The mod image continues to be a popular retro look for male celebrities, vintage enthusiasts and- of course- those that have followed the look for a lifetime. Inspired by the National Portrait Gallery’s recent Sixties exhibition and his hometown of Brighton, George Walker guides you Kings of Vintage on how to get suited and booted in the best mod gear around.

“Look, I don’t wanna be the same as everybody else. That’s why I’m a mod, see?” -These words, said by the character of Jimmy in the iconic mod film Quadrophenia, perhaps best sum up the story behind the mod look. Mod culture was all about rejecting the old for the new, the conservative for the reckless and the unfashionable for the clean-cut and stylish.

Mod clothing has always been a popular vintage staple because it offers a great balance between business clothing and casual wear. Night out clubbing? Get yourself a knitted polo shirt and some Chelsea boots. More of a formal affair? Slip on a figure-hugging Sixties tonic suit, checked shirt and knitted tie. The mod look certainly has a set formula, but it never feels like fancy dress.

Jump the Gun is a shop dedicated to men’s mod clothing in Brighton, the seaside town that served as the setting for the reckless mod-sters in Quadrophenia. I asked owner of Jump the Gun, Adam Le Roy, why he chose to focus his business on such a specific clothing style.

“This look” he said “will always stay in fashion to a degree, especially with the slimmer man who is after clothes that fit. It is all pretty timeless because it’s based on traditional garments such as suits and shirts.”

Adam says the team’s style icons include Michael Caine as ‘Harry Palmer’, John Steed, Steve McQueen and Steve Marriot, but, he adds: “This is a difficult question for us as we never really refer to icons. The man in the street can look as good as Sean Connery in Goldfinger if he has the right suit on.”

 

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Vintage King of the Week

Our vintage king of the week is Ollie Walton, a student from Brighton. We love Ollie’s relaxed take on the mod look with his buttoned-up checked shirt, Harrington-style jacket and that polished quiff.

Although this is quite a young look, mod style is certainly accessible for the older guy. In fact, it takes a certain number of years to pull off the more distinguished side of mod style. Slightly older men should go for Breton jumpers, well-fitted shirts and Sixties tailoring.

If you want to compete with Ollie in the mod stakes, read on for some brilliant shopping finds…

BARACUTA JACKET

Style Tip No.1 The Harrington Jacket

The check-lined ‘Harrington’ bomber jacket takes its name from the character Rodney Harrington who appeared in the Sixties soap opera ‘Peyton Place’.

This style of jacket was first produced by British clothing company Baracuta in the Thirties, their ‘G9’ design is still the style that makers of modern-day Harrington jackets follow. Made famous by the likes of Elvis and Steve McQueen, this jacket is a timeless mod staple.

We love this vintage Baracuta ‘G9’ jacket from eBay shop The Cosmic Fairground. There are loads of cheaper modern replicas out there, but that dapper grey check and the legacy behind this piece makes it worth splurging on.
Blue Mohair Tonic Suit

Style Tip No.2 The Tonic Suit

The iconic mod shop Jump the Gun also has an online shop selling the finest in mod gear such as this slick tonic suit. The so-called tonic suit came from the late Fifties jazz cafe scene which heavily influenced mod culture. Tonic suits are always slim cut with a shimmer of contrasting colours.

Blue Mohair Tonic Suit: £285

Vintage tie patterns

Style Tip No.3 The Knitted Tie

Any self-respecting mod wouldn’t be seen dead without a knitted tie hiding under the collar of his shirt. In any good vintage shop you’ll find a collection of vintage knitted ties, but for a more individual option, why not knit your own?

Theretroknittingcompany.co.uksells a range of vintage knitting patterns for Sixties ties. The stripy number pictured here costs £1.99 for a photocopy or £1.50 for a pdf file. What’s more, you can print out the sheet and frame it as a kitsch home decoration!

 

3 Responses

  1. kevie

    Good column, George and some outstanding finds. But no matter how well-fitted the suit is, only Sean Connery can look as good as Sean Connery.

    Reply

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