10 Ways to Wear Mod Fashion Trends for Fall

September 23rd, 2012

mod fashion trends

Mod fashion is one of the most distinguishable of vintage styles thanks to its colorful prints, jaw-dropping hemlines and innovative designs that until the 1960s, had never been considered fashionable before.

The ’60s mod girl was a courageous one because she wasn’t afraid to explore the “bold” side of dressing. In the 1960s, the quintessential mod look was a colorful abstract print A-line dress with an attached metal buckle belt worn with a pair of colored tights and white or silver boots.

<< SHOP NOW: Authentic & awesome 1960s vintage clothing from eBay! 

Sure, the above ensemble works for your Halloween costume, but if you want to dress with mod style for 2012, you can’t expect to be taken seriously wearing head-to-toe ’60s fashion (trust me, I’ve tried!)

That’s why selectively choosing one trend of mod fashion is the way to go for a modern mod look. Keep reading after the jump for everything you ever wanted to know about how to wear mod fashion without looking like Twiggy or a go-go dancer!

1960s Style Dresses from Shabby Apple

To keep your mod look fresh, I suggested both vintage and modern equivalencies for many of the 10 mod fashion trends listed below. I especially love ModCloth for vintage style looks as inspired by ’60s fashion!

What’s your opinion: Is mod fashion back in style, or do you risk looking like a character channeling those trends of the ’60s?

Share your thoughts in the comments below the post, or by saying hello on TwitterFacebookInstagram or by subscribing to my newsletter!

xx, SD

MOD FASHION TRENDS 

Feel free to scroll through the post to see my favorite mod ’60s fashion trends, or click any of the links below to be taken immediately to the text within the article.

#1: Op Art Prints

#2: Mondrian Dresses

#3: Mini Skirts

#4: Space Age Fashions

#5: Peter Pan Collars

#6: Abstract Prints

#7: Colorful Swing Coats

#8: Colorful Tights & Knee Highs

#9: Helmet Hats

#10: Silver-White Boots

 

MOD FASHION TREND #1: OP ART PRINTS

op art outfits

Source: Dam Style / ASOS Fashions Finder 

MOD STYLE HISTORY: “Op art” means “optical art,” because the geometric, finely calculated lines of its designs seem to create optical illusions to the human eye. The term was actually coined by Time Magazine when writing about the new ’60s art craze.

’60s fashion obsession with black and white lines can be traced to a 1965 exhibit called “The Responsive Eye.” Artists like Bridget Riley were pioneers of the movement and featured at the exhibit.

Like a true artist, Bridget’s feathers were ruffled after seeing how her style was lifted and sold to be worn by the masses, even (albeit unsuccessful) attempting to sue for copyright infringement.

WEAR IT NOW: Op art lines are fantastic for fall dressing because you can pair the print easily with other black and white pieces, such as op art pants with a white top and black sweater (Dam Style) or as seen from ASOS, an op art dress with a white belt, neutral (like khaki) trench, black shoes and a black bag.

The trick is to stick to a B&W palette and to support your op art piece with solid colors. I don’t recommend mixing op art with op art!

mod fashion dress

OWN IT VINTAGE: 1960s Op Art Dress, $149.99 on Ebay

OWN IT NEW: Mod Around the Corner Op Art Dress, $47.99 by ModCloth

MOD FASHION TREND #2: MONDRIAN DRESSES

mondrian dress worn by fashion blogger

Source: ’60s Mod Fox 

MOD STYLE HISTORY: Yves Saint Laurent invented the Mondrian dress, but it was French Vogue Magazine’s feature of it on their November 1965 cover that inspired every mass market retailer to create their own (and cheaper) version.

“Mondrian” is a style of art consisting of rectangles of various sizes that are either parallel or perpendicular to one another and a different color from the other. (Source: The Free Dictionary)

The authentic YSL Mondrian dress is like that shown above, however the placement of blue and yellow colors are reversed. This is how brands were able to produce similar reproductions of the famous designer’s piece without copyright infringement.

WEAR IT NOW: The dress calls for a blazer since the pattern is such a standout. I love how ’60s Mod Fox paired hers with a white blazer, and then opted for black below with black knee-highs and lace-up platforms.

60s mod fashion mondrian dress

OWN IT VINTAGE: 1960s Mondrian Dress, Auction on Ebay

OWN IT NEW:  Alice & Trixie “Daryl” Dress, $325 on Ebay

MOD FASHION TREND #3: MINI SKIRTS

mini skirts worn by bloggers

Source: Red Mera Vintage / Mich Mich 16 

 MOD STYLE HISTORY: Designer Mary Quant introduced her version of the above-the-knee skirt to the hip and young things of London’s trendy set. When these mod gals and guys adopted the styles, the fashion collective followed.

The mini skirt’s length continually crept higher, starting at the knee and slowly rising as the boundaries of “appropriate fashion” continued to be pushed during the ’60s. There was an even an extraordinarily short style called the “micro” mini!

WEAR IT NOW: High-waisted mini skirts are great on girls of any shape because they so easily create a tiny waist  and the allusion of mile-long legs.

For true mod flare, look for mini skirts with an A-line cut (not tight against the legs) and made from stiff materials, like wool or cotton. Modern mini skirts are usually lightly pleated and made from polyester blends.

mod fashion mini skirt

BUY IT VINTAGE: Mini Red Canvas Skirt, $79.99 on Ebay

BUY IT NEW: Grand Turi Mini Blue Skirt, $57.99 by ModCloth

MOD FASHION TREND #4: SPACE AGE FASHIONS

60s mod fashion futuristic advertising

Source: Deconstruction on Madison Avenue / Vintage Venus 

MOD STYLE HISTORY: When Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space in 1961 followed by American Alan Shepard that same year, designers like Andre Courreges, Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne began to look beyond the earth’s horizons for fashion inspiration.

Andre Courreges even had a collection called “Moon Girl” in 1964, consisting of simple white mini dresses, helmet hats and shiny plastic white go-go boots. The collection was born from Courreges’ belief that the future of fashion would be a simple one of clean lines and ready-to-wear garments, as if the wearer needed a uniform for steering her space capsule through the air.

Plastic dresses, chain metal tops and clear vinyl rain coats are some of the more memorable mod trends from Space Age fashion, also called the “Cosmic Era” by Courreges for its ethos of unlimited, untapped futuristic potential for mankind.

This 1960s video showing models wearing Space Age designs is a must-see! You’ll love the abundance of shiny plastics, bizarre headgear and sunglasses that look like protective eyewear.

WEAR IT NOW: While wearing an aluminum dress (see below) sounds pretty cool, it’s not the most realistic for fashion functionality.

Silver or white sequin cocktail dresses (shown below, right) are perhaps the most easy of modern styles to adopt from Space Age influence, since most of the materials from this trend are difficult to wear (dresses made of glass, anyone?).

60s mod fashion futuristic silver dresses

BUY IT VINTAGE: 1960s Space Age Aluminum Foil Dress, $589.99 on Ebay

BUY IT NEW: Sequin Cocktail Dress by Laundry, $225 on Amazon

MOD FASHION TREND #5: PETER PAN COLLARS

peter pan collars worn by bloggers

Source: Brigitte Dam / Kadty / Lookbook.nu

MOD STYLE HISTORY: Dressing like a child became a trend of mod fashion, because the true mod was a young and restless girl or guy anxious for change. The youth had time to adopt the fast-moving trends and therefore became representative of this fashion culture as a whole.

The Peter Pan collar was applied to children’s clothing as early as the 1830s, but was most prominent in the ’20s for little girls’ dresses. The collar was also worn on wedding dresses from the ’20s into the ’40s (who woulda thought?) probably to signify the bride’s virginal, childish innocence (or at least fake it!).

The Peter Pan collar’s design evokes a sense of nymph, as if its wearer is a little girl dressing like a woman. Since the mod fashions were so embraced by the youth of the era, the Peter Pan collar became the collar de rigueur for the era’s marvelously mini dresses.

WEAR IT NOW: The Peter Pan collar made a huge splash in fashion last spring — just ask stylist Alexa Chung!

From plain black dresses with a little white collar, to the attachable sequin studded collars that are all the rage for Fall right now, you can wear a Peter Pan collar no matter your style (or age!).

60s mod fashion peter pan collars

OWN IT VINTAGE: 1960s Oatmeal Lace Peter Pan Collar Dress, $48 on Ebay

OWN IT NEW: Ivory Now & Then Dress with Peter Pan Collar, $84.99 by Modcloth

MOD FASHION TREND #6: ABSTRACT PRINTS

60s mod fashion abstract dresses

Source: Simons Retro / Fashion-Pictures 

MOD STYLE HISTORY: After a decade of minimalist and practical prints in the ’50s, the ’60s exploded with color and expression as art met fashion and the body became a canvas for artistic experimentation.

The mod fashion culture was one to “wear and be seen wearing.” The mod youth and courageous housewives wore eye-catching prints of contrasting colors and swirling, multi-layered and optical illusion designs (including Op Art) that were so inexplicable in description that they were simply lumped into the catch-all of “abstract.”

Just about every designer — from the visionary to the traditional — incorporated some sense of abstract into their ’60s designs. Because who wants solid when you can have sensational?

WEAR IT NOW: Authentic vintage abstract designs are typically bold and bright and feel best when worn in spring-summer seasons as a standalone piece or with a belt in a complementary color.

More modern styles (like the ModCloth version, right) works with a less brilliant colorway, and so with some silver jewelry and leather boots, is totally Fall-ready.

abstract printed dresses

BUY IT VINTAGE: 1960s Abstract Swirl Dress, $33.99 on Ebay

BUY IT NEW: Mosaic Moxie Dress, $47.99 by ModCloth

MOD FASHION TREND #7: COLORFUL SWING COATS

60s mod fashion swing coat

Source: With Love Gabrielle / Inspired Days

MOD STYLE HISTORY: Swing coats aren’t an invention of the ’60s (you can find ’50s styles too), but wearing a brightly colored coat was a trend of mod fashion indicative of the era’s penchant for the bold and the bright.

Color blocking was another trend born out of mod fashion. Wearing a solid colored swing coat (like a candy colored pink, a Kermit the frog green or a powder blue) with a contrasting colored dress and tights beneath was how a mod would spread her colorful feathers come wintertime.

WEAR IT NOW: Choosing a ’60s inspired swing coat for cold weather crispness is an investment you should want and absolutely need to love, since your winter coat becomes an everyday piece of fashion.

Swing coats are A-line (meaning they aren’t fitted at the waist but rather flare outward to create an A shape) but beyond this the stylish elements of your personal fav is up to you. Typing “swing coat” into any fashion finder (be it for vintage or new) should yield plenty of options for your review.

1960s mod fashion swing coats

BUY IT VINTAGE: 1960s Space Age Orange Swing Coat, auction on Ebay

BUY IT NEW: Not a Cloud in Sight Swing Coat, $119 by ModCloth

MOD FASHION TREND #8: COLORFUL TIGHTS & KNEE HIGHS

60s mod fashion colored tights

Source: Urban Modernista / Vintage Vixen

MOD STYLE HISTORY: Believe it or not, colored tights were not worn before the ’60s!

The trend was another incarnation of the mod way of dressing like a child since the style was so light and gay, and definitely not recommended for the working woman.

Plus with hemlines so short, colored tights were necessary for some reasonable modesty. Mother of the mini skirt Mary Quant even had a line of tights to pair with her leg-baring styles.

WEAR IT NOW: I love how ’60s-’70s vintage queen Vintage Vixen wears neon green tights for just a pop of color, since her grey shift and forest green boots cover most of her leg.

Rather than show all of your color, dress in longer hemlines so that your legs don’t look like walking glow sticks!

1960s mod fashion tights

OWN IT NEW: Dazzle Tights, $29.99 by ModCloth & Red Knee Highs on Amazon

MOD FASHION TREND #9: HELMET HATS

mod fashion helmet trend

Source: Iro Iro Crafts 

MOD STYLE HISTORY: Perhaps one of the most bizarre trends on this list, the helmet hat was an element of Space Age fashion that truly represented designers’ belief that we would all live in outerspace (thus requiring helmets) someday.

While mods weren’t flying off into space wearing them, they were wearing innovative headgear to support fashion’s changing times. The pillbox hat of Jackie O was rejected for these impractical styles that embraced cultural excitement for the era’s Space Age exploration more than attractiveness of an accessory on one’s head.

WEAR IT NOW: Hats are not considered easy to wear by today’s standards. By the ’70s, fashionable hat wearing (unless to block the sun) was no longer a style habit passed on from designer to consumer.

So with that said, it’s totally understandable why you’d feel uncomfortable wearing a hat as a well-placed accessory to your look.

But a woven “sunglasses” hat (left) is too kooky to pass up wearing on the beach (or at least to wear for pictures on Facebook), and this particular vintage style of a ’60s helmet hat (right) pairs well with jodphurs, boots and a basic white button-up.

60s mod fashion helmet hats

OWN IT VINTAGE: Mod Bucket-Helmet Hat with Sunglasses, Auction on Ebay / Mod Helmet Hat,  Auction on Ebay

MOD FASHION TREND #10: SILVER & WHITE BOOTS

60s mod fashion white and silver go go boots

Source: Bionic Works / Animal House 

MOD STYLE HISTORY: The white or silver go-go boot was a blend of two trends: A reflection of Space Age fashions (white/silver representing the moon, stars and outerspace) and the skin revealing styles of the era which required a shoe to cover more leg below for some semblance of modesty.

The thick heel of the boot made walking in one’s mod outfit much easier than the tightly fitted looks with proper heels worn in the ’50s. As women’s fashions became more comfortable, so did their roles in society grow.

WEAR IT NOW: Silver and white boots still give the allusion of go-go dancing (and not the ’60s kind) or dressing in club gear for techno-rave music festivals.

Reserving silver boots for after hours dance parties feels more appropriate than trying to “de-glam” them for day while all-white boots are easiest worn the ’60s mod way, like with all white dresses or white tops-bottom pairings.

Or, wear white boots tucked into black leggings and an op art design piece for a blend of two ’60s mod trends.

silver and white mod 60s fashion shoes

OWN IT NEW: Silver Scrunch Platform, $49.99 on Amazon /Mod ’60s White Boot, $27.39 on Amazon

MORE 1960s FASHION

HISTORY: 10 Ways the 1960s Invented Today’s Fashion Trends 
FILM: 1960s Fashion Breakout Trends as Seen on Mad Men
VINTAGE PHOTOS: ’60s Fashion Outfits from McCall’s Magazine

FROM OUR PARTNERS

’60s Mod Fox: Fashion for the ’60s Lover
From the UK: Mod Fashion Culture Explored
Mod Fashion Photos from the NY POST
Tons of Mod and ’60s Fashion Pictures on F*ck Yeah ’60s Fashion!

 

 

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40 Comments

  1. Sammy says:

    I’m pretty convinced that if I can get my hands on a bonafide ’60s helmet hat, that I will totally ROCK IT this winter. Whose with me? ;-)

    [Reply]

  2. Carla says:

    Love this!
    You have deciphered the mod style and made it easy to digest for the modern palette!
    Brava!

    Here are 2 mod lovelies from my shop!

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/95281919/navy-and-wine-patterned-micro-mini-dress
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/97151915/white-open-weave-mesh-dress-silk-organza

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    That micro mini dress … has SAMMY DAVIS ALL OVER IT. Where did you discover this gem Carla? ;-)

    [Reply]

    Carla Reply:

    A wild and distant land called Jamaica, Queens!;)

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    HAHAHA! You and 50 cent went vintage shopping right? ;-)

  3. Margaret says:

    Great article!

    I have one MOD item on SALE right now in my Etsy store : http://www.etsy.com/listing/108072810/sale-vintage-mod-60s-cadillac-italian

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    Just shared on the fanpage. Margaret, this is a DELIGHT and the orange is so on trend right now. I really hope this flies off the shelf — keep me posted ;-) vintage love and mod magic!

    [Reply]

  4. Love this article! Here is our top mod pick from our shop:

    http://www.virtualvintageclothing.co.uk/vintage-footwear/heels/1960s-oxblood-red-patent-leather-mod-sling-back-heels.html

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    I am so happy you were able to post! These are delightfully mod heels. Now why don’t shoe companies make these styles any longer? The slingback and the bow with a brilliant red pop are darling. Thank you so much for sharing. I hope someone clicks to buy very very soon.

    [Reply]

  5. Marisol says:

    Thank you! This article was incredible to read! My favorite trend was the SPACE AGE! I watch the videos on youtube for Andre Courreges, Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne constantly! Here is a link to the mini dress I’ve for sale: https://www.etsy.com/listing/109752356/vintage-1960s-mod-mini-dress

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    haha! The music for those Space Age videos are particularly eerie. But almost attractive, in a sexy kind of way? I really want helmet hats to make a comeback. Seriously, I’d wear it ALL THE TIME. Your mini dress is adorable! Boots tights BAM you’ve got a great look. Thanks for sharing sister. xx

    [Reply]

  6. SUCH a fun era!!! You can see so much how mod-style is influencing current trends.

    Here’s one of our favorites in the shop right now, a mini dress with a matching cardi by Jonathan Logan!

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/98227862/1960s-mod-mini-dress-with-matching

    xo

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    Miskabelle, I LOVE THIS. It’s very nautical, no? I forget if nautical was a real trend of the ’60s. For some reason I feel it wasn’t, however I’m questioning that now … Jonathan Logan is definitely a designer to look up. I want to do a post someday of “unknown vintage fashion designers that deserve recognition.” So many underrated designs! thank you for sharing!

    [Reply]

  7. Robin says:

    This was such a fantastic article! With orange and yellow being hot colors on the runways this year, check out this gorgeous vintage MOD scarf by Peter Max.

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/103537589/peter-max-collectors-silk-scarf-great

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    WOOT! Robin do you know if Peter is still alive? I wish more women knew about his amazing designs. So happy. So loving!

    [Reply]

    Robin Reply:

    Hey Sammy! According to Wikipedia, Peter Max is still alive.

    [Reply]

  8. MOD lover here!!
    Such a great post…Here is one of our mod dresses available in the shop!
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/93829912/vintage-60s-anne-fogarty-retro-op-art

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    Anne Fogarty is my favorite! Did you know she wrote a handbook for style in the ’50s? Thank you SO much for sharing. Lots of love for you and this piece, I hope many check her out ;-)

    [Reply]

  9. Stephanie says:

    Love the color blocking and the graphic feel of Mod. The tights are a really nice surprise to see, I think those look the most TODAY of all!

    A little out of season, but somewhere in the world there is a girl by a pool that needs this suit. It reminds me of 60s James Bond!

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/106553616/60s-triumph-black-one-piece-gold-ring

    [Reply]

  10. katieslullaby says:

    The first time I remember seeing micro minis in department stores they had matching shorts. It’s the only way our parents would allow us to wear them. It’s interesting to see what the fashion was back then vs. what we actually wore as teenagers and young adults. I remember wearing Nehru suits, poor boy shirts, bright fluorescent colors, go-go boots, mini and micro mini skirts, and baby doll dresses.

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    I love this. You are right … why would mama and papa let their 14 year old girls wear minis without something below?! My equivalent of the matching shorts is quite literally a pair of spandex biker shorts, so that if I bend over you don’t see my tush ;-)

    [Reply]

  11. All your picks are so cute. I have a few mod dress in my shop that are pretty wearable (at least I think so). Here’s my favorite: https://www.etsy.com/listing/107251094/mod-1960s-pink-knit-dress-size-small

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    My jaw just dropped. This is a delight!

    [Reply]

  12. katieslullaby says:

    Here is a listing for an authenticate 60’s medallion necklace. I have 2 others listed as well. I know they are authentic because they were mine when I was a teen, lol!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130770711838&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    Now that IS authentic! It can be hard to date vintage jewelry I quite honestly know nothing. Thank you Katies Lullaby ;-)

    [Reply]

  13. Fab post, Sammy! Very groovy.
    How about a bubble toque– black and white of course– with dots!
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/107763851/1960s-bubble-hat-glenover-toque

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    Cindy thank you so much for sharing, especially because I have never heard of a bubble toque before and this is education for me! Now I know the exact terminology. Bless you. She’s gorgeous!

    [Reply]

  14. Nora - treasurehuntvintage says:

    Great post! LOVE all the pictures!!!

    I have several groovy MOD items in my Ebay store. Love the print on this one:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/MOD-60s-Vintage-TRAPEZE-Babydoll-DRESS-Wild-PAISLEY-Print-Green-Yellow-M-/261035969172?pt=Vintage_Women_s_Clothing&hash=item3cc6f4ca94

    And, sometimes, a solid color is just what you need:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/MOD-60s-Vintage-TRAPEZE-Babydoll-DRESS-Wild-PAISLEY-Print-Green-Yellow-M-/261035969172?pt=Vintage_Women_s_Clothing&hash=item3cc6f4ca94

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    Nora thank you so much for sharing! These are gorgeous and YES sometimes solid color is *just* what the style doctor ordered. Here here!

    [Reply]

  15. falke tights says:

    This post is worth reading for all fashion geeks..very much helpful and suggestive.One who needs fashion tips should definitely visit this post.I love how you do this ways Ingrid …it makes me feel like I am in the know!

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    MOD FASHION FOREVER. I believe in your marvelous style, no matter the decade’s inspiration, and where you bought it or how you wear it! the best style is that of you within. Lots of love. Thank you!

    [Reply]

  16. Kristin says:

    Love this post! Very in line with current fall trends! Reminds me of of the fall 2012 miu miu campaign with Chloe Sevigny.

    We have a favorite in our shop right now too… with a trippy, geometric print and a fit and flare waist. Soo good! : )
    Thanks Sammy!

    http://www.recollectionvintage.com/collections/new-arrivals/products/red-navy-70s-poly-mini

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    Thank you for sharing your mod fashion, Kristin! I haven’t seen the Miu Miu campaign with Chloe. Will Google now, thanks! ;-)

    [Reply]

  17. Monica says:

    All the designs and the colours used are unique in itself… mod designs shows the fashion era of 60’s… i just say all are fantastic…

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    here here! thanks, Monica!

    [Reply]

  18. Mah says:

    Mod fashion is definitely back in style. Even people who aren’t really into following trends rock the mod trend.

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    I agree! You may not even realize that you are wearing marvelously mod. xx

    [Reply]

  19. Toile La La says:

    A bulls-eye precise delivery of the coolest mod trends, Sammy.

    My opinion is one cannot really be “out of fashion” these days with so many interests and style undercurrents available to us, plus we have access to nearly anything we want to see or learn about – which helps us all find our perfect niche.

    One need not look like a character dressing in the mod style either – as with any other style, give the look something that’s a bit “off” or that doesn’t necessarily match. A little quirkiness goes a long way toward making a look unique.

    [Reply]

  20. Anney says:

    My favourite era bar none. Great article and I must get me some of those silver boots.

    [Reply]

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    [Reply]

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