It Was a Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod, Mary Quant World

Mary Quant

It was a Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod World thanks to Mary Quant. There was nothing mini about this giant force of fashion and style who passed away on April 13th at 93.

More than a trendsetter, Quant revolutionized how girls and women looked and felt about themselves. Injecting color, vitality, and humor into what had been a stiff fashion world, she shook up everything.

Mary made us go short and she made us go bold.

An accelerant to the youthquake, the British designer dressed the now generation, the happening generation who grooved to the hippest music and swung in vibrating psychedelic colors. Dressing the wet and wild crowd in her PVC plastic raincoats and thigh-high minis that let you frug the night away, hers were the perfect clothes for those who think young.

Simply put Quant was the Queen of the Swinging Sixties.

And it began in her boutique Baazar on Kings Road, London, where it was all happening, baby

The British Invasion

After 2 decades of grey post-war austerity, the youth of London were ready to have fun. 1960s. London was the epicenter of groovy. Quant made the clothes that Twiggy modeled.

The sun may have been setting on the British Empire, but in the sixties, no place shone brighter than London, the swingiest place on Earth.

1960s girls in London

The streets in Chelsea were teeming with hip birds with white lip-sticked lips and thick black eye-liner, their hair cut at alarming angles, decked out in Mary Quant mini skirts and skinny ribbed sweaters, their key-hole dresses and  op-art earrings shimmied to the groove of the city beat.

Time Magazine Cover 1966

Time Magazine Cover April 16, 1966 Geoffrey Dickinson

British music and far-out fashions were invading the four corners of the world with the same ferocity as they once conquered other countries.

Everything that happened in that happening city rippled around the globe.

And Mary Quant was the look of a generation that set the tone.

Seventeen Magazine 1967

Across the Pond, all the girls were clamoring for the look.

Being of the moment, the mod moment was crucial and Quant’s look would be quickly copied by the American fashion houses of Seventh Avenue who churned out Carnaby Street fashion in a flurry of Mod madness. From skinny rib sweaters to colored tights, minis by the million, and a whole lotta hot pants, Mary Quant’s styles were wild and wildly imitated.

Vintage fashion Seventeen Magazine November 1967

Vintage fashion Seventeen Magazine November 1967


Vintage fashion Slickers -Seventeen Magazine August 1965

Vintage fashion Slickers -Seventeen Magazine August 1965

Mary Quant’s look was the fashion of my youth, and even a suburban tween like me could look groovy in a coat made out of DuPont plastic.

Swinging London landed in the Junior Department at my local department Store Abrahan & Strauss, Hempstead, N.Y.

I may not have gotten to Swinging London but Carnaby Street crossed the pond and came to the suburbs, filling the clothes racks in all the large department stores.  Kings Road could be found just a few short miles from my home on Hempstead Turnpike at our local A&S where the British invasion conquered the sedate Juniors department igniting it with attitude and pulsating kandy color madness and Mod-ness.


Mary Quants clothes which were about individuality and new freedom stood in contrast to the traditional staid fashion industry. “If the in  set ever settled on a uniform the larky top to toe look raazzomatazzing it on the right would be it Turtling tops and matching stockings, (R) Seventeen Magazine August 1965 (L) Home Ec Textbook 1960s

Lady-like Liberty prints were replaced by a mod, mod, mod, world in throbbing tangerines, the kickiest pinks, and step-into-the-lime light greens. And yellow was anything but mellow.  It was a mad, mad, world of man-made fabrics. Polyester and plastics ruled the racks and natural fabric was out, baby.

It was op, it was pop, it was now.



The thick as a brick August isue of Seventeen Magazine was must reading for any fashion conscious teen. Aug. 1965

Mary Quant was what was happening and anyone who wanted to be part of the in crowd dressed in her style.

Seventeen Magazine told us so.

Vintage fashions Seventeen Magazie August 1965

Vintage fashions Seventeen Magazine August 1965


Seventeen Magazine November 1967 vintage fashions

Vintage Fashions Seventeen Magazine November 1967

Clothes had to be wow wow. Pow.

Everything was mod a go-go and every girl, every preteen had to get with it if they wanted to be where and what was happening.  Suddenly high school girls were ditching last years must have Dynel wigs, opting for geometric Sassoon blunt cuts gotten at their local Cut and Curl beauty parlor.

When it came to fashion,  I was never really in, but luckily I was never really out either. The popular girls, the girls with the Breck perfect hair were the same girls who were part of the in crowd who always had the groovy go-go-go togethers.

Mrs. Schwartz, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter!


Seventeen November 1967


Seventeen March 1968

The in-the-know girls in their way-out minis and snub-nosed shoes were part of the in-crowd.

They knew where to find the whizziest looks. The suavest shapes. The brightest and blazingest colors.

First with the news were these in girls in their Capezio boots. The girls with the leggy skirts and smasheroo stockings who knew what it took to be in, who understood that pattern plus pattern equals pow, equals popularity, per the pages of  Seventeen. These girls were the now generation grooving to Herman’s Hermits who wore the future today, while I awkwardly was always a step or two behind.

Vintage fashion Seventeen November 1967

As a public service for outsider girls like me, Seventeen offered  a “How-To” to get in with the in crowd :

“The in set -They’re the ones who set the trends other people follow.

They’re it, They’re flash. Everyone of you who steps out lively in a leggy little skirt and socko stockings. Everyone of you who slicks in shining vinyl could be in the in crowd. Everyone of you who flips over foxy fur who braves blockbuster plaid everyone who sees herself on the flash pages of Seventeen”  was part of the mad-mod world that Mary Quant created.

Kick Up Your Heels And Plant Your Stems

Orlon step lively socks. In stripes and squiggles and squares AND KICK UP YOUR HEELS COLOR Op to the new, op to the thigh, op to the hip, And hip they are. All a go-go soft Orlon acrylic  Vintage Ad Seventeen August 1965

She not only liberated the leg with the mini, she dolled it up too in vivid colors and op art designs never seen before in colorful stockings and tights.

The distinctive Mary Quant packaging with its instantly recognizable daisy logo kept blossoming, and every manufacturer wanted a piece of that flower power putting out their own line of hosiery.

“Do a daisy. Pick a flower. Power. Do a Daisy. Crazy. Plant your stems in pantyhose Stretch nylon crepe fresh from the Hanes Hothoue in shocked and whispered tones, For a bloomin pow wow buy dozens.” Vintage ad Seventeen March 1968


Smashero stockings Vintage ad Seventeen Magazine August 1965

R) Vintage ad -Seventeen August 1965

Now by the simple act of pulling on a pair of tights in stripes and squiggles in kick-up-your-heels colors, I could groove into the now.  I could op to the new, op to the thigh, op to the hip, and hip they were.

In the op art, optical illusion world of the Mod even a shy girl like me could be hip.

I could make the scene in my colored tights and knock-off mini,  even if the scene was suburban Long Island.


© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.










  1. What an amazing article! Mary Quant was truly an icon of fashion and style. I love how she injected color, vitality, and humor into the stiff fashion world of her time. My question for you is, do you think there will ever be another fashion designer like her who revolutionizes the fashion world and becomes a cultural icon?

    Y. E

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I DEEPLY want those stockings. Now. Lol. And all the dresses. And a shiny raincoat. And those BOOTS! And the hair …


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