THE TREND: Military-style fashion, characterized by oversize gold buttons, high collars, epaulets and royal purples/blues/reds as inspired mostly by traditional United Kingdom and Hungarian “Hussar” uniforms.
During the 60s, military-style was infused into more traditional clothing like overcoats and capes, but also (shown above) used to decorate feminine women swear, too.
ITS INVENTION: The military style trend in mainstream fashion of the ’60s can be attributed to the secondhand shopping habits of those swinging London hipsters known as mods.
Much like the hippies shopped thrift stores to discover the vintage navy uniform of bell bottom trousers in the ’60s, London’s swinging “mod” culture shopping the secondhand stalls of the city’s famous street markets discovered a surplus of previously owned military fashion.
So when the mod squad attacked the stalls of Potbelly Road, Camden Market and Battlefields flea markets, their discovery of decorative pieces of military wear fit with their intent to dress as anti counterculture as possible: What better irony than to wear the pieces representing the government’s and society’s restrictive ideals they were fashionably rebelling against?
Like bell bottoms, the proliferation of military-style in mod counter trickled its way into the mainstream. UK bands who originated from the mod culture introduced the style to mainstream UK/American fans as their prominence rose. One such famous musician who often dressed in military garb was The Rolling Stones’ front man Mick Jagger.
ITS INFLUENCE: The re-emergence of military style hit fast fashion when it hit the runways of popular designers in the 2000s, most recently seen in the 2010/2011 fall-winter women swear collections.
Military style is another example of how androgynous dressing can be achieved in a variety of ways, and wearing military-inspired clothing is just one of them. The cuts and characteristics of a military jacket, cape or coat are decorative and slenderizing so if anything, the inspiration behind military fashion is more “peacock” in nature and therefore comfortable for the average girl to wear without feeling overly masculine.
While bottoms have not made a return into men’s closets since the ’70s, the military look remains a staple on the menswear runways. It’s the best example of a trend from the ’60s that’s influenced fashion of both sexes.