This document contains quotes from various Mods who were there, where it was at – they went to the Dungeon in the ’60s.

Suits

Many Mods wore suits, generally with an Italian styling and made of mohair. These suits could not be bought off-the-peg, but had to be made-to-measure by one of the bespoke tailors. Off-the-peg suits tended to be what your father wore, reminiscent of the demob suits worn after the war. Not the right wear for any well-respected Mod! With a made-to-measure suit, the wearer could request how the suit was to look and some of the requests were received with surprise and scorn by the tailors; often accompanied by a comment of “You can’t do that! You cannot be serious!” But generally they got their way.

“A lot of the guys got suits made in light grey, with a really long back vent to the jacket and many buttons at the cuffs!”

Many Mods, although having more money than ever before, could not afford to buy a suit outright, therefore they were bought on the ‘never-never’. Tailors used included Jacksons on Exchange Walk, Burtons at the bottom of Hockley and John Collier.

“I got a job at the local Co-op to be able to buy my first suit. Got it made at March the Tailors on Long Row. I went for a pin stripe cloth, as Avenger John Steed always looked so smart in his! – 6 buttons on the cuffs, ‘waisted and flared’ 13″ centre vent and 16″ trouser bottoms. Cost me 18/0 a week, and when you only earned 2 bob an hour – that was a lot!”

“I insisted my tailors put a 15″ vent in mine, I wasn’t the tallest bloke on earth so it actually looked stupid!”

Pocket flaps were worn larger, and you had to have a ticket pocket!

“A ticket pocket and large flaps – mine were made sloping back not straight down & I also had an internal pocket below the inside pocket to hold a packet of Parkies without spoiling the suit line, 15/17″ deep vents or later a pleat. Fifteen buttons up the sleeves … what a plonker!”

Fifteen buttons were indeed Over the Top!

“Nearly up to the elbow, the Burtons’ salesman thought I was mad!”

Others had two rows of 6 cuff buttons.

“I think I once had 3″ pocket flaps too … how stupid was that!”

“Centre Vent or Side Vents? And how long??”

“Centre vent 14” and loads of cuff buttons!”

“Side Vents up to my armpits. …”

“I had both and the vents were about 13”. Also had six buttons on each cuff, 3 real button holes and 3 fake. But there again I was a tailor.”

“12″ centre vent, hand stitched collar, slanting pockets with 2″ flaps & ticket pocket with flap, 6 cuff buttons, single breasted with 3 buttons with only the top one buttoned.”

“Do you remember the guy in the made to measure department at Jacksons … Always had a tape measure around his neck … When you told him what you wanted, he always used to shake his head and say it won’t look right … I always said just do it … I’m the customer …”

“I worked at Jackson’s. I think you mean the manager. My mates used to come in to be measured and I’d explain to him what they wanted.”

“My mum took me to Jacksons to have a suit made to go to college, it was brown, looked cool, the jacket and beige stripes and cherry blossom Doc Martens. 1968.”

“Side vents. I was a short arse so only 12 inches. Mario’s dad made my suits so whatever I had it was right.”

“Centre Vent, but later I had suits with centre pleats, about 15″, stooooopid number of buttons up the sleeves, I got mine from tailors on the corner of Friar Lane, 2 suits for £30 … both mohair, bargain!!”

“Tonic mohair silver grey.”

“My favourite suit was in tonic mohair in a funny gold colour. With my ginger hair you could see me coming from about a mile.”

“Most people I knew opted for either a centre 13″ vent, or a pair of 12″ers.”

“Remember I had a 4 piece suit, trousers, jacket, waistcoat and full length overcoat with 4” pocket flaps, wide lapels and a centre vent up to my waist. Had to put a buttonhole half way up to stop it flapping about. Oh yes, the jacket had no pockets. Looked good in my eyes …”

“I think I remember that. Was it medium grey with a faint red check?”

“Yes it was a grey check. Good memory!”

“Two button jacket, 12 inch centre vent. Three button jacket 12 inch side vents. Don’t forget inverted pleats. 3 inch pocket flaps and ticket pocket. Hand stitched lapels. Trousers 19 inch knee and 19 inch bottoms with 1 inch turn-ups. Nearly always tonik mohair.”

“Side vents 14 in., 6 buttons on sleeve.”

“13″ centre vent, symmetrical button holes, 6 or more buttons on your cuff. Flaps on pockets. Ticket pockets, fishtail cuff . Bespoke or off the peg, Yes or No.”

“Yes from Burtons, made to measure herringbone.”

“Made to measure at Austin Reeds next to the Bell Inn.”

“I agree 12″ is about right.”

“12″ side vents and 6 buttons on the sleeves. And in my case yellow Tuf boots.”

“Yes. That’s exactly what I wore.”

“Three button Jacket but only the top button fastened … Jacket was also worn with your Levis … Levis from Jeffs. Had to ‘wear them in’ back then.”

“Both side and centre vents 15” sleeve buttons, flared jackets though, ticket pocket a must, made at Jacksons the Tailor’s, grey, blue and Brown, blue crombie.”

“Bought mine off Hockley near Gibbs watch shop later called Roxy Threads.”

“Roxy Robs.”

“I was working for Hepworths in my mod days. Other mods used to drive me crazy: they could never decide on vent size or extra ticket pockets , or how many buttons on the cuffs.”

“Yep it was a mod , mod world back in the old days and we would not have it any other way.”

“I worked Saturdays at His & Hers / Napoleon & Josephine for Joe Gunther in Derby at the time – vents / buttons were always a quandary.”

“And of course ‘waisted’ jackets.”

“A ‘waisted ‘ jacket would be waisted on me now as my waist is a little larger now!”

“Yup 50 years can be cruel to a man !”

“Had my suit made at James Bell by a man with a tape measure and some Taylor’s chalk he thought I was bonkers.”

There would be endless discussions with mates about what was and what wasn’t ‘Mod’. “My four button three quarter length green leather was certainly mod. My Ron’s crew cut was too. My mate had a very shiny burgundy mohair suit – didn’t think that was a mod colour.”

“Same here: ‘standard’ mod colours for suits were Bottle Green & Midnight Blue, as I recall, but I may be wrong. Whilst the ethos of modernists was to ‘do your own thing’, nobody wanted to step outside the unwritten parameters as to what was/wasn’t cool, we (I + close mates) tended to follow what the older Mods (the ‘Faces’) did. I bought 2 mohair suits from Burtons for £30 the pair, one in each of the above colours, but also wore Wranglers with a suit jacket, top button done up. That was my idea of cool.”

Jeans

My first pair of jeans
My first pair of jeans

“I still have my very first pair! My first ever 501’s worn at The Dungeon from summer ’66.”

Denim jeans were an essential part of Mod wear. There was not a lot of choice then, it was generally a choice of Levis or Wranglers.

“Was it not ‘that’ cool then …. wearing Wranglers?”

“It was a question of budget constraints, Wranglers were 4 bob cheaper than Levi’s at the time. I still have Wranglers now, but a slightly larger waist!!”

“Thought it was 5 bob difference:

  • Wranglers – 47/6
  • Lee Riders – 49/6
  • 501’s – 52/6”

“Thanks, that means I’ve got another shilling to spend, another Brown & Mild in Sawyers perhaps!!”

“I wore Wrangler jeans and a Wrangler leather jacket. You either wore Levi’s or Wrangler.”

“I remember getting Levi Sta-Prest trousers from Jeffs at the top of Alfreton Road.”

“Had some Sta-Prest when they came out, me mam bought them for me to save on the ironing!!”

“None of that pre-washed namby-pamby denim – we had to break ours in like a wild mustang.”

“Them seams chafed yer legs if they got wet … or yer put ’em on when still damp!”

“Is it right that lads used to go in the bath with Levi’s on so they shrank to fit better? Can’t imagine why but I’m sure I read it somewhere.”

“Yes that’s true. You used to buy them a size bigger, then shrink them to fit.”

“I thought that this was something most of the girls did, not just the lads.”

“I am only 4ft 9 and in those days only weighed about 6 stone so jeans weren’t an option for me. Couldn’t get a decent fit even from Jeff’s! But have to admit I got a lot from C and A kids department but as I worked there at least I got staff discount.”

“We had 1/2″ turn-ups on Levi’s.”

“Sometimes worn with a matching Levis jacket and desert or Fell boots, or, the suit jacket, as someone else said, with just the top button fastened, and smart brown brogues, bought from Wakefields!”

 “Remember just wearing the suit jackets with faded Levi’s with 1/2″ turn ups later, thought it looked more cool than a suit.”

“What waist size are you now? Might have an original pair to flog that might fit you.”

“I’ve been a size 32″ for 50 years mate I’ve got a couple pairs going cheap also.”

“I still have my Cowhide Levi Jacket … Light brown with leather collar.”

Casual Smart

“Didn’t we wear hipsters?”

“Yes. Bought my first pair from Phillip Arnold, Hockley.”

“I had window pane checked hipster trousers with two front patch pockets.”

“From Henry’s?”

“Yes, all of a sudden Mod was hipsters & checks.”

“Had a pair of ‘Lord John’ (supposedly of Carnaby Street) black and white check hipsters from Jeffs; my mum paid for them as I was only 13, they were actually pre-Dungeon days, just.”

“Yes, it was pre-Dungeon, my first pair were light brown & had a wide white leather belt – bought from a catalogue.”

“I bought a pair of check hipsters on one of my trips to Carnaby Street – I don’t know which shop they were bought in.”

“Deck chair striped blazer and white hipsters from a shop at the top of Pelham Street. Also Flittermans on Hockley sold suede Levi jackets: Mrs Flitterman would come out and drag you in if she saw you looking in the window. Tweedy Norfolk jackets and Paisley shirts was another good combo. Also tab collars and a knitted tie. Every month a new trend.

Baracuta ‘Harrington’ jackets. Harrington was a character in Peyton Place, telly soap in the 60’s. Ben Sherman also made a cheaper version. Good scooter wear with Levi cords and desert boots.”

“Fashion seemed to change every few weeks, we mostly went to Jeffs who had most influence over what the next fad was to be, jeans & suit jackets with either Polo shirts or crew neck sweaters came post the ‘suits’ craze, easier to maintain …”

“Stay press trousers from Carnaby St (Hockley).”

“My claim to fame was I won a competition at the Palais and got a £20 voucher to spend at Jeffs, Alfreton Road. Bought myself a checked shirt with a white collar.”

“Beauty contest?”

“Yes I remember what I wore white jeans denim shirt and a reefer jacket. The biz then.”

“I had a Reefer Jacket, brass buttons with anchors on ’em, bought from Wakefield Army & Navy … Dogs Bo**ocks!!”

Shoes

“Perhaps a bit odd, but you could buy the then in-fashion brogues at Wakefields the camping-type place opposite where M&S is now. You could also get ‘Fell boots’ there too; they were like a heavier version of the still popular Desert boots.”

“You’re spot on, I recall Wakefields being on the corner of Wheeler Gate/Houndsgate. Also one on Hockley, got a Reefer Jacket from there in 1965, sold ex-forces stuff like Haversacks we bought as schoolbags in early 60’s … couldn’t always afford Jeffs. By the way, I still wear light tan brogues & Chelsea boots, both elastic & zip styles.”

“We had to improvise. I remember wanting Cuban-heel shoes and not being able to buy them. Got a cobbler to build up the heels on some Chelsea boots not realising that the sole on Cuban heels was made to touch the ground whereas my feet stuck straight out about an inch or two off the floor!”

“My Desert boots came from Griffin and Spalding.”

“Bowling shoes, swapped at the Bowling Alley for a tatty old pair of your own shoes … only problem was they weren’t waterproof!!”

dsc_0621

Coats

Transparent pac-a-macs were popular for the girls as what they were wearing under the mac could be seen. Many in the early days also wore navy blue nylon macs.

“I wore one of those until I could afford my full length navy leather.”

“I remember having one, feeling so cool and trendy….”

Later it seemed, everyone had to be seen wearing a long leather coat.

“Still got my two long leather coats and they still fit!!”

“And …. I still have my zip front orange Mary Quant coat but it is in the loft …”

“Leather were great, never took mine off!”

“I had a long chocolate brown suede coat and purple suede ankle strap shoes.”

“Yes, I went suede later on in the 60’s – it was all leathers 64/65.”

The ultimate Mod wear to protect the suit when riding on a scooter was obviously the parka, sometimes worn by those who did not even own a scooter.

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5 thoughts on “Fashion 1

  1. I made a lot of my own clothes in the 60s,as I was a machinist,but I also liked the boutiques like Grapevine,Bird Cage,Bus Stop and Paraphernalia did anyone else shop there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Comment received – An interesting read. I can’t believe the length they had their vents! I’d read that vents kept getting longer to outdo people but 15″ ffs? I usually have 6-8″. I had 10″ side vents on one suit I had made and never felt comfortable with them that long, consequently didn’t wear it much. Perhaps half a dozen times max in the all the time I had it lol.

    Like

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