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.


  1. Agreed! I read that Paul was the member of the band who worked closest with their stylists on their outfits and even designed some himself (ie: drawing shapes on napkins kind of things). Living in London in the mid-60s meant mod would have been his natural starting point, even if he wasn't a mod per se.

  2. Pffft. I can't believe you put the kibosh on mocker comments.

    I think the Beatles dressed fabulously until that point in the 60's where everyone stopped dressing fabulously. The collarless jackets still make me swoon. Let it Be and Abbey Road? Not so much.

  3. #1) ditto on sparkleneely's comment

    #2) i'm of the opinion the most casual any self-respecting mod should go when it comes to footwear is the desert boot (plain beige, not those deplorable items on your desert boot post;

  4. I'm sure most people have seen this, but for those who haven't:

  5. Army, although people think I HATE desert boots now, I think they are a fine casual shoe... but not for me! And yes, that should be the MOST casual. Granted, sometimes sneakers are needed like when you're going on long walks/hikes in the Bay Area!

  6. Agent00Soul, I did not know that about Paul! It does make sense once you start looking at what they're wearing throughout the '60s.

    I got that photo from a book given to me by an old co-worker, 'The Beatles Unseen Archives.' Lots of GREAT photos, year by year.

    I'm curious about the Hewitt book, although not a major fan of his writing.

  7. Karen, have you ever noticed how the Beatles sort of led the way to bad fashion?

    Seriously, while many bands were still walking around in psychedelic stuff, the Beatles were lookin' like old men on a mountain top!

  8. And having a gorgeous natural redhead on your arm doesn't hurt either!

  9. I love Paul's look here. Strangely this is almost exactly what I dressed like this morning before seeing this post - paisley button-down in red and yellow, gold trousers, brown shoes, and a suede 3-button jacket!

    Looking at their clothes and hair when they dressed like they wanted to, in the pre-Beatles days in the UK and their early days in Hamburg, they were definitely Rockers. Big fluffy pompadours (especially George), leather jackets and trousers (!), winklepickers - all Teddy Boy clobber (I love that word).

    When they made the transformation into matching suits and combed their bangs down, it was probably mostly as a means to increase their popularity. Surely it would be much easier to get bookings, media coverage, and record label attention (all run by older folks) if they looked like a professional beat group (such as the Shadows) with the matching outfits (though I admit very sharp looking outfits). Which I would guess is why many Mods shunned them in the 60s. Of course Mods were not into bands in matching outfits, plus the Beatles appealed mostly to pre-teen and teen girls, so Mods would have looked ridiculous being fans of The Beatles. In retrospect the media claims everyone loved The Beatles in the 60s but it's just not true. They were popular among the masses but to Mods and many people in the UK R&B scene The Beatles were written off as teeny-bop pop. And it was often the case in the U.S. too, if you read enough interviews in Ugly Things and similar zines with members from 60s punk and garage bands. Many kids started liking the Beatles but once they hard the harder stuff (Stones,KInks,Who,Yardbirds,etc) they quickly forgot about the Beatles.

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