The military-inspired wardrobe has become one of the most popular and interesting trends in fashion and shows no sign of falling away any time soon. The general concept of the military look is to emphasize femininity by including traditionally masculine styles and lines within the outfit. There are now more choices than ever with footwear, outerwear, accessories, and all the garments in between available in a military style. However, caution should be exercised when creating a military–inspired wardrobe, as this is one of those occasions when it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Here’s what you need to know about creating a military-inspired wardrobe.

Origins of the Military Style Wardrobe

After the First World War is when the military aesthetic began to become evident in everyday fashions. This is probably because tailoring companies had been designing and producing the military style for so long that they had a shortage of traditional clothing to offer customers. A big surge, however, came in the 1960s when hippies began to use military fashion as a form of ironic protest against the war in Iraq. The military look had its heyday in the 1980s when pop icons like Adam Ant, Michael Jackson, and Duran Duran.

What is a Military Style Wardrobe?

A military style wardrobe is the fantastic combination of comfort and ease of movement, which military uniforms usually have, with a touch of femininity. The key colors used in army pieces are grey, khaki green and brown and, sometimes, camouflage patterns. The military look is often fused with sporty items for people with active lifestyles. The accessories are vital to the look, including gold or silver buttons in rows, belts, and shoulder straps. From boots to pants, skirts, dresses, shirts, and outerwear, military styling has found its way into every part of the fashion world.

Military elements should be used minimally for greater effect as when you go too far, the outfit can become more like a fancy dress costume than a fashion statement. You should also aim for more fitted garments to avoid being swamped by baggy clothes.

A military coat like those available at, for example, will typically have broad shoulders, will be in a khaki color and will feature Hussar styled accessories. The frock coat has a more fitted shape and usually features lapels, buttons and a high collar. One of the main principles of military fashion is to combine a military–themed piece with something more feminine such as skinny jeans, a lace skirt, floral dress, or stylish heeled boots. Of course, the military look is also a huge influence on men’s fashions.

Military Fashion Styles

Military fashion has become so popular and widely adopted that there are now sub-genres within the trend. They can loosely be grouped into two main styles: festive or casual, but there are nuances in each group.

• Festive Military Style

Think about military processions and ceremonies, and you’ll see that the garments such as jackets have ordered accessories, strict forms, and formal details such as epaulets and shoulder straps. Gold and silver buttons or other embellishments are often used as are ribbons and high collars.

• Casual Military Style

The casual look is simpler with monotone colors or camouflage patterns often with lapels and large pockets. Handbags, hats, tops, outerwear, and even lingerie can be found in casual military style.

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