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"Army" Fashion: Patriotic or Disrespectful?

posted by LIM College staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website BLOGS Hubspot Blogs Short Takes LolaMendez2The Army Fatigue Coat has enlisted for active duty on the SS 10 runways and can now be spotted on style-savvy celebs and nearly every girl’s back at LIM College. The military jacket invaded the runway during the SS 10 Balmain, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Rag & Bone shows. Each designer interpreted the flak jacket his or her own way,  from gold fringe embellished shoulders at Balmain to a short and sweet version by Louis Vuitton.

Stylish celebrities have also been quick to wave the white flag of surrender to the military coat. Alexa Chung wore her surplus jacket with a feminine crochet top and cut-offs. Whitney Port styled her cargo-esque jacket with distressed denim. While Taylor Mommsen and Kate Moss mixed military flair with fur, Gwen Stefani and Rachel Bilson opted for a boxy rendition.  

When did dressing up as a military hero change from taboo to chic? Throughout recent decades fashion has saluted soldiers and entered full-fledged combat mode with army-inspired wardrobe staples. The modern fatigue jacket was first introduced to the service in 1943.  Two years later, the Army Green Service Uniform in Shade 44 became the staple of the semi-dress uniform for soldiers.  The Green Service Uniform, known as “Class A’s,” is given to enlisted soldiers as part of their basic clothing. Come July of 2014, it will be time for fashionistas and soldiers alike to bid adieu to the Green Service Uniform, when it will be replaced by a brand new Blue ASU Uniform. When Army Green goes out, will designers adopt the new blue ?

Does wearing a uniform mean that the designers are truly behind the military that wears it? In Germany in 1933, the Hugo Boss company was the official supplier of uniforms.  In the 1970s, advocates of Black Power and protestors of the Vietnam War often wore military clothing despite being against the official goals of the U.S. Army. Ten years ago, in Spring 1999, soldiers—well, models—took over the Ralph Lauren runway in paratrooper pants, flight jackets and ponchos, but US military policy was then very unpopular.  This year’s RTW Spring/Summer shows also do not necessarily mean that fashion and military policy are in agreement.

Army Green is a great neutral tone that fits in easily with most peoples’ existing wardrobe. But is dressing up like a G.I. Jane or Joe taboo, rude, or disrespectful? Let me know what you think LIM!  Over and out.

--Lola Mendez

Further Reading:

An article about the ten-year reign of military fashion, including the Hummer, an accessory everyone must have:

Some people go as far as sporting kevlar:

An account of the history of the real-thing, the Army Green Uniform, from the Army Quartermaster Foundation:

Topics: fashion trends, Fashion Culture