It’s amazing how much of the modern man’s wardrobe has stepped straight out of the ranks. Military is menswear. Beyond obvious transplants like the trench coat and bomber jacket, even your T-shirts and chinos were birthed as uniform long before making their way into civilian wardrobes. Which means even if you’re the kind to steer clear of camo print and epaulettes, odds are your look still salutes the forces.
British brand Realm & Empire takes a rather more direct approach to military history. Founded in 2011, its designs draw on battle-proven clothing from the archives of the Imperial War Museum, updating them for the street style battlefield.
So you get modern cuts and construction (think slim-fit silhouettes and hoods with headphone slots) shot through with military DNA; functionality and robustness that doesn’t date.
Made In Britain
In another dose of patriotism, all of Realm & Empire’s knitwear is crafted here in the UK. So you know that your roll neck, which traces its history to those issued by the Royal Navy to protect sailors on Arctic crossings, is equally hardy.
Even if yours only battles chilly commutes, we’d still recommend some shipshape styling by pairing it with a pea coat, deck-ready boots and a knitted commando cap.
AW15 Key Piece: Bramcote Artisan Corduroy Overshirt
Those less military minded shouldn’t see Realm & Empire as surplus to their sartorial requirements. Though pieces like the Bramcote Artisan corduroy overshirt take their cues from active service, they’re styled with one eye on the runway.
In this case, by cutting a traditional heritage fabric – in an on-point narrow wale – into a take on this season’s key layering piece that hums with history, even off the rack.
AW15 Key Piece: Hamble Parachute Jacket
Equally AW15-appropriate is the Hamble parachute jacket. Though safety orange isn’t much help on the battlefield, it’s a successful deployment one of the season’s most vital shades, offering some grey sky-beating vitality to your off-duty looks.
The jacket also comes with a more impressive story than your average outerwear, with its styling directly informed by a Second World War parachute bag that Realm & Empire’s design team discovered in the Imperial War Museum archive. Consider yourself armed with some menswear pub ammo.
While this modern iteration isn’t as handy at 20,000 feet, if your battles are restricted to urban environments then you’ll appreciate the close-weave technical fabric – which ensures a breathability you’ll appreciate transitioning from rain-lashed streets to sweaty public transport – as well as oversized pockets that will fit extra magazines, or your tablet.
Parachute cords (naturally) complete the look, while the brush cotton lining guarantees the worst of the weather doesn’t breach your defences.
AW15 Key Piece: A2 Flight Jacket
Some pieces, though, are unashamedly heritage. Flyboys looking to make a statement have long reached for the A2 flight jacket, a favourite of fighter pilots, and men who’ve dreamed of being fighter pilots, for almost a century. Realm & Empire’s take on this classic is a loving tribute to the original, crafted from the authentic russet leather well suited to unheated cockpits.
During the war, leather doubled up as a canvas, which would be lovingly decorated with squadron insignias and campaign patches. Though it’s unlikely to see as much action on your back, it features a hand-painted Liberty Belle pin-up, inspired by that daubed on the noses of long-distance bombers, that will give the impression that you’ve only just returned from theatre. You’d best get your war stories sorted.
Shop the Realm & Empire autumn/winter 2015 collection now at realmandempire.com.
FashionBeans Exclusive Offer
For a limited time only, Realm & Empire is offering FashionBeans readers an exclusive 20% off its autumn/winter 2015 collection using the discount code below:
Expires: October 26, 2015
Terms & Conditions:
20% off Realm & Empire AW15 collection only, not products listed in The Archive.