Thanks to The Mod Generation forum, I was hipped to this site thanks to the following video:

The Black Ivy from Street Etiquette on Vimeo.

To my Mod (and other style-oriented) friends out there, let the photo above inspire you to step it up this weekend. Sorry I don't have more to add, but man, I'm just too busy taking notes.

[Weight Progress: x - 1 lb. (Well, it's a start!) Running total: -1 lb]

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 January Want List

The holidays are over, but for me, the gift-giving continues into a month of January family birthdays (including my wife's birthday, which usually lasts about the entire month itself). But it's also the time when I get to start becoming selfish again and think about things I'd like to get for myself! And I've come up with my want list for January 2012. Good thing I'm saving up!

First up, some new records. After a long DJ hiatus, I think I'm ready to start again, but I'd like to add some new things to my collection. My first purchase? This new 45 by the Bay Area's The Incredible Say Whats!, featuring Chris Lujan of Lugnut Brand Records & The Pacesetters and Nick Rossi, of the The Pacesetters, Nick Rossi Trio, The Monarchs, and more! Here, they pay tribute to one of my favorite funky soul instrumentals, Bag of Goodies by the Soul Machine! I've never been familiar with the Twitchie Feet side so am very much looking forward to hittin' this up.
Get your copy at Dusty Groove!
Next up, a DNA Groove shirt which I've been itchin' for for quite some time now. Since starting this blog, I've been wanting to do a write up on DNA, but how could I when I haven't worn their clothes yet? Still, I think this company has been doing some great things with pushing Mod styling away from targets & parkas and into a more fashion-forward direction. Plus, I think it's fantastic that Claudio is working to get Mod males (and other style-fixated guys) to think more about their clothing choices with clips like this:

The shirt I have my eye on? This nicely striped number:
Better place my order quick!
Now I'm ALWAYS on the hunt for good shoes. Sure, I probably don't have any more room in the closet, but no matter! I've been wanting a pair of dark brown, simple shoes for daily work wear. I found these online, which seem to have a nice winklepicker point (but not too pointy!) along with lace-ups. I had a similar pair in black that were actually vintage but, believe it or not, I like the shape of these much more! Anyone familiar with this UK brand? Knowing my luck, they'll last me about a week at most before falling apart. 
Office Mannibago lace-ups. Will they last?

With the above DNA Groove item, my shirt quota should be filled. Still, I think this is the year I invest in a couple of new, bespoke tab-collar shirts. You can always use more white shirts and I've been yearning (yes, yearning) for tab-collars for a while! I cleaned out one of our closets recently and found an old, beat-down and worn-out tab shirt that I kept over the years, thinking that some day I'd be able to afford a tailor-made one. Friends, that day has hit and I'm goin' for it! Going to go for a couple of plain, white shirts with French cuffs and a short, tight pointed collar like this:

And last but not least, some new Levis. No, not jeans! I heard this week that the Levis store in San Francisco has started selling sta-prest again in various colors. So, this weekend, I'm going to go out and explore, and I'll let you know what I find.

Unfortunately, looks like this month won't leave me with much money for food, but hey... after the holiday eating, I can make that sacrifice!

Oh yeah, and before I forget, if you're in the Bay Area and looking for a good happy hour tonight, why don't you come by and visit us as we'll be djing Mod stuff from all around. (Yes, even power-pop, just for the fun of it.) Info here:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sharp Stylings #21: Michael Caine

We can learn so much from yesterday’s fashion icons.  And living in a post-Mad Men world means we can even enjoy aspects of current male fashions! Every Friday, I’d like to start your weekend off right with a little style inspiration from either then or now. Hopefully, my fellow Mod enthusiasts will find the whole or some detail of the whole to appreciate and maybe even adopt.

Let's start off a new year of Sharp Stylings right! There are so many fantastic images of Michael Caine floating around the internet, but this is one that just stood out for me.

You probably know him from such film gems as Jaws: The Revenge, Without A Clue, and Blame It On Rio. But Caine was also once an icon of Swinging London cinema in the 1960s as well as being one of London's best-dressed men thanks to Savile Row tailor, Doug Hayward. Always dapper, dashing, and debonaire, Caine stood above many of his peers in the realm of sartorial slickness.

Take the image above, for example, which just hits on all cylinders perfectly. Full disclosure: I can't place what film this image is from (if it was from a film). My mental archives are a bit dusty right now, so if you know, please pass it on... or, better yet, if you know of a color version, let me know!*

But dig with me, if you will, how great the light and dark contrast is in this oufit. Light-colored, patterned tie which plays off the striped shirt underneath. Neither pattern overwhelms the other. And what looks like a cream-colored jacket with a dark pocket square (with a subtle pattern) helps to highlight the dark segments of the tie. Just a great overall vibe to this entire combination.

And now that I think about it, maybe it's best if we don't see a color version of this photo. Instead, we can imagine our own color combinations as we work to put together an outfit based on this look.

*Duh, it's a shot from The Italian Job. Thanks to Nick Rossi for pointing out what should have been the obvious!
[Weight Progress: X + 0 lbs. No weight loss this week, but also no weight gain this week... first time in about 8 weeks!]

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New MOD MALE Twitter Account!

That's right, MOD MALE has finally joined the modern age and has started a Twitter account.

It's scary. I don't really know what I'm doing and feel like I'm going to be one of those people who emails or posts IN ALL CAPS. I need to learn how to use things like @, #, and whatever other crazy symbols you Twitter kids are using these days.

And I need to learn how to best use the account. Don't worry... I'm not going to use it just to re-post links to this blog. But I will have to learn how to "re-tweet" cool things I see from other blogs or news reports. I'll have to learn how to tag other people in my own tweets. And I'll have to learn how to add images or videos. Very intimidating!

One thing I promise NOT to do, however, is fall into the abbreviation trap. Don't expect me to LOL, BRB, ROTFL, or WTF on my tweets. I actually like writing in complete English!

But if you'd like to follow me (and bear with me during my 'baby steps' phase), then I think you can go to @modmale and just follow. Does that sound right? Or, how about this:

Now, I'll understand all those weird Twitter-to-Facebook posts I see all the time!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mod Gone Wrong: 2-Tone Ska Desert Boots

Okay, okay, I know I've gone on about desert boots, particularly patterned desert boots, enough already.

But come on! I mean, COME ON!! Really?!
From the always informative ModCulture site.
Keep in mind, this isn't an artist's sketch. These shoes are not a doodle made by a teenage sk'mod/rude boy who was bored in history class. These are a real product! These are an actual made, manufactured item. They made these because someone out there is going to buy them and possibly skank in them.

Think about that for a minute. There will be people walking around in 2-Tone checkered desert boots.

That's it... I'm getting into the shoe business. I'm going to start making Union Jack flip-flops, Uggs with target patterns, hi-top sneakers with red, white, and blue arrows, and Birkenstocks with just the word 'mod' repeated all along the straps.

See ya, fellas! Millionaire Row, here I come!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mod Exercise Gear?

Thanksgiving, Christmas (and/or Hanukkah, etc.), and New Years... a time of heavy meals, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, boxed chocolates, homemade fudge, cookies, and more. Sounds great until you realize you like dressing in tighter-fitting pants, tighter-fitting shirts, and tighter-fitting jackets.

As you can probably guess, all of the above foods have forced me into loose sweaters and larger jackets. Even shirt collars aren't buttoning up like they should be. So, as a result of all that holiday food, I'll be joining everyone else out there, desperately trying to get back into shape.

As you all know by now, I dig Mod clothes. I dig suits. I dig shoes. I dig ties. I dig accessories. Heck, I even dig socks. But there's one aspect of clothing that has ALWAYS been hard for me to grasp: workout clothes. There was a time when I used to come home from work and transform from my daily Moddish wear into a ratty old sweatshirt, sweatpants that were falling apart, and a pair of ugly Reeboks, because A) I didn't know any better, and B) my thinking was that they're just work-out clothes... who cares?

Wrong attitude! I should be caring about what I'm wearing out there even if they're just clothes made for sweatin' in. (Plus, I got tired of my wife referring to my workout outfit as my 'Rockys'.) It was at that point that I decided to spend some effort into looking for nice workout clothes. Sure, they're not going to be super slick because, y'know, sportswear... but at least they can look somewhat presentable.

So, I spent some time going through various websites: Nike, Puma Reebok, and yes, even Lonsdale and Fred Perry. I figured what with all the Britpop 'Mods' walking around in 'trainers' and track suits, there'd be something cool out there made for working out. But I had no luck with the exception of one label.

Over the years, many friends have talked about Adidas wear and Adidas shoes so I decided to give them a shot. The first thing I thought about was a sweater top and, lo and behold, what did I find? An Adidas Vespa workout jacket!
Unfortunately, this Adidas Vespa jacket has since sold out.
Yes, I cheesed out and got this... come on! I'd totally be writing a Mod Gone Wrong post on this, but, heck, at least those aren't targets and it's a step up from the holey sweatshirt I was wearing before! I may use this on morning jogs, but for normal every day use, I'll stick to a standard Adidas jacket and sweatpants set like this:
About as stylish a workout outfit I could find.
Seriously, give Adidas a good look because they did have other pretty nice workout wear.

Of course, if you want to stay true to Mod 'labels,' you can always stick with ol' Fred Perry. I kinda figured they'd have whole collections of exercise wear, so was surprised to find only one type of track jacket and no bottoms on their site:
For when you need that laurel on your chest.
Not bad, but not particularly exciting either, huh? I really was surprised to find a lack of workout choices on their site though. Mod guys do exercise too, right?

Track jackets and sweat pants down... but now I'm stuck on a very important piece of the workout ensemble. As much as I LOVE shoes, I have no idea about good running shoes. Years ago, I used to jog in a pair of bowling-shoe-esque Pumas, until my feet and legs started hurting. That's when I found out that companies make tennis shoes (trainers) for STYLE, not necessarily function! So, those Puma tennis shoes were out for working out. I eventually settled on an ugly pair of white Jerry Seinfeld-esque Reeboks. Ugh. But now, it's time to move on.

Unfortunately, I don't really know where to go, so I'm asking for suggestions. Do I go for somewhat stylish shoes, supposedly made for running, like these:
Or do I play it safe and go for UGLY but probably best on my feet, like these:

Or, do you have any other good running shoe suggestions?

Also, what are you doing to fight off the holiday weight? Special diets or exercise regiments? Any suggestions for good workout wear?

Of course, I'll start the year off by cutting out the things I usually cut out every January: pastas, daily bottles glasses of wine, hamburgers, pizza, and desserts. Let's see how long this lasts this year. And to keep myself motivated, I'll be keeping up with this great health blog written by pretty awesome Mod gal, Victoria:

Also, to keep myself in check, I'll be posting my weight progress every Friday here on the blog. Oh no, don't expect me to give away my personal weight... trust me, I wish I didn't know it. But I did weigh myself last Friday and found I was coming in at X pounds. So, this Friday, I'll see if I'm X plus # of pounds or X minus # of pounds. My goal: lose 10 pounds at least by mid-year!

If you're lookin' to lose weight, get in shape, and make those Mod threads look good, let's do this together!