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The Mod Style File

Growing up, my mother always warned me against discarding or donating clothes that seemed dated. "Fashion is cyclical," she would tell me. Judging from the recent '90s style revival, my mother was certainly right.
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Growing up, my mother always warned me against discarding or donating clothes that seemed dated. "Fashion is cyclical," she would tell me. Judging from the recent '90s style revival, my mother was certainly right. Platform shoes are everywhere. Floral baby doll dresses reminiscent of the grunge era can be found in most women's clothing shops. As someone who considers the Spice Girls' Geri Halliwell and Elastica's Justine Frischmann two of her style icons, I was thrilled to see that I rock my combat boots in style once again.

But Ginger and Justine are only two facets of my own personal style. I'm also heavily influenced by iconic '60s designer Mary Quant and the renowned fashion model Twiggy. When most people think of mod fashion, they picture go-go boots and brightly colored frocks. While this is true, the stereotypical 1960s mod look has merged with hippie style to create the standard "'60s girl" Halloween costume. And there is so much more to the mod look.

The mod subculture began gaining momentum in the early 1960s. Initially influenced by jazz and European art films, the mods were all about looking stylish and tailored. Critics of the scene dubbed its members narcissists because for many, it was all about the fashion. Mod men wore tailored suits, parkas, and Beatle boots. Mod women favored mini skirts, flats, and even men's clothing. Mod music was heavily influenced by rhythm and blues. Famous mod bands include the Who and the Small Faces. The mod movement had largely fallen out of fashion by the late '60s but has enjoyed various revivals.

Dressing like a mod girl in 2013 can sometimes be a challenge. I've never had much luck when browsing the racks in vintage clothing shops -- the dresses are rarely ever my size. Instead, I scour the Internet looking for clothes and accessories that fit into the mod aesthetic. I've had the most luck with the UK retailer ASOS. is home to a giant selection, some of it perfectly mod (including my beloved UK designer Pop Boutique). The site boasts an impressive selection of A-line mini dresses with peter pan collars, the quintessential mod frock. It also provides s a surprising amount of vintage-inspired footwear (the mod look usually calls for flats or shoes with very low heels). Even better, ASOS offers free shipping to the U.S.!

Celebrities are often spotted on runways sporting mod-inspired makeup. While some mod girls chose to wear very little makeup, others (like Twiggy) rocked heavy eye makeup. Big lashes are synonymous with the mod look. I'm not a fan of cumbersome false lashes, so I usually coat mine with a couple layers of quality mascara. Be sure to choose a mascara with a plastic brush (I prefer Chanel's Inimitable Intense, though admittedly it is quite pricey) to avoid clumps. Complete the look with a white eye shadow (Urban Decay's Polyester Bride is a favorite of mine - it has just enough sparkle!) and a cat eye (see this quick tutorial over on Tumblr).

I've always found styling my hair like Pattie Boyd challenging. I probably ruin most of my mod looks by sporting a short, Britpop-girl cut but having been equally cursed and blessed with thick, wavy hair I'm usually looking for a 'do that doesn't require an hour's worth of styling. Boyd and fellow Beatle girl Jane Asher wore their hair long and straight with puffed-up bangs. Hannah over on XOJane wrote a handy tutorial for achieving Jean Shrimpton-worthy locks.

Various vintage trends are cyclical, just like my mother said. The mod look doesn't currently seem to be making a resurgence but when it does, hopefully this style file will guide eager modettes in the direction of Northern soul, Vespas, and A-line dresses.