How to do mod on the cheap – without buying cheap brands

by Modculture 27 October, 2017

Fred Perry bomber jacket

Fred Perry bomber jacket

Don’t buy cheap clothing, buy good gear that costs less. We’ll tell you how.

There’s a big difference between cheap clothing and buying clothing for less money. For the former, you are probably looking at poor quality, a short life and questionable manufacturing methods. For the latter, we mean picking up good quality, mod-friendly gear for a lot less than the usual ticket price.

How? Simple, just follow these five easy steps.

1. Play the sales when they come around

An obvious one. Most mod-friendly gear is not particularly seasonal. A pair of desert boots, some quality knitwear, classic denim – anything along those lines is perfect year in, year out (even if you have to put away some winter buys for summer or vice versa). So why buy when it comes out, when it’s certain to be discounted a couple of months down the line.

Online stores for the likes of Clarks, Fred Perry, Baracuta and John Smedley (to name just a few) clear out at least twice a year, especially straight after Christmas. Similarly, clothing retailers who stock mod-friendly brands like Oi Polloi, End Clothing and Stuarts of London also clear out their stock on a regular basis. The Fred Perry bomber jacket above was recently in the Hip clearout for a much-reduced price. Keep some money back and hit the sales hard – you’ll be looking at anything up to 75 per cent off for high ticket items. Many of these sale sections run all-year-round, so perhaps just have a look in case something has sneaked in.

John Smedley knitwear

John Smedley knitwear

2. Clearance sites and voucher codes

Might be worth signing up to Brand Alley and to a lesser extent, Secret Sales. The first of those recently had clearance sales for Baracuta Harrington jackets and knitwear, as well as John Smedley knitwear and Sebago loafers. Sales start and end quickly, with reduced stock selling out fast. Likewise, Secret Sales has just run a Gabicci Vintage clearance, alongside other mod-friendly brands. If you are signed up, you’ll get emails when the clearance stock arrives – and grab the bargains.

We list any interesting voucher codes on the main website too. We’ll have a lot more of these in the coming months, so keep checking the site for across the board discounts for online stores. In fact, we will have one from Art Gallery Clothing in the coming days.

Bargain spotting: GH Bass loafers at TK Maxx online

GH Bass loafers at TK Maxx online

3. Outlets, Boundary Mill and TK Maxx

Depending on where you are in the country / world, you’ll have one of the above within driving distance.

TK Maxx is always worth checking, not least for knitwear and jackets / outerwear. Prices are always heavily discounted, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll find anything on each visit. Keep checking and your patience will pay off – everyone has had a bargain at some point, 75 per cent off isn’t unheard of. Oh yes, they are now online too – and the online site was clearing out cheap Bass loafers recently.

Boundary Mill stores are less common, but worth investigating. A lot of the brands (male and female) are hit and miss, but there’s often a good selection of John Smedley around a third of the retail price, some heavily discounted Aquascutum and discounted Clarks, to name just a few brands. See the website for a list of stores. Worth checking out one weekend.

Check your local phone book for other outlet stores. A lot of ‘out of town’ outlets have specialist stores for interesting brands, again, it’s a matter of doing the legwork and getting lucky. The US seems to be better served on that front – if anyone from the US is reading this, feel free to let us know about the better ones. Or if you happen to be in Germany, know of a decent Adidas one? But do check any that are withing driving distance in the UK, you might get lucky.

Clarks Final Clearance - more desert boots at discounted prices

Clarks desert boots

Update: Two new online outlets worth talking about. There is now a Clarks Outlet with much-reduced desert boots and a John Smedley Outlet for discounted knitwear. In addition, an Art Gallery Clothing Outlet can be found on eBay.

4. Factory shops and sample sales

We try to publicise any sample sales we hear about, including the John Smedley sales both at the Derbyshire factory and London, as well as other wider ‘brands’ sales in London. Keep an eye on the site news – we’ll flag them up as soon as we know. You might have to do some digging in boxes (not to mention getting up early), but the effort will always pay off.

Factory shops are open more regularly. The John Smedley one is perhaps the most notable for surplus stocks and seconds, but if you’re in the area of a manufacturer, give them a ring in case they have a factory shop or outlet. That call might pay off considerably.

5. Buy secondhand, not new

I don’t mean buying vintage (which is seriously inflated in price these days), I mean buying almost-new. Let me explain.

Some people buy things in impulse, but later think twice about. Or they buy the wrong size. Or wear it once or twice and decide it’s not for them. That’s a lot of clothing going spare.

eBay is the usual graveyard of all such purchases. Just tap a brand into the men’s or women’s clothing sections with your choice of brand to find a bargain. Alternatively, sign up to one of the many Facebook selling groups. There really are too many to list. Just search FB, but try ‘The UK Mod Market’ to get you going.

The Modculture Forum has a buying and selling section too. If you want to be a part of that, contact the site to join.

…or finally…just buy less…

Yes, quality always wins out over quantity. Buy well, look after them and your clothes and footwear should look after you in the long run. Good quality gear is made to last – the cheap high street store clobber (or cheap ‘mod clothing’ brands) certainly isn’t. It’s often a false economy.

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  • Dale Bywater

    I agree. I was travelling through Matlock a couple of days ago, so decided to seek out the John Smedley factory shop. As luck would have it, it was the day after a sale weekend, so I sniffed out a cheeky merino wool purple V neck jumper for a tenner!! Needless to say, I’ll be going via Matlock a lot more often 🙂