The Mods Culture and Fashion: Who Were the Sixties Rebels?

Who Were the Mods, the People Who Loved Their Vespas and Parkas?

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In the incredible 1960s, in the United Kingdom, there was a group of young people who wanted to be different. They were fed up with the post-war generation, their parents with their modesty and “proper” behaviour.

The Mods were rebels on Vespas wearing parka jackets.

They wanted to be financially independent of their parents and wanted better (paid) jobs. It may sound silly to a person living in the 21st century, but 60 years ago, they were changing the world.

Mods shared not only political views but the same lifestyle, loved the same music, arts and rode the same scooters.

 

The movie Quadrophenia is an excellent portrait of a typical mod life

They also shared the same addiction; they liked using amphetamines. That probably made the rebel spirits even more restless and got them into more fights with their arch enemies - the rockers, another subculture that emerged at the same time.

There are a lot of aspects of Mods culture, but we’ll focus on fashion. After all, they were the ones that embraced the parka jacket.

The Mod fashion

Sixty years ago, it was vital to visually stand out to show you’re different, that you belong to a group of people that listen to the same music and share the same views.

That could only be achieved by dressing up the same (all of the 20th-century subcultures had their fashion guidelines). The Mod fashion standard started with early members in the late fifties, people who gathered around modern jazz boom, watched French movies and looked into Italian magazines for style inspiration.

Tailored clothes and shoes, Italian style, was from the beginning the core of Mod fashion. (Seems weird from the perspective of now, that rebels wore tailored suits). The image of the mod man is still the image of the subculture’s fashion, but the mod women also had their fashion guidelines.

The Mod Man Fashion

The tailor-made suits Italian style in the Mod era included narrow lapels and check patterns. Ties weren’t a must-have, but if they wore them, they were thin.

Mod men wanted to be slick and sophisticated, so even if they weren’t wearing their button-down collar shirts, they wore wool or cashmere jumpers.

The dress code for shoes were loafers, bowling shoes or chelsea boots.

The one thing that made them uniformed was indeed the parka jacket. The military green fishtail parka, the P-53 parka, along with the Vespa, became their symbol. It was a perfect choice as it was longer, kept heat and was water-resistant. All that meant the parka could keep the expensive clothes clean when they roam on their scooters.

Fishtail mod parka

Coat inspired by The Mod culture, the P 53 Heritage parka


The way Mods dressed wasn’t so rebellious (like their hooliganism). On occasion, some of the Mod men put eyeliner or eye shadow to show they don’t agree with the gender norms.

The Mod Women Fashion

Like Mod men, the women shared their attitude and wanted to be independent. In the beginning, girls took over the boy’s look.

They wore similar trousers, shirts and flat shoes and parkas. But, as Mods spread from the underground to the mainstream, a more feminine touch was added to the Mod women style.

Mod fashion women

The standard for mod women became "as short as possible"


As short as possible, that was the moto, so miniskirts and mini dresses became the standard.

Like a lot of subcultures that were breaking the rules, the mods changed the world around them. When, after a decade, they proved their point and grew up, they blended in society. Some of them joined another cause and became a part of the hippie movement while some turned to ska and reggae and became skinheads.

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