Friday, 9 February 2018

The Search for Style 5: John Simons - A Modernist OR Rocking the Mod

I'm grateful to everyone who's been emailing me in response to this series in which I try to identify what style is, in particular for the older man. While it's like trying to grab the soap in the bath, I've heard so many similar thoughts that I feel being able to define the word is nearly within my grasp.

A reader sent me a link to this video trailer for a forthcoming film 'John Simons - A Modernist'.  Most older men of style, and many younger, know of John Simons who sell the best of US and UK mod styles. Here some well-known names sing his praises:


The reader who contacted me, Philip Sherwood, added the following comment, with which I totally agree:
"I thought this might be of interest to consider or include when trying to define style. For the older gentleman the roots provided by the English mod mixed with the American preppy look have been used over countless years to provide a backbone of style. As someone in the 60's once stated, the look was based on 'looking good under difficult circumstances.'  
Men of a certain age have to realise that they can dress well but to do that they must have an interest in actually wanting to. Now that is a more difficult thing to deal with. It's not just wearing the clothes but how one wears them."
What I take from this is that menswear rarely breaks new ground; classic styles last. But Philip's final comment is important. Many older men take a perverse pleasure in refusing to dress well. I'm not clear what they're worried about, but they can afford to be more confident and adventurous rather than letting age bog them down.

Follow The Search for Style on this link.

5 comments:

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

If more men, of any age, had a clue about the favorable attention and compliments that come from others (women or men,depending on your preference), the terribly unstylish slob moderne" issue might go some way to solving itself. And yes, as you note, many seem to take a (rather childish) perverse pleasure in presenting themselves to the world in the worst way possible. Two fingers to "the man" and all of that nonsense.

Best Regards,

Heinz-Ulrich von B.

Lee Simpson said...

Great find. I look forward to the release.

David V said...

Your US followers need a explanation of MOD. I don't think what we, in the 60's, were being sold as English Mod is what it was/is.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic short on John Simons. He is very close, if not spot-on, to a look for men regardless of age, that I wish the younger generation would take a more mature, modest look at. Some of the skinny-tie, pegged pants "stuff" of the mod-movement was certainly borderline ridiculous then. But a look at the clothes the boys wore on the first Madness album... Horace Panter's look, then and now... Even Nick Heyward... These young men had simple, modest style they carried always, and into the "Evening Years", of life. I've personally tried to stay a similar cost, albeit through thrift and charity shops, as I find this more affordable and fun (same strategy when it comes to finding acoustic guitars!). I still find the Clark's Desert Boot, or most anything by Blundstone, or some of Dr. Marten's more modest shoes... L.L. Bean duck boots... Good vintage brogues... A modest denim jacket... Modest corduroy's and pants... All span the ages. So can a good cardigan, a good pair of Levi's, Wranglers, or Lee's... Harris Tweed sport coats... Grenfell and Barbour... Flannel... The L.L. Bean looks of the past also blend well with the John Simons "look".

As an aside here - amazing to see how old some of the musicians of my youth have become. Like me, I suppose, though they've got a few years on me, still! I have four children - my eldest had a sense of the Audrey Hepburn casual look, which she could pull off. Now I'm working on my 15 year old son, who can pull of anything, but whose more comfortable in modest flannel tops and jeans (and Clark's) than the fashions most young men wear these days. Thankfully. There is definitely a marked difference between true style, and "fashion".

grey fox said...

Thanks All,

I agree H-U - it's very pleasant when the compliments come in but, of course, they don't go to our heads!

Sorry David - the best thing to do is Google the word - it's a subculture that went through many complex forms but was basically a response to the messy sixties hippy fashions.

Yes, Anon, it's fascinating to see how many classic elements there are in the style.

GF

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