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The complete guide to styling a plus size ’60s mod wardrobe

I have a long history with being infatuated with mod fashion. At 17 I fake-ID’d my way into an infamous Boston dance party called Start! (exclamation point included), which spun a mix of electroclash, britpop, and post-punk dance tunes and attracted a crowd of scene kids of that particular early 2000’s mod revivalist fashion which favored white belts and skinny black pants and spock hairdo’s of matte black. I fell in love instantly. To me, that style was the apex of pure cool of the type that I used to long for and strive towards (back when I thought being cool was the most important thing in the world). I fell in with this crowd in Boston and then inwhe college in the east Village of NYC, where I attended the Tisch School of the Arts, but mostly spent my time partying in delirious excitement with the most attractive, fashionable set of people I thought humanly possible. Mod fashion, updated a little with an eye on the contemporary styles, was a must back in those days, and my wardrobe consisted almost entirely of black and white, stripes, hints of red, and retro-styled garments. (Check out a little nostalgic recap here.)

I may have grown out of my party days and my obsession with being cool, being guest-listed at the most exclusive dance parties in town, and knowing all the right people in all the right circles, but my love of mod fashion has never wavered, though it’s been subsequently supplemented, and the black has faded from my hair and been replaced with rose gold, teal blue, and pastel violet. But unfortunately mod style clothing has always been a challenge to find for my plus sized body, so here are my tips and tricks to replicate this style for my gang of fashion-conscious, fat and fabulous femme babes.

Swingin’ 60s
Twiggy
Mod fashion grew into popularity in 1960’s London, inspired by designers such as Mary Quant, Halston, Biba, and Fred Perry. The style relied on simple, classic pieces, and used its limited color power, mix of patterns, A-Line silhouette, and focus on specific little style flourishes such as collar and sleeve details to elevate its style from being too simplistic and basic. It took inspiration from menswear and modified those styles to create a universally feminine, stylish appeal, and favored shift dresses and separates which created a signature a-line silhouette. The mod style which I personally prefer veered away from the psychedelic exuberance of certain 60s styles, and instead limited its color palette to navy, red shades, cream, white, black, and neutrals, and patterns like plaids, stripes, and polka-dots. My favorite mod outfits are simple a-line shift dresses paired with white or navy hose or knee-socks and strappy flats or knee-high boots in white or neutral brown.

Mod outerwear has a special place in my heart, pea-coats and double-breasted overcoats in the same a-line shape as the dresses worn underneath.

Pictures speak louder than words. You can get a good idea of mod style by looking at street fashion images from London in the 60s. Everyone seems so effortlessly chic and intimidatingly cool.

The difficulty with finding mod pieces in plus size stores is that the a-line shape and lack of waist definition of a shift dress is often considered ‘unflattering’ on bigger figures, and dresses tend to be fit-and-flare or wrap shapes to create more of an hourglass shape.

I call bullshit on that. And as your loving and thoughtful Style Mama, I’ve searched my fav plus size retailers and put together some pieces which will fit well into a mod wardrobe, so that you can look as cool and stylish as any bird on Carnaby Street. And I posed for a pic in all my mod finest for a little inspiration.


(Cigarette optional. Look of existential ennui essential.)

Plus sized Mod Dresses
From ELOQUII:

Lace Trumpet Dress with Poplin Collar
Lace Trumpet Dress with Poplin Collar

 

Puff Sleeve Easy Lace Dress
Puff Sleeve Easy Lace Dress

 

Tie Neck Split Sleeve Dress
Tie Neck Split Sleeve Dress

 

Flounce Sleeve Shift Dress
Flounce Sleeve Shift Dress

 

Embellished Collar Shirt Dress
Embellished Collar Shirt Dress

 

Fit and Flare Military Dress
Fit and Flare Military Dress

Try to look for shift, trapeze, and swing dresses to create that classic mod silhouette. Keep an eye out for classic, simple pieces, with a little flair added from contrast collars, retro-style bowtie necklines, and fabrics in nautical stripes, tartan plaids, and sweet mini polka-dots. Double breasted details reminiscent of military pea-coats are also classic mod styling.

From ASOS Curve:

ASOS CURVE Dress In Stripe with High Neck and Batwing
ASOS CURVE Dress In Stripe with High Neck and Batwing

 

ASOS CURVE Skater Dress with Bow Sleeve In Stripe
ASOS CURVE Skater Dress with Bow Sleeve In Stripe

 

Fashion Union Plus High Neck Dress With Victoriana Ruffle Detail
Fashion Union Plus High Neck Dress With Victoriana Ruffle Detail

 

Fashion Union Plus Shirt Dress In Leopard Print
Fashion Union Plus Shirt Dress In Leopard Print

 

Fashion Union Plus Puff Sleeve Dress With Neck Tie In Bold Floral Bloom Print
Fashion Union Plus Puff Sleeve Dress With Neck Tie In Bold Floral Bloom Print

 

Junarose Embroidered Shift Dress
Junarose Embroidered Shift Dress

Remember, fashion rules are meant to be broken. Make this style your own by updating it to include fall florals, or more splashes of color, or updated hemlines. Add a little of yourself back into it!

Plus Size Mod Tops

Separates are easy to style – match A-Line skirts or menswear-fitted trousers with vintage-inspired woven blouses or striped knit tees to create a timeless style that signals effortless cool. Pair basic pieces you can find for relatively cheap at any store with an extended size range with select styles of eye-catching structure and quality.

Short Sleeve Bow Blouse from ELOQUII
Short Sleeve Bow Blouse from ELOQUII

 

Ruffle Sleeve Hatchi Knit Top from ELOQUII
Ruffle Sleeve Hatchi Knit Top from ELOQUII

 

Ruffle Shoulder Sweater with Bow from ELOQUII
Ruffle Shoulder Sweater with Bow from ELOQUII

 

Ruffle Colorblocked Sleeve Top from ELOQUII
Ruffle Colorblocked Sleeve Top from ELOQUII

 

Colored Zip Fun Sweater from City Chic
Colored Zip Fun Sweater from City Chic

 

Jagged Stripe Shirt from City Chic
Jagged Stripe Shirt from City Chic

 

Lady Victoria Lace Top from City Chic
Lady Victoria Lace Top from City Chic

 

Parisian Top from City Chic
Parisian Top from City Chic

 

Embroidered Challis Tie Front Blouse from Torrid
Embroidered Challis Tie Front Blouse from Torrid

 

Polka Dot Print Georgette Tie neck Blouse from Torrid
Polka Dot Print Georgette Tie neck Blouse from Torrid

 

ASOS CURVE Body with Long Sleeve Mesh Insert & Ruffle
ASOS CURVE Body with Long Sleeve Mesh Insert & Ruffle

 

ASOS CURVE New Look Curve Stripe Long Sleeved Tee
ASOS CURVE New Look Curve Stripe Long Sleeved Tee

 

ASOS CURVE Crop Ruffle Top In Pin Spot
ASOS CURVE Crop Ruffle Top In Pin Spot

The thing to remember with mod fashion as with all fashions which are based in simplicity – be mindful that ‘simple’ doesn’t become ‘boring’, as it can so easily when played too safe. A black and white striped shirt is always a good choice when paired with separates which are chosen with a retro 60s look in mind, but if you throw it over jean shorts and adidas, the look kind of falls apart. The basic rules of the style are there for you to embellish and accent with your own personal choices and eye for style. Don’t feel too bogged down by what I’m showing you here. Take the bare bones and flesh them out on your own!

As for Plus Size Mod Bottoms
Tailored menswear fit trousers, a-line skirts in solid colors or neutral prints, and miniskirts are what you’re looking for. Pair a fancier blouse with a toned-down skirt, or a simple sweater with a plaid flared midi skirt. And layer on the opaque pantyhose. Especially in white!

Pleated A-line Midi Skirt from ELOQUII
Pleated A-line Midi Skirt from ELOQUII

 

Button Detail A-line Skirt from ELOQUII
Button Detail A-line Skirt from ELOQUII

 

Windowpane Plaid Pencil Skirt from ELOQUII
Windowpane Plaid Pencil Skirt from ELOQUII

 

Striped Sheer Flared Skirt, from Torrid
Striped Sheer Flared Skirt, from Torrid

 

Outlander Tartan Skirt, from Torrid
Outlander Tartan Skirt, from Torrid

 

Grey Tweed Trousers from ELVI
Grey Tweed Trousers from ELVI

 

Vertical Stripe Leggings, from Torrid
Vertical Stripe Leggings, from Torrid

 

Kady Fit Printed Crepe Pant from ELOQUII
Kady Fit Printed Crepe Pant from ELOQUII

PHEW. Who else needs their electrolytes replenished?

I really hope this inspires some of you, my darling little fashion ducklings, because I really do adore the style, and I’ve felt left out of much of the options to wear this style ever since I fell in love with it. But that no longer has to be the case for all my mod fat babes! You, too, can exude coolness and attitude out of every pore!

I have a small sequel to this post which addresses outerwear, shoes, and accessories, but I think this is enough for one post, am I right? I feel like I just wrote Infinite Jest, only this is actually interesting and contains actual useful content. (ooooh, I went there!)