Jeans with Ladies Modshoes

In this blog we wanted to show you how you can wear your Modshoes more often. At Modshoes we do a range of colours, and we always like to have a splash of colour. So below you can see a few of our shoes with Jeans in various colours & styles.

The versatility of bright shoes are often underestimated. With a neutral ensemble, such as black, white, tan and grey, they make a statement on their own, but do not cause a colour overload. However, wearing several bright colours, if the same intensity, also complement each other to create a whole statement look.

Pairing jeans with heels: obtaining the balance between smart and casual

The versatility of our range of heels is something that we pride ourselves on here at Modshoes.

Pairing a heel with a formal dress does create an elegant look, but how about those who don’t opt for a dress?
Or just wish to get the most wear out of their shoes as possible?

Dressing up jeans with a blouse and heel creates a look that can be more dressy, or more casual – but remains stylish. There is even versatility in the jeans that can be worn! Our personal favourites involve pairing the 2 Shades of Pink Dustys with lighter blue jeans, the Sunflower Mariannes with dark blue jeans, and the White & Lavender Dustys with white jeans.

The possibilities are endless, so why does it feel so difficult to pair jeans with heels?

A current fashion trend is the skinny jean which, when paired with a heel, lengthens the silhouette and creates a sophisticated look. Additionally, cropped jeans are favoured during the summer months, which exhibit the heel in its entirety, and create a daytime look! White jeans are especially flexible, as we love a coloured shoe here at Modshoes, which can be paired with white effortlessly.

  • We have conjured some quick styling tips when combining heels with jeans:
  • Opt for an overall semi-dressy look to prevent the heels from looking out of place
  • If flats are too casual and heels are too high, a midi-heeled block shoe, such as Dustys, or a low heel, such as Mariannes, are a perfect solution
  • Layering a dress over jeans creates an outfit ideal for a heeled shoe – dressy yet casual
  • Turning up the hem of the jeans shows off the ankle and consequently the entirety of the heel
  • Wide leg jeans or flares also draw attention to the ankles to accentuate the heels, it doesn’t have to be skinny jeans!
  • Frayed hems stand out against a heel, and establish a contemporary look

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Tales from the Land on the Never-Never.

Tales from the Land on the Never-Never.

By the time YEAR ZERO arrives at the end of July this many sceptred, yet fractured, isle will be rejoicing in England’s second World Cup Final victory bringing with it happiness, wrapped in Poundshop St George’s flags made in China and toasted with Supermarket multi-pack continental lager. With it will come a raft of misguided xenophobia, hasty tattoos, cheap celebratory tat and an all too brief flight from being the grist to somebody else’s mill.

Watford’s own mercurial lost boy’s THE SPITFIRES 3rd album is hewn from the same paranoid suburban corners, where hope has stalled beneath flickering street lights. The friendships forged at school that have since run out of educational road and now sit together on low walls heads down casting bored phlegm onto the broken glass pavers.

The taut musicality of their debut RESPONSE is revisited across the first half of the album. The muscular hard-left guitar attack and machine gun drum clatter is perfectly balanced with the increasing nimble bass and keyboards which are allowing the band to greater define a sound that is their’s alone.

Opener REMAINS THE SAME with its amphetamine ska lurch and haunting Rico trombone is typical of this new palette of suburban sound-clash. It’s a fine trick they repeat several times, most notably on single MOVE ON and live favourite SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR.

The pop sensibilities of second album (a lost classic to these ears) A THOUSAND TIMES is also present. The Madness music-hall jaunty piano of OVER AND OVER AGAIN and the male/female duet between Billy Sullivan and (another star in the making) Emily Cappel BY MY SIDE are both wonderfully structured songs – The Spitfires really do know their craft!

If anything the final run-in of the album is even better; SICK OF HANGING AROUND and forthcoming single THE NEW AGE are pure adrenaline rush anthems for an entire generation who have spent half their lives in a mental fetal position like a dog that’s beaten too much – ‘they need National Service!’ – Great! How did a dozen years of institutionalised apathy work out for them? It’s the hope that kills you!

The last two tracks are my personal favourites on the album; YEAR ZERO has a Lynch Mob meets The Mescaleros feel to these ears and I would love to hear the boys explore this sound more. Album closer DREAMLAND is a bona-fide classic with its haunting brass section and sleepy rolling lilt, it has a weariness that echoes the general malaise of 5 years of a singular punitive one-sided austerity that has doomed an entire generation.

YEAR ZERO is a stunning album; shining a light into the darkened corners of a Britain thats lost sight of its ‘Great-ness’. The sharp end of the wealth divide where the lost boys and girls haunt this never-land dreaming of appearing on Love Island or England winning the World Cup… sadly I doubt it’ll end the ‘thirty years of hurt…’

‘Year Zero’ will be released 27th July on CD, Standard 12” Vinyl, Limited Edition Coloured 12” Vinyl and Digital Download.

Pre-order now:

Life is better in colour: Pairing coloured shoes with your outfit

People are always tempted to choose black shoes to accompany any outfit. This could be due to its versatility, or just the fear of choosing the wrong coloured shoes to complement the clothing. But never fear, here at Modshoes we pair colour with colour, and have advice on how you can too.

The versatility of bright shoes are often underestimated. With a neutral ensemble, such as black, white, tan and grey, they make a statement on their own, but do not cause a colour overload. However, wearing several bright colours, if the same intensity, also complement each other to create a whole statement look. In particular, it is often uncertain how to pair yellow with an outfit, such as the Mariannes in Sunflower.

With summer just around the corner, wearing yellow should be embraced!

Whether this is with the same colour clothing, or a complementary colour, such as purple. The possibilities of what to pair them with is endless – such as shorts for a summery co-ord, a daytime dress for a casual but cute look, or even a formal outfit to add a splash of colour.

Let your inner colour shine through this summer!

With summer just around the corner, wearing yellow should be embraced!

Stompers… shoes with Soul!

Against a midnight mohair backdrop, hanging to air on the wardrobe door, in the half-light shadows like a voyeur, the disc drops. Gathering speed as the arm swings out before lowering itself, like a practiced lover, gently into the groove. That moment’s promise is there. The great suggestion that we are about to receive something so pure; so vital, like life itself.

A fine crackle like a lightning storm at the very edge of your hearing, teases the senses. Momentum achieved, the orange Duke label spins so I can no longer read either title or artist, but after the first hi-hat rise and bass note chasing the chiming scales downwards I’m in familiar territory and the anticipation of the sweetest voice, like chocolate, like velvet, like the greatest of riches, all you could ever want for…

I pick up the soft cloth; dipping a corner into the waiting cup of warm-water. Letting its warmth invade the cloth enough to add to the polish as the mixture is placed upon the leather and small circular caresses gliding ever outwards as that voice hits the very core of me. Not merely Bobby Bland, but Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland… with a voice that hits those; oh-so-rare, bluest of notes. The ones that set the hairs on the back of your neck quivering in recognition – the seduction complete, the idle circles, smooth and effortless like leather soles on a wooden sprung-dance floor. Like a lover’s fingers; deft, sensual, keen, earnest and yearning, sweet… so very sweet…

Two-minutes and forty-five seconds later and in the dream-state it’s a blink of an eye and it’s a lifetime all the same. The shoes are dull and matt with small wispy clouds of polish. I set the shoes down and click the replay switch. A quick check that the coast is clear and I drop a couple of bombers as the mechanical clunks and whirrs ready themselves for another pull at the very core of me. The cloth is switched to the dry end and I start to press harder, buffing the leather, like a spinning dancer, gathering pace as the tune reaches its imploring crescendo.

The harsh clicks and whirrs a distant memory, so discordant after the emotive swell of soul, now replaced by the silence that screams through the room. The only sound the vague monotone buzz from the Dansette, matching the one from the Durophet. I inspect my handiwork. The shoes catch the light, shining, and glistening. I roll them slowly, devouring the glossy radiance. Yes! They’re ready! I’m ready! I lower them gently into the waiting mouth of my bag. Open like a lover’s arms.

Satiated, I light a cigarette, breathing out slowly, watching the neon-blue smoke chasing its myriad tails, tumbling blindly, before climbing leisurely towards the ceiling, consigned to history and memory – but who needs memories? It’s the promise to come that’s important, not even tomorrow; it’s the promise of tonight that’s essential – vital as life itself!

Stompers… shoes with Soul!


Everything’s coming up Dusty

It has been widely acknowledged the part that The Beatles and The Stones played in gaining a wider audience for Soul and R&B artists in the UK. Their early albums are awash with covers of music of artists of black origin. The intoxicating and hypnotic rhythms captivated young (mainly white) audiences opening both ears and minds in the process. That spiritual connection between the black struggle and white working classes oppression has remained ever since.

However, there was another recording artist who should also be remembered for their part in not just embracing black music but actively promoting it and in the process becoming one of the greatest exponents of what became termed blue-eyed-soul. Born Mary O’Brien in London just before the outbreak of World War Two; Dusty Springfield as she became known professionally started her singing career in a couple of pop-folk acts; The Lana Sisters and even had a top 10 hit with The Springfields before launching her solo career in late 1963.

Her first single I Only Want to Be with You married a Phil Spectre Wall of Sound production, awash with luscious layers of strings to a Shirelles pop/soul style melody (one of her big influences). It matched her glamorous excess of smoky heavily made-up eyes, her towering peroxide bee-hive and her flowing floor-length gowns. It was a huge hit and went on to sell a million copies.

1964 was a defining year for Dusty. Hot on the heels of two more massive selling singles, the Bacharach penned Wishin’ and Hopin’ and the emotive (and career defining, musically at least) I Just Don’t Know what to do with Myself Dusty toured South Africa with her group The Echoes. The tour was controversially terminated and resulted in her deportation for playing to an integrated audience at a theatre in Cape Town which was against the then government’s apartheid segregation policy. Dusty’s contract went on to become one of the first to exclude segregated audiences. She often appeared as the only white artist in black-artist reviews.

1965 and with her star still in its ascendancy Dusty, who was already good friends with producer Vicki Wickham (who co-wrote the English lyrics to one of Dusty’s biggest hits; ‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me) was especially chosen to host the country’s leading music show; Ready Steady Go’s Sound of Motown Special. After covering many of their tunes it was of particular pleasure to Dusty to facilitate the first UK TV appearances for The Supremes, The Miracles, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder. Recorded live Springfield opened each half of the show accompanied by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas backed by the incomparable Motown in-house band, The Funk Brothers.

Its exposure gave the associated touring Tamla-Motown Revue featuring many of the same artists a much-needed shot in the arm and there was a huge uplift in interest at both the shows and on record. What was once the preserve of a few clued-up Mods and music-fans was now a national passion. The charts across the latter half of ’65 and ’66 are awash with Tamla tunes. Even Dusty’s singles from the period like Stuck in The Middle and Little by Little carry a certain Motown swagger.

Dusty had always had an vulnerable emotive feel to her singing; an air of loneliness and longing about it. In ’67 and in the capable hands of Burt Bacharach and Hal David that longing practically became lust. The smokiness of her eyes matched the sultriness of her sensual voice and earned her another sizeable hit both here and in America with what can only be described as a bona fide classic The Look of Love.

Sadly, with the progressive counter culture pulling away from her now ‘unfashionable’ classic-pop stylings and with perhaps some poorly advised sojourns into orchestrated jazz Dusty’s latter sixties output was a little hit and miss. That is, until she revisited her more soulful roots and decided to sign for her idol, Aretha Franklin’s record label Atlantic Records and to record her next album in Memphis at the renown American Sound Studios. Producers’ Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd recognised her natural soul voice and dispensed of the all-too-often saccharine orchestration in favour of back-up vocal group the Sweet Inspirations and seasoned Soul musicians’ The Memphis Cats. Despite its critical successes (Dusty in Memphis received excellent reviews both sides of the pond) it failed to translate into sales, even with the comparative top-ten success of Son of a Preacher Man. Latterly of course the song and the album have both been lauded as the classic and essential listens that they are.

Dusty was perhaps the finest female white soul singer of her era. She was a remarkable panda-eyed performer whose emotional resonance was matched only by her strong principles. She had few contemporaries capable of matching the flawless vulnerable heartbreak or sultry whispered intimacy in her voice. She was the very definition of blue-eyed soul.

Ska Wars – The feud between Prince Buster and Derrick Morgan

Little in Jamaican music is clear. Smoke and mirrors doesn’t begin to cover it. Any fans of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae will be well versed in multiple releases of the same song, by the same artist on differing labels. Then, to cap it all, those that played the records often scratched the labels off so that those listening in for rival sound-system would be unable to identify the most popular records on the dancefloor. Underhand deals, backstabbing (sometimes literally) and clashes were common. The most famous of these ‘musical wars’ in Jamaican music of the early sixties was between Cecil Bustamente Campbell, better known as Prince Buster and Derrick Morgan dubbed ‘The Ska King’.

Prince Buster hewn from the mean streets of downtown Kingston was a real life Rude boy, a street fighting tough whose pugilistic talents were utilised at Coxsone Dodd’s Downbeat Sound System at dances. Never one to shy away from confrontation he left Coxsone’s stable in 1961 and established his own Sound System; The Voice of The People, with the aim of dethroning the three recognised leaders in the sound system business at the time; Coxsone, Duke Reid (The Trojan) and King Edward The Giant.

Amid the faint whiff of corruption, he so very nearly fell at the first hurdle when immigration stopped his attempt to buy American records via the Farm Work Programme to play on his system. His competitors knew he would have been a serious threat to them, so perhaps ‘interference’ was inevitable. Buster if nothing else was a fighter, so he moved into recording and producing and created his own music to play; producing successful hits for not just himself but Eric ‘Monty’ Morris, Owen Grey and his soon to be arch-rival Derrick Morgan.

Derrick Morgan was a couple of years younger than Buster and after a modest but comfortable upbringing and schooling (compared to Campbell at least) he went on to win several talent shows with his singing leading to a success in the late 50’s on a couple of discs recorded with Duke Reid. Not long after these recordings Derrick met Prince Buster and excited by Buster’s fledgling outfit seized on the opportunity to record Shake A Leg and Come On Over with the Prince, however, shortly after Derrick decided to move to aspiring Jamaican-Chinese producer Leslie Kong who at $20 a song was paying twice as much as Campbell at his Beverley’s studio not 100 yards further along Orange Street, a move that infuriated Buster and led to a bitter feud between the pair. The acrimony exploded when Morgan recorded a hugely successful record for Kong called Forward March, with Buster accusing him of plagiarising the saxophone solo.

Buster lit the touch paper on Blackhead Chineyman in no uncertain terms within the stinging lyrics “you stole my belongings and give them to your Chineyman; God in heaven knows you are wrong; Are you a Chineyman or are you a black man?”

Clearly stung Morgan responded vehemently with Blazing Fire (which allegedly starts with the phrase ‘Shut Up Fool’ spoken in Chinese) “You said it, I am a blazing fire, you said it, I am a blackhead Chineyman, but when I was with you, I was like a bull in a pen. Live and let others live and your days will be much longer”.

The musical spat continued with Buster responding with Praise Without Raise in which he sung “All you’re getting is praise, but the Chineyman banking the raise. Watch out blackhead you’re getting praise without raise”

Morgan hit back again immediately with ‘No Raise No Praise’ stressing “You also said I’m getting praise and no raise. Don’t conceal it friend to tell the public I was singing for you and I neither get praise, much less raise”.

It wasn’t just the two artists that were getting involved – rival gangs of Rude boys were getting on board (no doubt goaded on by the main protagonists) and actual pitched battles were taking place at the Sound System jump ups and even politicians were starting to get involved in the unedifying spectacle.

There were a few more exchanges such as Buster’s 30 pieces of Silver but it wasn’t until Buster threatened to release a song called Chinese Jacket which explicitly named Morgan, that Morgan warned Buster that should he proceed, he would release one with the lyrics “Buster while you were at sea, I was alone with B (Blossom Buster’s wife) and all your children have the mark of the Blackhead Chinaman”.

Getting pressure from at home and now the newly formed Jamaican Government as disputes between rival fans had grown to such seriousness that they were forced to intervene in the feud and cease the rivalry. They arranged for both men to be pictured together in a friendly manner and publicly declare that despite the rhetoric in the songs the two were actually best of friends.

Whatever the reason the musical war quietened down and the exchanges thereafter were more humorous in tone. Morgan’s Rude Boy in court tune Tougher Than Tough was followed by Buster’s smash-hit Judge Dread “You tell me Rude Boy never fear?” echoing a line in Tougher Than Tough… before summarily sentencing him to 400 years. Morgan responded with Judge Long Sentence, before Buster got the last words in with the conciliatory The Appeal and then finally Barrister Pardon.

In later years, it was said that this musical war was just a friendly one designed to generate interest in their recordings and boost record sales through the controversy that it triggered, but with the vitriol of the early exchanges it seems unlikely, but like much in Jamaican music it is hard to know where the truth lies. What is true though is that Derrick Morgan went on to record many more tunes for Prince Buster’s labels after the cessation of hostilities. What is also true is that both men have left an amazing legacy of tunes and the tunes involved aresome of the finest of the early Ska era.

The tunes that defined the ‘musical war’:

Derrick Morgan – Forward March

Prince Buster – Blackhead Chineyman

Derrick Morgan – Blazing Fire

Prince Buster – Praise Without Raise

Derrick Morgan – No Raise No Praise

Prince Buster – 30 Pieces of Silver

Derrick Morgan – Tougher Than Tough

Prince Buster – Judge Dread

Derrick Morgan – Judge Long Sentence

Prince Buster – The Appeal

Prince Buster – Barrister Pardon

Strike on Stamford Hill

Town Magazine September 1962 and three young men from Stamford Hill; Mark Feld, Peter Sugar and Mickey Simmons appear in an article called Faces without Shadows. It is the first article about Mods (not that they are named as such in the article itself) to appear in the Media. Across the 6-page article amid the stunning Don McCullen photos they pass judgement on a raft of subjects from politics to scooters but mostly clothes; especially tailored clothes. Mark Feld, of course went on to become 70’s superstar Marc Bolan via proto art-popsters John’s Children. It’s probably one of the reason’s that copies of the magazine now change hands for several hundreds of pounds.

The article is very much geared to where these young Princes see themselves going. Their self-assuredness is absolute. What is not really touched on is their Stamford Hill home which has given them this self-belief. All three were young Jewish boys whose clothes obsessiveness was well served within its tight-knit community and not least by its tailors who were more likely to entertain the ‘eccentricities’ of the young dandies than a more traditional West End tailor. Bedecked in bespoke clothing at 12 and 13 years of age, making them feel head and shoulders above their peers. Their group also contained the likes of Henry Moss, Gerry Goldstein, Barrie Milner and perhaps more famously (Sir) Alan Sugar of TV show The Apprentice and Michael Abraham Levy whose charms have raised tens of millions of pounds for the Labour Party. At an age where they were too young to congregate in pubs (which no doubt they would have considered beneath them) there chief hangout was the Bowling Alley. The first that was opened in the UK.

Britain’s first Bowling Alley was opened to great fanfare with special guest Henry Cooper on hand in 1960 in a converted cinema in Stamford Hill. It quickly became the place to be for the relatively wealthy Jewish youths and the place to show off their latest sartorial finery. It was certainly far cooler than their previous hangout the Amusement Arcade (commonly known as the schtip) and the they would meet up and over American Cola discuss matters both sartorial and recreational. Would they be going to The Downbeat Club in nearby Finsbury Park or further afield up the Seven Sisters Road to the Club Noriek in Tottenham? A Bowling Club craze exploded across the early part of the sixties and was a massive lure for the young.

Hanging out in bowling clubs and often being too young for scooters and thus reliant on pushbikes its probably no coincidence that one of Mods greatest tricks was its appropriation of sports wear as leisure items. The Fred Perry cotton-pique tennis shirt with its three-button placket and split hem was (and remains so) an essential part of the young Modernists wardrobe. It’s laurel wreath logo on the breast was a badge of pride and no other polo shirt would do. Cycling shirts were another item that were seized upon. The bold coloured knitted tops with a zip-up neck offered an instant European élan to the young stylists. They came in a vast array of colours and designs so they could retain that oh so essential sense of individualism.

Sports shoes also became popular – a flick through the ‘bible’ Mods by Richard Barnes shoes as many kids in ‘sneakers’ as desert boots and hush-puppies. Famously Mickey Tenner wore hockey boots with the little studs removed on Ready Steady Go. Boxing boots and cycling shoes also made appearances as kids sought that one item that would make them a Face in the eyes of their peers. Naturally this gets a mention in the ‘Bible’ by the man who should have been credited as its co-author; Johnny Moke. ‘We went to a bowling alley wearing some old plimsolls. We hired a brand-new pair of bowling shoes and afterwards I walked out with mine. That weekend we went to Clacton. It was the weekend of the first trouble. I’d taken off the big number 8 that was stuck on the back was the only guy walking ‘round Clacton with bowling shoes on. When I went to Brighton about six weeks later, half the kids had bowling shoes.’

Johnny Moke went on to be a famous shoe maker, who at one point denounced trainers but at the height of the Mod years he knew that a shoe could be both casual and stylish. The bowling shoe has continued to be a staple part of a Mods wardrobe ever since. No doubt Mark Feld, Peter Sugar and Michael Simmons were also admiring their style in Britain’s first bowling alley, if they weren’t probably getting their shoes hand-made at the time. Truly they were Faces without Shadows.

Ladies SKA Soul Shoes Spring 2018

Shoes in the video above

The Strike Bowling Shoes By Modshoes

The Strike Bowling Shoes By Modshoes

These Bowling shoes have been developed to get as close as possible to the ones we used to have back in the day. Notice they are a lot slimmer than other bowling shoes that have previously been available.

The main reason that we had these made is that we were asked for them loads, in fact it was one of the 1st requests we had ! We like to listen to our customers and bring back the styles they would like to see again.

The leather used on these is proper soft leather and requires little wearing in. On the sole we have added a black grip to the front, so you shouldn’t be slipping either.

In terms of outfits, casual with jeans. We are thinking they look smarter than a trainer, but less formal than conventional shoes, so great on the scooter or just out for a pint.