Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Top 10 Mellow Grooves

Me, I love a good soul record. Heck, I love a good night of soul records! Nothing beats being out on a dance floor, groovin' and gettin' down to some sweet funky soul music... and that's what Mods do best, right? You bet!

But, if you're in my age group, chances are that spending mellow evenings at home seems more and more desirable. As much as I love me some soul-steppin', I'm also huge into mellow-diggin'. Mellow-diggin' on my couch, with a nice glass of wine, good book, and some soothing folkish, country, bluesy tunes fillin' my ears.

If you find yourself appreciating this speed more and more, then hopefully you'll enjoy my current Top 10 mellow grooves... the type of music I think perfect for wild-woodin' the day away. So, find a porch, a reclining chair, some wine, maybe a dog to sit at your feet, and enjoy:

1.  Ronnie Lane - Tell Everyone - Originally recorded by The Faces, here's Ronnie Lane's version from a few years later. These days, Ronnie has taken up the spot of my favorite Small Face and here he is owning his song. As much as I like Rod's vocal,  he just doesn't hold a candle to Ronnie's voice here. Plus, haunting sax solo... can't beat it.

2. Karen Dalton - Something On Your Mind - Taken from her 1971 In My Own Time record. This one's just a heart-breaking song, highlighted by Dalton's smokey voice and that beautiful violin. I found this Bob Dylan quote from Wikipedia, in which he describes hearing her for the first time in 1961: "My favorite singer in the place was Karen Dalton. Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played guitar like Jimmy Reed..."

3. Van Morrison - Sweet Thing - Off of Astral Weeks, one of my most favorite albums. The whole LP zones me out a good way, but this song in particular, with its steady build-up, hits my sweet spot.

4. Belle & Sebastian - Mornington Crescent - After over 10 years of hearing about how great these guys were, I finally became a B&S fan, thanks to my wife. One day, while I was washing dishes, she was playing one of their CDs in the living room. The music caught my mood at that moment and when I asked her who she was listening to, I was sold. This is one of my current favorites (out of many)... something about it that just has a nice, rolling, West Coast sound to me.

5. The Small Faces - Autumn Stone - Um... yeah, a no-brainer here.

6. Pete Molinari - Sweet Louise - A newer guy on the scene, Molinari's been putting out some great country-blues style music over the last few years. He's got a great, piercing voice and the band backing him is just top-notch.

7. The Gosdin Brothers - There Must Be Someone - Some Bakersfield country for you, featuring Rex and Vern Gosdin. These guys are probably best known for the album they recorded with Gene Clark and their connection to various Byrds. This song, in fact, was covered by the Byrds on their Ballad of Easy Rider LP and features a haunting vocal from Gene Parsons.

8. The Byrds - It's All Over Now Baby Blue - One of my all-time favorite Dylan songs and I've yet to hear a cover version I don't like! The Byrds recorded an earlier version back in 1965, but this version from a few years later, is the one I always come back to. Slow and brooding, it totally captures the sadness of the lyrics.

9. Bob Dylan (with Johnny Cash) - Girl From The North Country - I love both versions of this song: the original, released in 1963, and especially this one, a bit more countrified with Johnny Cash dueting. Come on, it's from Nashville Skyline... what else is there to say?

10. Susan Christie - Yesterday, Where's My Mind - Okay, last one for today, but you gotta bear with it for a bit... it's got a long, eerie, pysch-esque beginning. But hang in there and wait for it... wait for it... trust me, it'll pay off. Pretty powerful tune off of Susan Christie's Paint A Lady record, a song generally appreciated for its folk/funk blend.

Well, I hope these types of sounds are up your alley too. Even the best of us need a little down time in between the dancing.
Relaxing out in the sunshine, around 7 years ago.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sharp Stylings #28: Paul Smith Suit Styling

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.

Like I mentioned in the last post, a lot of great new clothes and outfit ideas for the modern Mod male today. For instance, take this total look from Paul Smith:
Originally spotted on the Fashbasha blog.
Pristine styling right here! Sure, this whole thing may be out of your budget, but take notes on the whole look going on here. Let's start off with the suit coat. Nice ticket pocket, which appears to have finally become a standard touch with today's new suits. Natural shoulders for a soft, mellow feel. And a 3-button front that is, believe it or not, the type of 3-button front I'm normally NOT into.

Sometime ago, there was a discussion on 3-button vs. 2-button jacket fronts. For me, it's not about the amount of buttons, but how high the gorge of the jacket front is. I've seen 2-button coats that button up high across the chest and I'm into that. But, I've also seen 3-button jackets that button up so low, they might as well have been only 2-button. The suit jacket above is almost an example of that. However, in this case the look works because it helps to expose the waistcoat underneath! The lapels could be slightly slimmer, but overall, it comes together well.

The overall color palette of this look is pretty drab, really, yet still carries some flash thanks to the floral shirt used instead of a simple white or striped shirt. This is the same type of shirt I mentioned in the last post, but this one is not as busy (or colorful) as its purple counterpart. The detailing of the floral pattern help give the tie a more dandied background without overwhelming the tie at all.

In the end, the power of this whole ensemble lies in the dignified tone of the greys balanced with the flash look of that shirt. All this guy needs to make this a perfect look is a striped and colorful pocket square... well, that and a better haircut and working razor.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 February Want List

I love vintage clothing as much as the next guy, but we're living in a time of some pretty slick NEW clothing too! Once a month, I'd like to highlight some nice pieces found on the internet that may be worth hunting down. 

Granted, some of these items may not be in any of our budgets, but who knows... some day, you may run across them in a sales rack or discount website. So if you like something you see, just keep tabs and wait for that sale! Or, save a photo and take it to your favorite tailor in the hopes he or she can re-make it at a fraction of the designer price. (Also, if there's a book or some music that looks interesting, I'll add to the Want List as well!)

So, the other day, I was having lunch with a buddy of mine (let's call him 'El Brando'). After a nice little meal, El Brando twists my arm (not really) to check out the local Paul Smith shop with him. Well, we're hanging out in there, digging on the socks, the books, and the coats when we come across the shirt section and find their floral-patterned shirts.

Wow! Some seriously beautiful pieces that I started drooling over... until I saw the price tags. "Don't worry, man," El Brando reassured me. "They have some on sale, half-price, over there." Yeah, half-price... still making my wallet weep. But, I did a little Paul Smith online search and found a floral slightly more affordable:
Paul Smith purple 'London' shirt... get it while you still can here.
Guys, this is the business! Amazing pattern, slim fit, great collar, and cufflink-accessible. A casual, colorful way to blow the ladies away! Moving on...

I've had my radar tuned in to Peckham Rye since coming across their shop off Carnaby Street back in October. They were kind enough to open up their doors to us even though they were closed and I felt like we were walking into a candy shop. Luckily, many of their items are available online! Unfortunately, it seems those items sell out quickly. However, after a general search for Peckham Rye ties, I did find this beautiful B&W floral tie:
Click here for close-ups and details on purchasing.
If you look closely at the tie, this isn't a printed pattern... it looks weaved and textured into the tie! Step up your look a notch and grab this awesome piece. Pretty neutral colors so it'll go with almost any suit color!

Guys hip to the current Mod market are already well aware of Art Gallery clothing. Based in the UK, they've been releasing some fantastic pieces of knitwear, including polos, roll necks, and cardigans. For instance, check out their 'George' polo in black, red, and grey:
'George' polo available at Art Gallery.
Now this is on my want list but, full disclosure, I've already ordered (and received) this piece! Soft merino wool in a great fit. What I like about Art Gallery is that they are making the most out of Mod detailing like the broad striping along the sides of the sweater. What I hate most about Art Gallery is that their clothes are made for tiny people.

See, I'm kind of a little guy (height-wise, not necessarily weight-wise)... yet their 'mediums' are too small on me! (I know this because I have one of their medium 'Steve' cardigans, in light blue, which only made me realize I should be eating dust and twigs 3 times a day.) The 'George' I received is a 'large' which fits great and will look even better once I complete a few more weeks months of pushups. Seriously, if you're an American 'medium,' you may want to order their 'large.' And I think it'll be worth it! I kid about the sizing but this sweater is really beautiful and filled with sharp style. And I do plan on ordering more of their items.

A couple of weeks ago, I went on about how I thought vests/waistcoats were an overlooked item of slick, casual dress. Well, over the weekend, I saw a buddy of mine (let's call him Dan Lake) rockin' a great vest that caught my eye and justified that post. Great guy that he is, Dan shared his source. Now, please, ignore the boy-band hipster underneath and try hard to concentrate on the vest itself:
Vest... keep your eyes on the vest offered by One90One.
It's hard... I know! You guys are creative though... imagine a dude with slick, backcombed hair, and button-down, cuff-link shirt under that vest. Okay, you with me? Now, let's move on to the waistcoat: high-gorged, flap pockets, with pick-stitching along those pockets... it's all in the details! This is how you make a vest. Unfortunately, looks like the product may be sold out for now but something worth noting, in case they come back. Or maybe you can use those details next time you visit your tailor!

Okay, guys, one last item for this month and one that caught me off-guard. Earlier this month, His Knibs posted about this new raincoat from, get this, Fred Perry. Usually, I don't follow this brand too much. Yeh, yeh, Mod icon and all, but still... for the most part, they're tennis shirts with a laurel on the chest. Lately, however, they've been releasing some nice vintage-inspired polos. And now, it looks like they're moving into new categories like the raincoat below:
Need more Fred Perry in your wardrobe? Start with this porcelain coat, here.
The color, cut, and shape of this coat look incredible! I have a thing for white or light-colored coats as they can provide great contrast to the dark clothing underneath. And what completes the total look of this coat is the 3/4 length... not too long, so you don't have to look like you're overdoing it on non-rainy, cool days.

My only issue with the coat is the Fred Perry laurel on the chest. Yes, it's standard issue with any FP, but this could have been better if the logo was used in a more subtle way. At least it's in white so that it doesn't stick out too much.

Well, that's it for this month. Payday's coming up for some people, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how many bills you still have to pay after taking a look at some of these items.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sharp Stylings #27: Dave Davies

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.

I don't know about you, but when I think of 'Carnaby Street dandy,' Dave Davies is usually the first person that pops to mind. Could be because of this, this or this

But, earlier on, Dave could be spotted in more Moddish outfits as seen below:
From the Guitarist magazine site: Dave Davies doin' what he does.
Sorry for the black and white photo, but dig on his nice check-patterned jacket. High-gorged, 3-button front, well-shaped thin lapels, and again... great pattern! No wild cravat here... just a simple, thin tie along with a sharp French-cuff shirt with pointed button-down collar.

This type of look has always been a fave... a nice, patterned blazer with tie and shirt. A look that's neat and well put-together without being too formal. And as usual, Davies pulls the look off with no effort. It's almost like he just woke up looking this good. Slick, casual cool.

Here's a little video with Dave Davies in a similar outfit, minus the tie (also a video worth noting for Pete Quaife's absence due to a scooter accident during this time):

Now, let's close this post out with a photo from the ALWAYS excellent Magic Mac photo blog. Ladies, set your phasers to SWOON:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mod Male Meets 'Mod Male'

For those of you further along in your studies of Modology, you've probably already guessed where the name of this blog came from. Some of you, however, probably just think it was some generic name chosen randomly. Not so.

The original Mod Male was one of several men's clothing boutiques (along with His Clothes, Domino Male, Male W1, and others) opened by John Stephen in the 1960s.

Being a blog more dedicated to the male side of Mod style, I figured it'd be the perfect title as well as a nice homage to the 'King of Carnaby Street.'

Well, this past weekend, I came face-to-face with an actual piece of 'Mod Male' clothing, although I cannot confirm whether it is a John Stephen piece. These days, it's pretty hard to find a vintage John Stephen-labeled piece of clothing, unless you're lucky or a big vintage fashion collector.

As we were getting ready for the day, I noticed my friend Mike's brown corduroy jacket. Nice, casual jacket... perfect for a casual day of Austin site-seeing. But what caught my eye most about this jacket was the inside floral lining.

I told him that I thought it was a great lining, to which he replied, "Oh, this... here, thought you'd might get a kick out of it." Yeah, a kick... here's what he showed me:

Yup, he was wearing a 'Mod Male' jacket from Carnaby Street! My face nearly melted. Now, it does say "Alexander's THE MOD MALE - Carnaby Street W1," which does throw me off a bit. Is this a John Stephen-designed item which was made for a different shop using his 'Mod Male' tag? Or was there a shop called "Alexander's" which put out clothing using the name "The Mod Male," by coincidence, which also happened to be on Carnaby Street? I wonder if the A Dandy in Aspic blog can answer this one?

Well, as Mike and I were discussing the jacket, his other half, Sarah, overheard us and casually replied, "Oh, wait, here... let me show you this." She went into her room and came out holding a rust-colored, 2-piece, corduroy suit.

A latter-1960s ensemble that I had seen her in once before. But here was the kicker... she opened up the coat and said, "Here, take a look at the label!"

Yup, there it was, a bona-fide John Stephen-labeled piece of clothing! The real deal!

It's not often one comes across authentic vintage 1960s Carnaby Street pieces, and here were two for me to drool over. I wonder, how many readers of this blog have come across such pieces? If you have, share your stories... what types of pieces have you found? Can you describe what the item looks like? And most importantly, what label is on the piece or pieces?

In the meantime, Mike, close this post out with a little bit of modeling, why don't you?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sharp Stylings #26: Aloe Blacc

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.
Lest you think I'm just about Mod dudes wearing suits 24/7, I thought I'd spend today on a casual style I seldom see Mods in. Usually, when I think of casual Mod wear, I can't get Fred Perrys out of my head. But take a look at new soul artist, Aloe Blacc, here rockin' the vest look:
Taken from Brooklyn Vegan, which has other great shots at their site.
Guys, sometimes slim pants, nice shirt sans tie, waistcoat, and a hat can be all you need to strut out on the street for grocery shopping. In the case above, Blacc does a great job mixing and matching dark pants, light grey vest, and a baby blue shirt with the hat to match his pants. And notice what makes Blacc's vest even more sharp here: it buttons up high on the chest with a higher gorge. If you're going to try this look, shoot for vests with a higher gorge.

Sure, the shirt could look nicer with a button-down collar, but that's not the point here. This is just a nice, sharp look that's a step (or two) up from the standard short-sleeve polo, jeans, and sneakers (trainers) Mods tend to be content with. And no tie required! Most photos I found of Aloe Blacc show him in different casual waistcoat combos and I'm all for it.

And if you're not familiar with Aloe Blacc, who started getting major attention with his cover of The Velvet Underground's 'Femme Fatale,' you need to check him out in the below video, sporting a slick, earth-toned, vest-motivated outfit. Plus, the kid in the video, actually sporting a pocket square in his own vest, will put some of you dancers to shame. (Speaking of which, excuse me while I study both these guys' dance moves!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mod Gone Wrong: Mod Growing Pains

We all have to start somewhere. After all, no one is born with a paisley tie, french-cuff shirt, slim-fitting jacket, well-creased trousers, argyle socks, and almond-toed shoes. And boy, let me tell you, I went through some doozies on the way to getting my act together!

So, today, I turn the Mod Gone Wrong focus on myself as I go through my Top 5 Mod Growing Pains (in no particular order):

1. New Wave Hair
When I was in high school, I never ever wanted to be an 'over-nighter'... y'know, those kids who showed up to school on a Friday in a Depeche Mode t-shirt and returned on a Monday in a shaved head and flight-jacket covered in ska pins.  To us, people like that were poseurs, the worst thing you could possibly be called in high school!

So, although I was already learning everything I could about Mod life throughout high school, I knew I couldn't just show up, cold turkey, in a parka with Mod badges after all those days in Smiths t-shirts. People would think I was crazy! No, I wanted my transition from new-waver to Mod to be very gradual. I wanted it to happen step by slow step, starting off with a Jam t-shirt here, a Specials pin there, until eventually, I had my look down complete... over time. Unfortunately, as a result, photos like this exist:

So, in my attempt to avoid poseur-ism, I most likely gave many people the idea that I was a poseur, what with walking around with new-wave/skater hair and a ska t-shirt. Still, even by this age (15-16), I knew what the what was with The Who, The Jam, and 2-Tone! I just wasn't ready to express it fully quite yet. (By the way, this guy knows what those days were like!)

2. Ill-Tapered Sta-Prest
I'll never forget my first experience with a tailor, who wasn't my mom. Early on, in my first year of college, I found a couple of vintage sta-prest at a local Goodwill: a navy pair and a white pair. Oh boy, was I excited! Only problem was that I thought they were too wide. (Looking back, they were probably the width I wear my pants these days!)

Luckily, near my dorm, I found a cool storefront with a sign that said 'Jim the Tailor'. I knew Jim would know what to do. So, I took my two pairs of pants and asked him if he could taper them to about 6.5 inches wide... yes, 6.5 inches! (If that sounds impossible, then maybe it was 7 inches... either way, too tapered for my tastes nowadays!) After waiting about 2 weeks, I went back to pick the pants up. Jim told me he was running behind and asked if I'd come back in another week. So, I did. Jim said they still weren't ready. So, I waited another week. Was this how long tailoring took? I didn't know and had no real experience with this.

Finally, after that other week, I went back and this time Jim asked me to come back in another 2 days. Now, I was getting irritable. But I waited 2 days, came back and the pants were finally ready! I brought them back to my dorm and tried them on, ready to strut out onto the avenue in my new Mod trousers. But something wasn't right with either pair... not only were they tapered from the knee down, but, well, he only took them in on one side and ironed in a new crease to erase the old one! Don't know what I'm talking about? Here, allow me to illustrate:

The dotted line represents the original sta-prest crease. He tapered the pants in from one side only so that I had to walk around with mixed-up creases on each pant leg! Yes, I still wore them, and my Berkeley friends were nice enough to ignore the travesty. This was my first tailoring experience and a hard lesson learned.

3. Too Big Bowling Shoes
Early on, I was dying to get a pair of bowling shoes, just like I had seen The Jam wearing. I had no luck, though, whenever I went thrift-shopping. But during my first year of college, a friend handed me down a couple of his old pairs. I felt like I had just conquered another Mod hurdle: I finally had bowling shoes!

Unfortunately, they were about 2 sizes too big! Still, I wore them, flappity-floopin' throughout my school day. What made them look even more ridiculous was the fact that I wore them with my high-watered, too-tapered, ill-creased sta-prest! But really, it wasn't like I had Ebay back then to find a pair of bowling shoes. And it wasn't like there were Mod companies then making bowling shoes, not for bowling, but for Mod purposes only. So, I walked around, looking like a clown and wearing them out to the point that the soles started to come undone.

My friends, this is how I started.

4. DIY Tab-Collars
Tab-collar shirts were just as hard to find back then as they are today. They were my most sought-after target (no pun intended). With no luck finding a real tab-collar shirt, I picked up on the old idea of taking an item of clothing and, if it wasn't 'Mod' enough, making it 'Mod' yourself. DIY tailoring, if you will. For instance, I was able to make my own shirts with button-down collars just by sewing buttons over the collars and onto the shirt. Sure, the buttons couldn't function, but they looked cool!

After reaching some success with my DIY button-down collars, I felt I was on a roll, so I decided to move on to making my own tab-collar shirts. Friends, I don't mind sharing my secret if you're looking to do this at home, but I wouldn't suggest it.
  • Step 1: Find a shirt with a plain collar.
  • Step 2: Cut a couple of small rectangular 'tabs' from the bottom of the shirt.
  • Step 3: Sew a small button onto one tab and cut a small hole into the other tab.
  • Step 4: Sew each tab onto the inside of each side of your collar. Voila! Home-made tab-collar shirt!
I only actually succeeded doing this with one shirt, one with a light-brown check pattern. Luckily, it wasn't vintage. Oh sure, for a while, I was actually able to button the 'tabs' together, but after about 2 wears, the tabs began fraying! Tab-collar shirts don't look cool when fraying tabs start sticking out from under your tie.

5. Crew-Cut Hair
In my senior year of high school, I was reading about some of the Mod hairstyles and the one that stuck out in my head was a 'French Crew.' I really had no idea what that meant at the time, though. But after studying haircuts I had seen in Modzines and certain LP covers, I noticed that many of the Mods had really short hair, but long enough to at least comb a little. For instance, in the shot of The Chords, take a look at the guy on the far right:

That was the hairstyle I was after, what I thought was a 'French Crew.' So, I went to a local hair stylist, without a picture, and asked for a 'crew' cut. The barber looked at me and said, "Are you sure?" Of course, I was sure! I was walking in with 'normal, short hair, and walking out with 'Mod' hair. Then he asked what 'clipper' number he should use: 1, 2, 3, or 4? Aw heck, I didn't know... 4 sounded good since he said that would leave my hair slightly longer.

Next thing I knew, he was clipping off all of my hair! When he was done, hills of hair were at my feet and I was left looking like a skinhead, the one thing I was not and never have been. What's worse is that this was at a stage in my life when I was still wearing a burgundy flight jacket with ska patches and pins.

For a portion of my senior year, I was pretty much walking around as a rude-boy/skinhead thanks to this mess up. Gradually, it grew out, but I learned something else about my hair. It was so straight that as it slowly grew longer, I began to look more and more like a monchichi, something a female classmate liked to mention whenever I was around.

Eventually, my hair returned to normal, but for that brief period, I was mistaken too often for a skinhead... not a good thing when most people had different ideas of what a skinhead was. Heck, I remember getting hassled one evening by a bunch of guys calling me White Power. Y'know, me, the Mexican kid walking back from the local library, after a long night of studying, with my two Asian classmates.

So, there you have it... my Top 5 Mod Growing Pains. Oh, there are probably more, but for now it just goes to show that we all have a hard road to travel before reaching that Mod goal.

Your turn: What were some of your early mess-ups?

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Day To Be Vain!

Week after week, I spend my time writing about what I think is nice, sharp style for aging Mods and what kind of things Mods should, hopefully, be avoiding.

But for all you know, while expressing what I think is Mod Gone Wrong or what kind of styles Mod males should be gravitating toward, I could be this guy:

So, on a day like today, I think I'm allowed to be a little vain and put myself out there for YOU to judge and ridicule. And that's okay because as a kid with big ears, a teenager with a bad acne problem, and an adult who's knee-high to a grasshopper, I've learned to take it.

So here, I present my own Moddish evolution through the years. Have a good laugh!
Pre-Mod Smiths fanatic.
The period between leaving behind my 'new-wave' look in favor of a sk-mod look. About 15/16 years old.
Second from the right, last year of high school, with my mod/rude boy/skinhead crew.
18-years-old with, yes, a parka... and patches... and pins.
First year of college, surrounded by the Berkeley/San Francisco Mods who would help shape my tastes over those early years. (l.-r: Xan, Nic, Jules, Rhett, Sean, Jon, Dave, me on the bottom.)
About 20 years old, with my friend Susan, for a friend's photo project. (NOTE:  not my bike!)
About 22 years-old for another friend's photo project.
In my mid-to-late-20s trying to keep up with a stylish group. (l.-r.: Devon, me, Dave, and Doug)
30-years-old with my future wife.
Early 30s with my favorite people! (l.-r.: Irene, Jon, Karen, and me)
Mid-30s with guys who know how to kick it real. (l.-r.: Matt, me, and Dean.)
Halloween with Dave as me (even wearing some of my old clothes) and me as a stereotype.
Late 30s with lead singer of the Idea and my not-quite-yet wife. (l.-r.: Jon, me, and Irene)
Today, helping to spread the Mod gospel. A little older, a little wiser, and a little heavier, but not anymore taller.

Well, there you go. I hope that over the years I've done what many say and that's 'kept the faith.'

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sharp Stylings #25: Secret Affair

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.

Before I proceed, let it be known that I am not suffering from dementia this morning, I did not lose a bet, and today is not April Fool's Day.

This probably won't come as a surprise to some of you who know me, but I am not a huge fan of the '79 Mod Revival. Yes, there was a sprinkling of good bands from that period and I understand that it did help resurrect the culture we all love today. However, at the same time, a lot of the revival helped water down that culture so that many Mods today end up more interested in how many patches to place on a parka than worrying about what type of pocket square should be worn to complement a suit and tie. Plus, there are only so many Mod anthems one can take before crying out, "Enough!"

Also, as many of my friends know, I'm not the biggest Secret Affair fan. Okay, okay, I'll admit that I do like their biggest hit, 'Time for Action,' and used to sing it in my head many times on the way to school back when I was younger. And to this day, there are times when "I'm Not Cheap, But I'm Free" will sneak its way into my subconscience, for which I've found no remedy.

But I've never been in to their whole 'Glory Boy' angle. I get where they were going with it and it was an admirable effort, but it just sounded off to me, even as an impressionable lil' Modnick. First off, as I approached the dawn of 18-year-old adulthood, the last thing I wanted was for someone to call me a 'boy' and, secondly, what in the world kind of 'glory' would I have been looking for? Naw... for me, nothing beat the simple, time-tested, 'Mod(ernist)' label.

Bear with me, revival-lovers...

Now, let's put all that negativity aside. I, writer of the MOD MALE blog, stand here on record today to admit that these guys... were actually pretty stylish. Yes, that's right. And in case you didn't hear me, THE SECRET AFFAIR HAD PRETTY GOOD STYLE. For instance, this image, which was used for the cover of their Glory Boys LP:
Taken from the Banned From the Empire blog.
While many of their counterparts were posing for photo shoots in casual wear or track suits (thank you, Anorak Thing), the Secret Affair guys actually spent time dressing up for their shoots. The main guy, Ian Page, even made an effort with the way he mix-and-matched his suit, shirt, tie, and pocket square. It may not all work, but I have to commend the fact that they did try to give the Mod look a good face (no pun intended). The other guys in the band also keep up with their own suited-up looks, including the drummer! (Somehow, I always got the impression that drummers in Mod bands got a pass with wearing t-shirts and jeans.)

I don't think time has been kind to the Secret Affair and the whole 'Glory Boy' thing, and they tend to become the butt of some Mod jokes (guilty as charged!). But as I stand back and look at them objectively, well, yes, they were pretty snazzy. I'll need to re-assess my attitude toward them and admit that they've not been given a fair shake, especially by me.
I'll ignore the little white socks faux-pas and give these guys the props they deserve. Lookin' good, fellas!
So tonight, I may just put that LP on even if it's just so I can hear my wife sing along to her favorite tracks.

Oh, and P.S.: I personally do NOT hate the 'punk elite.'

[Weight Progress: X -1 lb.  Running total: 0 lb]

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mod Gone Wrong: Adidas Track 'Suit'!

Okay, now come on... this is just awesomely funny! Earlier in the year, I wrote about the need to get back in shape (harder than I thought) and what type of work-out wear would Mod types wear. Well, today, I found this:

From The Good Will Out blog.
Oh my god, an actual Mod-looking track suit, complete with ticket pocket! It's even got a 3-button front! Guys, might this be 'Mod Gone Right' or should I stop writing now and drink my morning coffee to wake up a little more?

No matter what, you have to admit that someone was totally thinking 'outside the box' on this one. Heck, this just might be perfect for those people who are too scared to dance at a nightclub out of fear of ruining a real suit.

And if you're one of those types who likes wearing Adidas with suits (I know, right), now there's a suit designed for your tastes!

Looks like this was posted in 2010... why am I just finding it now? Here's a question: would you go jogging in this?