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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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’).
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.
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!
Warren 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)
On page 22 of the Mods Book by Richard Barnes there is a pair of desert boots, along with white jeans, white polo and brown suede jacket. I have always loved the picture and the look. Like a lot of classic mod styles it is one that has stayed with me for many years.
The desert boot has been in the mods wardrobe since the early days and continues to be so so popular. Many people not just mods wear them, and on the scooter they do look the part on sunny days.
History wise it started with Nathan Clarke who designed them during the war, whilst out east in Burma. He saw guys in similar pairs and adapted the look for the public. So hence the poster below.
A massive seller for Clark’s in the fifties the boots have hung around since. Clarke’s make the original and some say the best.
I think a lot of us these days would have seen their first boots on the feet of the guys in Quadropehenia. The whole cast seem to be in them, Dave seems to be the only one not in the clumpy ones. I have been told that the boot is an Clark’s Desert Boot Lynx, am not convinced and welcome an answer on this.
In film they are worn with jeans and suits, I have not always been a fan with a suit, certainly the boot is rubbish for dancing, so wonder where this look comes from.
The answer maybe cost, you can get an ok pair of boots for not much money in most towns in the UK. And without close inspection you wouldn’t know you looking at a cheap or expensive pair.
The boot does go with a lot of outfits and the stone colour is very forgiven with a multitude of outfits.
Which brings us neatly on to colour, there are literally boots in every colour out there. There are also two, three tone and pattern varieties to choose from. My fav colours are
Stone – Dark Brown – Olive – Dark Blue – Black
In the pictures that follow you can see many colours. The desert boots doesn’t escape accessories, but do we really need fringes, well I don’t but some do. Also not sure about the ones with the union jacks, but these have been popular.
A Friend from Cambridge has yellow and black desert boots, why you ask? Well Cambridge United play in those colours, why else !
A foot note is that Clarkes boots are very popular in the dancehall scene, a lot of the styles are worn there, this guys looks so cool, the red top I defo want.
The desert boot, is also very forgiven in sizing. The suede stretches well and fits around the foot, normally within few hours of wearing. I think I must have had a dozen pairs at various times, some lasting a long time at college.
There is some snobbery about cheap and expensive boots. Having looked many makes over the years, there are marked differences and a good pair do look better. That said the desert boot is worn by many to work as well as pleasure. So a cheap pair of Roamers or Warriors are great for the price.
I wore my ikon olive green desert boots for 3 months straight to work. The colour faded a little and of course they look worn, but the sole has much time left in it. With jeans the olive I thought worked well with many different polo shirts and shirt combinations.
Many many famous people have worn the boots or a variation on them. Music people such as Weller, gallaghers etc, have all been spotted in pairs. Many mod revival bands wore them as you can see below, The Purple Hearts and The Circles to name a few. Britpop to with Damon Albarn. Below even Steve McQueen gets close desert boots, in the film The Great Escape.
Going to end on why I think they have lasted so long. I have been wearing my most recent pair, as I have mentioned before for several months, I have also been wearing some DJ afterglows. The suede allows the feet to brief more than trainers.
They bring you up a few steps from trainers. I like trainers a lot, but Desert boots are less casual. The classic stone colour goes well with most colours, and of course jeans. Throw in a few colours to you collection and you can look great.
And if you look like this guy you look cool.
Every day mod shoes!
Or what to wear on your feet to work?
Can there be such a thing as everyday MOD shoes? There is an argument that to be truly MOD you have to have a job that allows you to be MOD all the time. So it would follow that you could dress smart constantly rather than just weekends. But in the real world nothing is that easy.
Although subcultures start with only a handful people, even those people come from different backgrounds etc. and for every ‘media person’ there will be a mechanic !
For those working in an office, and unless you have a uniform, then you I suppose you could wear any shoe you liked, but would you want to ? I like dressing up at the weekend, but that doesn’t mean I want to be a scruff during the week.
As the beach boys said, you leave best shoes home till a Saturday night.
So does that mean a life of Desert Boots! Or slightly faded shoes for the week. I go with my mood or whether have an important meeting.
My desert boots, I only like with jeans and I only where jeans during the week, at the office. They may get an airing on a Saturday , whilst doing odd jobs etc.
I have my loake oxblood royals which very occasionally I wear during the week, but in the main I save these for weekends and possibly more importantly dancing in.
So would I wear a pair of Rawlings or my best shoes during the week?
I did last week because I felt like it, but normally weekends only.
Would I wear loafers in the week to work. O yes, why because I always get people saying , their smart or I have not seen them in ages. So tassel loafers for work ? Well do you know what I think the answer could be no. Why? Because I always think of them as slightly flash shoe for parading in or dancing in.
Surely it is a waste wearing them to work, their expensive ? But surely if it makes you feel good then if you can afford to why not. Most of us spend a lot of time at work, and why not feel good.
And this is another big reason, and a very shallow one,
You go into a meeting, you are introduced to someone for the first time. You look at the shoes, are they good or cheap.
What does that say about the person wearing them !
Does it even matter?
Well yes I always look at the feet, very judgmental I know. But you can tell a lot by the choice of shoe. Does it really matter though?
I suppose it shouldn’t but it has always been one of my things. I do care more about the person and their attitude to life, but I can’t help but look at the shoes first !
There is no conclusion really to this article. I am interested in what others do and how they go about their day to day footwear. So over to you.
Me meantime, will be wondering what to wear tomorrow ?