Totally Mod: Fashion, Make-up, And Culture of the 60's

Written by Leanna Serras

The 1960's will be forever famous for its defining styles and revolutionary ideas. Along with hippies and rockers, mods were a very big group in the '60's. The term “mod” comes from modernist, a term used in the 1950s to describe modern jazz. It eventually evolved into a fashion obsessed young people and a cult of the super cool in the 1960’s. The mod culture started in London and worked its way around to America.

Mod Fashion

Ground-breaking mod fashions were brash, creative, and daring. Sixties fashion was owned by London, England. They set the scene and the rest of the world followed.

The fashion revolution was all about the young crowd and started in the streets rather than the runway. Carnaby Street and Kings Road in London were the most popular places in England to shop, with Paraphernalia opening in 1965 in New York being the most famous in America. Pastels from 1950's fashions, gave way to bright, bold color often in geometric designs.

Mod clothes leaned toward ultra-short and sleeveless. Popular styles were miniskirts, jumpers, shift dresses, patent rain trenches, patent leather go-go boots, and tights. A popular outfit was coordinating a ribbed knit turtleneck with a miniskirt with matching tights with knee boots.

Mod Movies

One of the most famous mod movies in today’s culture is not really from the 1960’s at all. The Austin Powers movies show in great detail the mod movement in England, and pokes fun at some of the fashions and attitudes of the era. 

Of course, there are the James Bond movies of the '60's starring Sean Connery, with the Italian vistas, beautiful girls in mini skirts, and scooters. James Bond shows the cutting edge of the mod movement in the 60’s.

Mod movies showed what was hip and happening in London. Many times, these movies featured pop acts like The Beatles and the Dave Clark Five, and prominently displayed the fashions of the time.

Some other movies that personify mod style and culture:

Mod Hair

The British domination of 1960s fashions also extended into hair styles, with Twiggy and Vidal Sassoon having a profound influence on short hair styles. But as with the mod motto of “anything goes”, it applied to hairstyles as well.

The most popular hairstyle of the mod era was the bob. Cut short and blunt and stick straight, this haircut was the epitome of '60's mod style. Thick bangs were also a crucial part of this haircut.

Another popular haircut of the mod era was the "five point" Vidal Sassoon haircut, popularized by model Peggy Moffitt. This look was very similar to the bob - a short, angular five pointed pixie cut.

The hairstyle in vogue for men at the time was similar to that of mod women. Men sported a shaggy crop of hair or a short cut with a burned in part, much like that of The Beatles.

Mod Makeup

Mod makeup was a very defining part of the movement. Lips were left bare, covered over with foundation, or even painted with white lipstick, so that all the focus could be put on the eyes. Mascara was vital. Each application was so thick that the lashes clumped together looking like false eyelashes, which were also in style. Eye makeup was harsh and heavy. Dark eyeliner was applied all the way around the eye, and eye shadow was applied to the entire eye lid. Big, dramatic eyes were the ultimate fashion day or night. Unlike the natural hippie look of the same era, mod makeup was all about drama.

Also very popular in the '60's were signature fragrances. Perfumes by Chanel and Avon were all the rage, and mod girls were using perfumes and fragrances to add to their style.

M od Accessories

Large plastic bracelets, huge round plastic earrings, and Lucite rings with polka dots were just a few accessories in Mod fashion. Big or small boxy handbags in bright colors, or geometric designs. Most earrings were so big they had to be clipped on the ear instead of having posts for pierced ears. Pale painted nails to match makeup or jewelry were very popular.

Mod models of the 1960's set the stage for the mod fashion movement, and their fashions were emulated by young women around the world.

These are but a few of the models that made the Mod movement popular. They were truly beauties of their times.