Thursday, December 29, 2011

Winding Down... Until Next Year! HAVE A HAPPY NEW ONE!

Sometimes, the holidays just wear you down. And as you can tell, the offices of Mod Male, Inc. have been slowing down around this time, but that's only because I'm re-tooling for the new year!

Been having a fun time writing on that which I dig most over these last six months. One of my main goals was to help get people to re-think the Mod look a little by accomplishing the following:
  1. If you're new to the Mod thing and have been reading, hopefully this blog has helped you avoid the Mod Gone Wrong pitfalls many of us (especially me in my younger days) have fallen into.
  2. If you're an older fella (like me), hopefully this blog has shown that it's possible to age gracefully while still pulling off a more "grown-up" Moddish look and avoiding looking like a 40-year-old-plus cartoon Mod. (As I wrote this, I felt my Christmas weight raise an eyebrow at me while I wrote 'aging gracefully.')
  3. And let's face it... the general public sees a Mod guy as someone walking around dressed like a Beatle. After years of enduring that, hopefully, like me, you've learned to laugh at yourself a little.
I'm working on new topics to cover next year and may even try another giveaway (or two) at some point. If you have any suggestions, feel free to chime in. Thank you once again for reading and agreeing/disagreeing with the blog!

Now I'm going to spend the end of the year revisiting some of my favorite sharp stylings from the past and present, Mod and non-Mod, and touch upon lessons learned.  
Steve Marriott from the Mods 'bible': clean, well-fitted 3-button suit with high button-stance. And dig them shoes once again! 

From the Sharp Suits book: kids from the 1980s (!) who just know how to carry their looks with confidence and attitude.

Theodore Crispino from a photo by Sarah Slobada: monotone 3-piece with a red-purple paisley tie to stick out at you... great way to play with earthtones!
Barry Gibb, in all white and a contrasting high-cut waistcoat. This is how you play with the absence of color!
Graphic Designer Raymond Hawkey putting his skills to use on a mix of vibrant and dark colors.
Gabor Szabo pulling together a combo attack of patterns, color, Mod fit, and psychedelic leanings!
Modern Jazz Quartet bringing the best out of silver-toned, matching ensembles.
Jeff Beck with slightly flared, striped pants, dark quarter-length coat, and paisley earth-toned cravat.
Jocelyn Armel brightening up the streets of Paris in an outfit Tom Wolfe oughta be writin' about!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I could be posting about Mod awesomeness, but I'm having too good of a time with family this weekend, folks.

I wanna wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope you all have a fantastic weekend!
Taken from The Swinging Sixties blog.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

1st Ever MOD MALE Contest Winner!

Well, well well... BIG THANKS to everyone who took part in the drawing for this little gift set:
And an overall HUGE thanks to all of you who have been reading the blog over the last few months! It's been fun writing about one of my most favorite subjects ever. Okay, who am I kidding? This is my most favorite subject ever! Now, you probably think that makes me pretty shallow and all, but, well... duh.

So, last night, I took the names of everyone who (1) became a follower and left a comment on the original blog post and (2) 'liked' the Mod Male facebook page and left a comment there regarding their favorite accessories.

Then, I put those names on little slips of equally-sized paper, folded them over, and taped them shut. I threw all the slips into a Tupperware bowl, shook it, shaked it, moved it all around, and then had my wife pull a slip of paper from the bowl.

And the winner is...

Wait. Before we get to the winner of the drawing, let's make this post slightly more interesting for those who didn't win or enter. How about some cool images of 1960s Mod female looks found around the interblogs? Yeah? Well let's go!

Barbara Eden in op-art and go-go boots from a blog with even more great photos, The Knack... And How To Get It.

Diana Rigg trying to get comfortable while remaining sand-free at a beach, from '60s and '70s fashion blog, Get Some Vintage-A-Peel.

Françoise Hardy using 'Mod' sunscreen, from the photo-filled blog, The Impossible Cool.

In-flight entertaintment from the pop culture (the good stuff!) blog, Voices of East Anglia.

Awesome brown op-art dress, from The Carnabetian Army blog, via Lemonade Loves... 

Nice 1966 Vogue spread. And for more '60s-'70s Vogue spreads, visit the Youthquaker blog.

Gals rockin' the all-white look from the Sweet Jane blog.
Okay, whew! Now, the winner of 1st MOD MALE giveaway:


Monika, you've just won 2 vintage Ernst ties (one with a slight snag, sorry!), a new pocket square, and a brand-new one-size-fits-all Bugatchi Uomo socks! I will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing address and these should be in the mail this week.

Thank you, once again, to everyone who has been supporting this blog and HAPPY HOLIDAYS! (Apologies to Gretchen Carlson and Fox News.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mod Gone Wrong: Holiday Gifts to Avoid

First off, TODAY'S THE LAST DAY to enter the Mod Male drawing I posted about last week for a chance to win a small set of men's accessories: 2 vintage Ernst ties, a brand-new pocket square, and a brand-new pair of Bugatchi Uomo socks! For full details (and photos of items), visit Gifts for the Mod Male in YOUR Life and scroll to the bottom. But for the short version, all you have to do is one of two things:

  1. Become a follower of this blog, if you're not already, and leave a comment on the blog telling me what your favorite clothing accessory (male or female) is. Or,
  2. 'Like' the MOD MALE Facebook page and leave a comment on the page, telling me what your favorite clothing accessory (male or female) is.
Contest ends Tuesday, December 21st, at 6:00pm PST (that's tonight)! Good luck!

Now, let's move on with this week's post...
Last week, I offered up some gift suggestions for Mod males who are into a more refined style. This week, I'm doing the opposite.

I'd like to help you prevent any potential gift-giving malfunctions as you search out something special for that Mod guy in your life. And if any of these items are on his Christmas list, well, give him the gift of not looking silly by avoiding these.

First up, this little insta-Mod packet of badges (or pins):  
Okay, it's true... I would have totally bought this. When I was 16 years old!
In one fell Hot Topic-esque swoop, you get a small collection of badges representing just about every tired Mod cliche there is. Resist the urge though! Unless you're getting this for your 14-year-old nephew/niece who is starting to show an interest in Mod stuff, just walk away. The experienced Mod male (or female) in your life should totally be beyond this stage of Modism... hopefully.

How about a little slice of blasphemy to help ring in the holidays with this great little t-shirt:
Yes, Jesus on a scooter. This is real.
I hope you're as offended by this shirt as I am. Just look at that horrible graphic design! Basic sans-serif caps running crooked all over that shirt with no visual flow whatsoever, punctuated, of course, by a basic target... ugh! And let's not get into the bad silkscreen job.

Now, maybe you want to spend some clean cash on your favorite Mod male. Well, you can put that money toward a nice bespoke shirt, a new Technics turntable for all those dusty 45s, or this piece of military wear from Pretty Green:

Yes, a blue camouflage 'designer' army parka... the perfect gift for anyone looking to 'hide out' in a dark urban setting. How much will this gift set you back? Only SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS! Be warned though: if you two are walking down a city street during the evening, there's a good chance the wearer of this coat will just disappear into the night.

And while we're on the topic of bad clothing ideas for gifts, let's not forget this modern classic:
A wife-beater A tank-top A 'singlet' for the Mod male who's just given up on being a Mod male.

I've written about them before and although, personally, I'm not a desert boot fan myself, I think other people can look great in them, especially as part of their casual wear (i.e., not with suits). But then we start getting into real danger territory once you start considering the 'fashion' desert boot, like this:

If you're going to give the gift of desert boots, avoid any with patterns. Yes, I know this looks slightly op-artish and all, but really, stick with the traditional and save this fashion pattern for your Snuggie.

And the last gift idea to avoid this year for any Mod gentleman in your life? This right here:

Method. Of. Destruction.
Seriously, if you're thinking of giving your special guy THIS for Christmas, well... I think you both need to sit down and have a long, hard talk.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sharp Stylings #20: Paul McCartney

First off, if you haven't yet, don't forget to enter the Mod Male drawing I posted about a couple of days ago for a chance to win a small set of men's accessories: 2 vintage Ernst ties, a brand-new pocket square, and a brand-new pair of Bugatchi Uomo socks! For full details (and photos of items), visit the last Mod Male blog post, Gifts for the Mod Male in YOUR Life. But for the short version, all you have to do is one of two things:
  1. Become a follower of this blog, if you're not already, and leave a comment on the blog telling me what your favorite clothing accessory (male or female) is. Or,
  2. 'Like' the MOD MALE Facebook page and leave a comment on the page, telling me what your favorite clothing accessory (male or female) is.
Contest ends Tuesday, December 21st, at 6:00pm PST! Good luck!

Now, let's move on with this week's post...
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 try not to spend too much time dealing in casual clothes on this blog, because really, it's too easy to fall into a casual way of dressing, leaving behind the suit and ties. And me, I love suits and ties!

That said, I have been dressing more casually lately and that could very well be due to all the Thanksgiving weight I've picked up in preparation for the Christmas weight coming up. Sometimes, those suit jackets don't feel so comfortable at this time of year.

I'm sure most Mod types are satisfied with a more 'sporty' casual look: sneakers (generally Adidas), Fred Perry polo shirt, and jeans. Personally, I think Mods should raise the bar on casual though. Let's take a look at a 1967 shot of Paul McCartney:

Click this pic to enlarge!
Now, I know some of you want to stop me right here and calmly tell me, "BUT THE BEATLES WEREN'T MODS!" I know that. I don't think the Beatles ever claimed to be Mods. And yes, I know 'Mods were not Beatles fans.' Anyone who's taken Mod 101 (i.e., page 13 of the Mods book) knows that.

But really, who cares? In fact, if you listen to actual original Mods (not just Richard Barnes) you'd find that many of them DID like the Beatles, along with other 'pop' music of the day. Heck, the Beatles deserve all the accolades they get! I still LOVE them!

But, I digress... what were were talking about... oh yes! Casual wear! Up above, Paul McCartney is straight rockin' a great casual outfit. I wish I had this in color, but check it out: cotton, paisley shirt with button-down collar (unbuttoned, in this case... tsk, tsk, Paul), suede jacket with what also looks like a button-down collar (interesting...), slim-fitting slacks with an ever-so-slight flare, and a pair of nice, narrow, slip-on shoes.

This, my friends, is how you pull off casual. Sure, Paul McCartney was never a Mod*, but that doesn't mean he wasn't influenced in some way by their style. And now it comes full circle as I find some influence in what he's wearing right here.

So, my advice? Raise your casual look up a notch if you haven't already!

*And please, no 'mocker' comments.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gifts For the Mod Male in YOUR life!

The holidays are upon us and I'm sure some of you are stressing out on just what to get that special Mod (or other sartorially-minded) guy in your life. And if you're reading this blog, I'm just going to assume that guy isn't the type who's satisfied with a DVD of the NFL's greatest touchdowns, a tribal tattoo around his bicep, or anything Ed Hardy.

Well, I'm skipping Mod Gone Wrong this week to offer up some clothing accessory suggestions for you. Heck, I know if my wife were reading this blog (ahem), she wouldn't be stressing so much.

First off, what every style-conscious fella needs: a new pocket square! Might I suggest a visit to the Kent Wang site for a range of beautiful, colorful pocket squares itching to jump into a man's breast pocket:
A couple of fancy Kent Wang pocket squares.

Don't forget to check out their selections of ties, cufflinks, socks and more, too!

Speaking of socks (oh boy, here he goes again), don't believe the old myth that men get bored with the gift of socks. I mean, how can any clothes-minded guy not get excited with the types of socks I've spoken about before, in addition to the types offered by Bugatchi Uomo:
Seriously... with socks like these, who needs shoes?

Y'know what else is always a great gift idea for the dapper gentleman? Ties! And right now, Munsingwear (Penguin) has been putting out some nice, simple, thin ties that have been catchin' my eye:
Do I wish they had paisley-patterned ties? Of course, but ties like these would work well on an everyday work-attire basis.

Men's jewelry, including cufflinks and tie bars, is also a great way to go, but I tend to steer away from contemporary brands and stick with the ol' vintage variety, because they just don't make 'em like they used to. And your best bet for great vintage pieces? Ebay, of course!

Unfortunately, I shouldn't be sharing these because I WANT THEM!
But since I'm in a giving mood, I'm GIVING you the opportunity to bid.
Must... resist...urge to... bid...

Maybe your favorite Mod male has enough clothes and accessories already and you're tired of losing closet space to him. In that case, why not look into getting him a nice male fashion book? Here are some new ones out that would look great on the coffee table:
Hollywood and the Ivy Look
A book on the sapeurs!
Sharp Suits... essential coffee table decoration!

Well, I'm all suggested out. Hopefully, some of these ideas will steer you in the right direction to getting that man in your life a bit more spiffy for the holidays.

 It's Christmas and I'm in a gift-givin' mood! A while ago, Karen Finlay of the 97 Things To Do Before I Turn 97 blog tossed me the idea of having a giveaway and now I'm using it.

Over this past weekend, we were all at a local music shop/art gallery, VAMP (which I'd highly recommend for GREAT jazz/soul/and more records, and located at 547 Athol Avenue, Oakland, CA), and I found a couple of vintage Ernst ties* I thought would be nice to give to a lucky MOD MALE reader!
2 vintage Ernst ties, one in a tiki-esque pattern and the other in red/brown stripes.
But on top of that, I'm throwing in a pocket square to match along with a pair of brand-new, that's right, BRAND-NEW, Bugatchi Uomo socks!
Black pocket square with red/brown patterns.
Black Bugatchi socks (one-size-fits-all) with half a chocolate argyle pattern.
All you have to do is one of two things:
  1. Become a follower of this blog, if you're not already, and leave a comment on the blog telling me what your favorite clothing accessory (male or female) is. Or,
  2. 'Like' the MOD MALE Facebook page and leave a comment on the page, telling me what your favorite clothing accessory (male or female) is.
Contest will end next Tuesday, December 21st, at 6:00pm PST. That evening, I'll put all the names in a bowl and pick a name at random. (And If you 'share' the Mod Male status update for this post on Facebook and suggest your friends like the page or become a blog follower, I'll add your name TWICE to the bowl!

On Wednesday, December 22nd, I'll announce the winner on this very blog! That's right, this contest will last one week only!

Ladies, I know you don't have much use for any of these giveaways, but they'd make great belated Christmas gifts for either your boyfriend, your husband, your good friend, your brother, your uncle, or your dad, even!
Mod Male gift giveaway!
*FULL DISCLOSURE: the striped tie does have a slight snag, but if you keep your suit jacket buttoned up all night long, no one will be able to tell!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sharp Stylings #19: Jocelyn Armel

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.

A couple of weeks ago, I touched on the stylings of the Congolese sapeurs. In one of the articles, was a photo of Jocelyn Armel, standing here on the left:
According to the article, this gentleman owns a fashion boutique in Paris which is helping to push forward the dandy image of the sapeurs. Just dig on what this guy is wearing. I thought I knew how to use color in my clothes, but dang! This guy just schooled me!

First off, look at the electric blue of that suit... gorgeous, bright color that would stand out in any setting. Looks to be a 3-button jacket with slanted ticket pocket, too. Next up, the toned-down pink tie. I like my ties bright, personally, but the muted tone of his tie works perfectly to highlight the bright blue of the suit.

Now, for my favorite details of all: the pocket square and shoes! The puffy pocket square appears to have accents of a light green color which match so well with the aqua-green of this shoes... oh yeah, AQUA-GREEN SHOES!! Armel manages to bring together 3 great colors in one outfit: blue, pink, and green. Digest that for a minute...

Hmm... I'd say now's the time to start studying the color wheel!

One last bit of detail: looks like Armel's even got striped socks on and you know how I feel about those!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mod Gone Wrong: White Socks

Hi! We're The Lambrettas and we like white socks and sneakers!
Yes, I used to wear white socks with suits. Worse yet, I used to wear white tube socks with my clothes. It was never a 'style' thing on my part... I just didn't give socks a second thought. I've learned my ways since then.

I've always seen the wearing of white socks with suits as more of a Mod Revival/2-Tone kind of thing. I don't know how it started, but if you look at photos from that period, white socks are everywhere. What's worse is the white socks with short pants/trousers! Why would you want to show off white socks in what might otherwise be a nice outfit?

Imagine a guy struttin' down the street in a sharp tie, well-tailored suit, white socks, and well-shined shoes. It's like watching a great horror movie on VHS that warps during the twist ending before returning to normal during the credits. (For those who remember VHS.) It's like getting lost in your favorite soul 45 only to have it skip over the beginning of the fade-out. It's like... well, you get the picture. White socks are like The Nothing in The NeverEnding Story: no imagination.

Well, I implore you to learn from the mistakes I made as a 17-year-old Modnik, especially when it comes to white socks and highwaters. As the British say, always remember to

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Voxed In

Some of us remember a time when learning about anything Mod wasn't as easy as reading a Wikipedia entry. And if you didn't have a group of friends already into it to teach you, it was even more difficult. If you were lucky enough, you could find addresses of fanzines modzines and hope they were still available.

I was lucky enough. One of the first modzines I remember getting in the mail was Voxed In from San Diego. I can't really remember the feeling I had opening up the large-sized manila envelope, nor can I remember what I first felt going through its pages.

No, my most vivid memory of this experience is running to class with the manila envelope wrapped between my schoolbooks. I remember it being a cool morning and I can still picture myself rushing across the lawn to get to the classroom, even though class didn't start for another 10 minutes or so. There was an excitement I was feeling that morning because I had in my hands something purely dedicated to Mod life! And not just Mod life... but proof of Mod life happening in California!

Even though I had spent the evening reading the articles, I wanted to spend those first 10 minutes before class going over them again. Plus, I wanted to show my latest purchase, another piece in my Mod puzzle, to my friends! In this 'zine, was information on current Mod bands, many based in my own state. There were pictures with guys in Mod clothing. There was information on Mods from outside the U.S. All in all, it opened up more windows into the Mod culture I was hunting down.

I met the editor of Voxed In, Scott Harper, once, at a San Diego all-dayer called New Sounds of the Sixties. I was about 17-years-old and still very much a newbie into this whole thing. When I saw him at the show, I actually got nervous. See, back then, I saw anyone who may have been in a band or put out something Mod-related as a sort of local celebrity. Y'know, as in "Wow, you put out the Voxed In modzine?" or "Wow, you're the lead singer of The Idea?" It may sound silly now, but not to a 17-year-old who was meeting other Mods for the first time. And at that New Sounds show, I had a chance to talk to the guy who put out this modzine.

I approached him and said something lame like, "Hey, you know Dez from the Contact modzine in Chicago, huh? Yeah, we're pen-pals friends!" He responded with something like, "Oh, yeah, I know Dez." And that was that. He was busy helping with the show and, really, what else was there to say? But for me, well, I walked back to my friends and announced, "I just met the guy who does Voxed In!"

Yesterday, I heard that Scott Harper passed away at a far too young age. It's really not my place to write about or announce his passing. We were never friends and I didn't know him. But when I heard the news, the memory of rushing to class that morning to re-read and share Voxed In with my friends hit me immediately. The memory of that excitement I felt now that I had new information on current Mod happenings close to my part of the state. And the memory of wanting to share that with anyone else who may have been interested that morning.

Although Scott Harper and I didn't know each other, I have to thank him for giving me those memories and opening those windows.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sock It To 'Em!

No, I'm not talking about these.
I was doing a bit of research this weekend and realized something: socks really get the short end of the stick whenever anyone describes a Mod ensemble. Oh sure, we can talk about how many buttons a jacket has, what type of collar a shirt has, flared or straight-legged trousers, ties/scarves/ascots, or what types of shoe shapes we all like... but what about socks?

I perused a few Mod books to see how much they've been discussed, and other than mentions of red socks with Hush Puppies and the Rude Boy preference of white socks, the books were pretty silent on the whole thing. I had a memory of a sock mention in the Mods book, but was disappointed when I found the passage. After Richard Barnes talks about how he and Pete Townsend were in awe of the clothing selections they found while shopping at His Clothes, he ends on a downer note by letting us know they only had enough money "for Pete to buy a pair of socks. I don't think he ever wore them."

Yeah, socks sort of fall by the wayside when it comes to a Mod wardrobe. Heck, I'll admit it... they weren't something I thought a whole lot about until recent years. When I first started started dressing more Mod, I was satisfied with white gym socks to go with my loafers and tapered Dickies pants. As my style got more refined and I got a clue on how to dress better, I kept my socks pretty conservative: dark dress socks in navy blues, blacks, dark greys, and dark browns. Some solid-colored, others slightly patterned, but overall hidden in between more stylish shoes and patterned or colorful pants.

But then it hit me... why aren't socks exploited more in a Mod's outfit? Let's be real here, many of us still tend to wear pants cut a bit above the top of shoes... highwaters, if you will. Personally, I've moved away from pants with a negative break... I'm just not at all into the Thom Browne look. But I still like my pants with no break, y'know, to show off some sock.

So, if I'm going to show off some sock, let it be colorful and exciting! Isn't that the best thing about a Mod look? The little details that make an outfit stand out? Soon, I started replacing the more drab 'safe' socks, with those of brighter colors. These days, I try to get the socks to match a color in my shirt or tie. If the socks are going to match the color of my pants, I try to use a lighter tone with a stand-out pattern (or darker tone, depending on how light the color of my pants are).

And right now, the sock industry is alive in styles that would make 1960s Carnaby Street proud! One of the best brands currently rockin' the sock world is, of course, Paul Smith. I'm sure you know this already thanks to the many fashionable, non-Mod guys out there, strutting down streets and experimenting with his multi-striped socks:
Paul Smith Mononuke socks in pink.

And, heck, he's even got op-art patterned socks to dig on:
Paul Smith op-art socks in blue.

Luckily, there's a great shop a block or two from where I work, called The Hound, with a nice display of sock styles in the window. I fell in love with the Marcoliani brand that they carry, which offers socks in vibrant colors and in patterns that include vertical stripes, argyle and more!
It's like Fruit Stripe gum... for your feet!

You can never really go wrong with argyle.
Another brand The Hound turned me on to was Robert Talbott which had some beautiful socks with monotone color blocks, in addition to other patterns. I'm not sure if they still have those available, but here is a pair I was able to get my hands on:

But hey, sometimes you may not want your socks to have crazy patterns, especially if you're wearing loud, patterned trousers. All companies above have some great solid-colored socks as does Mes Chaussettes Rouges, which I learned about from the Shoe Snob blog:
All of the colors of the rainbow, in sock form!
Now, I'm not against conservative sock wear, because many times you just need to bust out the navy blues and blacks to keep things simple and elegant. But every once in a while, bring some excitement to that little space between shoe and trouser leg! It's time to start extending your dandy sensibilities to your sock wear. After all, if you're going to wear short pants, give people a reason to take note!
Paul Smith socks featured on GQ.