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.



  1. Thank god the 10th one was a self-referential parody

    1. Well, KK, when I'm officially going through my mid-life crisis, I just may revert to this look!

  2. AWE. SOME. Happy Birthday, Mod Male! You're the best, no matter what you're wearing.

    1. Get outta town! What's gonna be awesome is sharing a drink with you tonight!

  3. "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."

    Hum... I have to be careful. I could easily fall into that category. Mental note: Let that be a warning.

    I admire your courage and your willingness to look at yourself in the mirror. Has I often tell my students: "You should learn from your mistakes, except while parachuting."

    1. Oh no, not you Patrick! Keep doin' what you're doin'!

      I'm referring to myself... trust me. You don't know what my wife goes through when I'm near my closet and a mirror.

    2. Don't worry Carlos, I didn't think that your comment was necessarily directed at me (I'm not THAT self-centered... wink.. wink...) but it served me as a warning.

      Seriously, I probably made this comment to you on many occasions, but what your blog does better then anybody else is to push us to elevate our game. I love the fact that you keep us on our toes. Keep it up!

      * correction in the previous message: "as" not "has".

  4. These were the necessary learning steps to get where you are. There was no shortcut. You could spring from the head of Zeus already dressed like Pete Meaden in 1964. No one can.

    One of these days I am going to send you a theoretical think-piece on this whole issue of the parka, and how it fits with the distinction between mod-as-a-permanent-way-of-life versus mod-as-a-nostalgic-harkening-back-to-an-earlier-time.

    1. I'd look forward to that write-up! My opinion has always been that the parka once served a practical, affordable purpose for scooter-riders. These days, it's not really needed especially when there are other, more stylish, coats. Now, parkas are more of a symbol of a stereotyped look, and why feed into that?

  5. Belated birthday wishes. A brave post - well done!