The world of men’s fashion is diverse, to say the least. You can easily find two individuals walking down the same street with wildly different preferences and zero overlaps. There are, however, a few styles that crack through this notion. They are the ones that everyone agrees are great. Sure, not everyone likes them, but no one dislikes them either. A great example of these universally loved pillars of fashion is the military style.
What is Military Style?
Military-style clothing, as the name suggests, originates from the military. It involves a masterful blend of functionality and style. The colors are usually kept to a minimum. But this does not mean a lack of colors. Something like a green leather jacket is a part military style; it just needs to be on the darker side of things. Think of your outfit as if you’re on a battlefield. Anything that will make you stand out in that scenario is usually not in this style.
The core vibe of military-style for men is a rugged look and being a badass. You feel a level of self-confidence when wearing military-inspired outfits that are extremely hard to replicate with other fashion apparel. This is not to say that you wear full-on army uniforms with war paint on your face. It’s just that the association of your outfit with the military is strangely empowering and confidence-inducing.
Where to Get Started?
The thing about military style clothing is that there are too many options and possible combinations. Additionally, this style has guidelines for everything, including the different types of jackets, shirts, pants, shoes, and even additional accessories. Talking about every single one of them will require hundreds of pages. Then there are all of the possible ways to combine these elements into cohesive outfits.
So, instead, we will discuss the basic things that you need to get started. Then we’ll take a look at a few examples of tried and tested military outfits. This way, you can get an idea of what military style fashion looks like and a list of items that you need to start your journey. You can then learn more as time passes and your interest in this style grows.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Items you Need
These are a few must-haves if you want to embrace military fashion and begin your journey towards the rugged yet refined look.
Outwear is, arguably, the most important part of military-style. It also happens to be the most popular part of this fashion. A lot of people wear military style outerwear like safari jackets without knowing a single thing about the fashion that jacket belongs to. Tons of people are also into vintage jackets, most of which have military origins. So, there is a good chance that you already own a jacket compatible with this style.
The most popular military jacket, by far, is the bomber/aviator jacket. It has ascended its origin and is now a famed part of general men’s fashion. You can find them in all types of leather and even in many fabric designs. Just visit any major city in the world, and you’d see many men walking around with this jacket, regardless of which country you’re in. It is now a staple in men’s modern fashion.
Then there are the trench coats—a symbol of military and wartime fashion. There was nothing more fashionable during the world war one era than a trench coat. They fell out of style in previous decades, but now they’re back, stronger than ever. The best part is, you can easily craft a smart casual outfit with a trench coat as the centerpiece. So, if you ever have to step out of military-style, your trench coat will be there to get you looking well-dressed.
When choosing a military-style jacket, one thing to remember is that your options are not limited to a handful of jacket types. You can most definitely integrate something like a chore coat into your military-inspired outfit. Just stay clear of flashy colors, and you should be fine. Sticking closer to the earthy green and brown tones is hands down the best option.
Military style shirts are a little more complicated than jackets and coats. For starters, there are no dedicated military style shirts. Well, there are, but they just replicate the style of military uniform in a simpler package, with dark green, brown, and khaki colors. Some people will argue that a dark-colored denim shirt is also part of military-style, but there is active debate over this, and no final decision has been made; yet.
There is, however, one shirt that is not military-style on its own but works effortlessly in any military-style outfit. That shirt is a plain white t-shirt. Yes, just a plain short-sleeved white t-shirt.
The thing is, military jackets tend to be the star of the show. Wearing any fancy shirt under them will only form a fistraction from your overall look. So, the ideal way of following the army fashion is to keep the shirt extremely simple. It blends the rest of the outfit together and provides a nice backdrop for the visually striking jacket.
Pants are where things get interesting again. There are so many types of pants that can qualify as military style. Cargo pants, for example, are a great contender for the military title. But not every cargo pant is a part of military fashion. There is a sub-category of cargo pants known as combat pants which are not as flashy. They, on the other hand, are definitely the right fit for this style. You can find them in the usual earth tones like dark green and khaki, as well as dark grey and navy blue.
Chinos are another type of pants that is compatible with the military-style. They are a lot simpler than combat pants, and that is by design. The thing that makes chinos so great is their potential use in semi-formal and smart casual situations. They can be paired with an American flight jacket-inspired blouson jacket for a military look. Or, you can top them with a grey blazer to attend a business event.
Military personnel usually have to be in harsh places. They often have to walk exorbitant distances, so their shoes need to be rugged and comfortable at the same time. This is where the gorgeous tactical boots come into the picture. They are robust and made to last you a lifetime. Their length means that they provide support to the entire foot, including the ankle. This makes them remarkably comfortable even after long periods of time.
The biggest advantage of owning a pair of tactical boots, however, is their fashion potential. They work flawlessly with almost every modern style. Streetwear, in particular, is a great fan of these military shoes. But the topic of this article, military-style, has fantastic integration of tactical shoes with combat pants. Even the names of these two fit together.
If, for some reason, you don’t fancy tactical boots or want something a little simpler in design, then look no further than the desert shoes. They are the perfect balance between military aesthetic and everyday casual. The ones made from suede are the most iconic and generally look the best. But you can find pairs made from other types of leather as well if you want to.
The final and totally optional step in conquering military fashion is the accessories. You can totally skip them if you so desire, but they are certainly an upgrade.
The first military style accessory is the wristwatch. Now, you might think that military watch designs are aimed more towards ruggedness, but that is not true. The military aesthetic wristwatch is actually called the pilots watch, and their designs are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Shiny, sleek dials and leather straps make them a nice wristwatch for any occasion.
Then there are the military bags. They are designed to be functional as storage space while also blending in with the rest of the outfit. Duffle bags are the most popular ones, but there are other options available as well. You can even find backpacks with similar aesthetics. Apart from these, military dog tags, caps and glasses should also be in your accessories list.
The only thing to avoid are the types of bags with too many unnecessary pockets, unless extra storage is what is needed.
A Few Notable Outfits
Here are a handful of examples of what military style outfits look like. You can use these as a reference when designing your own attire.
Down to Earth
This outfit almost entirely consists of natural, earthy tones. No, it does not involve any camo patterns, but the color palette is the same. All you need is a green coat or a jacket. Pair it with some dark brown chinos, strap up your black tactical shoes, and you’ve got something that looks classy while also feeling contemporary.
Ready for Combat
Do you want to replicate the look of a brilliant mind who can also kick ass if need be? Then this look is for you. Bring out your khaki peacoat, pair it with a dark sweater, a pair of charcoal chinos, and a pair of desert shoes to tie everything together. Voilà, you now look fancy without much effort. This look works for both hanging out at a coffee shop, as well as lunch with the lads.
It is a well-known fact that layers make any outfit better. A two-piece suit becomes better when you add in the vest. So, is the case military style as well. Take a nice army-inspired aviator jacket, wear a dark sweater underneath it, and a white t-shirt underneath that. Join this combo with a pair of combat pants tucked into a pair of tactical shoes, and you’re dressed to impress.
Hopefully, the above-mentioned guide gives you a decent idea of how military-style works and how you can integrate it into your own life. Anyways, here are the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions regarding this style.
A green jacket is for military-style what a tuxedo is for formal dressing; absolute essential. However, pairing an unusual color like green with other clothing can look difficult at first glance. Luckily, it is not that hard. Just stick with darker colors like black, grey, and navy blue for the rest of the outfit, and you should be fine. Other parts of the earthy tones like dark brown are also excellent pairs for a green jacket. Lastly, a simple white t-shirt is easy to manage and looks fantastic.
A camo jacket is one of the most difficult items to pull off in military-style. A little overdo, and it looks off point. So, the correct way of pairing them is with plain black or white clothes. Plain here refers to the whole outfit being one color. So, a black t-shirt with a pair of black jeans and black sneakers will look great with a camo jacket.
It can also be worn with matching camo pants, the prints on the pants and jacket should be different to pull off the look. The correct way to go by is one of these should have a bigger print than the other.
The military-style of folding clothes is optimized for function overlooks. A stack of flat folded clothes might look better, but they would be a pain to move around and keep track of. So, the military uses something known as burrito roll. The way to do it is not that complicated, and once you’ve learned it, you can do it faster than traditional folding.
All you have to do is lay the shirt flat on an even surface. Invert the bottom of the shirt onto itself. Tuck the sleeves inward. Fold the shirt in half vertically. Now roll it down from the top until you reach the inverted part. Take the inverted fabric on the opposite side of the roll, and bring it over the roll. That’s it. It’s that simple.
As far as versatility in men’s fashion goes, military-style is among one of the best. One can embrace this style for its functional aspects, for the fact that it looks great in modern urban settings, or because it makes them look like a masculine man dripping with confidence.
To say that military style is a must-have in your fashion arsenal would be an understatement. The outfit options alone are enough reason to start your military style journey. Who knows where it will take you from there onward?