Uniforms, battle gear and motifs: military glam is always in fashion

Worn with flimsy frocks, jeans or even suits, the military look is an easy everyday style

 

MSTIMEA4EMAIL_WEBMilitary glam is always in fashion. It’s a look easy to understand and easy to interpret. Take the furry-hooded parka, a mainstream artillery for combating winter chill while looking cool. Worn with flimsy frocks, jeans or even suits, it’s an easy everyday going-out style combination that’s visible on all streets and all sexes. The way the parka was used for protection in war and the detail of its construction – snap and slide fasteners, slit front pockets and drawcords – is a far cry from today’s fashionably utilitarian street versions which are not designed for sub-zero temperatures or combat zones.

As for the trench, what wardrobe is without the soldiery staple that brought Burberry global stardom, endlessly recycled and reprieved in new twists season after season and another strategic weapon in contemporary attire? In the wordless visual medium which is fashion, making use of the familiar is a safe commercial bet, a testimony to the popularity of biker jackets, anoraks, greatcoats and jackboots in modern sartorial armoury.

MSTIMEA2EMAIL_WEBCollins Barracks in Dublin was an obvious location for this shoot styled by Catherine Condell, who has always favoured the strictness and rigour of tailoring for stylish everyday wear, uniforms stripped of political meanings or associations.

“You can make a military look out of anything, a plain coat with the right belt, a crisp white shirt with a tie – but with soft hair and make up”, she says. Designers regularly appropriate and abstract the familiar motifs of battle gear – the epaulettes, the cavalry stripes, the insignia, the camouflage prints – and present them in new and inventive ways.

Here it shows in the details; the modernist touch of an orange stripe on a camel coat, the rhinestone shoulder shine on a cashmere knit, the high boots under an A-line skirt, the man’s shirt and tie made feminine with a belted jacket and flirty polka dot skirt. A well placed tartan throw over a trench combines two winter trends in one, showing how to master the difficult “blanket” look. A peaked cap reinforces the appearance of authority and attitude, but in a playful way.

So take command. All the items are from Marks & Spencers winter collection

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