Your Stylist: How to wear a mod dress past the age of 16
Between shows like “Pan Am,” “The Playboy Club” and “Mad Men,” the '60s are clearly in full swing, both in pop culture as well as on the fashion runways. Sixties dresses generally call for short and kicky, and one of the ways we're seeing the trend most is with mod-style or short-shift dresses. The silhouette is back in a big way this fall and the adorable style doesn't have to be just for teenagers.
Sure a 16-year-old Hailee Steinfeld sported a blush-colored Miu Miu mod dress at a recent event in L.A looking perfectly age-appropriate. But if you’ve got some years on her or just want something a little more grown-up, then simply ditch the Peter Pan collar and pastel tone and opt for something in a darker color, paired with opaque tights and chic ladylike accessories.
First rule of wearing this style is: Don’t go too short. No one should be flashed with a shot of your upper thigh, I don’t care whether your legs are big, small, skinny or twiggy. If you want to wear a shorter length, wear some opaque black tights. Tights are the best way to keep the '60s vibe going while also slimming the legs. Adding a little black ankle boot (Belle by Sigerson Morrison, left) that doesn’t come up too far past the ankle bone keeps the line of the legs looking even longer and leaner and also feels appropriately mod.
If you’re doing the dress sans tights, then stick to a length that hits just above the knee. The color–blocked version from White House / Black Market (above, middle) is a nice combo of mod and sophisticated. It’s a more fitted and longer than your typical mod dress, but the color blocking feels perfectly '60s, plus the scoop neck and extended short sleeve is really elegant and elongates the neck and arms.
This swingy black-and-blue color-blocked dress from Asos (above, right) can also look sophisticated if worn with black tights or even a pair of thin cropped leggings. Leopard-print ballet flats (Kate Spade leopard print flats, directly above) would be a fun way to mix up prints here, plus add an Audrey Hepburn-esque element to the ensemble.
Ladylike accessories are key in making a mod dress look more grownup. Besides a sweet ballet flat, a classic pump with a subtly rounded toe will add even more charm to the dress. This multicolored tweed pump from J. Crew (left) is great for bringing some texture to a solid or color-blocked dress, so there’s a tactile quality to your outfit.
Throw in a simple and classic handbag (like this one from Cole Haan, below right) that reads more high-end than hippie and the look should be complete. Since mod dresses are typically simple in shape and detail, too much jewelry or complicated outerwear and accessories will just mess up the clean lines and chic appeal of the style.
If wearing a mod dress for evening, try something in a solid metallic, as seen on the runway at Calvin Klein Collection (top, right). Strappy evening sandals with a platform or anything with a fun platform would work best for shoes. Throw your hair into an easy updo (nothing too literal '60s bouffant, please) and wear a pair of bold and bedazzled earrings.
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-- Melissa Magsaysay
Top left photo: Actress Hailee Steinfeld attends Miu Miu presents Lucrecia Martel's "Muta" on July 19 in Beverly Hills. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Top right: A look from the Calvin Klein Collection, fall-winter 2011. Credit: Marcus Tondo for gorunway.com
Middle: Mod dresses from left, Whistles Betty A line '60s shift dress, $320.16 at www.asos.com; White House / Black Market color block dress, $158 at www.whitehouseblackmarket.com; Asos color-block shift dress, $73.18 at www.asos.com.
Below left: Belle by Sigerson Morrison black ankle boot, $295 at www.endless.com.
Right: Kate Spade Eryn calf hair flat, $225 at www.nordstrom.com.
Left: J Crew Mona tweed pumps, $248 at www.jcrew.com.
Bottom right: Cole Haan Chrystie Street mini satchel, $269.95 at www.colehaan.com.