Mod is not just a style. It’s a scene, a sound, and a spirit. Short for “modernist,” the concept was popularized in the mid-1960s by British fashionistas and teen rockers. A youth culture emerged in the post-WWII years, and those teens had access to pocket-money for clothes, records, and clubbing. A highly stylized, cutting-edge visual language set them apart from the sappy sentimentality of their parents’ generation. Mods craved the hip, smart, and streamlined.
Like punks and hippies, the mod subculture has endured with an instantly recognizable look that’s remained strikingly unchanged since its inception. What typifies the mod look? Think of the model Twiggy, the most well-known icon of mid-60s fashion. Bold, geometric forms. Primary colors and black-and-white motifs. Structured tailoring and fitted jackets. Mini-dresses and go-go boots. Vinyl belts, coats, and footwear in unexpected colors. White lipstick and prolific black mascara. Vital urban energy. The mod look is inextricably associated with 1960s swinging London and designer Mary Quant, who made the miniskirt mainstream. Italian scooters like Vespas and Lambrettas, with their gleaming chrome trim and smooth, highly contemporary design.
Accessories make the mod look accessible. Mod jewelry is fun and outrageous while retaining an arty sophistication. Sleek plastics like acrylic are mod signatures, so indulging in a colorful assortment of statement mod jewelry won’t break the bank. The mini-dresses designers are trotting out this fall are a natural to pair with mod bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. But since the Mod look is timeless, you know you’ll always have an occasion to punch up a simple ensemble of fitted trousers and a blouse, or a minimalist shift with tights.
You can’t discuss the mod style without discussing music, which has always been part and parcel of the mod scene. Kids in the early mod days gravitated toward the American R&B records: Motown and 1960s American soul are as important to the mod scene as rock bands like The Who and The Small Faces. During the mod revival of the late 1970s, ska and reggae groups joined those ranks. Like punk, mod songs are often short, direct, and rallying. There are great mod bands now, and a far-flung but thriving global mod scene that connects through festivals and podcasts. Everything mod retains a distinct British sensibility—perhaps part of the attraction for Anglophiles outside of the U.K.
Mod purists might poo-poo a casual adaptation of the mod look, but who cares? Dabbling in mod is a kick because it’s fun to look so stylish. Whether you consider a Vespa an obscure indulgence or a fashion necessity, our mod jewelry makes it easy to rise above your station and look fantastic while doing it.
By Sara Bir