Defining the Mod Style of 1960s England

Mod (modernists) was a subculture brought about post World War II by the youth of London. With heavy influences in modern jazz, the mods took a full approach to their style. Mod was a way of life; they did not discriminate racially (since they drew inspiration heavily from African music and Caribbean-immigrants in London) and integrated good design into all areas of their lives. Defined by their psychedelic prints, bright colors, geometric shapes, stripes, fitted shirts, Perry tops and Vespa scooters; Mod was, at first, synonymous with the emergence of ‘teenagers’ as an age group, but quickly spread.

Bands such as The Smoke, John’s Children and The Who defined Mod as a music genre. The cinema, nightclubs, dance halls, shopping and listening to music became popular past times. Mods were often seen as phony, snobbish and stuck up; they held more value in leisure and money other than hard work. Gender roles were more loosely defined at the time. Young women who worked were considered more independent and women did not always need to be tied down by a man. This ideal vision of the “single girl” became popular among the mod culture of a self-sufficient, empowered woman who made her own money, had impeccable fashion sense, lived the single life and was socially involved while maintained a perfect body image. It became acceptable for women to wear pants, opening up a multitude of designs and cuts to give birth to new styles of clothing. Hairstyles changed for both men and women.

At first, women started cutting their hair shorter and closer to their heads embracing the bob/ boyish look. As the 60s progressed, the hairstyles grew longer. Mop-tops became popular among men (thanks to The Beatles), Afros popular among African men who embraced their racial pride, facial hair (side burns, mustaches, and beards) became popular and women grew their hair straight and long towards the close of the 60s as they entered the Hippie era.


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