All of the clothing trends we see today can be traced back to specific influences and predecessors throughout history. Fashion is a rich art form that constantly moves and changes, often reflecting cultural and social shifts within its design.
This is what makes vintage clothing so special. Not only is it unique, especially in comparison to mass-produced fast fashion, but it is symbolic of a specific point in time and all of the meaning that comes with it.
For example, while a lot of us may be familiar with the retro, geometric-looking “mod dress,” we may not know that it has its origins in a prominent subculture of the 1960s, which carried milestones of social change with it.
Read on to learn more about this super cool look that’s still trendy today!
Who Were “The Mods”?
“The Mods” were a youth subculture of the 1960s that originated in London and were made up of working-class teenagers with money to spend, passion for music and fashion, and a desire to separate themselves from their parents’ generation.
Their name comes from their shared interest in Modern Jazz, a genre led by African-American musicians. They began to dominate the fashion industry alongside the backdrop of social changes like the Civil Rights movement and the Space Race.
The Mods also began to challenge gender norms, as mod men did not perform quite as “macho” in their new style, and mod women made feminist strides with something as simple as a higher hemline.
The Mod Dress
The miniskirt, while common today, marked a cultural transition in which women began to rebel against the typical modesty norms linked to femininity. Showing that extra bit of leg was symbolic of greater female autonomy and freedom.
Mod dresses of the 1960s were not only marked by the miniskirt length but as being daring and striking in colors and patterns. They are defined by their straight-line cut, not hugging the body as much as dresses that came before them.
How To Dress Like a Mod
The beauty of mod dresses is that they come in a wide variety of different colors, patterns, and materials. Don’t feel like you have to recreate the original look; you can totally dress true to the 1960s style while still catering to your own preferences.
This hot look has evolved from once being the center of a youth subculture to now being a sophisticated, classic choice for people of all ages. We’re here to walk you through some options from Thrilling so that you can find a mod dress for any occasion while sporting that special vintage flare.
Casual Mod Dresses
If you’re looking for simplicity, we suggest looking at solid-color, sleeveless mod dresses. These are a great place to start and are a little more reserved than some of the more complicated patterns of the era.
You may want to go with a linen dress like this gray jumper if you’re looking to stay cool in hot weather. You’ll notice that it has that boxy neckline and straight cut that is so signature of the ‘60s mod.
Something like this is perfect for a picnic under the sun, but it can also be layered on top of a patterned long sleeve for just as chic of a look on a gloomier day. The pockets also make for a nice (and functional) detail.
If you’re looking for a dress with a color that is a bit more vibrant, we recommend something bright like this mauve dress. This particular dress is a faux suede, so while it may look slightly dressier than the linen option we discussed above, it’s actually polyester.
This dress is balanced to perfection. The simple details contrast nicely with a scarf. Never forget the powers of accessories: these are a great way to spice up your solid-color piece.
But what about a nighttime look? Something like this metallic copper knit dress fits the evening mood with its darker, rusty shade and gold undertones. However, it is still incredibly casual, given its knit material. This might be your ideal choice for the laid-back, neighborhood house party.
It’s All In the Details
If you’re looking to get a little more adventurous, there are many mod dresses out there with beautiful, small details that can really make for a more intricate style and formal look.
For example, we love this stunning, white lace detail. The dress is essentially the same shape as the others we’ve looked at, but the simple addition of the geometric, lacey design and collar makes it the perfect choice for a more formal dinner or outing to the theatre.
Something else to look for is the belted mod dress, as it may be the better choice if you prefer to create more definition around your waist. This spacey mini mod dress almost creates an illusion that it is two pieces, a top, and a skirt. The addition of the belt and buttons give it a sort of professional flair, making it a good choice to wear into the office or to that important business meeting as you dismantle the patriarchy.
However, detail doesn’t always mean collars and belts. The detail of this red mod shift dress lies in the fabric itself, as its embroidery creates a polka dot effect. If you want something eye-catching, a bright red like this is the way to go.
We would be remiss not to talk about one of the most defining features of mod fashion: patterns! The mods were known for their rebellious nature and innovative designs, and with this came bold, bright, and sometimes even clashing patterns.
The 1960s gave birth to the Op Art movement, a style of art that flaunted optical illusions and created a sort of movement on the page. This movement undoubtedly influenced the clothing of the decade, and mod dresses emulated its style through their use of lines and geometric shapes.
If you take pride in your clothing being a walking art piece, something like this zig zag dress will draw the attention of onlookers.
Similarly, this orange abstract dress uses the repetition of squares and circles to almost resemble a floral pattern and is definitely reminiscent of an optical illusion. It manages to be very chic while simultaneously being fun and funky. It has the potential to be versatile for many different occasions.
Do you prefer garments with a bit more of a subtle flair? If so, we recommend alternatives like a simple white polka dot that can be seen in this burgundy mini dress. The simple pattern sets the stage for a gorgeous neckline that sets it apart from other mod dresses.
A Nod To Mod
Whether you’ve never touched a piece of vintage clothing before or you already have a massive collection, the mod dress is a great item to keep in your closet. It is still a completely fresh and vibrant look while also giving a nod to the trend setters of the 1960s.
It’s reminiscent of feminist strides and social change, and there are many different variations out there, meaning you can find the choice that uniquely suits you. Whether it be in simplistic pieces, intricate details, or bold patterns, you can rock the look of the mods.