Saturday, 29 April 2017

Part One: Let's Keep It Classic

What makes a mod suit mod?  One may argue that the mod suit is what defines the mod look, more so than parkas, gingham shirts and pique polos - after all, we're only wearing our parkas to keep the grease and oil from our scooters from staining our impeccable, smart and sharp mod suit.

The mod suit look emerged in the late 50s. The first mods - the modernists - defined as such for their love of modern jazz over traditional jazz (the mods vs. the trads) looked to their jazz heroes for style inspiration. Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, et al, were often pictured wearing sharply tailored suits. Couple this with the influence of Italian fashion and the mod suit was born.

So lets examine our classic mod suit;  the basics and the necessities. The elements which define a mod suit.

  1. Slim fit & Waisted Cut: The mod suit is a slim fit. As slim as you can stand it. The look does not allow for boxy jackets or baggy trousers. Your suit must be cut slim with darts to accentuate the waist. 
  2. Single Breasted: The classic mod suit is a single breast. This means one row of buttons, not two (which is double breasted). 
  3. 3 Button Fasten: Tradition dictates the jacket is high fastening with a three button fasten. However, we will usually wear it with only the top two fastened. 
  4. Narrow, notch lapels: Slim lapels are a must, typically with a notch (over a peak). This is the triangular cut out shape to the top of the lapel. Exact width is a matter of taste, but around a two inch width will see you through nicely. 
  5. Short length: This blazer isn't called the bumfreezer for nothing. Mod suit jackets are slightly on the short side. Nothing worse than a suit jacket which is too long. 
  6. Short-ish sleeve: The sleeve should also be on the slightly short side, although not so it is overly noticeable. This is so we can show off our shirt sleeve cuffs and our fancy cufflinks. 
  7. Ticket pocket: Another defining aspect of the mod suit. The ticket pocket is the smaller, third pocket usually found above the main pocket on the right hip of the suit jacket. A British tailoring tradition, we could write a completely separate article on the history of the ticket pocket, but for our purposes here, it adds that dandy mod heritage look. 
  8. Mohair and/or Tonic fabric:  Not all mohair fabrics are tonics and not all tonic look fabrics are mohair, but if we can have both, then why not? Mohair is the classic fabric used in a mod suit. Mods loved the lustrous, smooth look mohair wool gives a suit, making it immediately the mark of class and style. Tonik - the original and proper fabric - was developed by French fabric manufacturer Dormeuil, but the tonic look here refers to a two-tone, iridescent fabric which copied that look. (The original fabric was quite expensive, but the look can be achieved with other tonic fabrics). 

  9. Side vents: On the back of our mod suit jacket we find two side vents. This has also been written into mod lore that our classic mod suit shall feature side vents (twin slits at either side of the back of the jacket) and never a centre vent (a single slit in the middle of the back of the jacket at the bottom). The length of the vent is a matter of personal taste. The Who song (or High Numbers, as they were then) Zoot Suit contains the lyric, "I wear zoot suit jacket with side vents five inches long," so a lot of mods opt for that length, but anything in that region is fine. The vents purpose is to aid movement while wearing the suit. For a frame of reference, the vents on the suit jacket in the illustration are 7.25". 
  10. Tapered, slim leg Trousers: On to the trousers and as you might expect, the mod suit trousers are slim leg and usually tapered, meaning the are narrower at the bottom than the top, as opposed to straight. 
  11. Short-ish leg length: As with our jacket sleeves, we wear the trousers very slightly on the short side (but no half-masts, please!) This is so we can show off our stylish loafers, brogues or chelsea boots and maybe the snazzy socks we're wearing with them. Mod is all about detail and we need to show off that detail. 
  12. Narrow Ankle: The tapered mod suit trouser leg results in the narrow ankle. A traditional suit would have maybe 16" - 18" bottoms or wider, but the mod suit will have a narrow bottom. Again, it's personal preference as to how wide. 14" is a good ball park figure. 
  13. Pockets: Trouser pockets are a must, but how many and how they look is again down to taste. The mod suit pictured here has two front slanted side pockets which keep the shape and silhouette of the trouser nicely. Not pictured is also a single straight pocket with a button fasten on the back, but more about pockets in part two. 
  14. Narrow waistband: Also details down to preference and style, but the classic mod suit will feature a narrow waistband, equipped to hold a narrow width suit belt (but probably unsuitable for wider jeans belts). You shouldn't really have to wear a belt with your mod suit, but sometimes it's nice. 

This, I should stress, is only the basics of a mod suit - a starting point. Here are the rules of mod suit style, and now we have learned the rules, we can break them! Look out for part two coming soon...

The suit featured in this article is the Madcap England Mod Suit in Burgundy Mohair tonic. Find it here.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Atom Retro's Holiday Essentials for Women: 

Sleeveless or sleeved, maxi or mini, strappy or strapless... whatever your preference, your number one holiday wardrobe essential is the summer dress - and not just one! Pack at least two or three to see you through days at the beach, sightseeing or out shopping and pick a couple of day-to-night dresses to save precious suitcase space. We've a large range of many different styles, but we've chosen to feature this fab twist on a traditional shirt dress from Emily and Fin, the Nancy Dress is light, comfy and flattering to wear. 
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Second on the agenda, summer tops and tees! Choose a selection of super summer t-shirts and more dressy tops to pair with skirts or jeans for nights out. This fab nautical themed Gwen tee from Mademoiselle Yéyé is perfect for holidays with a cute retro sailboat print in a stretchy jersey fabric. With flatteringly scooped and gathered neckline it looks fab worn with jeans or shorts.
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We're loving this trend this summer - matching shorts and tops twin sets make great day-to-night holiday wear. Also pair the shorts with bikini tops or cropped tees for vintage inspired beachwear or pull on a pair of jeans for a fab casual summer outfit. This retro candy striped matching set from Traffic People is gorgeous!
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Don't forget to pack a cute summer jacket for when it gets cooler in the evenings, or just to cover up when you need to. A lightweight blazer or retro denim jacket is ideal and not to heavy to carry around with you. One of our fave summer jackets is this little button jacket from Nomads. With a half length sleeve and slightly cropped length, you can wear this with almost anything.
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Another hot summer trend this season with a nod back to 70s fashion is the retro jumpsuit. These fab all in one pieces are comfy and easy to wear and look amazing. We've picked this jumpsuit from Traffic People which features an all over retro 70s inspired print, but if you're looking for something more conservative, Traffic People also have a plain version in the same style.
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Sunglasses! As soon as you put on a pair of shades you feel like you're on holiday. There are simply tons of styles to choose from, with retro classics from Ray-Ban including as Clubmasters, Wayfarers and Aviators. Retro cats eye shaped sunglasses always carry that extra vintage glamour shine, so we've selected these fab white Ray-Ban Tech sunglasses which are featherlight and super flexible, making them ideal to take on hols with you.
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So many shoes, so hard to choose which ones to pack. We recommend you pick one dressier style for evenings out or special occasions and one or two more casual styles for sightseeing and shopping. These beautiful embroidered Shanghi Surprise heels from Poetic Licence tick all the right boxes with a not-too-high 8.5cm heel, peep-toe and cute floral decal.
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And for a flat style, how about these super summery Daisy Delight shoes from Poetic Licence as well. With a slight wedge sole and peep-toe these cute sandals are perfect summer holiday wear. Alternatively, pack a pair of trainers (or two) for walking and sightseeing.
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Our last summer holiday essential is a statement handbag or purse! This fab woven bamboo strawberry shoulder bag from Collectif is going to invite attention!
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Find all your Holiday Essentials here!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Atom Retro's Holiday Essentials for Men: 

The Summer Shirt is a suitcase staple. Suitable for day or night wear and for a range of occasions or events, we've picked this fab Lyle & Scott mod button down shirt in an oversized gingham check but with our large range of prints, checks and plain shirts, you can't really go wrong.

If you're off to sunnier climes (or who knows, it maybe sunny this summer in the UK?!) then a hat is a necessity. We've selected a summer version of a classic mod pork pie hat in straw, but you can also substitute for a cool fedora trilby or a retro Bakerboy or Fishermans cap.
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Pack a few pairs of shorts for your hols. We recommend one or two pairs of swim shorts (so you have one to wear while one is drying off), a pair of casual denim shorts like these Levi's 511 cut off shorts - ideal for wearing on the beach or for sight seeing - and a smarter, more tailored pair for evening meals out or drinks. Who loves short shorts? We love short shorts!
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Boating Blazers and Summer Blazers are must for summer evenings. Sling a linen Boating Blazer like this one around your shoulders on for drinks and you're instantly smart without being weighed down with a heavy coat or jacket.
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Sunglasses are a holiday essential, of course! If you haven't got yourself a pair of the new Madcap England McGuinn Square lens Sunglasses - then where have you been?! Instant mod 60s cool in contained in these slim lenses, or if you fancy something else check out our range of Ray-Ban Aviators, Wayfarers and Clubmasters. Your must-have retro style shades!
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No matter how many t-shirts you have, there's always room for more! Pick from a large range of mens retro and mod tees from basic plains through to retro prints and this contemporary twist on a mod target t-shirt from Ben Sherman.
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If you're going abroad this summer you'll want to chose the shoes you take carefully. Limited suitcase space means you'll need to pick a versatile pair of comfortable shoes you can wear for different things. We recommend something like this light pair of woven loafers from H by Hudson as your smarter option and maybe sling in a pair of trainers or plimsoles for taking it easy.
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It's always a good idea to take at least one light jacket away with you on holiday - if only so that you have something to wear when you catch the plane home. Trucker Jackets are an instantly cool retro jacket with a rock and roll edge. This is a fab light summer denim jacket from Levi's but you can also find smarter versions from Ben Sherman in stock now.
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Lastly, don't forget a light weight retro backpack for all those holiday essentials. The padded pak'r from Easkpak is a classic rucksack available in a wide variety of colours and it's squashable enough to fit inside your suitcase.
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Find all your Holiday Essentials here!