If there’s one thing you can guarantee when a new fashion season begins, it’s that military style will influence what we wear in some way, shape or form. AW14 is no different.
This season has seen the trend dominate the runways once again, and today we explore the key military prints, colours and pieces that should be on your radar over the coming months…
Key Print: Camouflage
The most obvious and recognisable element of military style, camouflage print isn’t falling out of vogue anytime soon. What many thought was set to be a flash in the pan trend has gone on to cement itself within successive autumn/winter collections, which means it’s time to start viewing it as a modern cold-weather must-own.
Lou Dalton, Mark McNairy and Valentino were the print’s biggest advocates for AW14, applying traditional khaki-brown variants to shirts, trousers and outerwear respectively.
Away from the runway, brands from high-end to high street are championing camo with strong showings in the latest lookbooks and collections from H.E. by Mango, Penfield, Scotch & Soda and Nike; the Jordan brand getting in on the act with its limited edition Tiger Camo Future model.
Of course, for early adopters of the motif this couldn’t come as better news – those initial trend-led splurges are looking like more and more of an investment with each passing season. On the other side of the coin, for those whose attitudes are beginning to soften, it’s absolutely not too late to add fashion’s most battle-hardened print to your wardrobe.
One thing you can count on is that the industry isn’t ready to tire of fatigues just yet.
Outfit Inspiration: Off Duty
Camo has infiltrated every part of the wardrobe and opting for printed footwear is a sure-fire way to freshen up your current looks. So long as you keep the rest of your ensemble stripped-back and simple, you can’t go wrong.
In this instance we use a long-sleeve knitted polo and slim-fit chinos with a single-breasted overcoat for a refined yet off-duty ensemble. The pop of camo in the coat’s lining is a subtle tie-in to the trainers that won’t leave you looking like a squaddie:
- Asos Polo Neck Jumper In Cotton
- Allsaints Volt Chino
- Beams Plus Down-filled Overcoat
- Gourmet 35 Lite Camo Lx Trainers
Outfit Inspiration: Smart-Casual
Despite not being a print suited to the office, camo does have its uses in smarter situations. A pair of well-cut, slim-fitting chinos in a muted camo palette brings the dressed-down touch needed for smart-casual dress codes.
Take a classic approach with the rest of your ensemble: an Oxford button-down, knitted tie and flannel blazer will help sculpt the look into something suitable for dinner and drinks.
Finish with a well-proportioned tie bar and some polished leather chukkas. Ready for action:
- Topman Camel Flannel Skinny Blazer
- He By Mango Camo Print Cropped Trousers
- Reiss Darcy Slim Silk Knitted Tie Wine Berry
- Band Of Outsiders Slim-fit Cotton-oxford Shirt
- Brooks Brothers Engraved Silver Tie Clip
- Ted Baker Tolson Boot
- Allsaints Affray Shirt
- He By Mango Slim-fit Camo-print Chambray Shirt
- Ps By Paul Smith Jumper With Camo Pattern
- Gap Lived-in Slim Camo Pant
- Polo Ralph Lauren Torrington Camo Brogues
- He By Mango Camo-print Sneakers
- Valentino Camouflage-print Silk Tie
- Valentino Camo-print Canvas And Leather Gloves 216275
- Maison Kitsune Camouflage Jacquard Cotton-blend Bomber Jacket
Key Military Colour: Khaki Green/Olive
A slightly less obvious nod to the military trend than camo print, green is set to become a key colour for AW14 – particularly in khaki and olive shades.
These dry, earthy tones epitomise the autumnal mood and complement the darker neutrals that dominate men’s wardrobes during this time of the year – qualities that meant designers’ collections were awash with the hue during the global fashion weeks.
From tonal khaki green ensembles at Calvin Klein and Richard James to army-inspired outerwear at Dior Homme, this is one colour trend you don’t want to miss out:
The high street has been quick to follow suit, with everything from shirts and socks to bomber jackets and even suits painted with the olive brush this season.
As a trend, there aren’t going to be many easier to get on board with than this. Dark khaki complements nearly every skin tone and pairs well with a host of other colours and prints. Our only advice would be to avoid combining it with camo – you don’t want your outfits straying into the realm of costume.
Outfit Inspiration: Smart
Separating your suits is a great way of breathing new life into your formal wardrobe. Give olive and its almost limitless versatility a shot this season by introducing a full suit or blazer to your collection.
Marry your green jacket with black trousers for maximum impact, while the white shirt and black Derbies are a no-brainer, especially when it comes to letting your blazer take all the glory.
Leave the tie at home in favour of an on-trend ‘air tie’ and accessorise sparingly using either an audacious lapel pin or more conservative white pocket square:
- Reiss Dust Bluff Collar Shirt White
- Asos Slim Fit Blazer In Cotton
- River Island Grey Flower Lapel Pin
- Topman Off White Pocket Square
- Raf Simons Slim-fit Wool Trousers
- Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Kirby Leather Derby Shoes 214271
Outfit Inspiration: Casual
A casual shirt in military colours could easily become your new go-to piece for the remainder of the year. This shade of green draws attention but doesn’t command it, and will slot seamlessly into your capsule wardrobe, making it a superb seasonal addition.
Wear with a denim jacket, wool/flannel trousers and hiking boots for a tactile, masculine look that is perfect for battling against the harsh autumn/winter weather. If more layers are what you crave, throw a heavyweight coat over the top to make full use of your denim jacket’s layering abilities:
- Richard James Brushed Cotton-twill Shirt
- Allsaints Cormorant Denim Jacket
- Reiss Taylor Prince Of Wales Check Trousers Charcoal
- He By Mango Leather Worker Boots
- Paul Smith Jeans Blazer
- Gloverall Duffle Coat In Melton Wool
- Topman Khaki Marl Crew Jumper
- He By Mango Adjustable Tabs Garment-dyed Chinos
- Asos Polo Shirt In Jersey
- He By Mango Contrast Elbow-patch Cardigan
- Wooyoungmi Slim-fit Panelled-collar Cotton Shirt
- Acne Studios Selo Bomber Jacket 207073
- Acne Studios Canada Oversized Brushed-lambswool Scarf
Key Pieces: Military Boots
Regardless of current trends, a sturdy pair of boots should be top of your winter wish list – if you haven’t invested already. Footwear is always something that’s definitely worth spending that bit extra on, and practical, well-made boots are something you’ll live in when the weather inevitably worsens.
Military-style boots had a fleeting menswear moment a few years back and unfortunately became a mainstay of UK boy bands – however, the silhouette is back in vogue this season with a new mature approach. Long gone are the days of tucking spray-on jeans into them; this year the styling is a lot more relaxed and rugged.
Skinny cuts have been shipped out for more wearable slim fits and tucking has been replaced by a neat roll-up that sits on top of, or just above, the boot.
Clearly a casual silhouette, military boots aren’t something you’re going to be pairing with your tailoring for work. Instead, style with flannels, denim and imposing outerwear for a wholly masculine aesthetic – our lookbook below provides an array of astute examples of this.
Outfit Inspiration: Sports Luxe/Military
Consider merging two trends and bringing a little sports luxe to this key military piece.
Some contemporary cuffed track pants paired with boots is a comfortable and cosy option come winter. If you do choose to go down this route then you’ll have to backtrack on the tucking in – just don’t strap them in too tightly, you don’t want to take the styling back to the JLS days, do you?
- Allsaints Noon Shirt
- Asos Wool Peacoat In Navy
- River Island Dark Grey Jogger Trousers
- Billy Reid Burnished-leather Lace-up Boots
- Aldo Leather Boots
- Grenson Joseph Grain Boots In Tan
- Reiss Pablos Leather Military Boots Black
- He By Mango Lace-up Leather Boots
- Allsaints Tremor Boot
- Base London Victoria Shearling Look Boots
- Cheaney Scott Shearling-lined Pebble-grain Leather And Suede Boots
- Dr Martens Triumph 10-eye Boots
- Maison Martin Margiela 22 Mens Black Leather And Wool Military Boots
Key Pieces: Military-Inspired Outerwear
Without military influences our outerwear options would be severely depleted. A host of styles we class as timeless or essential owe their popularity to the military: the duffle, trench and bomber jacket, to name just three, were all born out of use in the armed forces.
However, it’s two other silhouettes that have stepped up to be counted this season. The agelessly cool pea coat and parka are set to reclaim their mantle as cold-weather must-haves.
A favourite among both the mods and military alike, this all-purpose winter coat will keep you protected no matter what mother nature throws at you. If you’re searching for a silhouette that you can rely on every day of the week, you needn’t look further than the parka.
There isn’t a particularly prevailing design for AW14. Fishtail or fur-lined Arctic styles can both be considered, just as long as they’re not too lightweight – keep unlined versions for the transitional season.
Outfit Inspiration: Mod-Inspired
Take a nod from the mods when incorporating this military item into your outfits by combining it with your work suit for the morning commute.
Slip the parka on over a timeless grey textured version and ground the look with some smart leather Derby boots. A substantial synthetic sole is essential for staying sure-footed when the weather turns – a cast and crutches have never been stylish accessories:
- Reiss Barney B Two Tone Modern Blazer Grey
- Reiss Barney T Two Tone Modern Trousers Grey
- Asos Quilted Parka Jacket
- Topman Ben Sherman Ohns Oxblood 4 Eye Derby Boots
- Topman Navy Heavyweight Parka
- Parka London Charlie Parka
- Asos Fishtail Parka With Thinsulate
- He By Mango Waterproof Feather Down Parka
- Stone Island David Tc Hooded Coat
- Lee Military Parka
The Pea Coat/Officer Coat
Garments don’t come much more classic than the simple yet stylish pea coat. This maritime mainstay may be back in the forefront of our minds due to the military trend, but the pea coat is a modern essential that will never fall out of style.
This tough, double-breasted silhouette will instantly smarten up even the laziest of looks and works just as well alongside a suit and tie as it does a jeans and t-shirt combination at the weekend.
Those looking for something more striking and imposing should consider the pea coat’s slightly more esteemed cousin, the officer coat. The officer and pea coat really only differ in length as both are double-breasted and feature broad lapels; the former simply comes in a longer knee-length cut that gives it a heightened sense of formality.
The pea coat is certainly easier to wear but the officer coat can really make a statement in a confident and masculine way. Just make sure you keep the details to a minimum: huge epaulettes or imposing gold buttons can quickly push it towards costume.
With Steve McQueen, Robert Redford and Daniel Craig all fans of the pea coat it’s hard to argue a reason why you shouldn’t be too.
Pea/Officer Coat Lookbook
Outfit Inspiration: Pea Coat
Nail off-duty dressing with a comfortable, heritage-inspired look that puts the pea coat front and centre.
Roll necks are firmly back in the menswear conversation and this cable knit version will carry you from autumn to winter effortlessly. Couple it with some textured trousers (moleskin is still a criminally overlooked fabric) and finish with some on-point Chelsea boots:
- Ben Sherman Roll Neck Cable Knit Jumper
- Reiss Roman Wool-rich Peacoat Navy
- Browns Washed Moleskin Trousers
- Ralph Lauren Belgrade Chelsea Boots
Outfit Inspiration: Officer Coat
Take a power dressing approach to your winter coat with this sophisticated ensemble. The pinstripe suit is back in a big way and makes for an eye-catching change in your tailoring rotation, especially with recent talk having been all about the check.
Slip on some leather double-monks for an Italian touch and round off this high-status formal look with a minimal, luxurious officer coat:
- Asos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In Fine Stripe
- Massimo Alba Double-faced Wool Peacoat
- Churchs Ledstone Leather Monk-strap Shoes 207275
- Allsaints Yoshino Coat
- He By Mango Overcoat Michigae
- Superdry Premium Pea Coat
- Reiss Roman Wool-rich Peacoat
- River Island Brown Smart Wool Pea Coat
- Ps By Paul Smith Textured Wool And Alpaca-blend Pea Coat 206921
Still referring to military as a trend seems almost ridiculous. Its influence is so deeply rooted into the very fabric of men’s style that the industry would be in a very different state without it.
But now it’s time to hear your view:
- What do you think of this season’s military offerings?
- Are you still on the camo train? Or have you long abandoned ship?
- Is the pea coat the ultimate outerwear essential?
- Can military boots really be styled well after the horrors of yesteryear?
Drop us a comment with your thoughts below…