DJ Warren Peace – My Sole Collection

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Guest Blog from Dj Warren Peace. Lots to read here from the Marmite of MOD! Over to you fella. 

As anyone who listens to my show knows by now, I am not what you consider the typical mod. I love the 60’s. It was an era where men were Sean Connery and not Harry Styles. A time of phenomenal music, style and social change. Most importantly to me as a mod, it marked the birth of the movement which changed my life. Whilst I ‘tip my hat’ to this of often over-romanticized bygone decade, I’m happy that I live in 2013. To ’60‘s man’ I am George Jetson and like George, I live my life as a true MODERNist. What does that mean? Well, in a nutshell I’m obsessive about style and details and embrace the finest aspects of what ‘now’ has to offer whilst incorporating the best of the past into my daily wardrobe, living space and iPod. In essence, I celebrate the 60’s but I’m aware (and glad) that I don’t live in them. You could never mistake my look as an extra from ‘The Spy Who Shagged Me’ and my ‘mod styling’ is anything but the bog-standard mod 101 look. As I’ve said ad nauseam on the show, mod isn’t a halloween costume. It’s style over fashion and looking exceptional… without exception. Clean lines, form and functionality. End of. When I look at the way a fellow mod or any man dresses for that matter, it’s the opposite of sexual foreplay with a woman, i.e. I don’t start from the top and work down, I start below the ankle…at the shoes, and work up.

I love shoes. What mod doesn’t? My SOLE collection has always been much greater than my SOUL collection and I’m proud of that fact. (You can’t wear Gino Parks to a cocktail party now, can you?) I live each day as a mod, not just the weekends, so my shoes get a lot of wear and tear as dressing up is just ‘another day at the office’ in Warren’s world. You will find few if ANY ‘mod labels’ in my wardrobe or shoes many would consider ‘proper mod’, or ‘mod’ at all for that matter. I’m into well-made, timeless classics and I’d rather have one of something great than ten pieces of tat glued or stitched together by a 13 year old in Cambodia. Shoes so well made they will last a lifetime with the right care and repair and eventually, accompany me to the great Soul Night in the Sky (by the way, the John Lobb Ilford 6-eyelet prestige oxfords are the front-runners to accompany me 6ft under at the time of writing this!) With that said, here are a few of my current favorites. Warning: My opinion changes weekly so by the time you read this, I’ll probably deny owning half of them.

Let’s kick it all of with my Bergdorf Goodman Dover loafers with front penny strap.Italian made in a gorgeous bordeaux shade of leather. These almost feel like you aren’t wearing shoes at all and that’s a win for me with high arches. Leather sole (which looks a little like rubber in the picture but is not) and hand-stitched detailing.  For the fashionistas among you, the shoes are resting on my  Luciano Barbera three button sport-coat, also classic Italian. I love LB and although you can’t see it here, the lining matches the shoes, so I often wear these in combination with one another. Pair with a light blue, penny collar french cuff shirt and pocket square and we have lift off.

Bergdorf Goodman Dover loafers

My favorite shoes without a doubt have always been and will always be, wingtip brogues. It’s a classic, time-less and versatile shoe that can be worn casual or dressy and brings a hint of elegance to any outfit instantly.

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I’m not big on vintage shoes. Something to do with my distaste for wearing something that’s been wrapped around another man’s sweaty feet for 30 years, but these were just too exceptional to pass up. Tan brogues donkeys years old but still in amazing shape. I look after them well and they’ve lasted because their original owner clearly did the same.

I like to take chances with outfits and have no hesitation pairing these with navy blue or dark grey pinstripe suits for that additional and unexpected ‘pop’ or more traditionally, with my light grey Price of Wales check double breasted suit.

I believe mod is about individuality. Creating one’s OWN style and standing out from sloppy society and what better a way to do it than in these.  Something about them reminds me of my old science teacher…a hard mean bastard but boy…could he dress!

Next up..the iconic mod Chelsea boot, Italian made by Tods in a dark chocolate suede. I like Tods and I LOVE suede. Too much! A b*** to maintain but so worth it. I have lots of suede shoes but my favorite pair of all are my CB’s!

Todds Chelsea Boots

They look great with almost anything. On a recent trip to Montreal I picked up a pair of unworn light beige sta-prest trousers from the 60’s (warehouse find!) thanks to my host, Parka Avenue mod blogger Patrick Foisy knowing the right people. The cut of the trousers are a little higher to the ankle so perfect for boots like these. Check shirt, sunglasses and suede jacket and I’m ready to scoot! I’m also a mod who unashamedly admits to loving the Beatles, although I’ve never done well with a cuban heel. I’m tall and so adding a few inches makes me feel like Gulliver among the Lilliputians! As you can see, the Tods Chelsea boots heels are much flatter.

Back to the brogues! Meet my American pals…the  John Varvatos Hallowell Wing Tips.

John Varvatos Hallowell Wing Tips
John Varvatos Hallowell Wing Tips

The picture doesn’t quite do these justice but the color, a deep rich mocha is jaw dropping and an asset almost any outfit I decide to pair these with.

Since I acquired these I have a better appreciation for how large-breasted women must feel because during every conversation, the other person’s eyes invariably gravitate downwards usually followed by light salivating. Poor old Babs Windsor!

Not the finest quality shoe I own but the highly polished leather, tonal stitching and comfort won me over when I found these on sale earlier this year. I just had a Rodger Stirling (Mad Men) 3-piece suit crafted by my tailor in a light vintage grey with slim lapels and a 6 button vest. Add crisp, fitted imperial oxford weave white french cuff shirt with penny collar, vintage gold wrap-around mesh cufflinks, skinny knitted navy polkadot tie and my JV’s. Does the look follow the mod rule book? Not at all… but stand me next to a Tonik Suit Charlie  wearing his ‘off the rack and on the back’ and tell me who’s the Face.

Prada Penny Loafers

The original Mods look was inspired by the ‘movers and groovers’ of the Italian/ continental high fashion scene and the US preppie collegiate look. Fast forward to today and High Italian fashion in 2013 doesn’t get better than Prada in my opinion. Prada was founded in 1913 in Milan by Mario Prada and is currently one of the most influential clothing lines in the fashion industry, with an iconic collection that includes sunglasses, handbags, suits, shirts and some amazing shoes. These penny loafers have the honorable/notorious distinction of being my dance shoes of choice. All leather in a  strange shade of emerald green/ fading to black. Not for everyone but definitely for me. The ethos of the Face was to push the boundaries and believe me when I say, these do just that. A great shoe to wear with both jeans or trousers. The talcum powder  brushes off with ease and they maintain a flawless, unworn look despite untold hours of gettin’ down! Shoes are photographed here with July 1968’s edition of Playboy and my desk mascot, bulldog ‘Jack’ (a gift from ‘M’).

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Why would I wear decent dress shoes when riding my ’68 Vespa 180SS? Answer…I wouldn’t! Enter the Desert Boot… not necessarily the staple of a Mods wardrobe but definitely a ‘MUST HAVE’ for any scooter riding mod.  NEVER, EVER pair Desert Boots with a suit like Jimmy Cooper! You’re a real mod not an actor dressed by a costumer and you can do better…no, HAVE to do better than that!  I have two kinds of DB’s. Classic brown suede (told you) Clarks with rust stitching and laces (there’s that attention to detail I was telling you about). The lighter suede pair are Italian made by Miu Miu, a high fashion brand of clothing and accessories from the Prada fashion house headed by Miuccia Prada (hence the name). Due to the color they take a lot of upkeep but are going on 13 years old now! Both look great with some light cotton fitted beige chinos for the Sunday scooter ride, leather belt and a casual Fred Perry pique cotton top or my preferred cashmere or merino wool knitted polos.

Tom Ford Tassel Loafers

Last but not least, the latest addition to Warren Peace’s Shoeland, a pair of tassel loafers by Tom Ford. While I can’t say that Tom Ford shoes warrant the ridiculous retail sticker cost that comes with them, I can say that for a “designer” he does have some beautiful and well made shoes under his label (i.e. sources the best shoemaker that he could find in Italy to make his shoes). They give you all that you look for in a high end shoes: good leather, beveled waists, clean looking soles, great design and they’re built to last. The color is described as ‘antiqued’. Every single Italian maker was doing it  a while back and it was almost as if you couldn’t find a shoe that did not have a burnish on it, at least here in the States. Nothing wrong with a bit of toe darkening in my book, so bring on the burnish I say!

I fly often and loafers are practical for darting thorough airport security. I also dress to fly, always. The Jet Age is alive and well, at least in my head, and so at any given time on any airport concourse you’ll find me wearing these or something similar sitting amongst the sea of flip flops, crocs, yoga pants and cargo shorts. Definitely a shoe for the power meeting but less formal and stuffy than lace ups. Dress better than your boss is my MO. These will see to that.

That’s your lot for now. So many shoes, so little time! Again, my daily mod style is anything but cookie cutter. For my money the classic look of the English country gentleman, Italian fashionista or American Ivy Leaguer can’t be beaten. Shoes don’t MAKE the man but they can BREAK the outfit. Be an individual and wear what looks good on you, not the other ten charlie’s at soul night down the Hope and Anchor. Challenge the sensibilities. Be the best YOU can be and when in doubt, refer to the fictional mod rule book that some of the more ‘discerning mods’ among us magically own and often reference. Rule #1… style before fashion, always. Rule #2 Look sharp and watch the details and my personal favorite..Rule #3…there are no f%*&g rules!

Peace out!

mod shoes dj warren peaceWarren Peace hosts We are the M♂ds! with Warren Peace radio show Available for download of streaming on iTunes or Podomatic www.wearethemods.podomatic.com also playing on Mod Radio UK- Radio a Go Go (www.ModRadioUK.net)

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