The Ultimate Guide To 60s Mod Fashion

April 14, 2021
guide to sixties mod fashion

If you asked for a sixties costume from your local fancy dress shop, you’ll probably be handed a mod outfit. I imagine that it will be a black and white dress with white boots and a baker boy hat. It’s the most famous look from the sixties. But there’s so much more to sixties mod fashion than that cliche costume. Here’s everything you need to know about female mod fashion in the sixties.

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How Did Mod Style Begin?

Mod fashion began with working class boys wearing tailored modern Italian suits and hanging out in trendy nightclubs in the late 1950s/early 1960s. They had a lot more disposable income than the generations before them and teenagers decided to spend it on records and fashion.

The boys would go to Carnaby Street in London to get the latest styles and compete with their mates on who is the best dressed. It wasn’t long before the girls started joining in. They began wearing their own Italian suits and dressing like the mod boys.

Eventually female mods branched out into more feminine fashions. London boutiques became the go-to places for the latest ‘mod’ looks like Miss Mouse, Mary Quant’s Bazaar and Biba. The new styles became so popular that it spread to Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Reading and Liverpool. Before long, people had heard of the ‘London Look’ all across the globe.

5 Sixties Mod Fashion Icons

London quickly became the centre of a attention for the fashion world. Women in London became the icons and it didn’t take long for some famous faces to catch on to the mod style.


After Twiggy had all her hair chopped off in a salon, she was scouted. She quickly became the most famous model throughout the whole of the sixties, influencing mod fashion all over the world. She was well known for wearing miniskirts that showed off her skinny legs and her big bambi eyes.

Marianne Faithful

Marriane was a singer who had a number of hits in the charts. But it was her mod style that made many women a fan. Her brand of mod was a little bit rock and roll, especially considering that she hung around with The Rolling Stones.

Hiroko Matsumoto

Designer Pierre Cardin ‘discovered’ Hiroku on a trip to Japan. She quickly became his muse and flew out France to model for him. She quickly adopted a mod style with her short blunt bob and a wardrobe full of Cardin dresses.

Pattie Boyd

Pattie Boyd was a model too. She had a baby face and big blue eyes which was perfect for the latest mod look. She rose to fame when she fell in love with one of The Beatles. Paparazzi couldn’t get enough of snapping in her mod street style. You can discover more of her style in my blog post How To Dress Like Pattie Boyd.

Julie Christie

Actress Julie Christie loved to keep up to date with the latest carnaby street styles. When she was off-set she would wear miniskirts, a blunt fringe and big circular earrings. It made her the perfect actress to play a mod in the film Darling (more about that below).

How To Dress Like A Mod

If you want to build your mod wardrobe, you’ll need at least some of these four staples:

1. Pixie Hair Cuts

Twiggy, crochet pattern cover

The early sixties mods would always dress androdgynously and cut their hair into a pixie shape. This was heavily influenced by their love of French Cinema and Jean Seberg in A Bout De Souffle.

2. Mini Skirts


Boutique owner and designer Mary Quant began hemming her skirts shorter than they’d ever been before. It became a huge trend in the sixties and a key staple of mod style.

3. Big Eyes

guide to sixties mod fashion
60s eye make up

Make up was minimal apart from the eyes. Eyes would be caked in make up with huge lashes, eyeliner and plenty of dark eye shadow.

4. Shift Dresses


While the 50s were all about the waist, the 60s were all about hiding it. Shift dresses were flattering for most body shapes. They hung loose off the shoulders and skimmed a woman’s curves in the most flattering way.

Mod Trends

Mods didn’t just stick to four staple pieces. Their style evolved over the decade with new boutiques, designers and street fashion all competeing to come up with the latest things. Here are some trends that took off:

Dolly Girl

In the early sixties, women started dressing like toddlers. Bows, pigtails and even cute empire line dresses. On paper it sounds a bit weird, but it worked. Many women rocked this style including Mia Farrow, Twiggy and Patti Boyd. Discover more about Dolly Girl Style.

Space Mod

Around 1964-1966, the race to space had a huge influence on fashion. Designers began experimenting with different materials and furturistic clothes. The gogo boot flew out of this trend along with silver make up and silver disc dresses.

Mods in Europe

Although London was the centre of Mod fashion, it didn’t mean other countries didn’t take on the styles. France adopted the new ‘English Look’ and made it their own. Discover French mod fashion here.

guide to sixties mod fashion
Andre Courreges

Psychedelic Mod

In the second half of the decade, psychedelia was taking over. Hallucinogenics, hippies and a lot of colour. London boutiques began incorporating psychedelic patterns and more baroque styles including velvet materials, frilly blouses and paisley.

The Best Films For Mod Fashion

To get some inspiration, here are 5 films that feature some of the best women’s mod fashion:

1. A Bout De Souffle

Early mods had a love for French cinema. Godard’s A Bout De Souffle was one of the favourites. Jean Seberg’s style influenced a lot of female mods in the early days.

2. Blow Up

The film follows a fashion photographer based on David Bailey. We get to see him shoot the mod fashion and explore the world of swinging London at the same time.

3. Darling

Probably my favourite on this list. Julie Christie plays a mod girl in the swinging sixties who sleeps her way to the top. The only thing that makes me sad is that it was shot in black and white so we can’t study her outfits fully.

4. Joanna

A perfect example of how swinging mod fashion evolved by the late sixties. Joanna and her friend Beryl have the best looks of all time. And there are so many looks you could write a whole book on it.

5. The Touchables

The story follows a group of fangirls who kidnap their favourite rock star and keep him as their sex doll. Although they’re pretty crazy, the girl gang’s mod style is iconic and makes you want to get to know them so you can borrow from their wardrobe.

And by now, you should have a pretty good idea of how mod women dressed in the 1960s. If you have any questions or want me to delve deeper, just let me know in the comments below!

P.S. My book on sixties fashion is now available on Amazon. Grab ‘How To Dress Like It’s The Sixties’ here.

P.S. My book on sixties fashion is now available on Amazon. Grab ‘How To Dress Like It’s The Sixties’ now by clicking the button below.

    1 comment

  • Millie
    April 15, 2021

    OMG I needed this! Best guide I’ve ever read 😀

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