Every autumn, fashion gets darker and richer to reflect the shortening days and oncoming dark winter nights, but this year there is a new twist. Fashion is heading to war in khaki, camel, navy and camouflage, complete with shiny brass buttons and sharp tailoring.
The military trend is a constant underlying theme in menswear, as the smart regalia only serves to emphasise the male physique, and the frontline uniform is endlessly practical.
The outer layers of the trend are perhaps the easiest and most versatile way to allude to this trend. To combat the harsh Scottish winters, why not invest in a vintage World War Two greatcoat? Created to tackle the extreme weather conditions of the frontline there can still be sourced at military auctions, and often go for below £100. Stylish and long-lasting, what more could you want? These coats are extremely heavy, making them perfect for those with a broader build. However, a chic alternative is the trench coat, lighter in weight and well suited for the wet and windy weather. Navy blazers are a constant on the St Andrews high street, and give a subtle salute to the trend; shiny buttons and clean lines are effective, without making you look like you have stepped out of a period drama. My personal favourites are the khaki pea-coat and sheepskin aviator jacket. Warm in winter, and eternally stylish, they are worth the cost.
Whenever I think of military trousers, white breeches always seem to come to mind. However I prefer a pair of straight trousers with a single coloured stripe up the side. This stripe serves to elongate the leg as well as following the trend; it also allows you to pick and choose colours to better suit your current wardrobe.
The simplest way to emulate the trend would be to don a military inspired t-shirt – think medal emblazoned or camouflage printed. A simple white t-shirt under a long structured and buttoned-up waistcoat is more formal, but make sure the shirt is thick. A thin shirt will look cheap and, if you want to make this trend stylish and not comical, cheap should be avoided. A white vest top with loose cargo trousers is casual and references a more off-duty mode.
Shoe-wise, the workman boots that have become increasingly popular in recent years are perfect for your military operation. Dr Martens are perfect for this as boots with laces, and not zips, tend to be more enduring. If you fancy emulating the period drama look, you could wear a pair of black and tan equestrian style boots – but this is only a look for the especially daring!
There are a great many sources for inspiration for this look, whether it is John Varvatos S/S’13 collection (a beautiful mix of military and 1930s New York gangster) or Sean Bean in the Sharpe series (he really does wear a fantastic coat.) The music industry often picks up on the military trend as a form of rebellion against ‘The Man.’ The Beatles are a known example of this, but also take a look at the flamboyant costumes of Adam Ant and the music videos for Fun.’s ‘Some Nights’ and Take That’s ‘Kidz.’
It is often in the small details that a military theme can be seen. It could be an entire piece such as a beautifully cut pair of wool trousers or a navy jacket, or the smallest of smallest details – epaulettes, a stiff standing collar or a pair of aviators. This trend is surprisingly easy to nod to – just don’t overdo it. You don’t want people thinking you are off to join the Household Cavalry.
Image – Millicent Wilkinson