Why are clothes coming from military closets as khaki shirts, parkas, trench coats, peacoats, bomber or safari jackets both timeless and trendy?
It’s still a major trend on the catwalks
From left to right: Balmain, Alexandre Vauthier and Kenzo
Just as in the streets…
picture from My fashion Muse
picture from Archzine
In fact, the transformation of military clothing into a popular fashion trend has a long history.
Initially, it is some of its functional or aesthetic characteristics that are taken up by some designers, such as Paul Poiret or Thomas Burberry at the beginning of the twentieth century, who both worked for the army.
(The Burberry Trench was created for WW1 British soldiers in the trenches)
But it was not until after the Second World War that exhibiting the wardrobe of soldiers became a fashion fueled by the success of war films and by the fact that governments wanted to resell their huge military surplus stocks.
Ava Gardner and…
Grace Kelly in Mogambo
And trench coats were not worn only by men anymore…
Lauren Bacall in Bogie’s trench
Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany
Catherine Deneuve in “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg”
In the 1960s, the GIs brought back the jungle camouflage print, which paradoxically became a pacifist symbol and a way of fighting the established order during protests against the Vietnam War.
In England, the Mods were wearing long khaki parkas
and the Beatles distracted officer jackets just as Jimmy Hendrix did.
A new unisex style appeared mixing military standards with protest fashion codes.
A trend that also emerged on the catwalks, when Yves Saint Laurent offered to military style its first fashion recognition by revisiting the Safari jacket and the peacoat.
Yves Saint Laurent, Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise photographed in a safari jacket by Helmut Newton for the opening of YSL men’s boutique on Rue de Tournon
And today, “Half of the people on the street are dressed to kill”, wrote Troy Patterson in 2015 in the New York Times…
Gain in self-confidence
So why khaki parkas and other officer coats are so popular in the streets? Is it for their comfort, robustness and aesthetic appeal?Is it, as suggests Timothy Godbold in his book (Military Style Invades Fashion) to gain in self-confidence in cities attacked by blind terrorist acts or gratuitous violence (in particular against women)? “Putting on military clothing provides valuable assets to the wearer,” he says.
It’s certainly true that we’ve often forgotten all about the military past of these clothes and we aren’t really aware of dressing as “warriors”. But it certainly gives us a “je ne sais quoi” of allure and protection.
How to wear military style today then?
1/ Avoiding the total look and mixing it with feminine details, as heels, a skirt, a statement handbag or jewelry…
picture from Atlantic Pacific
Picture from Tendances de Mode
Picture from Tendances de Mode
2/Not taking it too seriously, matching it with a tee and jeans or adding quirky pins and patchesPicture from les babioles de Zoé