The True Military Look Book

ATTENTION! An advent for the colder months, this is by far my favourite of any trend to grace the past decade!

The camouflage print has been a consistent appealer on the fashion ramps for many years. However, recently designers such as D&G, Burberry Prorsum, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano have delved deeper into the ranks of order and adapted the combat style to bring the nostalgic into the current.

Realistically, when thought of, the Armed forces hardly seem like the fashion-centric. Nevertheless the pieces that have gained inspiration from the practicalities and boldness of their attire are the must-haves of this winter.

I am going to show you the top designer pieces seen on the catwalks of the fashion capitals, the celebrities on top of this trend and also how to get this look straight from the high street retailers into your wardrobe!

Military Trend on the catwalk

The collections shown above are amazing. But with the price tag they carry you are better off going into the army and trying to smuggle some of the originals back with you!

That isn't the case if you are a celebrity of course because as usual (with “no” help from their stylists) A-listers are on top and in command of this trend.

Celebrities in Military Clothes

But let us not forget the fashion forefather in military style. Michael Jackson beat [it] even the fashion houses of the world in utilising the clean cut lines and assertive look of military attire.

Michael Jackson Military Clothing

But already we are half way in to this article and I have been overwhelmed with the apprehensive screams of readers (and even a few showed up at my door- restraining orders are in the post!) asking how to create this look using high street retailers.

But before I discuss high street chains; a great tip for any nostalgic styles is to visit a vintage clothing store. Beyond Retro is by far the best and have a huge range of styles that allow you to break away from the mainstream looks but stay on style with a completely unique approach.

Here is how to create the true military look using high street and online stores:

Military Look 1

This look is all about the layering. Not only are there contrasting materials but also contrasting eras. The Black Wool Military Jacket by TOPMAN is the key piece, defining the look as generically military. However, the Christopher Shannon Trackpants update the look and add a twist on the usually tailored uniform. The accents of the forces in the Shield Watch Chain, found in the vintage section of All Saints, finally tie the piece together in an understated yet powerful way.

Military Look 2

This look favours the more regimental look of the navy. The officers empowered themselves with displaying a luxurious look. Often plain shirts were partnered with expensive nautical neck ties but a great alternative to this is wearing a bibbed shirt. Double breasted coats became the iconic look of the war time era. When they are worn today they can lose their military connotations but when partnered with the correct accessories such as the classic silver arm bands it brings it all back together. The perfect way to really enhance the military feel is to get hold of some medals. Unfortunately this is a touchy subject and it is in fact illegal to wear medals unless you or a family member has earned them. But if you are lucky enough to have a granddad or other who has served in the forces and has some medals then it can't hurt in asking. If not, search online for custom military patches and as long as they haven't got ranks, departments or id's on them you are good to go! Sew them on to the jacket and command the fashion ranks!

Military Look 3

This final look is a toned down version of the military attire. The jersey blazer is a lightweight piece with vintage military buttons and the casual t-shirt in this instance is a play on the patriotism of war-time. With this look there is no fully consistent colour scheme just a consistent colour palette of dull colours and basic materials. Even the war hero's had blackberry's to carry and diaries to maintain (okay they didn't but let's pretend they did) so adding a bag that picks out that palette will not take away from the look.

General Military Tips

I could have used spotlight items that were fairly low budget throughout. However, as long as you can use one key item that directly links to the military look; usually the jacket, then you can pair a whole range of accessories with it.

Remember the golden rules of military wear:

  • Keep it basic with your colour palettes and materials
  • Nothing is more authentic than vintage
  • And don’t be afraid to mix modern day pieces with military influence (see look 1)
  • In fact, make that “don't be afraid” – period. Fashion is not a set of rules you have to abide by; it is the unique inspiration you take to express yourself.

P.S. In case you didn't notice it earlier. I would like to sincerely apologise for my poor Michael Jackson joke, “Michael Jackson beat [it] even the fashion houses of the world in utilising the clean cut lines and assertive look of military attire.” That joke was just bad!

I didn't promise it wouldn't happen again!

Michael Joseph Jackson 1958-2009
Style icon
Musical Genius

Leave your comments and thank you for reading,
Luke Todd.