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Military Uniform, Civilian Fashion

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One way the military influences the world that it may not have expected is how the fashion world copies military dress.

Everything from trendy items such as combat boots and staples such as chino pants have their roots in military uniforms.

Who would have thought the first people to wear peacoats were members of the Navy?

A traditional bomber jacket
A traditional bomber jacket

In China, for example, military clothing became commonplace as modern clothing during the Cultural Revolution starting in the 1960s. This was because the military offered attractive colors and materials that were better than what most people were used to. Young people with revolutionary ideas began this trend in the cities. Other people began to jump on the bandwagon because many were farmers or workers in factories and this clothing was an upgrade from what they normally wore.

A modern day Burberry trench coat, the creators of the piece
A modern day Burberry trench coat, the creators of the piece

The trench coat was originally created for the military by Thomas Burberry, which the brand Burberry is still famous for, as a water-repellant, chemically-treated jacket. Now, those rich enough to afford them are wearing the iconic item that was originally handed out among soldiers.

Buttons originally served as mainly decorative pieces as early as the 14th century, but after the end of World War I they started to become a more functional part of the uniform.

Subcultures, such as heavy metal, took the use of military uniforms to the extreme. Bomber jackets, leather, and combat boots were style staples for this group. Bomber jackets, also known as flight jackets, were and still are worn by aviators. Dr. Martens are a great example of a brand with a punk or alternative following that solely makes all kinds of combat boots.

Aviator sunglasses may be the most prevalent piece of fashion with military roots to make it into mainstream culture. As the name indicates, these sunglasses are named after the men who wore then: the flyers.

Many of these items that were originally just for male soldiers are now equally worn by both men and women.

The military’s mandated style choices have permeated all parts of society. Since the military’s beginning, it has inspired the fashion of its civilian counterpart.

To see all fashion terms with military roots, click here for the full story.

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