Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Pretty much every decade sees a revival of the mod phase, and this one is no exception. This style guide will help you achieve the all-desirable Mod look. Whether you want to go for the smart look or the casual vibe, and whether you’re dressing for either summer or winter, we’ve got you covered.
The Mods Style
The mod (short for ‘modernist’) style first became popular in London in the early 60s. It was all about music and the tailor-made suits. A step forward from the ‘old-fashioned’ 50s, mods were the new cool kids, keeping it neat, streamlined and smart. This style has been carried on through the years, and although slight adaptations have been made, it still remains a pretty original look.
There was a mod revival in the late 70s, with bands like The Specials and The Jam adopting the style. Fashion trends tend to follow the music of the times, and fans will always want to follow in their idols fashion footsteps, so, the mod style became big again. The mod looks we now know are mainly influenced by 90s Britpop bands like Oasis, Blur and The Verve who adopted and altered it.
How to Dress Like a Mod
So what did mods wear? They still have the same streamlined, smart look of the original mods, but this time with a rockier edge. This guide will show you the key items in a mod’s wardrobe, and give you tips on how to get the mod look like celebrities such as Liam Gallagher, Graham Coxon and Paul Weller. Here are our key pieces for you to get the mod look.
Mod Trench Coat or Parka?
The Parka and trench coat are two key items in a mod’s wardrobe. We would naturally suggest owning one of each so that you have a choice and selection in your wardrobe. However, a decent coat will cost a few pennies, so for now, you might want to pick one or the other. Here’s our break down of each coat to help make your choice a little easier.
The most important thing about your Parka is the size. Keep it baggy – no one looks good in a tight Parka. You also need to choose the right style for your look. If you want to go for a classic mod look, choose a fishtail style. For a smarter look, you may want to try a military style Parka and lose the fur hood.
- Versatile – A Parka can be worn over a smart or casual outfit making it a versatile piece to have in your wardrobe.
- Hoods – The Parka coat comes with a hood, and there are a fair few variations of it. Plain hoods, fur hoods, or even detachable hoods are some of the options.
- So Many Styles – Long, short, fur, fleece, thin, thick, fishtail and military are some of the styles you can get this coat in, and, of course, the coat will come in many different colours as well.
- Weatherproof – Mods are all about being British, so you should be prepared for the wind and rain. Luckily, the Parka will have you covered (and dry).
A Trench Coat
Did you know that trench coats were originally created to wear in the trenches (hence the name)? So if you prefer the old-style military mod look, the shoulder pads and large lapels may just sway your choice. If you are choosing a trench coat it should be well-fitted. If you look at a trench coat you’ll notice it is constructed of straight lines, so you don’t want saggy shoulders or bulging buttons.
- Classic – Trench coats are part of the original mod style. The trench is a classic and traditional coat that had been worn for years.
- Smart – you can guarantee that you’ll always look stylish in a trench coat. You can wear them to add a sophisticated touch to your look.
- Double breasted – This version of the trench is very popular with mods, especially if you want to look smart without wearing a blazer.
- Buttons – If it’s a choice between buttons or zips, buttons always look smarter. A buttoned trench is the most traditional as well.
Whether you choose a trench coat or Parka, the colour is important. Choose earthy tones like green, tan and sandy colours. For a smarter look, try black or navy blue – this should contrast with the rest of your outfit. Always try to match your shoes to your coat and finish off your look with a knitted scarf.
The Basics: Polo Shirt and Jeans
Polo shirts and jeans make up the base of any mod’s look. You have to get the basics right before you move on the accessories and footwear. The polo shirt is a classic piece that can be worn smart or casually. Its appeal comes from the fitted shape and buttons, which should all be done up. The top button undone is too messy for a mod.
When considering colours and patterns, the bolder the better. The Union Jack and RAF target sign are the most popular symbols among mods, so think red, white and blue. You can choose a more muted burgundy or black if you don’t want to stand out too much. Block colours and stripes are also a popular choice.
When it comes to jeans, the most important thing to remember is that mods don’t wear skinny jeans. The modernist revolution was supposed to be a step away from other trends. So you don’t want to blend in with other styles. Instead, you should be wearing straight leg or slim fit jeans, rolled up slightly or cut off so everyone can see your smart shoes.
A mod is nothing without his shoes. Originally, mods were the first generation after the war to have spare income to buy clothes. So finally splashing out on fancy shoes was happily an option. This can still be seen in the mod style today.
Beiges and browns are popular among mods today. But blues and blacks work well if you’re wearing a full suit. Always try to match the colour or material of your shoes with another item of your clothes. Usually matching with coats, blazers or jumpers works best. The top mod shoes are desert boots, brogues, loafers and Chelsea boots. See our top picks below.
Try to remember that mods don’t wear scruffy shoes or trainers, so make sure you keep your shoes shiny and clean. Good quality leather and suede shoes may cost you more but they will last you ages if you look after them
If you want the ultimate mod look for a special occasion or want to add a bit of mod style to your office wear, the first thing to do is get a good quality suit. You’ve decided to suit up you so have to match your blazer to your trousers. No mismatched suits here. The original mods were seen in double-breasted blazers and loafers. But if you want to stick to a single-breasted blazer, keep it buttoned up. Think of it as your mod uniform.
It’s the finishing touches that make your outfit mod. Switch your tie for a skinny knitted one and add shoes that contrast with the rest of your suit.
Also, when it comes to socks, either stand out or go sockless. No one wants to see your old grey socks. You don’t have to stick to red, white and blue. Choose block colours or stripes.
For more tips on what shoes to wear with a suit, check out this Guide to Colour Matching Your Shoes and Suits.
Celebrity Mod Style
Since the original mod style appeared in the 1960s, many celebrities have adopted the mod look. Every decade sees some kind of mod revival, from The Who to Oasis. Here’s how to get your favourite celebrity mod looks.
Dress like Liam Gallagher
Oasis’ Gallagher brothers are well known for their sense of style and brash attitude. They are the 21st Century mods. Liam Gallagher is usually seen in a parka. This coat below is made to stand out while still looking stylish. If you don’t want such a dramatic look you can choose a parka coat with a smaller collar or in a darker colour.
Chelsea boots are an essential item for any mod’s wardrobe. They are versatile and can be dressed up or dressed down. This parka is quite colourful, making the outfit stand out a little. When wearing a colourful piece of clothing let it stand out by toning down the rest of your look. A pair of rolled up jeans and some clean black Chelsea boots will do the job.
If you prefer Noel Gallagher’s style to his brother’s, check out this guide on How to Dress like Noel Gallagher.
Dress like Paul Weller
Paul Weller, ‘The Modfather’, was arguably the most famous mod of the 70s and 80s. He was the lead singer and guitarist of rock/mod revival band The Jam, and a fashion icon for mods everywhere. Even now he still pulls off the mod look better than most.
With the Union Jack and Royal Airforce logo being the symbols of the mods, red, white and blue is usually seen somewhere in the style. In the past, Weller may have been seen covered in the Union Jack. However, in this image, he stands with The Who bass player, Pete Townshend, wearing a grey suit and a pair of loafers.
Dress like Graham Coxon
Graham Coxon’s look is inspired by the 90s mod style when Britpop took over. His style has a rockier edge and isn’t as well-finished and clean looking as the original mod style. If you want this more unkempt look, step away from the straight lines and 9 to 5 office shoes.
Coxon keeps to the mod basics – straight leg jeans and shirt – but he often swaps the smart shoes for Converse. Converse shoes are more skater rock than they are mod – perfect if you want an edgier look. Coxon wears a bold pop of colour with a striped yellow T-shirt. He layers this with a battered looking leather jacket which tones down the brightness of the outfit. To keep the straight mod style, choose black instead of brighter colours.
Your Quick Guide to Dressing Like a Mod
- Choose between the trench coat and parka. Of course, you could own both so you have an option in your wardrobe.
- The basic essentials are a polo shirt and jeans. Try to make sure you stick to the basics. You can jazz up your look by adding a different jacket or even socks.
- Knits are a necessity. Go for a polo neck or knitted number, and throw on a patterned blazer to clash them.
- Top shoe choices. Mods tend to stick to a few styles of shoe. These are desert boots, loafers and brogues.
- Go for a pinstripe suit to mix things up but keep the mod style.
On That Note
So, there is just about everything you need to know to dress like a mod, and how to be a mod– whether you’re going smart or casual, old-school or new mod. Just remember mod is short for modernist, so stick to straight lines, block colour and stay well away from the skinny jeans. Don’t forget the matching shoes which should always be kept smart and clean. Away you go!