Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekly Blog Roundup: 2/22/2013

It's that time of the week... time for some great blog readin'!

Peace out, yo.


Sharp Stylings #63: Ryan Gosling (Oh, the humanity...)

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.

Look, I don't know the guy. I don't think I've ever seen any of his movies (does Green Lantern count?). Hell, I don't even think he registers on my wife's radar (she's more of a Cillian Murphy kinda gal... to my chagrin). So, slow down before you start raving, "Mod Male, this guy isn't a Mod!" I know that, but bear with me.

Now, despite my Gosling ignorance, there's one thing I can't deny and that's the fact that this is a pretty sweet-looking suit:
Taken from Yahoo!
Okay, okay, let's be honest here... this guy was probably dressed up by a stylist. I mean, do any of these fat-cat celebrities dress themselves for red carpet-walking? Probably not. That said, Gosling's stylist does deserve some kudos for picking out a well-fitted 3-piece suit with a 2-button front that wouldn't normally interest me but does work well with the waistcoat underneath. The trousers fit narrow, but not too narrow, and lack any hideous pleats. For a modern style of suit, this ain't so bad!

But the main thing that attracted my eye was the suit's beautiful shade of rust brown. A vibrant color that you don't see around too often. Unfortunately, the stylist must have fallen too much in love with that suit, losing focus on everything else. The tie is way too boring for the outfit, there's no pocket square, and seriously, what is up with those rhinestone shoes?

It's a good thing Gosling's date is outstylin' him and rockin' that floral-patterned overcoat! Take it away Mama Gosling! (And Gosling earns some points for knowing how to show his mom some love.)


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Top 10 Live Performances, or The Mod Male Dream Concert

It's that time of the year again. Coachella time! The time when all your friends get on the Facebook and share their excitement over the bands they're excited to see, bands that will be new to them, or specific news-worthy headliners.

Personally, though, I rarely share in that excitement. I'm not much for outdoor concerts held in deserts and I'm generally not that interested in the long list of indie bands playing on the various stages. Heck, I never even know who most of these bands are!

Besides, no outdoor festival concert will ever match the dream concert I've created in my head. Oh yeah... don't think I don't have one of my three genie-in-a-bottle wishes already reserved for this one! And when I finally get the chance to make that wish, you'll all be on the invite list.

In the meantime, let me give you an idea of how mind-blowingly, ear-splittingly, get-you-up-off-your-feet-and-dancingly awesome this once-in-a-lifetime show would be with this sample of some of my favorite live performances EVER! Here is a listing of my TOP 10 LIVE PERFORMANCES, or the Mod Male Dream Concert:

1. Of course, I'd open the show with a group of guys who know how to lay out an intro. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jerry Jermont, Bernard Purdie, Cornell Dupree, Truman Thomas, Warren Smith, and King Curtis!

2. Alright, let's bust in with a dose of country soul & rock'n'roll with Delaney and Bonnie & Friends! Now, you can spend the next 30 minutes digging on this whole show here, but if you want the tune that represents, click on over to the 15:30 mark! (Oh, and really... as if you needed another reason to love Bonnie Bramlett.)

3. We're just getting started now, y'know. Gotta give a nod to a certain fan fave. Of course, I'd have my genie pluck this guy out of his prime to give a little homage to another fan favorite out there. PW, take it away!

4. (Oh, I know: "But Mod Male, where are the Small Faces?" Hey, this show ain't over yet!) In the meantime, let's amp up the stage charisma with a little Junior Wells action. Seriously... THIS is R&B!

5. You know who else knew how to put on a great show with a fantastic stage presence? The Animals! Let these guys work you up in a frenzy... fave moment at the 2:55 mark!

6. Alright, time to bring this down a bit. Perfect time for a mellow instrumental interlude with Dave Pike, Volker Kriegel, Ingfriend Hoffmann, Hans Rettenbacher, and Peter Baumeister. Wait, did I say 'mellow'?

7. Wait, who's this coming up on stage? Aw dang, it's Etta James! Wait, who's that on organ? Aw dang, it's Dr. John!

8. Whew! Alright, alright let's steer this show into funky territory for a bit. Donny Hathaway, show 'em how it's done! (Unfortunately, he can't really show you, so you're going to have to use your imagination.) Audience participation is welcome!

7. Well, unfortunately, I can't embed the next performance, so you're going to have to use your imagination once more. See, I'd follow Donny Hathaway with a set by The Faces. Oh yeah! And they'd be joined by The Memphis Horns for a cover of The Temptations' 'I Wish It Would Rain.' But wait, what's this?? Is that Steve Marriott getting up there too? Whoa, folks... looks like my dream concert would include a Small Faces reunion!

8. Still with me? See... every concert needs a moment to slow things down with a good, mellow tune. Small Faces rocked you out mellow, but let's get a good, sweet vibe going with a performance from Curtis Mayfield.

9. Okay, let's pick up the tempo as we head toward tonight's conclusion. Time to ramp up your adrenaline! Hope you got a bottle of water with you... you're gonna need it! Ladies and gentlemen, this is what you get when you cross Welsh blue-eyed soul and American blue-eyed soul: Tom Jones & Janis Joplin!

10. How do you follow up a performance like that? Psshhh... you get the soul duo template in there. Alright folks, let's end this show with a super-soulful performance by one of THEE BEST SOUL ACTS EVER!


11. You know who I feel bad for? All those people who just left thinking this was over. Come on... you didn't think I'd end this show without an encore, do you? Please... there's only one way to end a concert like this: you give 'em one showstopper of an encore! And there's only one man who can cap this night off with power!

That's it for me. I'm out! And yes, I know I left a lot of great performances out today. But if you were my genie, you KNOW you'd be droppin' more wishes on me after this one!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekly Blog Roundup: 2/9/2013

I'm rushing this one in as I get ready to pay a visit to Las Vegas for the Who's Quadrophenia show this weekend. I hear it's a good one! Wake up, grab your coffee, and delve in to these great posts!
Alright, I'm off to start my weekend and finally catch the Quadrophenia tour!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Sharp Stylings #62: Stevie Wonder

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 admit it, I love color! And I love the colors that were coming out in men's clothing in the late 1960s. Sure, it was a sign of the influence of commercialized Carnaby Street, but it really did help revolutionize men's clothing at the time. And here's a perfect shot of Stevie Wonder tangled up in blues:
From .
The double-breasted jacket Wonder is wearing here is hitting all the right notes for me: beautiful shade of steel blue, ticket pocket, low-enough button stance to give the lapels some room to breathe, and wide lapels with wide notches and a reverse-peak look.

Then, you add in a muted green, almost veering on grey, shirt with a longer collar, reflective of a late '60s/early '70s style. The multi-colored ascot, which appears to be tied around the collar of the shirt instead of his neck, not only ties (no pun intended) the whole outfit together but also includes other colors (purple, white) to make it pop out. Without that purple and white, the ascot may have just made this whole ensemble look too monochromatic (something I've fallen victim to many times in the past).

See guys... why settle for the staid black & white Reservoir Mod look when color exists? You really gotta hand it to Stevie Wonder's stylist at the time as it was most likely her or him who picked out this whole ensemble. The only thing that bums me out is that he wasn't able to appreciate those choices of color.

But, hell, I really don't think Stevie Wonder was worrying too much about clothes. He was too busy with work:


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mod Gone Wrong: Top 10 Personal Fashion Failures

It's my birthday today. Yay me!

Sure, I can spend the next page showing off photos of me in my favorite outfits. I can brag about a tie I own or a pair of shoes I've been lucky to find. I can spend the day celebrating myself and acting like Mr. Cool. But that's not really who I am. Me, I like to give to others. And because I'm such a giving person, today, I give you a birthday gift... examples of me at my worst. So, here you go, my Top 10 Personal Fashion Failures!
1. Sure, I'm wearing a suit at around the age of 6. But, look at those lapels, will ya. They're wider than my head (and that's sayin' somethin')! It looks as if I'm wearing my father's dress shirt, what with my pencil-neck and all. And that beautifully '70s tie... it's a clip-on! Faux-pas! Hey kid, what, did your mommy dress you? (Well, probably...)
2. While many of you '80s Mods were riding around on scooters, attending Untouchables shows, and wearing high-water pants with white socks, I was hanging out at home looking like this. A rare photo of me in shorts as it's photos like these that keep me away from shorts these days. Yes, those are Velcro shoes and yes those are white tube socks. (Hey, maybe some of you '80s Mods can relate after all!) Of course, there is a dash of cool going on with that Admiral Ackbar t-shirt. Hey, I may not be looking Mod here, but this was the height of 11-year-old fashion in 1985!

3. Oh yeah, sure, you might think I was a junior high stud, but the reality is that during one week of dating, this was the only time we held hands. I'm pretty sure this young girl was a tad embarrassed by my kinda new wave outfit. Plain, untucked white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and, it's true, acid wash Bugle Boy jeans! Really, the only new wave going on here was my Flock of Seagulls haircut and pointed Dr. Martin shoes (cut off in the photo). By this time, though, I was already starting my Mod path. Despite what those acid wash jeans are saying.

4. Okay, I've mentioned before how I wasn't one of those kids that transformed over night. Remember those guys back in high school? Punk rock on a Friday, Mod on a Monday. A week later, Rockabilly. A week after that, Skinhead. Not me, boy. No, I took my time slowly morphing into a Mod kid. And this photo proves it. I was super into the Jam, but walking around in a 2-tone t-shirt with my residual skater haircut (I wasn't a skater) that would be shortened in about a month or two. I felt that if I was going to get into something, I wasn't going to rush it. Otherwise, what was to stop me from rushing away from the Mod thing if I was able to get into it so easily?
5. 18 years old and full-on Mod. But darn it... high-water pants with white socks! I think I'm wearing the same Dr. Martin shoes from the Bugle Boy photo above. And look at that... Mod pins/badges on my suit lapel! See, back then, I think I needed those pins just in case anyone walking by had any doubts about what I was. The 'Mod' pins just confirmed my existence. Ugh...
6. Three words: bottom button buttoned.

7. Hey, I'm man enough to admit it when I go overboard in the color department. On paper, this all looked great: turquoise jacket, green shirt, turquoise/green paisley tie, with a spot of purple pocket square. Unfortunately, it was just too much color and too obvious of a color coordination. Yes, I get it... trying to match the colors of the tie, but sometimes, you just gotta contrast the tie a bit more. Don't let it control you.

8. Superman has Kryptonite. Green Lantern has the color yellow. And Freddy Krueger has a cup of espresso. Me, I have humidity and heat. Those are my weaknesses. Unfortunately, on a trip to Greece, when this photo was taken, my arch-enemies were out in full force. The heat and humidity joined together to muddle up the synapes in my brain so that I couldn't put a decent outfit together. Look how confused I look here at the airport. Obviously, I don't travel well under these conditions. Cole Haan sneakers (which are actually pretty cool), flared jeans (which look really baggy here thanks to the expansion caused by the heat), an untucked Ben Sherman shirt, and a light jacket that I didn't want to pack away. On this day, I lost the style game.

9. Hey, I'm man enough to admit it when I go overboard in the pattern department. I actually really like this photo of me with my wife. But, man, this is what I get when I try to push boundaries. Striped shirt, paisley tie (with colors too light to really stand out), and a polka-dotted pocket square. I'm surprised I wasn't also wearing a Madras jacket! The main problem I have here is that these patterns don't really work well together. That shirt should have been pin-striped instead of bold. Maybe the tie would have stood out more instead of being lost. And that pocket square should have been a less obvious color. Aw well, lessons learned. 

10. And this, right here, my favorite Fashion Failure photo. You know why? It's shown up on Facebook and other discussion groups, posted by people who think this is how I actually dress! The sad thing is that there are Mod types out there who do dress like this, normally. So, it's natural for someone who doesn't know me to think this is my Friday night Ace Face wear. No, no, this was actually a Halloween costume: me as the teenage me. But I don't mind it when strangers think this is the real me (can ya? CAN YA? Sorry... force of habit). I get a kick when I see this posted on Comedy Mod sites and all... because really, this was a damn good costume!

Alright, there you have it. Day in and day out, I toss my opinions out there on what I think Mod fellows should be doing. But as you can see, I'm not perfect and I don't mind showing off my mistakes. Hopefully, as the years go by, there'll be less examples to share with you.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Sharp Stylings #61: Eric Clapton

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.

About a week ago, I was in a Yardbirds kinda mood which generated a discussion on Eric Clapton's suit on the cover of the Five Live Yardbirds LP. Nick Rossi, of the always excellent and detail-oriented A Modernist blog, pointed out the front button situation on Clapton's jacket. He then brought this photo to everyone's attention:
From Magic Mac, my favorite source of 1960s images!
Go ahead... gawk for a while, because all those Yardbirds are tossin' mad style at you. I see button-down collars, thin ties, leather jackets, jackets with breast pocket flaps, and plenty of attitude.

Alright, alright, now let's get to the business at hand. Can we all agree that out of all the early Yardbirds, Eric Clapton was the one pushing the Ivy look the most? Short college-boy haircuts, thin ties, tab-collar shirts... what with his love of blues, this kid was a downright Americophile! Now, let's focus in a bit more on the detail A Modernist was pointing out:

Yup, Clapton's wearing a sharp 2-button jacket!

Notice how the button stance lands in the center of the jacket, not too low? See the way the jacket flares out from the bottom? Most 1960s jackets I used to find in thrift shops tended to be 2-buttoned with the lower stance. Nothing wrong with that and some of my less-Mod, more vintage-oriented friends wear them and they look nice! But, for me, I'm into the higher cut of the jackets, like Clapton's here.

And as was pointed out on that discussion, the jacket here reflects more of a Continental look, as opposed to American Ivy, based on the lapel size, 2-button front, and cut of the jacket. It would seem that Clapton had some international tastes at the time.

So, there you have it... something to think about next time you're taking your ideas to a tailor. If done well, a 2-button look can come off super-sharp and probably turn the heads of all those Merc-suit wearing Mods at your local soul club!

(Shh! Ignore the fastening of that bottom button!)