Since the dawn of time, fashion has always been about making a statement of some sort, either in support or opposition to the prevailing culture. Fashion has also been a way for people to express themselves by defining who they are or what they want to be in terms of their external appearance. These things have been done in a variety of ways, and one of them is the military fashion style. According to the current societal mood, people began wearing military-inspired clothing in an effort to show their allegiance to the armed forces when they needed it most. Let’s have a look at military-inspired trends and how to go about demonstrating this style for yourself.
In the Beginning
The military inspired clothing style can be defined as any outfit worn by a civilian or a retired military member to resemble the uniform worn by a country’s armed forces. Either to show support or to gain the respect and admiration that the military receives, this is common practice in many societies. Prior to World War I and World War II, this wasn’t something you’d see on a regular basis. Many Civil War veterans destroyed or hid their uniforms because they didn’t want to be reminded of the horror of one of the most brutal military conflicts on record.
This changed some after World War I. It was necessary to militarize the entire country, not just the military, in order to support wars of this magnitude, and everyone was suddenly aware of the military in their own lives. Soldiers in uniform on street corners were treated as heroes and celebrities in an effort to rally support from the homefront for soldiers marching off to war. In many cases, soldiers who returned from these conflicts kept their military-issued clothing, such as jackets, bags, and trousers, because the quality was better and they went well with other everyday clothes in civilian life. Even today, it is possible to find a WWII bomber jacket in a closet that was passed down from a grandfather and is still in good working condition.
Military wear was also comfortable and had many different utilitarian uses. Outside of war, fashion was often uncomfortable, made of scratchy materials that might look good but were not comfortable to wear. Clothing for the military, on the other hand, had to be long-lasting and comfortable while also being cost-effective. Rationing at home during World War II meant that high-fashion materials needed to make suits and dresses became scarce or were used for other things, like making parachutes.
For decades, military fashion was confined to those in the military and their families, but as time went on, it evolved into a style that could be worn by anyone. Environmentalists and conservationists, outdoorsmen and fishermen alike, have found military-issue clothing and equipment to be extremely useful in their own personal endeavors. People are increasingly wearing military-inspired clothing on a daily basis, and it is not uncommon to see someone wearing an army green coat or a camouflage shirt while running errands.
What Makes it Military Fashion?
It’s hard to describe military fashion, but it’s easy to recognize it when you see it. The most important thing about it is that it is simple, practical, durable, and affordable. Military fashion is less concerned with how it looks and more concerned with comfort. Almost anyone can pull off a simple military look with staples such as cargo pants, camo shirts, aviator glasses, and combat boots. However, the military clothing style goes even deeper than that. Much is dependent upon the specific military and country of origin you are trying to imitate. That determines colors and cuts of clothes, as well as accessories.
While each country has its own recognizable camouflage patterns, especially given their local geography, military fashion also makes use of distinctive colors. The military uniform’s primary distinguishing feature is its ability to blend in on the battlefield, which is why camouflage is so prevalent in this style. However, the military look is also dominated by earth tones like khaki, various shades of green, blacks and blues, and a few grays and browns. To keep the wearer from being seen by the enemy, camouflage is often used with these kinds of clothes.
Designers like Armani and Cristian Dior have elevated the military look from its humble beginnings as the uniform of field soldiers to a high art form. The style keeps reviving year after year, even after apparent periods of inactivity.
How to Show Military Style
Your reasons for wearing military styles might determine which aspects of military fashion you want to wear. If you want to show membership in a particular social group or branch of the military, you will likely choose that branch’s colors and logos. Conversely, certain military uniforms, such as the dress uniforms worn by American sailors, aren’t considered flattering by some fashion groups unless they’re worn with other items to balance out the stark white of the uniforms. With this in mind, what should you look for when it comes to military-esque clothing?
The military look can’t be achieved without a good camouflage shirt paired with any other pants or jacket. It may not be appropriate for formal events, but you can wear camouflage almost any casual situation. One can find camouflage in a wide variety of stores and all branches of the military wear some version of it. While camouflage is an essential part of the military look, solid-colored earth-toned shirts also play an important role. The military top solid color palette includes khaki, army olive green, gray, and blue, and goes well with a wide variety of bottoms. Even though they are less common, military-themed T-shirts are far from rare. Shirts with the branch logo or the name of the base where someone is stationed are commonly distributed to their personnel. Find these tees new or used on auction sites like eBay.
Shorts and pants
A sturdy pair of trousers or shorts is a must in the military style. They can be either tailored or general-cut, and are usually very utilitarian. Even if they’re in a solid earth tone or a camouflage pattern, fatigue pants are almost always equipped with multiple storage options such as cargo pockets, zips, and ties. Similarly, cargo shorts are frequently associated with a military aesthetic, despite the fact that military personnel rarely don shorts while on duty. The look of military clothing can be evoked with cargo shorts in solid earth tones or camouflage patterns. All of these are typically made of thick cotton or blends of cotton and synthetic fibers for both durability and comfort.
In the military, combat boots are the most common type of footwear, and this is also true for civilians interested in military fashion. For example, Dolce & Gabanna, for example, has a line of military-inspired boots. Suede trainers from Valentino and Golden Goose are also available in various colors. Shoes in the military that harken back to the uniforms worn by officers, such as polished leather dress shoes, are also popular.
Jackets and coats
The trench coat got its name from the soldiers who wore them to keep warm in trench warfare in the world wars. Trench coats are double-breasted heavy outerwear, and the military clothing style comes in dark blues and blacks, or army green. The aviator’s jacket is also an iconic military piece. In WW2, pilots and navigators in B-12 bombers wore heavy fur-lined coats to keep warm while flying at high altitudes in unpressurized aircraft. It gives the impression of a daredevil who isn’t afraid of taking risks.
It’s impossible to pull off a fashionable look without the right accessories. One of the most well-known symbols of the military look is the aviator sunglasses, which are usually of higher quality than civilian sunglasses. Additionally, the pilot’s watch is a great example of style and functionality, with several dials of useful information, such as altitude and barometric pressure. Military style messenger bags and backpacks often round out the military appearance, usually made of army green canvas, and perhaps even with the surname stenciled on the flap, as military issued gear often had. Dog tag necklaces are also a staple of the military look and can even be had from local stores that have automated machines designed to print out custom dog tags upon request. Finally, a military-inspired hat or cap completes the look, whether it’s a beret, a military combat cap, or a baseball cap with a branch logo sewn on.
In our society, military fashion is one of those styles that is both lasting and enduring. No longer the niche of the former military, the style can be worn by civilians, both men and women, alike. Many military-esque pieces are gender-neutral or come in various cuts designed to flatter both the male and female figures. Many of the simple color palettes can be mixed and matched with a variety of other pieces, even non-military style pieces. Your personality can shine through your camo and khaki, and leave an impression anywhere you go!
Military uniforms inspired a fashion look based on earth tones, simplicity of design, comfort and functionality. Those who want a more utilitarian look can count on military-based designs for this.
At any given time, civilians wearing military themed clothes usually do so to demonstrate appreciation of the military, former service in the military, or to give the appearance of fitness, self-reliance, ability to survive hardship, or some other aspect usually associated with those who serve in the military.
Comfort is a hallmark of military style, as military issued clothing must be comfortable, durable, and easy to move in. Military clothing is often made from natural fibers such as cotton, which wears down into a softer, more comfortable version over time.